Sony expands high-end Cyber-shot lineup with RX100M2, full-frame RX1R (hands-on)

Sony's brilliant RX100 and RX1 advanced point-and-shoots will live to see another day. Instead of replacing these two well-received pocket cams, the company has opted to expand the upper end of its Cyber-shot lineup, adding two very compelling new models. First up is the RX1R, a full-frame compact that'll retail for $2,799, the same price last year's model still commands today. In fact, it's nearly identical to 2012's flavor, with the exception of a redesigned sensor, which drops the optical low-pass filter in the interest of sharper captures. Of course, without that component, the camera is susceptible to moire and false color issues, so the RX1R is a better fit for landscape photographers than portrait shooters or photojournalists. It also sports Triluminous Color output through the HDMI port, for enhanced visuals on select HDTVs.

The vast majority of shooters are going to be much more excited about the Cyber-shot RX100M2, though. This "Mark II" variant of the RX100 borrows a few features from Sony's NEX line, which is never a bad thing. Looking at the camera, you'll first notice the 3-inch 1.3M-dot tiltable LCD, which can flip 84 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward. There's also a Multi Interface Shoe for adding on accessories like a microphone, OLED EVF or external flash. Additionally, the USB port is now a Multi Interface Terminal, so it'll work with the RM-VPR1 remote, and Sony added WiFi, NFC, and Triluminous Color output through the HDMI connector. On the imaging front, there's a brand new 1-inch BSI CMOS sensor, boosting sensitivity to the tune of one full stop (we're told ISO 3200 shots are comparable to ISO 1600 on the RX100). The top sensitivity also jumps from ISO 6400 to 12,800, which is pretty fantastic for a point-and-shoot.

As with the RX1, you'll still be able to snag the RX100 for some time to come. And for many photographers, last year's model may be the best pick -- the RX100M2, while a bit more feature-packed, retails for a $100 more than its predecessor, with a $750 MSRP. The RX1R, however, maintains the same pricing as the RX1, at $2,799. Both cameras, which you can check out now in the hands-on gallery below, are expected in stores by the middle of July.