Sony RX0 Review: Is It An Action Cam Or A Spy Cam?

Sony DSC-RX0 Review: A Spy Camera? An Action Cam? 

Sony released in 2017 this new camera from the highly successful RX camera series with a 1-inch image sensor. Named as the Sony DSC-RX0, this camera looks like an action cam, but does not have the ultra-wide-angle lens commonly used for action cams, instead it has many of the features of a “full-grown” compact camera. The camera enables exciting possibilities, both remotely controlled and in combination with several other identical cameras, for which previously complex special solutions were required.

Pros And Cons Of The Sony DSC-RX0

Pros

  • very small, robust housing
  • waterproof to 10 meters
  • very good image quality for a camera of this size
  • many interfaces (incl. HDMI and microphone)

Cons

  • very slow lens
  • tiny monitor
  • Onscreen menus not adapted to small monitor size
  • important controls are missing
  • very low battery capacity

 

Sony RX0

 

The metal case of the tiny Sony DSC-RX0 is very well made. The entire front with the lens is covered by a protective screen. If the front is damaged, it can be replaced by the user himself.[Photo: Sony]

At first glance, the Sony RX0 resembles an action cam: it is small, robust, and waterproof. But it is not an action cam. It is also not an outdoor photo camera and not a premium compact camera. Then what is she? In our tests with the testing software and in practice we have tried to find out.

Sony is always good for special solutions. Thus, a few years ago, the manufacturer introduced the much-noticed, but ultimately commercially unsuccessful smartphone add-on cameras (for the Sony Xperia Z). These were basically almost complete compact cameras that lacked a viewfinder and monitor.

A smartphone served as a monitor and for operation. The RX0 also wants to be used mainly remotely, although it does have a monitor and controls. Up to 15 pieces of the camera can be controlled synchronously via radio remote control. Later on, there will also be cable-based solutions.

The lens is not an ultra-wide-angle/fisheye lens (as usual for action cams), but a “normal” 24mm fixed focal length (corresponding to 35mm), but with F4 it is very faint. The sensor resolution effectively indicates Sony with 15.3 megapixels, but physically the sensor has 21 megapixels. We are still trying to find out how this discrepancy comes about.

Sony RX0

Sony DSC-RX0. [Photo: Sony]

Designed to open up new perspectives in photography and cinematography, the RX0 is equally suitable for taking photos and videos and can also – networked with several RX0 cameras – capture photos, videos, or slow motion from different angles.

The extremely compact RX0 (59 x 40.5 x 29.8 mm) weighs just 110 g and sets new standards in terms of weight and size for modern premium compact cameras. It performs well as a single camera even under the most challenging conditions – rain, underwater shooting, or in sandy, dusty environments – and can also be used in conjunction with other RX0 cameras to capture subjects from different angles.

Video Recording In The Sony RX0 

The RX0 is designed to be used by both photographers and filmmakers. That’s why it also has a range of creative video functions. For users who want to record material in super slow motion, the RX0 offers the ability to shoot at up to 1000 frames per second and capture even everyday moments in spectacular fashion.

For the most flexible production, uncompressed video material can be output to an external recorder via a Clean 4K HDMI output. MF Assist and various peaking functions allow the focus to be adjusted to individual preferences, and Picture Profile options and S-Log2 offer creative possibilities.

Functions for inserting a time code or a stamp significantly simplify the editing process, especially when shooting with several cameras simultaneously. With the ability to preset the focus, users have more control in such shooting situations.

 

Sony RX0

Sony DSC-RX0. [Photo: Sony]

 

Sony RX0

Sony DSC-RX0. [Photo: Sony]

Large Range of Accessories

The range of accessories is also being expanded to ensure that the potential of the RX0 can be used to its fullest extent: the VRX0CT-CGR1 housing, for example, provides even more flexibility, while the MPK-HSR1 housing makes the RX0 ready for depths of up to 100 meters. The camera can also be supplemented with the CPT-R1 cable protection and the VF-SPR1 spare lens protection. The VFA-305R1 filter adapter kit (consisting of a filter adapter, a lens hood, and a multi-coated protection filter), the NP-BJ1 battery, and the ACC-TRDCJ accessory pack are also part of the extras.

