Sony RX100 II Review (Camera Secrets!)

A little while ago I invested in a new camera.

As you’re well aware, I take a lot of pictures! So it may seem ridiculous to you that buying a new camera is a big deal for me. The thing is, I already had a good one. I loved my Lumix GF5 and it’s made blogging a breeze. It’s great for food photos, goes in my handbag and you can hand it to a stranger, ask them to take a snap and they’ll be able to manage without too much trouble.

I didn’t want a new toy, I didn’t see the point.

But I got talked into it.

My friend PJ is a camera nut. He collects them. He’s a Leica boy through and through and a professional photographer to boot. He learned about the new Sony RX100 II on the grapevine and insisted I had to have it.

“The sensor is HUUUUGE!” he said. “It’s almost as good as a Leica!” he said (high praise indeed from him).

I did some snooping and reading around. I couldn’t find a single bad review. Everyone loved the camera and if PJ was right it was genuinely going to enhance my life.

I bought it, and of course… he was right.

When it arrived I was amazed by the size. It’s tiny.

Not spy camera tiny, but small enough to fit inside a jacket pocket.

With a few little tweaks it was also silent. No beeps, no shutter clunk, just the tiniest of *tic*s as it takes a picture. Stealth photography at its finest!

It’s fast, too. Not quite DSLR fast, but pretty damn close. If you put it on continuous you can just hold down the shutter for a quick succession of shots and choose your favourite.

I often take pictures in dark restaurants and I’ve found it so much easier than before because, as PJ promised, the sensor (13.2 x 8.8mm) allows so much more light in.

My favourite feature by a country mile however, is the wifi. At the touch of a button I can send a picture right from the camera onto my phone. Then I can Instagram it or email it out!

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You can also control the Self Timer with your phone and view what the camera sees on your iPhone (I haven’t really used this yet, but I think it’s pretty exciting anyway…)

The battery lasts for days, even shooting constantly like I was in Paris.

If I had one bone to pick with Sony it would be about the LCD screen and the Auto-Focus.

I’ve been a bit spoilt by my Lumix and love the touch screen, which means you can focus on anything by just tapping it with your finger. The Sony RX doesn’t have a touch screen, it has an articulated screen (which I haven’t used once) and the autofocus has a mind of its own. It can take a good few tries before you finally focus on what you want, especially if there’s something shiny about. In the presence of fairy-lights the camera has a nervous breakdown and often refuses to focus on anything at all. Shouting at it doesn’t get you anywhere, sadly.

On the flip-side, it has a great macro setting and the zoom (20M Approx) is brilliant.

At £545 it’s not cheap, but I like to think the quality of some of the shots it produces rivals that of many much more expensive cameras…

My only regret is that I didn’t buy it sooner.

And that I hadn’t already dented it by dropping it a few times…

I will continue to use my other cameras and still think the Lumix GF5 is a brilliant option, but for now the Sony RX100 II has stolen my heart.

It’s £545 on British Amazon. American Amazon has it at $750

BUT… if you can live without the articulated screen (trust me, you can) and you’re not fussed about the WIFI option then you can go one model down to the RX100 which is only £350 or $500.

Or, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a James Bond then take a look at the QX100 and turn your smartphone into the same camera.

It just clicks onto your phone and you get the same pictures as you would from the RX100 II. The only difference is that you can’t shoot RAW files, but it’s usually pro-togs who do that anyway.

The QX100 is £323 in the UK and $498 in the US.

Phew. I hope you feel fully up to date with all my camera secrets now!

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to tell you about my new piece of kit. I just wanted to be really sure about it and put it through its paces before I gave you my thoughts.

I promise you faithfully that this isn’t an ad and I wasn’t given the camera by Sony. But if you’re in the market for a cracking little point-n-shoot then I’m confident that this is the best you’ll find.

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  • Talisa Lauren Tossell
  • Magali Vennin

    THANK YOU for this post. I have always been convinces that DSLR cameras are way better, but you convinced me with the Arc de Triomph views… wow, your pictures are amazing. Do you edit them? xo

    http://www.lovethesister.com

  • Those photos look fantastic! I’m so surprised by this post because I always thought you had a larger camera, but now I’m suffering some serious camera envy! I’ll have to keep this one on my radar. 🙂

    xx
    Stephanie | Love, August

  • Frankie Lee

    Thank you very much Rosie! I was wondering what cam you had switched to as you can definitely tell the difference between the Lumix photos!x

