Sony's new RX0 II sub-compact camera has more features and more performance than its predecessor, but is still the same truly tiny size. For the record, it measures 59.0x40.5x35.0 mm (WxHxD) and weighs in at a mere 132 grams (and that's the with battery and a memory card loaded). Sony claims the RX0 II is “the world's smallest and lightest premium compact camera”.

Photo: Sony

The ultra-compact bodyshell is made from duralumin to optimise both strength and lightness. It’s everything proof – water (down to ten metres), dust, shock (up to a two-metre drop) and crush (up to 200 kilograms of force) – but now has an integrated 3.8 cm monitor screen which is tiltable (up through 180 degrees, down by 90 degrees) and can be used underwater. The RX0 II also has internal 4K UHD video recording, using the full pixel read-out (i.e. with no pixel-binning) which delivers 1.7x more data than is actually required for 4K. It also now has in-camera image stabilisation when shooting video, an uncompressed 4K output to HDMI (with simultaneous HD recording internally), super slow-mo recording at up to 1000 fps, Sony S-Log2 colour profile, time-coding, zebra patterns and time-lapse movie recording. For still photography, the RX0 II has continuous shooting at up to 16 fps, upgraded ‘Eye AF’ subject tracking, a top shutter speed of 1/32,000 second via a sensor shutter (with similar anti-distortion processing to the A9), 13 ‘Creative Style’ picture presets, both RAW and JPEG capture, program and manual exposure control modes, up to +/-3.0 EV of exposure compensation and Sony’s ‘Dynamic Range Optimiser’ (DRO) processing.

Photo: Sony

The sensor is a ‘1.0-type’ format ‘Exmor RS’ CMOS with a ‘stacked’ back-illuminated design and an imaging area of 13.2x8.8 millimetres. Put simply, the stacked arrangement incorporates a second silicon chip or layer behind the sensor chip and into which Sony has incorporated an integral memory (DRAM) and some signal processing capabilities. It’s a further development of the back-illuminated design which puts even more of the sensor’s circuitry at the rear to free up valuable frontal area for light-gathering duties. The resolution is 15.3 megapixels and the sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 80 to 12,800. The sensor is mated with a Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f4.0 wide-angle lens (35mm format equivalent) which has a minimum focusing distance of 20 centimetres. The lens’s angle-of-view is 84 degrees. There’s a ‘Clear Image Zoom’ function with 2.0x, 2.8x and 4.0x settings which obviously crop the image, but are processed to help enhance resolution. The contrast-detection AF employs 25 measuring zones and provides a choice of area modes, including ‘Flexible Spot’ in three sizes. Other notable features include auto bracketing functions (for exposure, white balance and DRO), an intervalometer, a range of built-in special effects, WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, a multi-mode self-timer and in-camera battery charging vis USB.

The Sony RX0 II is priced at $949. An optional handgrip (the VCT-SGR1 which includes a stereo audio input) will be available from June. For more information visit http://www.sony.com.au