As expected by recent rumors, Sony unveiled the RX0 a compact action camera that is more high-end oriented than any action camera before it. A Crash cam for video production that has a large 1″ sensor with high sensitivity and S-Log 2 flat profile. It also has features like focus assist, full 4k 4:2:2 HDMI output to an external recorder and a 1/32000 shutter like other RX series cameras that gets rid of most of the rolling shutter distortion apparent in other action cameras.
While the GoPro Hero 4 and 5 have access to a Pro Tune Log style video profile; the camera is not really geared for high-end production. The RX0, however, is limited to 1080p 60fps internally with 4k output from HDMI to an external recorder as the only 4k output option. This gives GoPro, Yi 4k+, and Sony’s Action Cam series an edge of internal 4k recording.
Sony RX0 Main Features:
- Ultra-Compact, Lightweight Body
- 21MP 1″ Stacked CMOS Sensor 15.3MP Effective
- 15MP maximum Still Image Size-RAW
- Anti-distortion shutter of up to 1/32000 sec.
- 33ft (10m) waterproof without housing
- Timecode-Sync Multiple Cameras
- Internally Records 1080p60 Video
- High frame rates up to 960fps/1000fps
- Picture Profile and S-Log2 gamma setting
- 16fps Still Image Shooting at 15MP
- Zeiss 24mm-Equivalent Lens, f/4 Aperture
- XAVC-S, AVCHD and .MP4 Recording
- Control via App or VP1K Remote
- NTSC/PAL Switchable
- Shockproof Body from heights up to 6.5 ft (2.0 m)
- RX0 is crushproof under weights up to 440 lbf/2,000 N (200 kgf).
- Outputs Uncompressed 4:2:2 UHD 4K Video via HDMI
- MSRP: $699.99 USD available now!
- LENS TYPE: ZEISS Tessar T* Lens, 6 elements in 6 groups (6 aspheric elements)
- F-NUMBER (MAXIMUM APERTURE)F4.0 (Fixed)
- FOCAL LENGTH (F=)f=7.7mm;Still Image3:2 f=24mm;Still Image4:3 f=26mm;Still Image16:9 f=25.2mm;Still Image1:1 f=30.7mm
- FOCUS RANGE (FROM THE FRONT OF THE LENS)Approx. 50cm (1.7 ft.) to Infinity
- Fixed Focal – NO ZOOM!
- 3:2mode:15M(4,800×3,200) / 7.7M(3,408×2,272) /
- 3.8M(2,400×1,600)、4:3mode:14M(4,272×3,200) /
- 6.9M(3,024×2,272) / 3.4M(2,128×1,600) /
- VGA,16:9mode:13M(4,800×2,704) / 6.5M(3,408×1,920) /
- 3.2M(2,400×1,352),1:1mode:10M(3,200×3,200) /
- 5.2M(2,272×2,272) / 2.6M(1,600×1,600)
- 24p, 25p, 30fps, 50fps, 60fps 1080p continuous
- 720p 120fps Video Continuous Recording
Sony RX0 Slow Motion:
HFR Slow Motion Recording Modes:
“Super slow motion at frame rate of up to 960/1000fps is available to capture split-seconds of action in movies. Slow motion shooting at 480/500fps and 240/250fps especially maintains fine images at nearly HD quality with the choice of Quality Priority mode. End trigger mode lets you capture the decisive moment in super slow motion starting from two or four seconds before the REC button is pressed.”
[PAL] mode XAVC S HD 50Mbps recording:
50p 50 M (1,920×1,080/250fps), 50p 50 M (1,920×1,080/500fps), 50p 50 M (1,920×1,080/1000fps) / 25p 50 M (1,920×1,080/250fps), 25p 50 M (1,920×1,080/500fps), 25p 50 M (1,920×1,080/1000fps)
[NTSC] mode XAVC S HD 50Mbps recording:
60p 50M(1,920×1,080/240fps)、60p 50M(1,920×1,080/480fps)、60p 50M(1,920×1,080/960fps) / 30p 50M(1,920×1,080/240fps)、30p 50M(1,920×1,080/480fps)、30p 50M(1,920×1,080/960fps) / 24p 50M(1,920×1,080/240fps)、24p 50M(1,920×1,080/480fps)、24p 50M(1,920×1,080/960fps)
Quality Priority 2 Seconds Record Time:
Shoot Time Priority 4 seconds record Time:
Battery Life Video and Image Mode:
- BATTERY LIFE(STILL IMAGES)Approx. 240shots / Approx. 120mi
- BATTERY LIFE(MOVIES ACTUAL SHOOTING)Approx. 35min.
- BATTERY LIFE(MOVIES CONTINUOUS SHOOTING)Approx. 60min.
“MF Assist and Peaking functions refine focus
To help you fine-tune focus, Manual Focus (MF) Assist magnifies the area you are focusing on to enable more precise adjustment while Peaking highlights the sharpest or most in-focus area with your choice of color to help determine whether further focusing adjustment is required.”
