The action camera world was shaken up a bit when the Sony RX0 was announced. Could Sony, one of the leading brands in developing new camera tech, really do one over the industry standard from GoPro with its new premium action camera?
What really stole the headlines is the RX0’s massive 1in sensor, all packed into a body that looks and feels like most action cameras. Most action cameras have small sensors which usually means poor image quality in low light. So the RX0 should be top of the pile then, shouldn’t it?
Well, delve a little deeper and you can soon see that the RX0 is an altogether different proposition to other action cameras like the GoPro Hero 6. It has its pros and its cons.
Our very own Dave Altizer has had his hands on the new Sony RX0. Check out the video review on Kinotika’s Youtube channel for his take and make sure you subscribe for more news and reviews.
Let’s take a quick look at what the RX0 can (and cannot do).
Sony RX0: At a glance
• 1in sensor
• 24mm f/4 Zeiss Tessar lens
• 15MP still images, up to 16fps
• 4k 4:2:2 videos via HDMI output to external recorder only
• S-Log2 Picture Profile
• Up to 960fps HFR (High Frame Rate) videos
• 1.5in screen, not touch sensitive
• Waterproof down to 10m without housing, 2m shockproof, 400lb crushproof
• No image stabilization
• Built-in mic port
• Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with control of up to five RX0’s
Sony RX0: A true action camera?
Sony is keen to point out that the RX0 is not a GoPro competitor. Why? On the outside, this is an action camera. It’s the same sort of size, has a fixed lens plus it is waterproof, shockproof and crushproof. You should be able to create the same sort of photos and videos.
Well, dig a little deeper and the RX0 is quite a different camera to one like the GoPro Hero 6. The more you look, the more it feels like a different concept. In fact, we say it’s a different category.
You’ve got the 1in sensor which is a lot bigger than the sensors used in most action cameras. Image quality should be better especially in low light. You’ll also have greater control over depth of field.
The fixed f/4 lens is 24mm, which means it is not as wide as most action cameras so you won’t get quite as much of the scene in your shot. Most action cameras work close in hand while keeping as much of the environment in the shot.
Then you have a mic port to connect an external microphone for high-quality audio recording. You won’t find this feature on other action cameras and the RX0 seems like an interesting prospect for vlogging.
Other ports include a micro USB for charging and mini HDMI out to an external recorder for clean 4:2:2 4k videos.
Where Sony is pushing this camera is in professional filmmaking productions, like in multi-camera rigs and in-car shots. We can see why.
Sony RX0: Stand out features
Some of the best features of the RX0 are in the image recording department. You get 15MP still images up to 16fps.
While 4:2:2 4k video is restricted to an external recorder, it is through a clean HDMI output. You get S-Log2 Picture Profile too. The full HD 1080p video spec is spectacular. Slow motion videos can be made up to a staggering 960fps.
Another neat feature is the wireless connectivity because it is possible to control up to five RX0’s from the same smart device via Sony’s app.
All in all, the RX0 appears an exceptionally capable action camera.
Sony RX0: Are there any downsides?
For an action camera, the omission of image stabilization is likely to be a sticking point for many. (OK, it’s not an action camera. Or is it? Still confused?) You won’t be able to walk around with the RX0 in hand and expect stable images unless the camera is attached to a rig.
The screen of the RX0 is found wanting too – it’s small at 1.5in and a humble 230k-dot resolution.
Sony RX0: Pricing and Availability
The Sony RX0 is available now and costs $700 from the Sony website. That’s more expensive than other action cameras and because it’s such a niche product we recommend renting one first.
There are plenty of accessories available too, including Cage ($250), Housing ($900), Filter Adaptor Kit ($150) Cable Protector ($40) and additional NP-BJ1 battery ($40).