Ergonomics and Workmanship

The Sony RX0 is difficult to classify. It is somehow a mixture of action cam, outdoor photo camera, premium compact camera, and smartphone add-on camera. But somehow none of that either.

The Sony RX0 is an action camera because it’s super small and lightweight and rugged and waterproof, and is actually designed to be mounted somewhere and not operated by hand. But it’s also not an action cam, because it lacks the extremely wide angle of view typical for action cam and, moreover, the operation in “action situations” is almost impossible.

Moreover, it is more of a photo camera than a video camera and cannot compete with current top-of-the-line action cameras in terms of video performance.

 

Sony RX0

The size comparison of the Sony DSC-RX100 V (left) with the DSC-RX0 shows how small the RX0 is. [Photo: Sony]

The Sony RX0 is an outdoor photo camera because it is rugged and waterproof and because it is first and foremost a photo camera. Sony itself calls it a “Digital Still Camera”. This is clearly written on the instruction manual and therefore the “DSC” also comes from the full type designation DSC-RX0. But it does not have the internal zoom lens typical for almost all outdoor cameras. In addition, the monitor is so tiny that you can hardly use it seriously as a viewfinder.

The Sony RX0 is a premium compact camera because it contains a large 1-inch sensor, which actually qualifies it for this camera class. Besides, it’s really well made. “High-end compact camera” would therefore actually apply. But it is also not a premium compact camera, because, with its tiny monitor and the menu navigation that is not adapted to it, it is hardly operable, especially since, due to the lack of a sufficient number of operating elements, practically every function has to be somehow brought out of the depths of the menu.

Serious photography “from the hand” is therefore hardly possible. In addition, it does not use the area of the 1-inch sensor, but only about 75 percent of it, which means that it basically does not meet our criteria for a “compact camera with a large sensor”.

The Sony RX0 is a smartphone auxiliary camera, as they came into fashion for a short time a few years ago because it can hardly be operated directly on the device. The smartphone app makes things much better. In fact, she uses the Sony Play Memories app in much the same way as she used the Sony “Lens Style” cameras.

But it is also not a smartphone add-on camera, because on the one hand it lacks the possibility to attach it to a smartphone, and on the other hand it lacks the killer feature of why this camera should be used as an add-on to a smartphone. The sensor is not very big and the lens is very faint. There is no zoom. Somehow, there is nothing to make a smartphone user take pictures with the RX0 remotely controlled by the smartphone instead of his smartphone camera.

Use Cases For The Sony RX0

So why this camera? We have really tried and we can identify two or three use cases that we can identify in relation to some types of users:

The Sony RX0 is a spy camera with superior image quality. We mean that. Due to its design, it can be mounted inconspicuously. The cuboid shape facilitates mounting with double-sided adhesive tape or Velcro.

In addition, it can be easily supplied via USB with additional power from power packs or a plug-in power supply. It triggers completely silently, all beeps can be turned off and it has no recording control LEDs, which can often be turned off on action cams. The centrally located, small, low-light lens is also happy with small openings in pockets, backpacks, radiator grilles or ventilation slots or small camouflaged openings (perhaps the real reason for the low-light lens?).

Due to the arrangement of the lens and the completely flat front, even sticking the camera behind such openings is a child’s play. Also the inconspicuous mounting of the camera is no problem, if the black color does not match the environment, it could simply be camouflaged with suitable water-soluble paint from a spray can.

Cleaning the camera later under running water is no problem thanks to its water resistance. And the necessary radio technology (WLAN to the mobile phone) is at least immediately installed.

In addition, the image quality of photo and video should be superior to that of conventional mini cameras with tiny sensors, especially under less than optimal lighting conditions. This makes the Sony RX0 z. B. ideal as a “hidden video camera” for TV productions, as long as they are still satisfied with FullHD and don’t require 4K as raw material (FullHD might still work for such applications).

The synchronous control of several RX0 cameras can also be very interesting in such deployment scenarios, as it is often necessary to install several cameras because it is not always possible to predict exactly from which angle the action will be best recorded. In addition, you want to be able to switch between different perspectives during post-production.

