Sony R10 II: Strobists De-Light?

Sony R10 II: Strobists De-Light?

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last light on Houston street (mask by Juliana Lazzaro), shot with the Sony RX10II at ISO 64, f9 1/40 with the Godox Witstro AR400 in manual mode

Most reviews focus on the 4k and slow motion capacity of this camera, very impressive stuff, indeed, however, to some photographers, the ability to sync strobes up to 1/1000 might be more valuable

100% crop of the above
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shot in hot, mid afternoon sun with the RX10II at ISO 100, f5.6 1/1000 at 5fps with the Godox Witstro AR400 at 1/8 power in manual mode, yes, it can handle the frame rate and doesn’t overheat

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100% crop

90degrees, mid afternoon sun with the RX10II at ISO 100, f5.6 1/1000 at 5fps with the Godox Witstro AR400 at 1/8 power in manual mode

Back in the film days we had a few medium format systems to choose from offering lenses with leaf shutters and never had to worry about sync speed, although there are workarounds these days to sync studio strobes up to 1/8000, it isn’t as straight forward and reliable. For location work we can use hss capable dedicated flash guns, however, in bright sunlight, they might not be powerful enough and overheat.

The Sony RX10 II, like it’s predecessor, boasts the impressive Vario-Sonnar 24-200mm equivalent. Now having a high quality lens covering such a wide range and the ability to sync up to 1/1000 can be quite liberating.

This was already the case with the RX10, however,the improved af speed make the RX10II a more suitable tool for professions. (more on af later)

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ISO 100, f5.6 1/1000 at 5.5fps with the Godox Witstro AR400 in manual mode

Lets compare the sensor of the RX10ii with the sensor of the 5Dmk3 and the Canon 7DII, as tested by DXO mark.

Of course low light performance isn’t near as good as on a full frame, however, compared to Canon’s top APSC sensor, the 7DII, the tiny sensor is slightly ahead in dynamic range AND color depth!

I don’t have the orig RX10 any more but the files I am getting from the RX10II look pretty damn good at low ISO’s.
ISO 100, f5.6 1/30 at 5.5fps with the Godox Witstro AR400 in manual mode

I usually select low ISO values for flash photography, I never go above ISO400. My preferred range lies between ISO64-ISO200.

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1/30, intentional camera shake, f8, ISO 64, Godox Witstro AR400 in manual mode

So after a few intense shoots, here is my quick summary:
I am assuming you know the specs by now, let’s cut straight to the chase:

The Good: Best one inch sensor, at low ISO’s, rivals Pro’ full frame sensor performance from a couple years ago (the sensor has better dynamic range then the Canon 5DmkIII)
Excellent Zeiss lens with de-clicked aperture option, great zoom range
Capture ONE tethered shooting
Excellent EVF (improved over RX10) and articulated LCD
built like a tank, solid feeling controls,
Sync up to 1/1000 with manual flash/strobes in mechanical shutter mode.

The Not so Good: crippled AF options when compared to the A series (no zone focus)
AF performance slows down considerably when shooting in low light
small apertures (f8, f11) impact af performance, even in good light
no battery grip option
LCD only tilts, not fully articulated
Viewfinder eye cup sticks out too far (no improvement over RX10)
No front control wheel
Battery life is worse then on my A7.

The UGLY: couldn’t find anything for now….

I find the Sony RX10II to be the almost perfect companion for the Sony A7rII(there are a few on ebay for reg price), as a photographer, I’ll use it for anything strobe related, especially outdoors, and when shooting video, it will make the perfect 4k B camera to have alongside the A7rII.

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