Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II review: new back-illuminated sensor promises superior low-light performance

By Kevin Carter - Friday July 05 2013

Sensor Review
Introduction | Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II key Features | Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II sensor performance | Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II versus competition | Conclusion

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II Versus Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:


Although Sony says it’s a new sensor when comparing it to the previous iteration the scores are quite similar. While the earlier model featured the same pixel count, only the sensor architecture has changed. In performance terms then, both the color depth and dynamic range remain virtually unchanged, however the new BSI sensor in the Mk II reveals the low-light capabilities are enhanced by +1/3 stop.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II Versus Canon Powershot G15 Versus Nikon Coolpix P7700:


The physically larger sensor of the RX100 II combined with the BSI architecture means the Sony can easily out-pace the Canon G15 and Nikon P7700 with their 1/1.7-inch type (similarly back-lit) CMOS sensors. This is particularly noticeable in the low-light ISO score where the Sony is around +1.3 stops ahead of the two rivals. As for color depth, the Sony has a comfortable lead of +1.67 stops over the G15 and +1 stop over the P7700. Dynamic range isn’t quite as impressive but the Sony still leads here too. It has around a +1 stop improvement at base ISO over the G15 and +1.3 stops over the Nikon P7700.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II Versus Pentax MX-1 Versus Fujifilm XF1:


We also had the opportunity to compare the RX100 II with the more consumer oriented Pentax MX-1 and the Fujifilm XF1 (which boasts a larger 12Mpix 2/3-inch type EXR CMOS sensor than the 1/1.7-inch type 12Mpix backlit CMOS sensor of the MX-1). Against both models, the Sony has around a +1 stop advantage in Dynamic Range and low-light rising to around a +1.3 stop improvement in color depth.