The Sony RX0 can also serve as a sophisticated dashcam. Although it does not have two features that are actually indispensable for this: the automatic start of the recording after an external power supply has been established and the loop recordings that repeatedly overwrite themselves.

However, as long as the camera can be operated manually (ideally remotely via smartphone), this is no problem. In a civilian car of the police it should hardly be noticeable on the dashboard and then delivers FullHD recordings (unfortunately no higher resolutions) in good quality even with less light. The angle of view is ideal for this application. Also mounted the other way round the camera can be used to film the interior of a car. The angle of view could be a little wider then, but the camera delivers a sharp, undistorted image in good quality.

The multi-cam control is also an advantage here. One camera could be pointed at the street, one or two more at the interior.

The Sony RX0 is a pretty good high-speed camera. With the high-speed video modes, up to 1,000 frames per second or frames per second (fps) are possible. Reproduced at 25 fps, this is 40 times slower. This is spectacular! But other Sony cameras can do that too and they are more flexible. If you don’t want to film the bursting water bomb at close range (for which the waterproofness of the RX0 would be extremely useful), you could simply use an RX100 IV or RX100 V. By the way, he could also use it to capture the action from a safe distance thanks to the zoom lens. But let’s assume that the director wants to get closer and splash the water on the lens. Then the RX0 would be virtually without alternative. But such recordings always last only a few moments. Only during playback does it become several seconds. These high-speed recordings do not allow continuous filming.

You shouldn’t expect miracles from the image quality either. On the output side, a FullHD resolution is generated, albeit with noisy images. On the input side, however, the number of effective pixels is much lower: 1,676 x 942 down to 800 x 270), i.e. the higher the slow motion, the more blurred the FullHD output. But if you compare it with e.g.  B. the 1080p 240 slow-motion picture, which GoPro has put so much emphasis on in the introduction of the new Hero6, the Sony performs much better in 240/250fps slow-motion. However, as I said, the Sony device only films for a short period of time. You have to release it at the right moment. The GoPro Hero6 on the other hand films continuously.

By the way, Sony sees many applications for the RX0, especially in multi-camera remote control technology. Basically, it works in such a way that one camera acts as the master (“group owner” in Sony jargon) and up to four additional RX0 cameras (“clients”) connect to this main camera and are then brought into line. The procedure is already known from Sony Actioncams and Sony Camcorders, which can also form a synchronized network with each other. In this respect, the RX0 is actually nothing special. But Sony plans to go a step further and make the RX0 compatible with its existing FA-WRC1M wireless flash trigger early next year, which will allow up to fifteen RX0 cameras to be triggered simultaneously.

 

Sony RX0

The Sony DSC-RX0 comes with the camera, battery, hand strap (front), USB cable, charger, and cable guide. [Photo: Sony]

 

There are also numerous special accessories at high prices. For example, a camera front with a 30.5 mm filter thread for the small amount of 199 dollars or a solid aluminum cage with numerous 1/4 inch mounting holes for a proud 299 dollars or an underwater housing (with 55 mm filter thread) in which the RX0 can be used up to 100 meters underwater for 999 dollars. Thus the range of applications can be extended considerably, e.g.  B. for professional video applications.

With external HDMI recorders you can even get a lossless 4K signal from the HDMI output of the RX0. But “small, robust and waterproof” and “multi-camera control” we don’t get together with “external HDMI recorder”. Who wants to mount five small RX0s somewhere and connect five external 4K HDMI recorders, each of which costs at least twice as much as an RX0? I might as well use bigger cameras that record 4K video internally, right?

Sure, there are opinions out there that only external recorders deliver the ultimate quality. But do you hang a Sony RX0 with an underutilized 1-inch sensor and a low-light wide-angle lens in front of it? Not likely.

Operation Of The Sony RX0

Before we get to the image quality, let’s have a detailed look at the operation. We have already mentioned some of the features above.

The criticism that the camera was difficult to operate was already resounding above. Sony has decided to give the RX0 the usual menus that all other Sony cameras have. That’s good on the one hand because a Sony connoisseur feels at home in the menus immediately.

