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Sony Unveils the RX0, a Miniature Camera with Big Ambitions

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Today, at IFA, Sony revealed the RX0, a tiny (just 59 x 40 x 30mm) camera that Sony hopes will be start a new type of camera segment, something it is calling multi-view recording. The RX0 is small enough to mount almost anywhere, making it possible to capture a scene or event from multiple viewpoints. Think: mounting cameras on every musician's instrument at a live show, film people singing karaoke in private automobiles without shooting through a windshield, or capturing point-of-view footage of Hobbits from inside a floating barrel. The RX0 could do all of this without sacrificing image quality, thanks to its 1" Image Sensor, ability to output uncompressed 4K video, waterproof and shockproof build, and ability to record and sync timecode metadata wirelessly between multiple cameras.

It is tempting to compare the RX0 to action cameras based on its diminutive size and waterproof bonafides, but there are a few notable differences that make this camera distinct. First, the RX0 has a much larger 1" sensor, more than four times as large as the 1/2.3" sensors typically found in action cameras. Another difference is that the RX0 has a 24mm equivalent lens. While 24mm is relatively wide, it might as well be telephoto when compared to the 12mm equivalent lenses you see on most action cameras. This camera is for something different.

Before the RX0, if there was a shot you wanted that required the camera to be tiny and light, the only option available was action cameras. In fact, in the past few years an entire cottage industry has sprung up to try and make consumer action cameras work in a professional workflow, from camera modifications that replaced the soft, distorted lenses with higher-end optics to custom timecode generators that attach to the back of cameras. Even with those modifications, the resulting video quality was still hampered by the small image sensors, rolling-shutter artifacts, and low-bitrate recording to which consumer cameras are typically limited.

The lens of the RX0 is a ZEISS Tessar 24mm equivalent f/4.0 lens. Low-light fanatics hoping the four-times-larger image sensor would lead to four-times better low light might be disappointed by this. But the f/4 lens was a necessary compromise to get it into a package this small. However, there are plenty of other advantages to a larger sensor. With the RX0, you should see significantly better dynamic range, less noise at low ISOs, and increased overall clarity when compared to cameras that have a wider aperture on a smaller sensor. Also, thanks to the stacked CMOS sensor with DRAM on the chip, the rolling shutter on the RX0 will be greatly reduced.

One side effect of combining a larger image sensor and a narrower field of view is that the RX0 needs some sort of focus system. The RX0 has Auto Focus and Manual focus modes, with a minimum focusing distance of 20", and the infinity focus point is at 39".

The RX0 can record video internally in up to 1080p at 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60 fps, as well as 720p at 100 and 120 fps, all at 50 Mb/s in the XAVC codec. Advanced picture profile modes like S-Log are also available. For even higher-quality video, the RX0 outputs uncompressed UHD 4K video via HDMI for external recorders. The lack of internal 4K recording is a bummer, but even larger cameras with a 1" sensor like the RX100 IV tend to overheat when recording in 4K, so it's not really a surprise.

The camera can be controlled directly via on-camera buttons, or remotely via the Sony Play Memories app from an Android or iOS smartphone. Up to five cameras can be connected to one phone at once with no additional hardware, and more than five can be connected if there is a wireless router available. Via the app, you can control recording, as well as timecode, which should allow for the cameras to be edited easily in post. A wired solution through Ethernet hub to connect and control even more cameras will be available soon, expanding the multi-view capability further. 

The RX0 is not designed to capture vacation surfing videos—its narrower, less distorted field of view will make it harder to see your feet while you surf, and extra features like timecode and the ability to focus on something other than infinity are probably over most people's heads. What the RX0 allows is for professional videographers to mount cameras in places they have never been able to before and still get high-quality, timecode-synced video that can be integrated easily into a normal production workflow.

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Can you confirm shooting time is limited to 29 mins?   Looks like a great camera for events, but concerned about the time limitation.

"Continuous shooting is possible for approximately 29 minutes (limited by product specifications, default setting)."

When will it come out?   S.O.N.Y. = Soon, Only Not Yet!

I would like a tough camera to hang on my belt along with my flip phone.  This might do.  Perhaps an accessory viewfinder can be attached without the cage in the next generation.   It is not designed for just my kind of handy dandy mini camera but remember that Sony did the Walkman which became a powerhouse for our day.  I will take a serious look at it as a really take anywhere and usable image make. Video no less.  Battery life is to be seen.  But Sony knows its microminiaturization so well. Good on Sony. No baloney.

Will this shoot in RAW?

Really?

Really?

I'd rather look for a product from a company known to value it's customers unlike Sony whom is infamous for shafting them over and is so out of touch they have sued themselves not just once but twice!  Sorry guys but Sony just has a pathetic track record so no matter how good it looks on paper when it comes time to actually count on them odds are they will fail to give proper support as usual.

Give it 6 weeks and someone else will have something better to offer anyhow...

PS The censor filter for this site really needs to be given a reality check as well.  It's flagging common wording that is more tame than is daily use in grade school.  Seriously it's embarassingly overboard to say the least.

you must be bored, what do you build

Glenn wrote:

I'd rather look for a product from a company known to value it's customers unlike Sony whom is infamous for shafting them over and is so out of touch they have sued themselves not just once but twice!  Sorry guys but Sony just has a pathetic track record so no matter how good it looks on paper when it comes time to actually count on them odds are they will fail to give proper support as usual.

Give it 6 weeks and someone else will have something better to offer anyhow...

PS The censor filter for this site really needs to be given a reality check as well.  It's flagging common wording that is more tame than is daily use in grade school.  Seriously it's embarassingly overboard to say the least.

I think I will wait until next month for the Sony RXO Mark ll

That did make me laugh. Thanks, Miguel!

Remember Sony already developed an Action Cameras, the AS100 I believe was the name? We tested them but GoPros were better. Especially their increased DR using their ProTune setting. Their "torpedo" shape made them less friendly to use inside of vehicle windows which is where a large percentage of GoPros are used in TV & commercial production. But that shape would make them better in high wind and helmet situations. But, they never caught on.

I prefer the Sony FDR-X3000 4K over the GOPRO HERO 5 Black. GOPRO needs to step up before they are left beind.

Agreed. I've been really pleased with the X3000. Have been using it as a 'regular' camcorder, it's that good. Optics, audio and stabilization - all spot-on. 

Agreed 100%. The X3000 is the most amazing action camera on the market.

Agreed. I spent a lot of time comparing the x3000 to the Hero 5 Black, and I came out impressed with the qualities of the Sony much more than the GoPro. 

I'm curious if it can simultaneously output HDMI and record internally.  It would be awesome if it could ISO record, while also feeding a switcher like a TriCaster.

Hi Adam - 

It looks like the camera cannot perform a simultaneous internal record while outputting a clean HDMI signal.

I do a lot of multicam shows.  It has hdmi out, which I would convert to SDI to bring in switcher.  Have to see the image quality compared to GoPro.  Honestly these little cameras are all that.  Give me some Panasonic PZT cameras any day over these little cam's 

This would be the perfect camera for our human behavior research studies. We've relied in the past on GoPro to some success but it never looked right due to spherical aberation. We need a camera just like the RXO! If we can capture 4K wirelessly or via HDMI out, this would be amazing! I agree that it should also have interchangeable lenses.

Spherical aberrations? You mean the semi fisheye POV? Two different things. You can defish using the free GoPro Studio software. The newer GoPros have a very wide field of view with internal defishing option.

Faaarrrr way better a GoPro 4 with Ribcage package.... The market is full of cheap action cameras that makes drop GoPro sales and now Sony develope this? They may develope a full line uof lenses changing the front cover but even doing that it's a huge move for a niche market.... 

This camera is unuseable for a lot of what we use GoPros for. It DOES have it's place though. GoPro optics are excellent! B&H is flat out lying saying they are anything but. You are seeing GoPro footage everywhere, even on the Big Screen. It's so good you aren't even aware of it. We use GoPros in national commercials all of the time. I've used as many as 27 on Nissan spots.

GoPro is mediocre and blocky. It can be spotted instantly if you know what you are looking for. What you see on the "Big Screen" is heavily treated and quick. GoPro was the best at one time in that niche. The Sony X3000 out performs it in every way. This small camera without stabilization and the inability to record UHD to the camera will limit it as well. Some day though. ….

Will this camera have a panarama setting like most other sony cameras?

Hi Jimmy - 

None listed by SONY at this time.

It seems good and better than action cam coz clean 4k output as XAVCS. Like a6300 and others in alpha series. Why not sell with different lens? I mean multi cam work but all the cameras in 24mm is weired, lets sell 24mm 35mm and even 50mm. Doesn't have to be changeable but we should get choice of 24,35 and 50mm that will be lot better. And also if the output will be 10bit in 4K???!!!! HAHAHAHA thats a lot to ask even a7SII doesn't have or lets say till the september of 2017 of sony alpha series mirrorless doesn't have 10bit output.

But lens variation will do a lot more to use a multicam. I will be thrilled if there is lens selection. All the best sony there is nothing impossible for sony, they are killing the market with features pack but overheating a side. 

Looks like an action cam, smells like an action cam, but if not, what is it? Would you palm it and thrust it up to take a quick, semi-covert clip? I'd like to see how this will be advertised, showing real-world usages. I know what my point and shoot does, and I can testify concerning my Garmin Ultra 30 action cam, but how would I use this device? Seriously.

You use it like any other action cam, small video camera or point and shoot.

The only thing is that this will have much better quality, and the abillity for professional use. (remember the lord of the rings, with their gopro usage) 

This is a good idea. Any information on image stabilization? Like BOSS? Also, anything on what is the 4K UHD spec.? Thanks, Paul

Hi Paul - 

There is no image stabilization.

  • Outputs 4:2:2 UHD ( 3,840 by 2,160) 4K Video via HDMI

Slow Motion Mode1000 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
960 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
500 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
480 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
250 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
240 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p

Time lapse?

Based on the inexcusable lack of an intervalometer on the RX100, I'd say not.

Probably through the app just like on the Sony Alphas

Hi Ricalien - 

I'm afraid not.  There is no time-lapse feature available in-camera.

optical image stabilization??

i want to know if is do it slow motion and super slow motion continue ???thanks everyone for contest 

The frame rates are published in the release you're commenting on.

Any idea as to what framerate the 4K video outputs from the camera?

Hi Chuck - 

  • Outputs 4:2:2 UHD 4K Video via HDMI
  • ideo Format1920 x 1080p at 24, 25, 30, 50, 60 fps (50 Mbps XAVC S)Slow Motion Mode1000 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
    960 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
    500 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
    480 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
    250 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p
    240 fps Recorded at 1920 x 1080p 
     

.......is the fps a true 60 or 59.94???

Great to see Sony making smaller more compact cameras with better quality, would've love to see a inbody 4k record option.

At last ... I have been messing around with GoPro cameras for the last six months, swapped out the crappy fish-eye lens for another crappy lens, etc. etc. Maybe this is not intended to be a "GoPro" killer ... but it might be ... depending on price ... now if Sony would just fix their crappy "noise reduction" spatial filtering routines on raw files coming out of the A7X II - then I would not have to dump them.

Seeking to buy a A7SII with ver. 2.2 firmware or earlier ...

It looks like it will cost around $700 US

Price:  $699.99

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