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Pairing great image quality with brilliant focal range, the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV gives you an all-in-one camera with DSLR-beating zoom reach and speedy AF.
Live Science Verdict
The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV delivers an impressive 25x zoom range and great image quality, making it ideal for wildlife and all-purpose photography.
- Versatile 24-600mm lens
- Great image quality, with RAW
- Fast autofocus performance
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Type: Bridge Sensor: 20.1MP 1” CMOS Lens mount: N/A ISO range: 100-12800 Viewfinder resolution: 2.36m dots Video capability: 4K 30p / 1080p 120p Weight: 2.41lbs Size: 5.22 x 3.70 x 5.71 inches Memory card type: SD
The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV is a premium-quality, high-end bridge camera. If bridges are new to you, they offer an all-in-one photography solution that combines DSLR-style handling and controls, mirrorless-style performance, and a versatile zoom lens giving you the kind of reach that would require multiple lenses and thousands of dollars on a conventional camera.
While its 25x zoom range, covering 24-600mm in full-frame camera terms, is very impressive, it pales in comparison to something like the Nikon Coolpix P1000 with its 125x, 24-3000mm zoom. However, what the RX10 IV compromises in reach, it makes up for in image quality, offering a larger sensor with superior resolution and ISO (low light) sensitivity.
In short it’s one of the best wildlife photography cameras, as it gives you high quality stills – along with slow-motion and 4K video – with the kind of zoom range that means you can get eye-to-eye with your subjects or photograph them from across the Serengeti at the push of the zoom button.
Can it really replace a traditional DSLR or mirrorless camera and a bag full of lenses? In my opinion, yes it can – and even a professional photographer can get images they would otherwise miss, thanks to the speed and convenience it affords.
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV: Design
The RX10 IV has a pleasingly chunky, DSLR-like design that fills two hands and offers reassuring heft. While the bulk could be seen as a strike against the camera, in practice it gives you great purchase for following and focusing on subjects – unlike smaller and more lightweight cameras, where the handling can feel a bit too “floaty” by comparison.
Having a physical aperture ring is a great option that will appeal to advanced users and pros, especially when it comes to shooting video. While you can forego it completely, opting to use either a control dial or an automatic mode, the aperture ring gives you tactile control over light gathering and depth of field – and it can be de-clicked, making it a silent option when you’re shooting video.
While we would always prefer a fully articulating screen, the tilting mechanism on the rear LCD is very welcome (again, especially for video shooting), and the ability to tap the screen to touch FOCUS makes operation familiar to anyone who uses a smartphone – though other touch input is sadly limited (more on this in Performance).
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV: Functionality
The RX10 IV packs formidable firepower in its chunky frame, starting with its 1-inch, 20.1MP image sensor. For reference, that gives you a physically larger sensor than the one in most phones – and in most competing bridge or point-and-shoot cameras, for that matter – resulting in both better image quality and low light capability.
Remote: Sony Remote Control RM-VPR1 Spare battery type: Sony NP-FW50 Memory card: SanDisk Extreme SD card
The 20.1MP resolution delivers crisp, clean still images even in challenging light, thanks to the broad ISO range and the fast f/2.4-4.0 lens, both of which enable the camera to gather more light and make better use of it. It also possesses a pop-up flash for those moments when you need it, though a hot shoe enables you to use external and off-camera flash for more creative and professional results.
Great performance extends to the autofocus system, too, which employs the superior phase detect AF method (as opposed to hunting-prone contrast detect) with 315 FOCUS points. This is the system you want for things like wildlife photography, especially when the RX10 IV is capable of blistering 24fps continuous shooting, along with videography, where 4K 30p is offered for high-resolution shooting or 1080p at 120p can be employed for slow-motion video.
Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV: Performance
Whatever you’re shooting – portraits, landscapes, wildlife, video, vlogs, b-roll – the RX10 IV gives you all the options you could ask for. It all starts with the autofocus, which is honest and adapts to whatever the shooting situation, and ends with the image quality, which delivers stills and video that capture plenty of detail. Especially with the option to shoot RAW images, giving you plenty of scope for post-production.