However, he must first be able to decipher them! Sony’s on-screen menus are based on today’s standard 3-inch LCD monitors. But the small RX0 only has a tiny 1.5-inch monitor (3.6 cm screen diagonal), which is a tiny 3.0 x 2.3 cm area. A quarter of that of a 3-inch display. And the usual Sony menus appear on it. It’s just that everything is a quarter of the size. By the way, also the displays that are dazzled by the Live View image. Just everything is tiny.

 

Sony RX0

The Zeiss lens of the Sony DSC-RX0 offers very good image quality, but unfortunately with F4 also a very low light intensity, which mostly negates the advantage of the relatively large (not fully used) sensor in low light. [Photo: Sony]

 

Sony RX0

To the left of the Sony DSC-RX0’s monitor is the waterproof flap for the connections, under the monitor, and to the right of it the small buttons for menu control. This design leaves only room for a tiny 1.5-inch monitor. [Photo: Sony]

 

Sony RX0

Because the Sony DSC-RX0 also lacks elementary controls, everything has to be operated via the tiny monitor and the small buttons. Switching from photo to video (or back) requires seven keystrokes on three different buttons.

 

Sony RX0

The menus of the Sony DSC-RX0 have been adopted 1:1 from its other cameras with a monitor four times the size. They are extremely difficult to read on the 1.5-inch monitor.

 

In addition, the Sony RX0 has only the most essential controls. Or rather: not even the most necessary controls. On/off button and shutter release are located at the top. On the monitor side, Sony has disassembled a normal 4-way rocker with center button into one left/right and one up/down rocker and a single enter button and placed them below and next to the monitor.

To enter or exit the menus there is another menu button. Compared to an action cam, these are controls galore, you might think. Action cams sometimes make do with a single button and a touch screen. Or without a touchscreen with three buttons.

But such action cams also follow a completely different operating philosophy with their small housings and few buttons. As long as there is no touchscreen in the game, it can be crampy. Perfect touchscreen control, on the other hand, can be a pleasure. Then you won’t miss any hardware buttons (among the mass-market photo camera manufacturers, by the way, nobody has anything that comes even close to perfect touchscreen control in our eyes, at most the Leica T/T2 is convincing in this respect).

A touchscreen would also have been a fine thing for the small RX0, but then Sony would have had to design a completely new touchscreen-optimized menu. The developers probably didn’t want to make the effort.

If Sony had at least placed the connections on the left side as usual and not on the back, then a 1.8 inch or 2-inch monitor could have been installed with the same case size, even without a touchscreen and with the small keys retained (with touchscreen even 2.2 inches, as the Yi 4K Actioncam shows).

Now some may object that 1.5-inch or 2.0-inch does not make the cabbage fat. But the difference in area is considerable. To see this, all you have to do is place a GoPro Hero5 or Hero6 next to the RX0. This way the RX0 remains reasonably operable only for people with eagle eyes. Everyone else should have good progressive glasses, because when taking pictures or filming and operating the RX0 you need both: the subject at some distance and the stamp-sized camera monitor right in front of your eyes.

The RX0 is equipped with the latest technologies from Sony and features a 15.3-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS multilayer image sensor, BIONZ X processor and a fixed ZEISS Tessar T* 24mm F4 wide-angle lens for RAW and JPEG photos and videos in a variety of formats, each with high resolution and less distortion.

Its ultra-fast shutter allows times of up to 1/32,000 seconds and can release 16 times per second. Even fast-moving subjects are captured precisely and in sharp images. The RX0’s compact size and ease of use make it ideal for users who want to capture those crucial moments and realize their full potential for natural, high-quality shooting.

The RX0 is waterproof until depths of ten meters – in the new MPK-HSR1 case even reaching a hundred meters depth. The camera is shock resistant up to a drop height of two meters and shatter-proof at up to 200 kgp / 2 kN, which makes it suitable for use in the most difficult shooting conditions where conventional cameras fail.

Image Quality Of The Sony RX0

In the test with the test software, the lens impresses with its absolute freedom from distortion despite its wide-angle focal length. Even color fringes play practically no role, they are significantly less than one pixel wide even at maximum.

The edge darkening is also quite low at only 30 percent. This is barely visible, especially as the brightness drop to the edge of the image is very even. The resolution at 50 percent contrast is also very good, it is just under 43 line pairs per millimeter in 35mm equivalent, a good value for just over 15 megapixels.

