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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.