As noted video shooters will be delighted with the physical and de-clickable aperture ring, but this camera also offers jacks for microphones as well as headphones. It’s still a shame that the touchscreen doesn’t fully articulate, as this would have made it ideal for self-shooting, and the lack of ability to adjust settings or use menus via touch input is a pain. But with 4K and 120p this is still a versatile video option.
The amount of controls and inputs is very impressive, though they might overwhelm newcomers. There are three customizable buttons, enabling you to put your own inputs at your fingertips, along with a highly useful FOCUS limiter (handy, with a monster 24-600mm zoom range!), a FOCUS mode adjustment dial, a zoom ring on the lens along with a zoom switch on the shoulder for fine or fast zooming respectively…
The camera makes it easy for both newcomers and professionals to pick it up and start shooting great shots, whether you want to leave it on automatic or go fully manual. Sony’s menu structure is notoriously unfriendly, though, so be prepared to get used to hunting for settings in the labyrinthine options!
Should you buy the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV?
If you are looking for an all-in-one camera with the best image quality and autofocus performance, the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV stands tall. It offers crisp stills and 4K video, a fast lens with enviable stabilization, with customizable controls and all the inputs you could ask for.
For newcomers who simply want to aim and shoot, its automatic and semi-automatic modes accommodate beginners and those still learning the finer points of photography. It also caters to advanced users, though, with RAW imaging, full manual control, 24fps burst shooting, and even a de-clickable aperture ring and mic and headphone jacks for videography.
From family picnics to wildlife excursions, this is a camera that can handle it all – and can be handled by just about anyone in the family, too. So it’s a no-brainer, then? Well, almost…
Sony RX0 II Camera Review
The Sony RX0 II is the second iteration of Sony’s unique ultracompact RX0 camera. While it looks and feels like an action camera, this little guy doesn’t really fit into a neat box (metaphorically speaking, of course; literally, it’ll fit into almost any box). It boasts a crushproof, shockproof, and waterproof design and has a small tilt-out screen that can flip up 180° for selfies and vlogs or down 90° for high-angle shots. It also has a micro HDMI port and microphone jack, allowing you to connect video peripherals, something you won’t find on a typical action cam.
The Sony DSC-RX0M2 is okay for travel photography. It’s incredibly portable and durable, which is great for adventurous travelers going to remote locations who don’t want to be weighed down by a bulky camera system. While its battery life is disappointing, you can continue to use it while charging via a portable power bank, which is handy when traveling. Image quality is limited by the camera’s smaller sensor, so don’t expect breathtaking travel photos, especially if you’re shooting in dimly lit environments or at nighttime.
The Sony RX0 Mark II can take decent landscape photos, although it isn’t intended for this use. It’s mostly helpful for taking landscapes in remote locations or in the middle of adventuring, like mountain climbing or hiking. However, its dynamic range is quite limited due to its small sensor. Its tilting screen is also very small, making it harder to frame your shots.
The Sony DSC-RX0 II is okay for sports and wildlife photography, though it isn’t meant for this use. It can shoot at a very quick max burst rate to capture small moments of fast action. However, its image buffer isn’t the largest, and it takes a long time to empty once full, possibly slowing you down or interrupting shooting at a critical moment. It doesn’t have continuous autofocus, so it can’t track and keep moving subjects in FOCUS. The camera isn’t meant for handheld use and only has a tiny screen to help you frame your shots. Its fixed wide-angle lens also isn’t great for capturing farther-away subjects.
The Sony RX0 II is good for vlogging. It’s incredibly portable and lightweight, meaning you can vlog inconspicuously. You can flip its tilting screen up to face you for vlogs, although it’s small. Its e-stabilization feature does a decent job of reducing camera shake. However, it doesn’t have continuous autofocus, so it can’t keep you in FOCUS if you move out of the focal plane. It also doesn’t have the best battery life, but thankfully it doesn’t overheat, and there’s no recording time limit.
The Sony DSC-RX0M2 is okay for studio video, although it’s most suited to shooting B-roll from tricky angles or tight spots, thanks to its ultracompact size. Video quality is good in more controlled lighting but degrades in low light. The camera supports Log recording to preserve more dynamic range and tone in your videos. However, it can only capture 8-bit 4:2:0 color internally, giving you a bit less leeway to manipulate and grade your footage. While its screen is tiny, it does have a micro HDMI port, meaning you can connect an external monitor, and it has a mic jack to connect an auxiliary microphone for higher-quality audio recording.
