Sony pumps 18 more megapixels into its Cyber-shot RX series of full-frame compact cameras. The 42MP RX1R II joins the 24MP RX1 and RX1R.

It's a combination of performance and size that hasn't been seen in the world of digital cameras ever, states Neal Manowitz, Sony Electronics' vice president of Digital Imaging.

"We're giving imaging enthusiasts and professionals the opportunity to enjoy a camera with one of the most powerful combinations of sensor and lens in market today that can easily fit in the palm of your hand," says Manowitz. "It's simply the latest example of the progressive innovation that Sony is bringing to the world of imaging."

Sony has paired its 35mm fixed-focal length F2 ZEISS Sonnar T* lens with the RX1R II's back-illuminated full-frame, 35mm Exmor R CMOS sensor. As intuitive as it may sound, Sony is still boasting that the lens and sensor were "specifically" matched.

The RX1R II, which supports the capture of 14-bit RAW files, leverages the BIONZ X processing engine to deliver an ISO range of 100 to 25,600, which can be expanded to 50 to 1,024,002.

The RX1R II's auto focus response is about 30 percent faster than that of the original RX1. To achieve that speed, the RX1R II brings to the RX line Sony's Fast Hybrid AF. This orchestrates the sensor's 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points with 25 contrast AF locations.

Also new to the RX series and the rest of the world, the RX1R II will introduce the first optical variable low pass filter for a digital camera. It will allow users to manually adjust the color and resolution of their shots to best suit their subjects.

For setting up and reviewing those full-frame 42MP shots, the RX1R II features an XGA OLED Viewfinder that has a display that can be tilted. The 2.4 million-pixel display can tilt up 109 degrees and down 41 degrees.

The Sony RX1R II goes on sale next month for $3,300 in the U.S. and $4,200 in Canada at authorized Sony dealers.

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