Last year, Sony's RX100 changed the way many of us think about point-and-shoots. The camera's one-inch sensor enabled brilliant image quality and stellar low-light performance, netting DSLR-like results in a device you can slip in your pocket. It really did change the game when it comes to everyday photography, and I instantly fell in love. What remained to be seen, however, was how Sony would build on the RX100's success by releasing an even more capable model this year. In an unexpected move, the company opted not to retire 2012's blockbuster, and kept pricing exactly where it's always been, at $650. The RX100 Mark II, meanwhile, was marketed as a modest step up -- an even more well-rounded package, for 100 bucks more.
When my Mark II sample arrived, I did what any jaded New Yorker would after a half-dozen years of shooting sample photos in Manhattan: I booked a flight to somewhere else. United's last-minute weekend specials made Chicago the best bet, and off I went for a weekend of perfect weather, approachable restaurants and sidewalks that weren't so crowded that I had to walk in the street. It's like New York -- if you take away a million tourists and pepper in smiling Midwesterners and affordable adult beverages.