The Sony RX0 II is great for action video. Video quality is good in brighter lighting conditions, although it isn’t as well-suited to shooting in low light. The camera also includes a high frame rate mode in 1080p, meaning you can capture audio-free super-slow-motion footage at up to 960 fps, as well as regular footage at up to 120 fps. However, its 4k frame rates are limited, maxing out at 30 fps. The camera’s e-stabilization feature is also just decent, and you’ll need to use a gimbal if you need super-smooth footage.
- 7.5 Travel Photography
- 7.5 Landscape Photography
- 8.1 Sport Wildlife Photography
- 8.0 Vlogging
- 6.7 Studio Video
- 8.4 Action Video
- Updated Dec 21, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.12.
- Updated Dec 20, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.11.
- Updated Oct 03, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
- Updated Sep 02, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
- Updated Jul 15, 2022: Review published.
- Updated Jun 06, 2022: Early access published.
Differences Between Sizes And Variants
The Sony DSC-RX0M2 only comes in one color variant: Black. You can see our unit’s label here.
Let us know if you come across another variant, and we’ll update the review.
Compared To Other Cameras
The Sony DSC-RX0 ii is a able camera unlike anything else on the market. It’s not quite worth it as an action cam, with alternatives like the GoPro HERO10 Black offering better stabilization and more frame rate and resolution options at a more affordable price point. However, it shines as an ultracompact camera that you can and use to capture shots or B-footage from odd angles and in tight spots that wouldn’t be possible to achieve with a regular camera.
For more options, check out our recommendations for the best action cameras, the best cameras for filmmaking, and the best compact cameras.
If you’re looking for an action camera, the GoPro HERO10 Black is a better choice than the Sony RX0 II. Though it isn’t as ruggedly built and doesn’t give you as much control over settings and FOCUS, the GoPro gives you more frame rate and resolution options and better video stabilization.
The Sony ZV-E10 is better than the Sony RX0 II, though they’re different cameras intended for different uses. While it isn’t as rugged or compact as the RX0 II, the ZV-E10 is more versatile thanks to its interchangeable lens design. Its larger sensor also delivers better image and video quality, and it has a more effective autofocus system.
The GoPro HERO9 Black is a better value option for action video than the Sony RX0 II. While the Sony has a more rugged build quality and a unique tilting screen that helps with tricky angles, the GoPro has better video stabilization and offers more frame rate and resolution options.
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The Sony RX0 II is incredibly portable. It’s similar in size to many action cameras and is even a bit smaller than the GoPro HERO10 Black in height and width. It’s remarkably lightweight, making it easy to take anywhere, film in tight spots, or attach to an object or drone.
The Sony DSC-RX0 II feels amazingly well-built. It’s made of robust materials, including a duralumin chassis, and it’s advertised to be crushproof under weights up to 200 kgf/440 lbf/2000 N, shockproof from drops at heights up to 6.5 ft/2 m, and waterproof down to 33 ft/10 m. The screen and tilting mechanism feel solid, and the battery compartment is covered by a hinged door with a gasket for waterproofing. However, the plastic buttons feel cheap and flimsy compared to the rubberized button on the GoPro HERO10 Black. The SD card and inputs are covered by just a flap door, which feels like it could break more easily and would render the camera unusable underwater.
- Sony DSC-RX0 II camera
- 1x Sony NP-BJ1 battery
- USB-A to Micro-USB cable
- AC adapter
- Memory card protector
- Wrist strap
- Startup Guide and warranty documentation
The Sony RX0 II is fairly comfortable to shoot with, though it isn’t meant for handheld use. It’s primarily meant for use with a tripod, monopod, or external grip. Sony sells the optional VCT-SGR1 Shooting Grip with integrated controls that you can buy at additional cost, but the camera is also compatible with third-party options and other accessories.
The buttons on the camera provide good physical feedback. The camera’s compact size makes it easy to shoot with, though it can also feel cramped if you’re shooting handheld.