  • Johanna Filipson

    Maybe that Sony will have to be my next Camera – I’ve got the Nikon 1 now and i LOVE it, the only problem is the big lens that makes it a bit bulky and hard to throw into your pocket…Thanks for the tips and this posts really shows how beautiful your photos are, must pay better attention… /Johanna

    http://www.foreignswede.blogspot.se

  • Rosie, do you still love the Lumix or should i just skip straight to the Sony? I love taking holiday pics and portraits of family and friends and would just like something with real clarity/a professional edge without breaking the bank. Im in the market for a new Camera and having read your post about he Lumix had decided to go for that but now im not sure. Many thanks in advance. Tor x

  • Martine Engelhardt-Olsen Ruud

    Thank you SO much! I bought a Nikon coolpix S900 (or something), but it was horrible so I returned it. Now I’m definitely gonna look at this camera. However, I never seem to find the perfect compact camera as I have a tendency to compare every photo to my Nikon D90. but this camera seems great! And I love that you linked to a older version which is a lot cheaper as well! Thank you again 🙂

    • Vicki

      I have the same Nikon Coolpix S900, its so touchy and only takes every second photo clearly. I have taken mine back to the shop and still no good 🙁 only 12 months old. Am upgrading! Glad to see it wasnt just mine though! will never buy another Nikon

  • I have been looking to get a smaller camera to take out and about and it was going to be either the Canon M or the Lumix GF5. Now you have just thrown a spanner in the works…

  • Daniela

    Dearest Rose,
    THANK you so much for this review! I am currently trying to decide what camera to get as my Olympus though is starting to be a bit outdated. It’s still a brilliant camera when it comes to going for a swim with it (its 10m waterproof) but it’s soooo slow. Snapshots are nearly impossible. I’d say it takes about 20sec from switching on to being able to take a picture.

    The Sony will defo be added to my short list as I know that you are the best person to test a camera….I just looooove the pictures on your blog!

    And while I am at it: A very merry happy christmas to you and your loved ones and a happy new year 2014!

  • Sarah

    Thanks Rosie, so good to see the camera that all your amazing shots are coming from! I bought the Lumix GF5 earlier this year and I’m still in love with it, but it’s good to know another fab option if I need to upgrade 🙂
    Love your blog and can’t wait for more great posts in 2014!!
    Sarah xxx

  • Yum Dim Sum!

    Stealthy is good, I hate a noisy slow camera that makes you look like a tourist! Shame I’m getting a lump of coal in my stocking 🙂

  • Rachel

    I have to say, I had noticed your photos were particularly good lately! Not that they weren’t before but over the past few posts there was more that made me go ‘Wow!’ So that explains it 🙂 Will definitely bear this in mind when I am next looking for a camera!
    xx
    Wee Bit of Rachel

  • Ruth

    Hi Rose

    With the pictures above do you just shoot on auto or do you use manual mode? And is manual mode easy to use?

  • Oh my gosh this is amazing! Your photos are beaut! Would love this camera but yeh bit out of my budget, might be a saver-upper for me, thanks for telling us about it 🙂 xxx oh and merry christmas! x

  • Definitely on my Christmas list … for next year! 🙂

  • I bought my latest new toy (the GF6) based on your pics and review of it’s predecessor, the GF5. It is amazing – and it comes with the fab wifi like the Sony above! It is so light and easy to use – and has a flip up screen so you can do selfies!

    Now reading your sony review there might be another camera on my wishlist!

  • I was all set on the Lumix GF5 and now you have made me doubt it! Not sure what to do. x

  • Claire Bosselut

    Great review Rose! I knew your camera wasn’t the Lumix anymore. The quality of your pics just seems much more clearer and sharp. I’ll definitely take a closer look at this one. Do you own a DSLR?

  • Mandilyn Kerr

    Great review, Rosie. I’ve had my eye on this camera for a while and now I think I’m ready to buy one.

  • Thank you for this post, Rosie! As a beginner blogger, I learned quickly that I desperately need a new camera but have been flummoxed by all the options out there. Thank you for providing a detailed review from a blogger’s perspective! Hope you have a marvelous holiday!

    Meghan xo

  • Not ready to invest in a new camera, but I will keep this one in my mind!

  • Ally

    Looks really great! Ally Xo

    http://www.allyisabelle.com

  • I totally agree, I have the original RX100 that you mention and I wouldn’t be without it. It is freaking awesome, I use it for all the pics on http://www.myblondereality.com and it rocks. Best part of all though is that it fits in a clutch bag too!!

  • I love the sound of the Wifi feature & the photos look amazing, adore the one of the telescope!