Towards the edge of the image, the resolution drops only slightly to about 38 line pairs per millimeter, which underlines the quality of the lens. If the distortion had been digitally corrected, for example, the edge resolution would suffer much more. By the way, the aperture is fixed to F4 and is not adjustable.

 

Sony RX0

On the side of the Sony DSC-RX0.sits the large robust, waterproof flap for the battery compartment. The manufacturer does without complicated double locking systems. As with action cams, the opening lever is simply recessed. [Photo: Sony]

 

Sony RX0

On the other side of the Sony DSC-RX0 case is only the Zeiss logo. If the interfaces were here, the monitor could have been considerably larger. At the bottom in the middle you can see the opening for the hand strap. [Photo: Sony]

 

The signal-to-noise ratio is OK and is in the acceptable range of 35 to 40 dB from ISO 80 to 3,200. Above ISO 3,200, on the other hand, the image signal no longer stands out clearly enough from the noise. The noise reduction suppresses the image noise quite well. Up to ISO 3.200 there is practically no noise, above that only a slight brightness noise is visible. The more disturbing color noise is not important.

Especially at low sensitivities, the photos show an oversharpening of the image, which leads to artificial details in the shot that were not present in the original picture. Up to ISO 800, these added details decrease to normal levels; above this sensitivity, fine details are slowly lost because they are removed along with the sensor’s image noise. Up to ISO 1,600, however, this loss is kept within limits; at ISO 3,200 and 6,400, on the other hand, the images are noticeably softer, but not unusable. Above ISO 6.400, however, the details decrease significantly again.

So the RX0 still delivers many details up to high ISO sensitivities. However, this is opposed by the low-light lens. A camera with an F2 fast lens would get by with ISO 400, where the RX0 would already have to be set to ISO 1,600. This “eats up” the advantage of the large sensor with regard to image noise and details almost completely.

But a sensor with large pixels also has advantages in another area: The input dynamics. Here the RX0 does not disappoint. Up to ISO 1,600, it provides dynamic range over ten aperture stops. Up to ISO 6.400 it loses about one f-stop, at ISO 12.800 another one to a meager eight f-stops dynamic range.

 

Sony RX0

The tiny NP-BJ1 battery with only 700 mAh is inserted into the side of the housing. [Photo: Sony]

 

Sony RX0

To the left of the small monitor, the memory card compartment and the connections are located under a removable lid: Micro USB (also for charging), HDMI (with 4K signal for external recorders), and even a 3.5mm microphone jack. [Photo: Sony]

 

Sony RX0

The Sony DSC-RX0 is supplied with this cable management attachment to protect the camera’s connectors from mechanical stress during operation. [Photo: Sony]

 

Sony RX0

Perfect: Beautifully centrally placed tripod thread of the Sony DSC-RX0. In addition, there is no flap at the bottom for battery or interfaces. The camera can therefore always remain mounted. [Photo: Clara Andersson]

The image processing shows not only when resharpening that the photos are optimized for direct use instead of post-processing, but also in the tonal value curve. This enhances the contrasts for a crisper image result, especially at medium brightness levels. After all, the output tonal range up to ISO 800 is at a high level of 192 and more brightness gradations of 256 possible.

Even at ISO 3,200, a still good value is achieved with 160 steps. At ISO 6.400 and even more so at 12.800, this value drops considerably, so that brightness progressions are only displayed very unevenly.

The Sony RX0 doesn’t take colors too seriously. Thus, many color tones, especially those with a red component, are clearly oversaturated. With the pure color tone deviation, fortunately things look a little better. So it shows that the pictures should look crisp and bright instead of neutral. After all, the RX0 is able to differentiate colors very finely over a wide sensitivity range. This is also due to the large sensor. For example, the Sony up to ISO 1.600 displays over four million colors, and even at ISO 6.400 the value is still good with almost two million color veins.

So, all in all, the photos in the lab show a really good image quality with high resolution and almost no optical errors and are also low-noise, colorful, and detailed over a wide sensitivity range. From ISO 1.600 onwards, slight losses begin to be seen, which become more visible at ISO 3.200 and 6.400. ISO 6.400 should already be avoided, at ISO 12.800 the image quality is poor.