The Sony RX0 II has a small, tilting screen. You can tilt it up 180° to record vlogs or take selfies, or tilt it down 90° for high-angle shots. Unfortunately, the screen doesn’t have a very high resolution and doesn’t get especially bright either, making it difficult to check the monitor when shooting in sunny conditions. The camera also uses Sony’s full menu system, which is hard to read on the camera’s tiny screen. The screen also lacks touch navigation.
The Sony RX0 II uses Sony’s older menu system, which is just okay. It isn’t very well-organized, with advanced settings spread across many pages and submenus that aren’t always clearly labeled. You also have to use the camera’s buttons to navigate the menu, which can be cumbersome, along with the small size of the screen, making it harder to read. On the upside, the menu does have a ’tile’ view that makes it a little easier to see and navigate. Pressing the ‘Fn’ button also brings up a quick menu to access commonly used settings on the fly. You can also create a custom menu to access the settings you use most frequently.
Unfortunately, the Sony DSC-RX0 ii has poor battery performance. Its advertised battery life in photos is limited to 240 shots according to CIPA standards. While that number should be taken with a grain of salt when applied to real-world usage, it does give a good indication of how the camera performs compared to more conventional mirrorless or DSLR models. Naturally, because of the small size of the camera, it can’t last as long as larger cameras. The bigger disappointment is its video battery life, which only lasts about 45 minutes when recording continuously using the highest quality settings. That’s much shorter than many action cameras, lasting only about half as long as the GoPro HERO10 Black. On the upside, the battery doesn’t overheat throughout its runtime, and you can keep using the camera while charging it via USB if you need to extend the battery life.
Sony RX1R II Hands-on Review
Sony’s new RX1R II marks the very high end of able cameras. It has a 42-megapixel full-frame sensor, a fixed f/2 Zeiss lens, and boatloads of features. It also has a price to match.
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Sony has released their new Cyber-Shot RX1R II model. It’s a small, able body with a fixed lens. Broadly speaking, it’s a bit like a hybrid of a point-and-shoot, a mirrorless camera, and a high-end DSLR, taking elements from each of those classes of cameras. Sony is calling it a “professional compact camera.”
On paper, it has very impressive specs. A full-frame CMOS sensor that produces 42MP images. A fixed 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lens. It’s brimming with features and technologies—too many to list here. And it’s all wrapped up in a package that can fit in a coat
But here’s the kicker: it’s priced at 3900 (UPDATE: Sony has since reduced the MSRP to 3300). That’s a number that’s hard to ignore, and it’s impossible not to judge a compact camera in that price range–or any camera, for that matter–without very high expectations.
I’ve been shooting with it for a month or so. The camera is loaded with specs on paper—far too many for me to review every feature here—but here’s how it performed in real-world shooting. And if you’re looking for high-resolution sample images shot with this camera, I have some here.
- 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
- BIONZ X Image Processor
- Variable Optical Low-Pass Filter
- Zeiss Sonnar T 35mm f/2 Lens
Size and Portability. One of the defining features of this camera is its size. For such a small package it includes some really impressive capabilities.
That said, it’s significantly larger than the average point-and-shoot size mostly because of the size of the lens. The whole thing fit in my coat’s s but is too big for something like trouser s, for example.
Sony’s measurements are 4.5 inches wide by 2.6 inches high (11.3 x 6.5 cm) and 2.8 inches (7.2 cm) deep from the tip of the lens to the back of the camera.
It weighs 1.12 pounds (507 grams). It feels solid in the hand–heavier than you expect thanks to the alloy body and glass in the lens.
Buttons and Controls. Taking a cue from many of the other retro-styled cameras that have hit the market in recent years, it has old-style dials on top to select the exposure mode. And the shutter button is even a threaded type used for mechanical shutter release cables.
The other buttons and dials elsewhere on the camera are pretty standard. A few are programmable. A rotating dial on the back is the primary means of navigating the menus on the screen.
LCD Screen. The back screen is bright and responsive. But, surprisingly, it’s not a touch screen.
It also tilts, which can come in very handy when shooting from below eye level.
