Sony A99 II vs RX1R II
The Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2016 and October 2015. The A99 II is a DSLR, while the RX1R II is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 42.2 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A99 II and the Sony RX1R II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1R II is considerably smaller (51 percent) than the Sony A99 II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A99 II is splash and dust resistant, while the RX1R II does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1R II has a lens built in, whereas the A99 II is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
Concerning battery life, the A99 II gets 490 shots out of its NP-FM500H battery, while the RX1R II can take 220 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX1R II can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|3.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Nikon D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299|
|6.||Pentax K-1||137 mm||110 mm||86 mm||1010 g||760||Y||Feb 2016||1,799|
|7.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|8.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|9.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|10.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|11.||Sony H300||128 mm||89 mm||92 mm||590 g||350||n||Feb 2014||219|
|12.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|13.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|14.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|15.||Sony A850||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|16.||Sony A900||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the RX1R II is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A99 II has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 42.2 megapixels. This implies that the A99 II has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 4.52μm versus 4.50μm for the RX1R II), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the A99 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the RX1R II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The A99 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1R II has a markedly higher DXO score than the A99 II (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|3.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|5.||Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|6.||Pentax K-1||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60i||25.4||14.6||3280||96|
|7.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|8.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|9.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|10.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
|12.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|13.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|14.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|15.||Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
|16.||Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A99 II provides a higher video resolution than the RX1R II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the RX1R II is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A99 II offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the RX1R II (2400k vs 2360k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A99 II, the Sony RX1R II, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|7.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|8.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|9.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|10.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the A99 II, but is missing on the RX1R II is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The A99 II has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the RX1R II does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A99 II and the RX1R II write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A99 II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the RX1R II only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A99 II (unlike the RX1R II) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the A99 II and the RX1R II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The RX1R II replaced the earlier Sony RX1R, while the A99 II does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A99 II and the Sony RX1R II? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha ALT-A99 II:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.74x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (490 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the RX1R II).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the A99 II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 143x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the A99 II).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2015).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A99 II is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A99 II and the Sony RX1R II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A99 II or the RX1R II perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Sony A99 II||..||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|2.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|3.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|4.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|5.||Nikon D850||4.5/5||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299|
|6.||Pentax K-1||5/5||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||1,799|
|7.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|8.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|9.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|10.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|11.||Sony H300||..||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2014||219|
|12.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|13.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|14.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|15.||Sony A850||3/5||..||75/100||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|16.||Sony A900||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Sony A99 II vs Sony RX1R II
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Sony A99 II||Sony RX1R II|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony A mount lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||September 2016||October 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 3,199||USD 3,299|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A99 II||Sony RX1R II|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||42.2 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7952 x 5304 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.52 μm||4.50 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.90 MP/cm2||4.93 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||92||97|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.4||25.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.4||13.9|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2317||3204|
|Screen Specs||Sony A99 II||Sony RX1R II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1229k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fully flexible screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A99 II||Sony RX1R II|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||no handshake reduction|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A99 II||Sony RX1R II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Sony A99 II||Sony RX1R II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||490 shots per charge||220 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
143 x 104 x 76 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
113 x 65 x 72 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||849 g (29.9 oz)||507 g (17.9 oz)|
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