Sony RX-100M2 Review & Specs

Adds wi-fi, hot shoe, new sensor, raises min ISO to 160
By Scott Gietler

Sony has announced the new Sony RX-100M2 compact camera. This camera does not replace the "king of the hill" RX-100, but simply adds to the lineup.

I think it is fair to say that the RX-100 is one of most popular compact cameras ever for underwater photographers. It's large sensor and small, truly pocketable size has proved very popular, to say the least.


Let's see what's new in the Sony RX-100M2:

  • Hot shoe for external flash or EVF

  • Tilt LCD display

  • Wi-fi and remote shutter release via smartphones, tablets or other NFC devices

  • New sensor with supposedly better high ISO performance

  • External mic support

  • Adds 24p video mode

  • Same megapixels, same size, same lens

  • $100 higher price, price will be $750 USD. Avail July 2013


So what did Sony add to the already awesome RX-100? The hot shoe is nice because now underwater housings can offer a bulkhead for use with a sync cord. This will solve one of the minor issues of the RX-100 - a slow flash recycle time. Let's hope the RX-100M2 also has manual flash power settings because of the external flash support - the RX-100 does not. If it does, then underwater photographers can get a faster flash recycle time and still use fiber optic cables. Unfortunately I did not see manual flash power listed on the Sony site - so I am guessing that the RX-100M2 will not have manual flash power settings.

For our latest review in this series, check out the Sony RX100 IV Camera Review.


Sony Rx100 II - New BSI sensor

Because of the new BSI (Backside illuminated) CMOS sensor, the lowest ISO setting will now be ISO160. This is not a good change, it will make it more difficult to get those nice sunball shots that the RX-100 is good at.  BSI sensors are fairly new, and Sony has been leading the way in terms of BSI innovation. They have better low-light performance than regular CMOS sensors, because there is less wiring blocking the photosites. These types of sensors are common in smartphones, and this will be the largest BSI sensor mass-produced to date. 


Sony RX-100M2 review for underwater photography

Sony is claiming a 1-stop improvement in high ISO noise. So ISO 3200 on the Sony RX-100M2 is supposed to look like ISO 1600 on the RX-100. We shall have to wait and see! Sony is also claiming a small improvement in the low-light focusing speed in the RX-100M2. We will test these claims once we get our hands on the new model.

Because of the hot shoe and the slight change is size, I am not at all expecting the new Sony RX-200M2 to work in the existing RX-100 housings.

There is also a new attachment grip available ($15) that will work with both RX-100 models.

Overall, my guess is that this will turn out to be a fairly minor upgrade. Most people will continue to purchase, and be very happy with, the existing RX-100.

Sony RX-100M2 underwater photo
Here is an underwater photo I took of my son with a Sony RX-100 housing and a UWL-04 fisheye lens. I expect the RX-100M2 to also perform exceptional underwater.


Summary - Should you buy the RX100 or the RX100M2?

So you are probably wondering - do I purchase the RX100, or wait for the RX100M2 housings to come out? Let's look at the facts (and some opinions). The RX100M2 is not a replacement for the RX100, it is an addition to the Sony lineup. The lens is the same. If you are shooting macro or wide-angle underwater at ISO100 using TTL, like most people, you will probably not notice a difference, except that your wallet will be a little lighter. Still - an extra $100 is not a lot in the grand scheme of things for what should be a slightly better camera.

So for me price would be a minimal consideration - if you enjoy shooting sunballs, you may want stick with the RX-100 because ISO 100 performance may be better on the non-BSI sensor (base ISO is ISO 160 on the RX100M2, but it is 'expandable' down to ISO 100), otherwise you probably want to go ahead and get the better RX100M2 and enjoy triggering the camera with your smartphone. We will be sure to give a more detailed recommendation once we review the camera.


Sony RX100M2 specs BSI sensor


Sony RX100M2 Features and Specifications

• New 1″ 20.2 MP Exmor R® sensor, 13.2 x 8.8mm

• 28-100mm lens, F1.8 - F4.9

• Max shutter speed 1/2000th

• Bright F1.8 Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* zoom lens Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi® or NFC

• ISO range 160-12800, improved noise reduction

• Max resolution 5472 x 3648

• P/A/S/M operating modes via control ring

• Shoots in JPEG and RAW

• Macro focus 5cm

• Optical image stabilization

• Multi-interface Smart Accessory Shoe for external flash or electronic viewfinder

• Full HD movies at 60p/24p with full exposure control

• Tiltable, 1,229k dot, 3-inch LCD

• Battery Life (CIPA) 350

• Weight (inc. batteries) 281 g (0.62 lb / 9.91 oz)

• Dimensions 102 x 58 x 38 mm (4 x 2.29 x 1.51″)



Underwater Housings for the Sony RX-100 II


Recsea RX-100 II Housing

Nauticam RX-100 II Housing

Acquapazza RX-100 II Housing

Ikelite RX-100 II Housing



RX100 II Sample Photos


Sony RX-100M2 underwater photo

Sony RX100 II, F3.2, 1/160. Shot using UWL-04 Fisheye Lens. Photo: Jeremy Hicks


Sony RX-100M2 underwater photo

Sony RX100 II, F4.5, 1/320. Shot using UWL-04 Fisheye Lens. Photo: Jeremy Hicks


Sony RX-100M2 underwater photo

Sony RX100 II, F6.3, 1/80.  Photo: Juan Demin


Sony RX-100M2 underwater photo

Sony RX100 II, F6.3, 1/40.  Photo: Juan Demin


Sony RX-100M2 underwater photo

Sony RX100 II, F7.1, 1/125.  Photo: Juan Demin



Further Reading


Scott Gietler is the owner of Bluewater Photo, Bluewater Travel, and the Underwater Photography Guide. Bluewater Photo, based in Culver City, CA is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious underwater camera stores, serving many thousands of customers each year, where nothing is more important than customer service. The Underwater Photography Guide is the world’s first website to feature free tutorials on underwater photography, and has become the most trafficked resource on underwater photography worldwide. Bluewater Travel is a full-service dive travel wholesaler sending groups and individuals on the world’s best dive vacations. 

Scott is also an avid diver, underwater photographer, and budding marine biologist, having created the online guide to the underwater flora and fauna of Southern California. He is the past vice-president of the Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society, has volunteered extensively at the Santa Monica aquarium, and is the creator of the Ocean Art underwater photo competition, one of the largest underwater international photo competitions ever held in terms of value of prizes. He lives in California with his wife, newborn girl and scuba-diving, photo taking 4 year old son.

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