Sony has just unveiled a new action camera known as the RX0 at IFA 2017. Here is everything we know about the 4K-capable, GoPro Hero rival, including the price, lens type and available accessories.
Sony really is trying to dislodge the GoPro Hero as the defacto action camera of choice, first with the FDR-X1000, then the FDR-X3000 and its useful watch accessory and now with the very small but potentially very capable RX0.
Before we go hands-on with, we thought it was time to see what sort of camera we are dealing with in terms of design, video quality, lens aperture and slow-motion potential. So without further ado, this is what we know.
Sony RX0: The Design
Compared with the design of the FDR-X1000 and FDR-X3000, the Sony RX0 is much more akin to the boxy GoPro Hero Session and Hero 5 Black. Measuring just 59×40.5×29.8mm, it really is a very small device and, at 110g, it is easy to carry.
The RX0 can, rather usefully, be submerged in water up to 10 metres deep without a case and as deep as 100 metres with the MSK-HSR1 Housing. Not only that, it is shockproof up to two metres (6.5ft) and can withstand up to 200kgf / 444lbf / 2,000N of crushing power.
What that means is you should be able to take the RX0 wherever you want to without fear of breaking it. Or filling it up with sand or snow, which would otherwise turn it into an expensive cube of plastic and glass.
Sony RX0: Video quality
Sony has managed to cram in quite the array of video recording goodness within the tiny RX0. For starters, it has a 1.0-type stacked 15.3-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, which works in conjunction with a Zeiss TessarT 24mm F4 fixed wide-angle lens and Bionz X processor.
Factoring in the CMOS sensor crop factor, that gives the Sony RX0 a focal length equivalent to 35mm, which is one of the most useful lengths a videographer or photographer can have in his collection.
An anti-distortion shutter can do its thing up to 1/32,000th of a second, allowing you to capture very fast images at up to 16 frames per second – even as a RAW file.
In terms of video, the RX0’s 40x SuperSlow motion recording lets you bring video footage to a crawl, thanks to its ability to shoot up to 1,000 frames per second although this tops out at 250 frames per second when shooting in Full HD (1,920×1,080-pixel) quality.
As for detail, 4K (QFHD 3,840×2,160 pixels) can be recorded externally (that means you need an external recorder) and full HD internally, unlike the FDR-X3000 and GoPro Hero 5. The following frame rates and recording formats are available:
- AVCHD: 1,920×1,080 60p/50p (28M), 24p (24M/17M), 25p (24M/17M), 60i/50i (24M/17M)
- XAVX S: 1,920×1,080 60p/50p (50M), 30/25p (25M), 24p (50M), 1,280×720 120p/100p (50M)
- MP4: 1,920×1,080 60p/50p (28M), 30p/25p (16M), 1,280×720 30p (6M)
Usefully, Picture Profiles can be used for a specific look, or you can make use of the S-Log2 (not S-Log3, sadly) profile and grade later.
In case you need to be specific with your focussing, the Sony RX0 features MF Assist (manual focus assist) and Peaking Functions, which highlights areas in focus with coloured dots. There are also Preset Focus options you can use if time is of the essence.
A noticeable thing missing from the RX0 action camera is any form of image stabilisation, which is unlike the Hero5’s digital solution and the FDR-X3000 physical BOSS system. But then it does have a sensor around four times the size (think RX100 MKV size) so the footage quality could far superior.
Sony RX0: The accessories
Various accessories are available, but sadly not the rather useful watch you get with the Sony FDR-X3000R. Instead, you will have to use the PlayMemories smartphone app, which can wirelessly control up to five RX0 cameras at once.
Alternatively, Sony’s wireless radio commander – the FA-WRC1M (£350) – can control up to 15 RX0 action cameras at once or there is the option of a new camera control box, which will offer ‘a more reliable wired connection’ when it arrives in January, 2018.
Then there is a VCT-CGR1 Cage, which is said to allow for ‘increased system flexibility’ and is a way of connecting accessories to the RX0 (see top picture), and the aforementioned MPK-HSR1 housing for taking it into deep water.
A CPT-R1 Cable Protector, VF-SPR1 Spare Lens Protector, VFA-305R1 Filter Adapter Kit (contents include a filter adapter, lens hood and MC protector for protecting the lens) and ACC-TRDCJ Accessory Kit complete the list of official Sony accessories.
The official rechargeable battery is called the NP-BJ1, which is different in name to the the FDR-X3000’s NP-BX1 battery and different in size so you won’t be able to use any existing batteries to power the RX0. The charger is known as the ACC-TRDCJ.
As with all 4K-capable action cameras and cameras, a fast microSDHC or microSDXC memory card of class 10 or higher is required, or you will lose the option for the higher quality settings such as 100Mbps.
Sony RX0: The UK price
Now we come to the price, which unfortunately is yet to be announced in the UK. But we do know it will be available for approximately €850 in Europe, with RX0 first shipments beginning in October, 2017.
Expect us to compare the Sony RX0 with the GoPro Hero5 and FDR-X3000 so you know what sort of video capability you are getting. As for our review, hopefully we can get our hands on a sample soon so you know whether it is worth buying.