In practice now without any test software, just to understand which is the user experience, however, the RX0 leaves mixed feelings. In bright light, photos are flawless with the distortion-free wide-angle lens and the 1-inch sensor, which is 75 percent utilized. Why Sony doesn’t use the image circle of the lens on the already larger sensor for photos in 4:3 or 16:9 format (like Panasonic does with the LX100), but simply crops the 3:2 images even further, remains a mystery.

However, as soon as the light diminishes, especially when shooting indoors, the camera mercilessly increases sensitivity due to its low-light lens. We achieved ISO 6,400 in the unlimited automatic mode for normal indoor shots and overcast skies during the day. Above ISO 800, however, the image quality collapses as determined in the laboratory, and at ISO 6.400 it even collapses considerably.

The only thing that helps is to limit the ISO automatic to 800 or 1,600 – but then the exposure time quickly reaches areas with camera shake or blurred scenes. So we can’t get much out of the wide-angle of only F4.

 

Sony RX0

GoPro Hero6 and Sony DSC-RX0 in size comparison. The Sony RX0 is actually even a bit smaller and also inherently waterproof. The GoPro Hero6 (left) has a 2-inch touchscreen monitor that is appropriate for the size of the case and a perfectly matched operation. The monitor of the RX0 (right) is 1.5 inches small and the display is not made for such a small monitor [Photo: Clara Andersson]

Video recordings are of good quality but limited to FullHD, which is no longer up to date. The reason why the RX0 can’t do 4K video internally could be the resulting heat or the tiny 700mAh battery, which would then be drained in a very short time – we don’t know.

A 4K video limited to five minutes, e.g.  B, would be better than none at all in our opinion. To refer to the possibility of connecting an external HDMI recorder for 4K recordings with a robust and up to ten meters waterproof miniature camera seems quite theoretical to us. The quality of normal FullHD videos (2.1 megapixels) is very good. The short high-speed videos that the RX0 can record at up to 1,000 fps are visibly noisy, but worlds better than what e.g.  B. Action cams currently deliver at a maximum of 240 fps.

Conclusion: Is The Sony RX0 Worth It?

The Sony RX0 is a camera for special applications. Even though Sony calls it a “still camera”, the video function, especially high-speed video recording, seems equally important. However, the videos are internally limited to FullHD resolution, which is no longer quite up to date.

With 4K internally in good quality the RX0 would be a blast. Recording 4K via the HDMI output with an external recorder seems a bit far-fetched for this camera. We find the operability of the RX0 to be underground. Elementary controls are missing, not even a dedicated video trigger is available. People with less good eyesight are likely to see them as unusable due to the complex menus on tiny monitors. The smartphone app only relieves this to a limited extent.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • very small, robust housing
  • waterproof to 10 meters
  • very good image quality for a camera of this size
  • many interfaces (incl. HDMI and microphone)

Cons

  • very slow lens
  • tiny monitor
  • Onscreen menus not adapted to small monitor size
  • important controls are missing
  • very low battery capacity

Sony CCB-WD1 Camera Control Box for the RX0 camera introduced: Up to 100 cameras synchronized via network cable

The multi-camera control via network cable already announced at the presentation of the RX0is now released. Up to 100 RX0 cameras can be connected to an Ethernet network infrastructure via one CCB-WD1 control box each and controlled synchronously from a PC with a live preview image.

 

Sony RX0

Sony CCB-WD1 control box. [Photo: Sony]

Anyone who wants to capture multiple perspectives of a scene at the same time can now find the right solution for the RX0 from Sony: the new CCB-WD1 control box enables web browser-based control via PC over a wired IP (Internet Protocol) connection,” writes Sony in the press release on the new wired multi-camera control.

All, which feel addressed, must bring along however something small change for it because the concept requires per RX0, which costs in each case starting from approximately 800 dollars, one of the control boxes for again 749 dollars noncommittal price recommendation. So the set costs more than 1,500 dollars.

In the “making-of” video of the new example video we counted 30 cameras with control boxes, so that makes a good 45,000 dollars plus the necessary network infrastructure in the form of network switches and cables, which are very inexpensive, however, and then hardly matter. Sony has tested the setup with up to 100 units. This makes possible film effects such as “Bullet-Time”, immersion in “virtual reality” or unique perspectives of special moments.