    Happy Monday Rosie xoxo

    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • zeitverschwender17

    Looks like a really good allrounder! Cool. I don’t need a new camera at the moment, but I’m good at wrecking mine so this one could go on my amazon wishlist 😀

  • FromGemWithLove

    Looks nifty!! Xx

  • htiscali

    WOW looks a fantastic camera , I may just get one now thnkz

    http://haideeandco.blogspot.co.uk/

    http://haideeandco.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Holly Elizabeth

    I do a lot of macro photography and I’ve been looking for a tiny camera that can do the job nicely. This option looks fantastic! Your photos are always so gorgeous! Thanks!

  • Nichola Allan

    Thanks for the tip…I think I’ll still go with the Lumix GF5 when I do invest since I’m not so fussed about wifi…though it is a very attractive feature…hmmm, ok – I need to continue to debate this. Though my little TZ20 doesn’t do too badly!!

    nicholawithanh.blogspot.co.uk

  • Jennifer

    I adore this camera, I have a few Sony camera’s and they’re all utterly fabulous

    http://www.barelytherebeauty.com

    xx

  • Theresa

    Oh,Rosie ! I just bought the Lumix GF5 because of you ! I can’t keep up ! X

  • Declan Farrell

    Interesting piece, out of contract with my mobile provider next month you got me thinking of maybe going for the xperia Z1 and getting the QX100 lens, have to look into it more. May I take this chance to wish you and your family a Happy Christmas

  • Alisha

    You don’t understand how good this post is right now, my mum wants to get me a camera but i’m even sure where to start especially for my studies and blog, as i’m only just properly starting and getting into it. Thank you!
    http://www.theafropolitan.me

  • Johanna

    Thanks for this review, Rosie! I’ve recently become interested in cameras and photography. Also want to wish you a Merry Christmas and thank you for all the beauty and light you share with us on your blog!

  • Laura Kelly

    When I was in the camera market a few months ago, both of the store clerks (I went to a local photography shop and a massive electronics retailer), pointed me in the direction of Nikon or even Canon before Sony, even though Sony’s seemed the way to go. Do you (one of my photography idols) have any experience with Nikon or Canon? Not that it matters now, Sony and Lumix seem to be the most sensible and promising options!

  • THANK YOU so much for doing this!! Have been hoping and hoping you would do something! It’s great to hear about a camera we all know takes good photos!

    KatieJane
    katies-rose-garden.blogspot.co.uk

    • Oh I forgot to ask!! Do you tend to put it on any special settings or are these photos literally from the snap-happy mode? My birthday is at the end of the January sales and I’ve already put a request down for this camera based on this review so fingers crossed! Just so excited about the possibility of having a camera that does so well in low light! xx

  • Ooh you have me so tempted to buy this, mainly because of the silent snapping feature, my dream! I love my DSLR, but I do sometimes want something smaller so I can snap in restaurants without feeling like a paparazzi! x

  • Fride Dimmen Stokke

    Hi! I’m quite new in London and this will be my first New Year’s Eve in this amazing city. In that case, do you have any suggestions for where I’ll be able to experience the ultimate New Year’s party?

  • MissEmmySue

    I’ve been trying to decide what camera I want to invest in so I really appreciate this review! While it’s definitely on the pricier side, it looks well worth the investment! And the pictures you’ve capture with it are gorgeous (I wouldn’t expect anything less!)
    Thanks, Rosie!

  • Ahhh I want it! I’m using my boyfriend’s super expensive camera at the moment and it is just too heavy to carry around. I’m having some trouble mastering it too, so I only use automatic mode… A bit of a shame to have such a good camera and not take full advantage of it!
    Thansk for the review, very useful.
    Cheers
    M.
    http://thegirlofthehour.com

  • Raeanne O’Meara

    I love my Canon Rebel, but it is really big (and sometimes loud) to lug around with me…but I’m not quite ready to spend that much on a camera. It looks like it takes fabulous pictures though!