Viewfinder. It has a pop-up electronic viewfinder that comes out from the left side and folds down into the camera’s body when not in use. In general, I prefer using a viewfinder rather than a back screen live view, but I have a strong preference for optical viewfinders. The digital one that this one uses does have some impressive overlay tools and was bright, but ultimately I preferred not using it. The digital view it projects just isn’t to much liking, and I found myself using the back screen for live view.
Shooting Still Images
It has a 42.4 megapixel (effective) full-frame CMOS sensor with a variable low-pass filter. It generates JPEG or 14-bit uncompressed RAW images.
The lens is a 35mm f/2 Carl Zeiss lens. It all amounts to superb image quality of the kind you expect from a high-end DSLR.
Sony image sensors are among the best in the business, and the one they’ve put in this camera is among their very best.
It shows. There’s really not much I can fault in terms of image quality. The combination of sensor and lens works very well indeed in a wide range of lighting conditions.
I also found the autofocus to be unusually good, even with tracking fast-moving subjects.
Image Sizes Formats. The default size for still images is the maximum 42 megapixels, which produces images that are 7952 by 5304 pixels. In the RAW format, Sony’s.arw format, they come out at roughly 86 megabytes per size.
At that rate, you can fill up memory cards very quickly, so you can also dial down the image size, with a bunch of steps down to a 7.1-megapixel size.
You can shoot RAW or RAW JPEG, with a choice of quality settings for the JPEGs in the RAW JPEG option.
For aspect ratio, you can choose the default 3:2 or 4:3, 16:9, or 1:1. Not all aspect ratios are available at all size settings.
Low Light / High ISO
The basic ISO sensitivity range is from ISO 100 to 25,600. That can also be extended down to ISO 50 and up to ISO 102,400. Those are the kinds of numbers that you get on top-end DSLRs.
In practice, I found the images up to at least ISO 25,600 to be extraordinarily good. Even at ISO 3200 there’s really no noticeable noise to speak of. If you really push things up to the upper limit, there’s certainly noise and the color and tone fidelity drops off quite a lot, but if it’s the difference between getting a shot or not, even the images at 102,400 are very serviceable.
Overall, there’s good reason that Sony is top of the heap at the moment when it comes to sensors, and this camera makes excellent use of that expertise.
The lens has a macro switch on the front of the lens. The minimum FOCUS distance with the macro setting is 7.9 inches (20 cm) (the minimum FOCUS distance in normal shooting is 11.8 inches (30 cm).
I’m of two minds about the way the macro is switched on and off with this. On the one hand, having it on the lens is easy to see if you’re looking down at the camera. There’s also an indicator on the LCD screen when it’s on. On the other hand, I found that it was two easy to accidentally move it, especially with the aperture dial being not far away on the lens. And if you have the macro enabled and try to take a regular-distance photo you’ll end up with a very blurry image. Overall, it’s easy enough to get used to after some use, but even after shooting with it for a while I still sometimes go to take a shot only to see a blurry image in the Live View.
This camera is very much geared to still photos, but it does have some video capabilities. Compared to many other cameras on the market, though, these aren’t especially impressive.
The highest-resolution video setting is 1080p. And the fastest framerate is 60 fps. And it has a maximum recording time of 30 minutes.
In general, the video capabilities are pretty rudimentary. It certainly doesn’t rival something like the Panasonic Lumix GH4 in terms of video, and if you plan on shooting video more than occasionally, you’ll probably want to be looking at other options for that.
But in a nice touch, you can also choose to record both a high-quality XAVC-format video at the same time as an MP4. The latter is far more convenient if you want to share the video quickly without running it through video editing software.
As impressive as it is, there are some things that could be improved. Here are some of the ones I ran into.
- It’s slow to turn on. That’s not ideal for fleeting moment shots that you often run into with street photography.
- The maximum shutter speed is 1/4000 sec. In bright daylight conditions, that’s not fast enough for the f/2 large aperture. There’s no built-in ND setting, as some newer cameras have, to overcome this.
- The back screen is too soft and scratches far too easily. I’d highly recommend both a screen protector and a good camera case.
- The screen refresh is frustratingly slow.
- The battery doesn’t last long. Precisely how long, of course, depends on the shooting settings you’re using, but it feels like it needs a bigger battery. I’d definitely recommend picking up a spare.