If you use several RX0 cameras and control boxes, you can change the settings for all connected cameras at the same time. Even the triggers of all connected units can be switched synchronously to start or stop shooting at the same time. Video synchronization is also possible, which makes it easy to adjust the picture timing between the cameras. This reduces time gaps between the cameras and makes it easy to combine several shots for special effects.

Sending files directly to the connected PC is now also easily possible. Up to 4 GB per file can be processed. File names can be easily changed and specified to avoid confusion when managing multiple cameras. In total, up to 100 RX0 cameras and CCB-WD1 control boxes can be connected for Live View multi-camera recording.

 

Sony RX0

Sony CCB-WD1 control box with RX0. [Photo: Sony]

However, only the photos are still high-resolution, and the control box does not change that. For videos, the camera is internally limited to FullHD. 4K signal can only be obtained externally at the HDMI output. Accordingly, the example video “Fly into Orbit” is only available in FullHD.

The actually interesting slow-motion modes of the RX0 reduce the resolution drastically, even if a FullHD signal comes out at the end. When viewed on a larger monitor in full-screen mode, these quality differences in the example video are already very noticeable. Especially the passages with the slow-motion effects are noticeably blurred than the rest of the video.

Multi-camera control works with the RX0 but also wirelessly. With the new version 6.2 of the PlayMemories Mobile app, users can connect their smartphone or tablet to up to 50 RX0 cameras via an access point and control them simultaneously, provided that the access point and the smart device are not overwhelmed by this amount of cameras.

Besides the possibility to change important camera settings, all connected cameras can be switched on and off together.

Furthermore, the cameras can be controlled and triggered in separate groups. The new version 6.2 of the PlayMemories Mobile application was released in January 2018. The Sony CCB-WD1 Camera Control Box is available since February 2018.

But the operating concept lacks even the most elementary controls. The manufacturer has not even provided a separate video recording button. To record a video, the operating mode must be changed. But there is no control element for this either. Instead, you have to click through with the existing buttons and the monitor.

From photo program automatic to video program automatic, there are a total of seven button presses on three different buttons. Afterwards, the video recording can be started. Back to the photo shooting it goes afterwards in the same way. In theory, this is all easier remotely via smartphone. But first you have to get into the camera menu to connect to the smartphone. And if you then work with Sony’s smartphone app, you will soon discover that by no means everything that can be configured via the complex, page-long camera menus can be set. With this concept the RX0 remains a camera for special applications.

VMC-MM2 “sync cable” for the Sony RX0 announced: Record with two cameras simultaneously

Sony has announced a coiled cable called VMC-MM2, which allows the universal small Sony RX0 to connect to other Sony cameras (Alpha or Cyber-shot) and shoot simultaneously. This makes it possible, for example, to take photos and videos at the same time or to take two photos or videos with different focal lengths.

Sony RX0

Sony VMC-MM2 connection cable. [Photo: Sony]

The RX0 camera from Sony combines a compact design with good image quality thanks to a large 1-inch sensor and wide-angle fixed focal length lens. The Sony RX0 is the smallest camera in our market overview, it’s only about the size of an action camera, but has a much bigger sensor and therefore a better image quality.

In fact, the Sony RX0 is a camera for special applications. Directly only very cumbersome to use, their main focus is on the remote control. So far, Sony had mainly emphasized the use of several or very many RX0 cameras, which is a very special and above all very expensive application. This one, on the other hand, is also extremely attractive, affordable, and versatile.

 

Sony RX0

According to Sony, the VMC-MM2 cable is compatible with all Alpha and Cyber-shot cameras that have a multi-interface hot shoe. [Photo: Sony]

The small RX0 sits in the flash shoe of the main camera with a suitable (optionally available) bracket (e.g.  B.) like a clip-on flash or is attached to a bracket of the rig. A VMC-MM2 cable is used to make the electrical connection to the main camera (the main camera can be a Sony Alpha or Sony Cyber-shot compact camera). Once connected to the camera, the RX0 and main camera take a picture simultaneously when the shutter-release button is pressed fully.

