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Sony RX1 vs RX1R II

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and October 2015. Both the RX1 and the RX1R II are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The RX1 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the RX1R II provides 42.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony RX1 versus Sony RX1R II
Sony RX1 Sony RX1R II
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
35mm f/2.0 35mm f/2.0
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor 42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400) ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400)
Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)
3.0 LCD, 1229k dots 3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
270 shots per battery charge220 shots per battery charge
113 x 65 x 70 mm, 482 g 113 x 65 x 72 mm, 507 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 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.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony RX1 and the Sony RX1R II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony RX1 vs Sony RX1R II
Compare RX1 versus RX1R II top
Comparison RX1 or RX1R II rear

In this particular case, the Sony RX1 and the Sony RX1R II have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the RX1R II is markedly heavier (5 percent) than the RX1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the RX1 nor the RX1R II are weather-sealed.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony RX1 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony RX1R II 113 mm 65 mm 72 mm 507 g 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i
 
Canon 5DS 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i
 
Leica X Vario 133 mm 73 mm 95 mm 680 g 450 n Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Nikon D5300 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799i
 
Sony RX100 IV 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999i
 
Sony H300 128 mm 89 mm 92 mm 590 g 350 n Feb 2014 219 i
 
Sony A7 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 474 g 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699i
 
Sony A7R 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299i
 
Sony A3000 128 mm 91 mm 85 mm 411 g 470 n Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony RX100 II 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749i
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649i
 
Sony NEX-7 120 mm 67 mm 43 mm 400 g 430 n Aug 2011 1,349i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The RX1 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the RX1R II, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. 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.

Sony RX1 and Sony RX1R II sensor measures

With 42.2MP, the RX1R II offers a higher resolution than the RX1 (24MP), but the RX1R II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.50μm versus 5.96μm for the RX1). Yet, the RX1R II is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 1 month) than the RX1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the RX1R II has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1R II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1R II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inches or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inches or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inches or 67.3 x 44.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony RX1 are 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II offers exactly the same ISO settings.

RX1 versus RX1R II MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1R II has a markedly higher DXO score than the RX1 (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.3 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493
 
Sony RX1R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497
 
Canon 5DS Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/30p24.712.4238187
 
Leica X Vario APS-C 16.1 4928 32721080/30p23.412.7132078
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
 
Sony RX100 IV 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170
 
Sony H300 1/2.3 19.9 5152 3864720/30p........
 
Sony A7 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695
 
Sony A3000 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066
 
Sony NEX-7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the RX1R II has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony RX1 and Sony RX1R II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Sony RX1optional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX1R II2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Canon 5DSoptical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Leica X Variooptional n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/2000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX100 IV2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 1/2000s 16.0 Y Y
 
Sony H300none n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/1500s 0.8 Y Y
 
Sony A72400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Sony A7R2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n
 
Sony A3000202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony RX100none n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
 
Sony NEX-72359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The RX1 has one, while the RX1R II does not. While the built-in flash of the RX1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Both the RX1 and the RX1R II have built-in prime lenses. Both optics have identical focal length and aperture specifications (35mm f/2.0). Both cameras offer the same maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the RX1 and the RX1R II write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The RX1R II supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.

Connectivity comparison

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 Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Sony RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony RX1R IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Canon 5DSYmonomonoY-mini3.0---
 
Leica X VarioYstereomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Sony RX100 IV-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony H300-monomono--micro2.0Y--
 
Sony A7YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A3000Ystereomono--mini2.0---
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereomono--micro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX100-stereomono--micro2.0---
 
Sony NEX-7YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the RX1R II offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the RX1 does not provide wifi capability.

The RX1R II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the RX1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX1 was succeeded by the Sony RX1R. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony RX1 and the Sony RX1R II? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (270 versus 220) on a single battery charge.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2012).


Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 33%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the RX1 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the RX1R II is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding 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.

RX1 05:10 RX1R II

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony RX1 and the Sony RX1R II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the RX1 and the RX1R II in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

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 (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony RX1..79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
 
Sony RX1R II..82/100..o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i
 
Canon 5DS+83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i
 
Leica X Vario....4/54/54/5 Jun 2013 2,850i
 
Nikon D5300+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
 
Sony RX100 IV+ +85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999i
 
Sony H300+..4.5/5..4/5 Feb 2014 219 i
 
Sony A7+ +80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699i
 
Sony A7R+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299i
 
Sony A3000+..4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329i
 
Sony RX1R....4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony RX100 II+ +79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749i
 
Sony RX100+ +78/1004/55/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
 
Sony NEX-7+ +81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349i
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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Sony RX1:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX1R II:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Sony RX1 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Sony RX1 Sony RX1R II
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 35mm f/2.0 35mm f/2.0
    Launch Date September 2012 October 2015
    Launch Price USD 2,799 USD 3,299
    Sensor Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX1R II
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.8 mm 35.8 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 852.04 mm2 855.62 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 42.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 7952 x 5304 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.96 μm 4.50 μm
    Pixel Density 2.82 MP/cm2 4.93 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 25,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 102,400 ISO 50 - 102,400 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 93 97
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.1 25.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.3 13.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2534 3204
    Screen Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX1R II
    Viewfinder Type Viewfinder optional Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1229k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX1R II
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX1R II
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Sony RX1 Sony RX1R II
    Battery Type NP-BX1 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)270 shots per charge220 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 113 x 65 x 70 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    113 x 65 x 72 mm
    (4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
    Camera Weight 482 g (17.0 oz) 507 g (17.9 oz)

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