“Auto Power OFF Temperature can extend movie shooting duration
You can choose an internal temperature level at which the camera automatically powers off. For example, movie shots tend to run longer when a tripod is used, so by setting Auto Power OFF Temperature to “High”, movies can be shot for extended durations.”
“Preset Focus for simpler movie shooting
For movie shooting, you can choose MF (manual focus) or PF (preset focus) mode. If you select PF mode, the RX0 automatically focuses on a subject in the range farther than approx. 1m. Also, while the RX0 is in PF mode, if you activate “NEAR” focusing range, the camera automatically focuses on a nearby subject (within approx. 1m range).”
“Shoot virtually anywhere with wide ISO sensitivity
Sensitivity extends up to ISO 12800, for crisper images in extremely low light. Let Auto ISO mode determine the most appropriate setting automatically, or manually expand sensitivity as low as ISO 80. The camera also allows you to set up lower-limit shutter speed at time of Auto ISO setting.”
“Supports Remote Camera Control
When the camera is connected to a computer, you can use Remote Camera Control to take pictures or change settings on the camera from the computer connected via USB port. All you need to do is to download the Remote Camera Control application of a version that supports your PC.”
“Remote control via smartphones and tablets
Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, up to five RX0 cameras can be remotely controlled from a smartphone or tablet. Simply download free PlayMemories Mobile app to your mobile device for remote control of camera shutter release, movie recording start/stop, and instant receiving of captured footage. Also, Bluetooth is available and allows remote power on/off operation.”
Sony RX0 Product Features Video:
HSC- As you can see, the Sony RX0 has a lot going for it in terms of professional features. It is not the best at anything but good enough for almost any job. As the demo footage Orbit Shoot below shows, the camera with its multi camera synch feature is geared for movie and TV studio filming rigs for visual effects. Matrix style rigs can be built without hugely expensive individual DSLR cameras.
Demo Video Orbit in Blue by Sony:
Sony | Cyber-shot | RX0 – Behind the scenes of “Ørbit in blue” by Sony:
Our thoughts on the Sony RX0:
We like the VFR mode a lot in the Sony RX100 and RX10 series of cameras and while it has been improving with every new release; we see the RX0 take a step backward “240fps/250fps(1,676×942)” to HFR resolution below what the nearly 3 year old RX100 series had at 240/250fps (1,824×1,026) in quality priority mode for both cameras.
The Sony RX0 also has the 4-second Shoot Time priority limitation and 2 seconds in the Quality priority. Last year’s excellent RX100 V had 4-second Quality priority and over 7 seconds in shoot time priority. We expected that new system to be included in a camera like the RX0. Clearly, some compromises for size, power, heat and form factor have been made. So it will not be like having an RX100 V camera in a GoPro form factor, it, however, tries hard to be one.
Who is it for?
It is kind of a hard question to answer; on the one hand, the image quality and control afforded by the Sony RX0 are on a new class compared to other action cameras but on the other side of the equation you have a camera that needs HDMI external recorders to be able to save a 4k image. The 4k will be 4:2:2 uncompressed which will eclipse the output of any action camera out there but at what cost? We see this camera being the darling of crash cam production bags for a high-quality destructible alternative but not a GoPro or Sony Action Cam replacement. The consumer will be better off waiting for those cameras to show upgraded features and see how they stack up compared to an RX0.
Geared to what crowd?
The lack of internal 4k recording and only 120fps at 720p continuous slow motion make it not class leading in video recording. Even when the HFR mode fills the gap for slow motion; the quality drop is severe enough to relegate it to a use sparingly feature.
The camera is a strange release in that there seems to be a disconnect between the actual need for an RX0 and the features expected. Today a non-internal recording 4k solution is a hard sell and the crash cam scenario will require an HDMI recorder which could get disconnected on a bumpy ride. This negates the use of the camera for dependability unless you are aiming for 1080p delivery. You would be better off recording on a GoPro, Yi 4k+ or Sony action cam at 4k and living with the rolling shutter artifact for disposable visual effects gear.
Even drone video enthusiasts will be better off getting a DJI solution camera for quality recording or mounting a GH5 or GX85 micro 4/3 camera on a larger drone to get 4k shots. The need for an HDMI recorder for 4k adds bulk and unnecessary failure points in the recording to these rigs. But it can still be done.
All in all, the Sony RX0 is a strange great looking tough camera that has a lot of features for a specific set of users. Multi camera rig enthusiasts should be salivating at the chance of programming expensive setups with dozens or hundreds of these cameras which seems to be what Sony is expecting, looking at their Orbit launch video makes it clear. For the average joe skateboarder, you will be hard pressed to justify a $699 USD camera like this in the age of internal recording 60fps 4k action cameras. You are better off buying a Sony RX100 V for the superior HFR features and 4k internal recording for just $199 more.
We will have slow motion samples of the Sony RX0 When available soon -HSC