If you want the RX0 to shoot video instead of photos, you must assign the “Video with Shutter” function to the shutter release button on the menu. This allows photographers or videographers to capture the same scene from two different angles or to choose different exposure times or apertures for both cameras. Especially for weddings, events, or press photographers these possibilities are especially suitable. This also makes it easy to capture the camera perspective as a video for a making-of video, for example  B.

The Sony VMC-MM2 cable is already available and its price is around 55 dollars. We have not tested it.

Sony DSC-RX0 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 1″ 13.2 x 8.8 mm (crop factor 2.7) 21.0 megapixels (physical), 15.3 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 2.8 µm
Photo resolution
4.800 x 3.200 pixels (3:2)
4.800 x 2.704 pixels (16:9)
4.272 x 3.200 pixels (4:3)
3.408 x 2.272 pixels (3:2)
3.408 x 1.920 pixels (16:9)
3.200 x 3.200 pixels (1:1)
3.024 x 2.272 pixels (4:3)
2.400 x 1.600 pixels (3:2)
2.400 x 1.352 pixels (16:9)
2.272 x 1.704 pixels (4:3)
2.128 x 1.600 pixels (4:3)
1.600 x 1.600 pixels (1:1)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Metadata Exif (version 2.31), DCF standard (version 2)
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 1000 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 960 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 500 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 480 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 250 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 240 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
Video format
AVCHD
XAVC S

Lens

Focal length 24 mm (35 mm equivalent) 7.7 mm (physical)
Sharpness range 20 cm to infinity (wide angle)
Aperture F4 to F4 (wide angle)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus mode Contrast autofocus with 25 measuring fields
Autofocus functions Single auto focus, manual, focus peaking, focus magnifier (9x)
Filter thread No filter thread

Viewfinder and Display

Display 1.5″ (3.8 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 230,400 pixels, brightness adjustable

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/32,000 to 1/4 s (Automatic) 1/32,000 to 1/4 s (Manual)
Exposure control Fully Automatic, Program Automatic, Time Auto, Manual, Motif Auto
Exposure Compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 125 to ISO 12.800 (automatic) ISO 125 to ISO 12.800 (manual)
Remote access Remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Scene modes 10 scene mode programs are available
Picture effects HDR effect, High Key, high-contrast monochrome, miniature effect, retro, selective color, sepia, soft focus, 17 other image effects
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, White balance bracket, Fine tuning, Shade, Underwater, Fluorescent lamp with 3 presets, Tungsten light, Manual
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Self-timer Self-timer with 10 s interval, special features: additionally 5 and 2 s self-timer
Recording functions AEL function

Flashgun Of The Sony RX0

Flash no built-in flash available

Equipment And Features

Memory
Micro SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I)
Microphone available
Power supply unit Power supply connectionUSB continuous power supplyUSB charging function
Power supply 1 x Sony NP-BJ1 (lithium-ion (Li-ion), 3.7 V, 700 mAh) 240 images according to CIPA standard
Playback functions Image rotation, image protect, playback histogram, playback magnifier, image index, slide show function
Face recognition Face detection, blink detection
Image parameters Sharpness, contrast, color saturation
Grille can be faded in during recording yes
Special functions Orientation sensor, Zebra function, Live View
Connections Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USB USB type: USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN: available (Type: B, G, N)
Audio output: no Audio input: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pin))
Video output: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods DPOF, Exif Print, PIM
Housing Splashproof, waterproof up to 10.0 m (class IPX8), dustproof, drop-resistant up to 2 m
Special features and miscellaneous Bionz X Image ProcessorDynamic Range AdjustmentDRO Exposure BracketHFR ModeProgram Auto

(Film)
Picture Profile: PP1-7 (Black Level, Gamma, Cine1-2, ITU709, ITU709 Color Phase, Color Depth)
Bravia SyncAudio Level MeterPreset

Focus Function (near / far)

Size and weight

Weight 109 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 59 x 40 x 30 mm

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Sony AC-UUD12 Power SupplySony
NP-BJ1 Special BatteryMicro
USB Cable
additional accessories Sony VCT-SGR1 (handle)
USB
USB 2.0 High Speed

 

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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.