Nearly blurring the lines perfectly between tough point-and-shoot and ultra-portable action cam is the just-announced Sony RX0 II. If Sony only did one thing with the second generation of this waterproof camera, and that one thing was enabling internal 4K, I would’ve been happy. That is why I am extremely pleased to report that Sony did that and much, much more. Another significant edit made in this version is that the 1.5" 230k-dot LCD can now tilt upwards 180°, transforming this from a standard ultra-compact camera into a perfect tool for everyday carry, travel, selfies, and vlogging.
Cameras depend heavily on having a solid imaging pipeline, so the use of a relatively large 15.3MP 1" Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor in the RX0 II is a brilliant starting point. This is the same tech we have seen in the RX100 VI, and even the flagship a9 mirrorless, and its main selling point is speed. A dedicated DRAM chip ensures fast readout, enabling features such as the anti-distortion electronic shutter at up to 1/32,000 second and 16 fps continuous shooting.
A BIONZ X processor joins in on the action to ensure smooth gradations and natural colors, as well reduced noise. Also lending a hand is a ZEISS Tessar T* 24mm equivalent f/4 lens for sharp images with minimal distortion and a short 7.9" minimum focus distance. Generally speaking, it isn’t all that much different than its predecessor, though new processing should result in better IQ and enable additional functions, such as internal 4K and Eye AF for stills.
I almost can’t mention enough that the RX0 II has internal 4K now. This is a major development for the camera and should convince many that the ultra-compact tough camera is worth it. The flip-up screen and internal recording make it perfect for vloggers who want a tiny go-anywhere kit, and the image quality is professional grade. UHD 4K at 30 fps is recorded with full pixel readout, providing 1.7x the data required for 4K video and down-sampling it into a higher-quality final product, while an electronic stabilization option will steady your handheld footage. Users can even boost the quality via the uncompressed HDMI output for additional color information and improve audio through the 3.5mm mic input. And, as with the previous model, the RX0 II will offer Picture Profiles, including S-Log2, for advanced control over the image and for color grading.
For Full HD video, the RX0 II supports frame rates up to 120 fps. Additional video functions include a High Frame Rate mode that will support extreme slow motion at up to 960 or 1,000 fps for NTSC and PAL, respectively. This mode can be set with Quality Priority or Time Priority to either maximize resolution or recording time to best suit your needs. It also supports an end trigger mode to record the 2-4 seconds prior to hitting the shutter, ensuring you never miss the shot.
Part of the RX Series’ DNA, and especially that of the RX0 II, is its compact, sleek design. This camera is as rugged as it is waterproof to 33', shockproof to 6.5', crushproof to 440 lbf, and dustproof, so you can most definitely take it anywhere. It’s ultra-compact form factor also makes it excellent for use in tight spots or as a crash cam or B/C camera on set. It also features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for remote connection to a mobile device via the Imaging Edge Mobile app. When connected over Wi-Fi, users can control multiple cameras at once. Also, the optional CCB-WD1 Camera Control Box will allow for up to 100 cameras to be synced and controlled from a single computer for absolutely insane configurations. Another capability of the wireless connection is the Move Edit add-on for automatically stabilizing footage on your smartphone and getting it ready to share on social media.
This is an ultra-compact waterproof tough camera that will appeal to many different types of users. It will be at home in a traveler’s everyday carry bag, a vlogger’s kit, a professional filmmaker’s B/C cam setup, or advanced multi-camera configurations for special effects and VR. And it can easily fit in your pocket. We also highly recommend the optional VCT-SGR1 Shooting Grip for improved comfort and ergonomics.
Is this finally the RX0 you have been waiting for? Is the addition of internal 4K recording enough to make you go for it over a standard point-and-shoot or even a GoPro? Sound off in the Comments section, below!