- When you plug the camera in to charge via the micro USB cable, there’s no light on the camera to indicate it’s actually charging. To see that it is, you have to power on the camera and check that the small AC icon is showing up to the battery indicator on the LCD screen. It would be nice to have a small LED charging indicator light on the camera itself (there is one on the dedicated battery charger).
- It has a full-frame 42.4 megapixel sensor that produces images measuring 7952 x 5304 pixels.
- It has a mechanical shutter with a fastest shutter speed of 1/4000. It does not have an electronic shutter.
- It has a native ISO range of 100 to 25,600 and an extended ISO range up to 102,4000 (and down to ISO 50).
- The burst photo mode maxes out at 5 fps.
- It has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC (Near Field Communication) to simplify connecting. But it doesn’t have Bluetooth.
- The lens is a ZEISS Sonnar T, 8 elements in 7 groups (3 aspherical elements including anti-aliasing filter)
- The back screen is 7.5cm (3.0 type) (4:3) / 1,228,800 dots / Xtra Fine / TFT LCD.
- The electronic viefinder is 0.39-type (OLED) with 2,359,296 dots. It has 100 percent coverage.
Processing Sony RX1R II Images in Lightroom Classic
If you’re processing the camera’s RAW images in Lightroom, you might want to change the profile setting under Camera Calibration. Lightroom defaults to the Adobe Standard profile, but that doesn’t work especially well with Sony’s RAW files. The colors are a bit washed out and the tones cool. The Camera Standard profile is a much better starting point and will more closely match the look you get on the camera’s own screen.
You can find a digital version of the Sony RX1R II instruction manual here [PDF].
You’ll see this camera referred to with a couple of different model numbers, even by Sony themselves. Sometimes it’s the Sony RX1R II; other times, including in the EXIF data, it’s the Sony DSC-RX1RM2. You’ll also sometimes see it referred to as the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX1R II. They all refer to the same camera. On the camera itself, it has RX1R without the “II.”
Sony has various types of its SteadyShot in-camera image stabilization in its range of cameras, including optical stabilization and digital stabilization. The SteadyShot type on this camera is digital stabilization and applies only to shooting videos/movies.
There’s no question this camera produces the best quality images of any.sized camera I’ve used. In fact, it’s better than many larger cameras. With a few qualifications, the handling and performance is also excellent.
But is a small camera with a fixed lens and no zoom worth nearly 4000? For many users, probably not. After all, for that money, you can get one of the top-of-the-line Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras or their equivalent from Nikon or Canon. With those, you get basically the same (or sometimes better) image quality, more features (eg. electronic shutter, higher-spec video), and infinitely more flexibility by the simple virtue that they’re interchangeable-lens cameras. But they’re also bigger and more cumbersome. The Sony RX1R II, on the other hand, fits in a or a handbag, making it highly portable as well as discreet. And there are many photographers, myself included, who prefer the experience of shooting with minimalist equipment so long as it doesn’t mean compromising image quality.
It’s not a camera that fits naturally into a specific use or category. It’s impressive in many ways and good at lots of things, but not necessarily a slam dunk for a particular use that comes to mind. It would work very well as a lightweight travel camera. You’ll get great-quality shots out of it, but some users might find the fixed 35mm focal length lens too limiting. It would also work well for street photography, but it faces strong competition there from cameras like the Fujifilm X100V, Ricoh GR III, or even the Fujifilm X-Pro3. They use cropped APS-C sensors but are also smaller and much lower in price. None of them are true apples-to-apples competitors for the RX1R II in terms of features, but they do overlap in terms of likely uses cases.
Clearly, there are photographers who aren’t going to be put off by the RX1R II’s price tag, and while I wouldn’t expect the RX1R II to be flying off the shelves by the crate-load, I would expect that any of its new owners are going to really enjoy shooting with it. If you can get past the price, and its features are a good fit for the kind of photography you want to use it for, the Sony RX1R II is a gem of a camera.
Sony RX1R II Price Availability
The Sony RXR1R II originally had an MSRP of around 3900, which is what it was when I originally reviewed it. Since then, Sony has reduced the MSRP down to around 3300, which is still not cheap, but it seems more in line with its features and competition.
Check the current price and availability at: