Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II lens review: does it live up to the Zeiss name?

By Kevin Carter - Thursday July 18 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II lens performance | Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II lens versus competition | Conclusion

Achieving an overall (average) DxOMark lens score of 12 points, the Zeiss lens is a good performer overall, however the performance varies considerably over the zoom range (indicated by the wide score gauge, above).  In fact, the DxOMark lens score varies from 6-18 points over the range of focal lengths, with the best optical performance achieved between 28mm to 70mm over the first two stops (f/1.8 – f/5.6 effectively). At all other settings, the lens performance drops below the 12-point average.

All the same, a 12 point score indicates good optical quality given the sensor size. Throughout the range, sharpness is good in the center of the frame and vignetting is reasonably well controlled (though still quite heavy in the extreme corners at 28mm f/1.8-2.0). Downsides include a rather lowly 6P-Mpix sharpness and inconsistent sharpness across the frame (in some instances, the difference equates to as much as 25% across the image field).

As with many rivals, distortion is corrected in-camera for JPEGs, but not with Raw files. Barrel distortion is strong and noticeable at the wider-end (between 28-42mm) but otherwise well –controlled after that. More of an issue is the high levels of chromatic aberration, which is noticeable at either end of the zoom range (and in some cases represents as much as 8-pixels in-width on screen).