    The View in the North

  • Ellen Rennie

    proof of a fab camera there, really love it and would love to try it out. Can see how it would make blogging easier 🙂

    http://loveisrealbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Katherine Hughes

    Jeez. You have a 500 quid camera and you use it to take pictures like this? http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xrwciHLFBnM/UrILsYhP0uI/AAAAAAAAfY0/agLLrJUlvBA/s1600/paris+blog+-+18.jpg

  • Crazy that something so tiny can produce pictures so vivid! I’m in love with my DSLR, but I do wish at times to have a more subtle option… it can be such a pain lugging around the heavy thing all day and it’s a little obnoxious carrying it into restaurants and whatnot. Thanks for sharing – this is definitely a model to consider!
    Perpetually Caroline

  • lyndesloovere

    I’m really happy that you wrote this post since I’m thinking about getting a new camera! I don’t know very much about camera’s and this post taught me some things, happy me! xx
    http://www.blondebutterflies.blogspot.com

  • Carla

    Thanks! This post comes at a perfect time as my camera has just died and I’ve been researching new options. Your pictures are fab, and I love that the Sony RX is compact, so I will definitely be adding it to my growing list of possibilities. Carla 🙂

    http://carliflower.weebly.com/

  • chantelle

    I totally agree. DSLR takes great photos but it’s such a hassle to take out all the time, so I tend to forget it at home. And iPhone photos are just not 1/7th of the substitute. Great options you have provided us with!

  • Lauren B
  • Poppy

    Great post. What’s your nail polish? X

  • alyssasissyify .

    you are fabulous as always Rose.
    Thank you for continuously giving my parents and I something wonderful, unique, and interesting to read! Love love love your blog! Happy Holidays!

    Love from Texas,
    Alyssa

  • Ah I’ve always been a compact camera girl, but made a mistake and got a DSLR. You made me think about getting a compact camera again. Congrats on your new addition! It’s a always a joy to own a new camera :). Merry Christmas xx

    Narine – Mad About Beauty

  • Wow! That camera looks like perfection! :O

  • super helpful post – thanks! been thinking of upgrading to a dslr but this seems totally enough for my blog!
    http://www.talkandspoon.com

  • I literally nearly bought this baby but ended up on the Fujifilm X-M1 instead. I am very happy though as it seems to be at least as good 🙂
    http://www.creamstop.com

  • Amy Lau

    I use this camera!! ..But the 1st model Sony RX100 – It’s awesome ;]

    Great choice in weapon you got there! <3

    http://www.yummei.com

  • Daisy Beech

    THANK YOU! I’m going to treat myself to a new camera and I think this is top on my list.. anyone bought it and have any other points to add? It’s pricey!

    http://daisybeech.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Andy

    Hi Rose,

    I was wondering if you had any ideas on what to wear to a Gatsby-Inspired NYE party?
    I’m at a loss for something (affordable) but also cute enough to wear again! ie: not too costumey.

    Love the blog!
    <3 A

  • Im hovering over the button as I write this.

    Petite Side Of Style

  • Ah it seems like my comments are disappearing :/. I love your camera, specially how compact it is. Can’t seem to get used to huge DSLRs. xx
    Narine – Mad About Beauty

  • Alexis

    Your photos are always so creative and amazing….love love love reading your blog!
    http://www.mumwithapearlearring.com

  • leydijonjon

    wow! I need a camera as well for good shooting on my blog and instagram. iphone is just not enough 🙁
    http://fashionsbit.blogspot.com

  • Thank you Thank you Thank you for this post!

    Merry Christmas from Marbella

    xxx

    http://busyburt.blogspot.com/2013/12/how-to-mildly-annoy-parent-on-christmas.html

  • I recently received the Sony NEX 3N and love it! It’s light and compact, but takes high quality video and photos and is also capable of using different lens (e.g., Nikon) with an adapter. As some of your other commenters have said, I really wanted another DSLR camera, but Sony has me convinced that these digital cameras are the way to go!

  • Kates Days

    Looks like a cracking camera! I got a new Nikon for Christmas I’m pretty chuffed with!

    http://www.katesdays13.blogspot.com

  • Alice

    Argh SO very tempted to go for this little beauty! Trying to decide whether I deserve a £400 splurge or not!

    http://alicelouisa.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Sierra Jena

    Love the camera!

    I would love to see a “Goodbye 2013” type post that highlights your favorite moments and memories of this past year 🙂

    xx

  • nickzytotre

    Hi Rosie!
    Amazing post.
    It would be so awesome to see a post with all your Christmas pressies, I hope you’ve enjoyed the holidays! XX

  • Great review. Looks like a good camera and who knew you could buy a lens that works with your smartphone?! Thanks for the heads up!

    http://www.sarahakwisombe.com

  • joanaw

    Hey Rosie! I just wanted to thank you for every blog post there is! Because of you London got a little more interesting. I’ve been checking your blog for the last 2 years every day and I am always so happy when you posted something new! So thank you thank you thank you! Your pictures are always amazing and I just bought the QX10 but I am very disappointed would you know a good camera that is not a pricey as your new baby but better than the QX10. ( it is very slow, doesnt’t focus well and the shutter takes a really long time)
    Thank you for all your posts!

  • Kotryna Bass

    such a great review! I actually ordered this little buddy for myself after reading your post! it arrived a few days a go and I already took hundreds of pictures! I’ve been a DSLR user for almost 8 years now, so it’s weird to have something so tiny, but powerful in my hands!

    you can see some pics up on my blog (http://www.kotrynabass.com) or instagram (http://www.instagram.com/kotrynabass). and yes- having Wi-Fi on the camera absolutely rocks!

  • Great review!! I’m looking for a new camera actually…I was wondering have you ever done a reivew of your Lumix GF5 camera? Wouldn’t mind seeing how that one compares! 🙂

    – Gina
    Margarita Bloom: Retro Beauty & Skincare
    http://margaritabloom-glamourville.blogspot.com

  • Pretty impressed that this seems so good, I just bought the Canon 5D Mark III so getting really into my photography 🙂

    Mel x

    http://www.mediamarmalade.com

  • Lexis

    Thanks for the suggestion. I just got the Sony RX100, and can’t wait to play with it. I am thrilled to have something with such amazing picture quality and a stealthy size. I am now referring to it as my Ninja-camera.

  • Goo Angez

    (this is my first time commenting on an article because I just had to agree on how great a camera it is!)

    Me too!!! I did TONS of research and was lost between the 3 you mentioned, RX100ii, RX100 and QX100! I finally decided to go with RX100, but it was tough getting my hands on a brand-new set in Singapore as mark ii has already been launched and SONY stores no longer carried RX100.

    I had initially thought that I would probably settle for a RX100ii but it still felt kinda pricey for the wifi feature and the articulated screen, both features I would not miss. Heh. Was also upset that I haven’t looked into getting a compact sooner. But!!! I was lucky enough to wander into a SONY Store during a short vacation and THERE IT WAS! :)) (i bought it on mid-nov 2013)

    RX100 is brilliant and i love it to bits. :’) And it is true that there is not even one bad review about the RX100 and RX100ii. There’s a reason why RX100 was consistently rated one of the best cameras through the years!

    I never liked touchscreens on my cameras, those screens are likely to drain the life out of the battery faster. I guess that’s one of the reasons to why it’s so lasting despite its tiny frame! 🙂

  • Yekaterina Khegay

    Rosie thank you for sharing the tips of and tools for a blogging. At first I read about Lumix GF5 and wanted to buy a newer version GF6, after reading other reviews. But after reading this post and looking at the pictures you had made, I was a Sony RX II converter)) thank you again for sharing such useful information and inspiration))

    http://www.graziagirl.me

  • Meghan H

    Hi, Rosie. I just wanted to pop by and say thank you a billion times over for the camera suggestion. I recently purchased the RX100 for a two month trip through Europe and am madly in love with the photos it produced. Coming home and seeing how accurately and beautifully my photos captured the trip made it that much better. It’s absolutely my dream camera. Thank you so much!

    • Ellie

      Hey Meghan. Interested..did you get the mark 11 or 111 for your europe trip? Thinking about making the exact same purchase for my european travels this summer!

  • Elle

    Even though loads of bloggers use more ‘professional’ cameras than you, your pictures are some of the best in my opinion. Do you think perhaps, on a rainy day, you could spare some photography tips? Now you have convinced so many of us- including me- to purchase this camera maybe you could do a walk through of something.
    Thanks for the camera suggestion anyway x

  • Alyse Lennox

    Thank you so much for this post Rosie! I have been wanting the camera ever since you wrote it and finally got it! You were definitely right about it 🙂 And it’s so great to see examples of the photos that it takes before you buy something!

  • Rachel Bearpark

    Fab post…I remembered reading it last year & now I’ve finally decided to buy a new camera (mostly prompted by a fatal drop of the previous one!). Debated a number (including the Lumix GF6!) but decided on the Sony RX100 II – this review definitely gave me the ‘push’ to invest. Hoping my blog pics will be just as fabulous as yours now!
    Come on, Mr Postman and bring me my Christmas prezzi to myself…

    http://eat-explore-enjoy.blogspot.de/?view=magazine

  • yasmine

    Hello Rosie, beautiful pictures in Florence! you look really good.

    You’ve just inspired me to start my own blog (i’ll focus on cinema and travelling mostly), so i’m looking for a camera… if i remember correctly you lost that sony one in a festival no? Do you have a new one now? and if so you you like it better? thanks! kisses from Paris.