THIS ARTICLE IS CURRENTLY BEING UPDATED
Sony has just unveiled an exciting new product – the Sony RX0 Action camera. Why is it so exciting? It uses a 15-milion-pixel effective resolution, 1in size, stacked, sensor. Lets break this down bit by bit:
Sony RX0: 1-inch Sensor
The vast majority of action cameras use a compact camera size sensor. As we know the larger the sensor, the better the image quality.The RX0 uses a 1-inch size sensor – the same size used in the RX100 and RX10 range of cameras. So on paper at least, the RX0 should produce image quality that far exceeds what we are used to from action cameras.
Sony RX0: 21-Million-Pixel Sensor?
It’s easy to think that the sensor in the RX0 is a new 15-Million-Pixel sensor, but this is actually the effective output for 3:2 still images. In fact the RX0 actually uses a 21-million-pixel sensor. This is presumably the same, or similar, to the sensor that is currently used in the RX10 III and RX100 V.
There is no word as to why the full resolution of the sensor isn’t used. From the specification there is no sign of stabilisation, but it most likely that the additional area of the sensor is used for electronic/digital stabilisation.
Sony RX0: Stacked Sensor
Stacked sensors have previously been found in the RX10 III and RX100 V cameras. The basic premise is that a lot of the circuitry and memory that the sensor processing requires, is actually ‘stacked’ on to a second chip built on to the rear of the sensor. This allows the processing to take place very quickly. This in turn enables the sensor to be read at very high speeds, which enables the 960fps slow motion shooting.
Sony RX0: External Control, Bullet Time and Multi-Angle
As a standalone action camera the RX0 looks great. It features an 1.5inch internal screen, but can also be controlled using Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app, or, most likely using Sony’s Live View Wrist remote controller.
By using Sony’s FA-WRC1M radio controller, up to 15 RX0 camera can be triggered. Even the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app will be able to trigger up to 5 RX0 cameras, and Sony are currently working on a new wireless Multi-Camera triggering device that will be released in January next year.
Sony RX0: ZEISS Tessar T* 24mm f/4 Lens
Like the cast majority of Sony’s other compact cameras, the RX0 is fitted with a Zeiss branded lens. At 24mm equivalent focal length, the lens isn’t especially wide, so those wanting something with an almost fisheye perspective will be disappointed. However, a filter adapter is available, so it may be the case that a wide-angle converter lens is available before too long.
For everyone else, the 24mm lens should offer good quality. The minimum focus distance of the lens is 50cm and the lens can focus to infinity using contrast detection autofocus.
Sony RX0: Action Camera Credentials
Weighing just 3.9 oz and measuring approximately 59mm x 40.5mm x 29.8mm (2.38 in. x 1.63 in x 1.19in), the Sony RX0 is almost identical in size to the GoPro Hero 5 Black (2.4-in x 1.7-in x 0.9-in). It’s form factor is a departure from the more video-cam style of action camera that Sony have opted for in the past, and it is a departure that will be please many.
And the RX0 doesn’t scrimp on its action camera credentials. The camera is waterproof t0 depths of up to 10 meters on its own, or up to 100m when used with a dedicated Sony MPK-HSR1 underwater housing. The RX0 is shockproof, straight out of the box, to a height of 2m , and can withstand up to 200kg / 440lb / 2000N, of force. In all it should be ideal fro shooting those tricky to get angles in tough conditions.
Sony RX0: Video Features
The exact video recording features are currently a little vague; the official specifications don’t list the standard HD recording resolutions, they only list the high speed frame rates. Interestingly the features of the camera only state that it has 4K clean output over HDMI. We are currently awaiting exact confirmation of the details from Sony and will update this article as soon as possible. However, currently it does seem that there is no internal 4K capture. The RX100 V can only record 4K footage for 5mins, which is obviously to short for an action camera, so our guess is that whilst it is technically possible, they have omitted it due to recording being very short, an no doubt the waterproof case will cause heat dispersion issues that would lead to overheating.
The good news is that the camera can output clean 4K footage over HDMI, and Manual Focus Assist, focus peaking and Zebra output will also be available. There is also an external microphone socket, and footage can be captured with a S-Log2 profile. The RX0 features the same 960fps, 40x, slow motion capture mode that we have seen in the last generation of RX cameras. This super slow motion footage is recorded at 800×270 and then upscaled to a full 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Sony RX0: Pricing and Availability
The new compact RX0 camera will ship in October 2017, priced at approximately £ / €850 / $700 US / $900 CA
Full specification for the Rx0 can be found here https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/cyber-shot-compact-cameras/dsc-rx0/specifications