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Sony RX1R II Shoot

Get Sony RX1R II at B&H Photo. Strongly recommended: optional Sony LHP-1 lens hood to protect the front of the lens (and as a secondary consideration, stray light) as well as at least three Sony NP-BX1 batteries.

Better luck tonight than last night’s troubled autofocus results. Autofocus seemed good tonight, but I took no chances and focused manually and/or verified focus at 12.5X. I shot a variety of material to assess, including two complete ISO series and various aperture series.

Update: bad luck again. There is some nasty instability in the RX1R II focus which damaged several aperture series, with focus shifting to the background more and more at each aperture. At first I thought this was optical focus shift. But now it is clear that it is something with the camera—perhaps a mechanical issue, perhaps causes by a extremely stiff aperture ring which might somehow jiggle the focus of the lens? Frustrating as heck, and I despise cameras that damage my work in spite of far more care than most users would ever take.

The Sony RX1R II is really too small for my hands. It is nearly “invisible” in terms of size and weight. For a travel camera and if the 35mm focal length works for you*, I don’t see how anything can beat it for compactness and image quality.

Battery life of its tiny 1240 mAh battery is challenging—perhaps not far off the Sigma dp Quattro—Sony strains credulity by shipping only one battery with it, rather absurd in a $3300 camera. I got about 50 shots before a fully charged battery was kaput. Buy plenty of batteries and/or use a USB battery charger in the field in your pack or pocket. Of course I follow my own advice on minimizing battery drain; see also Extending Battery Life / Reducing Power Usage, which applies to all Sony mirrorless cameras.

Also interesting is that ISO 50 behaves like a real ISO (also true for other Sony mirrorless). I plan to explore ISO 50 vs ISO 100 in field shots to see if there are gains to be had under real world field conditions. Twice the exposure should make uncompressed raw format really, really good for noise suppression at ISO 50. Or it may not—depends on what the camera really does.

There are optical behavioral issues which are critical to understand including focus shift; I’ll be delving into them soon. A 42-megapixel sensor is showing the weaknesses of the lens much more than on the 24-megapixel Sony RX1R.

* The 35mm focal length is not my favorite; I find the 35mm focal length awkward to work with vs a 24mm or 28mm or 50mm; That’s me—nothing wrong with 35mm focal length. I do wish Sony would make an RX1R II with 24mm or 28mm focal length.

This shot is pushed 3 1/3 stops at ISO 100, 30 second exposure.

Pescadero Creek (3.33 stop push)
f4.5 @ 30.0 sec, ISO 100; 2015-12-10 17:17:18
DSC-RX1RM2 + 35mm F2.0

[low-res image for bot]
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