THE LOW-DOWN: This is a small improvement on the much-praised RX100. The 20 megapixel sensor matched with the image stabilised 3.6X Zeiss-branded zoom (30—108mm equivalent) is still the standard setter for compact cameras. The small, rugged body has a full complement of external controls and the tilting 75mm high resolution LCD is viewable even in bright sunlight. In fact there is a monitor brightness setting for “Sunny Weather”. There is built-in WiFi and NFC and it can be controlled from a smartphone, using the Sony Play Memories app for Android and iPhone. There is a nifty lens-concentric ring that can be used to adjust Program aperture/shutter settings, white balance, D-Range (dynamic range) optimiser, exposure compensation and ISO speed – the particular function of the ring is selected by repeatedly pressing the Fn button. There is RAW capture and full HD movie mode.
LIKE: The JPEG image quality is very good and, for those prepared to go the extra mile, the RAW pictures are stunning. We even tried it at the unheard of ISO setting of 3200 and, with a little noise reduction in Adobe Camera RAW, produced excellent results.
DISLIKE: The trade-off of the small, pocketable form is that the various function buttons are tiny, but the lens-concentric adjustment ring compensates.
VERDICT: This camera in its Mark 1 version was generally regarded as one of the very best compacts. The lens, with its modest zoom range, is exceptionally fine both mechanically and optically. Features like the very high resolution, tiltable LCD make for a versatile camera. If you are shopping for a travel camera the Sony must be on your list of possible buys. Highly recommended.