Sony RX0 II Review: Actioncam With Moving Display and Internal 4K Recording

Sony RX0 II Review:  Actioncam With Moving Display and Internal 4K Recording

This is the review of the Sony RX0 II that we have received for testing right before the coronavirus outbreak and that we could not return to the dealer for some time. The smallest “premium compact camera” by far, the Sony DSC-RX0, gets an improved sister model, which now finally does what was sorely missed on the original RX0: 4K videos can now be stored internally on the memory card (at 24, 25 or 30 fps).

Until now, this could only be done with an external recorder, which was very much against the concept of the tiny, waterproof and robust camera. In addition, there is now also a swivel monitor and video stabilization.

Pros And Cons Of The Sony RX0 II

Pros

  • very small, robust housing
  • waterproof to 10 meters
  • for a camera of this size very good image quality (even with 4K video)
  • many interfaces (incl. HDMI and microphone)
  • tilting monitor

Cons

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

sony RX0 II

The tiny Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II is waterproof and robust. For good image quality, it uses Sony’s well-known 1-inch sensor, of which it unfortunately only uses around 75 percent of its surface area. [Photo: Sony]

The smallest “premium compact camera” by far, the Sony DSC-RX0, gets an improved sister model, which now finally does what was sorely missed on the original RX0: 4K videos can now be stored internally on the memory card (at 24, 25 or 30 fps). Until now, this could only be done with an external recorder, which was very much against the concept of the tiny, waterproof and robust camera. In addition, there is now also a swivel monitor and video stabilization.

So Sony introduced in 2020 an exciting newcomer to the compact camera market with the introduction of the world’s smallest and lightest premium compact camera, the Sony RX0 II (DSC-RX0M2 model) with a large one-inch sensor. The new one in the range has inherited many of the features of its predecessor: a waterproof and dust-resistant as well as shockproof and shatterproof housing, for example.

At the same time, the new RX0 features internal 4K video function, an LCD screen that tilts up to 180 degrees backward and 90 degrees forwards, even underwater, and image stabilization in video mode.

Inside the Sony RX0 II is a 1.0-inch multilayer Exmor RS CMOS image sensor with 15.3 megapixels plus BIONZ X image processor, providing enhanced color reproduction, including natural skin tones, compared to its predecessor.

This powerful combination provides extremely fast image processing and outstanding image quality for still and video images with a wide sensitivity range from ISO 80 for photos up to ISO 12800 for extra fast shooting in dark environments. The ZEISS Tessar T* 24-mm F4 wide-angle fixed focal length has a short minimum focus distance of 20 centimeters and is therefore perfect for selfies or tabletop photos.

We were not quite sure what to think of the first version of the Sony RX0, which was introduced a couple of years ago.

During our test of the RX0, however, it became clear that it’s more of a camera in the classic sense of the word, although of course, it’s quite different. This was mainly due to the operation and the fact that the first RX0 could only store a maximum of FullHD videos internally. That was a bit unusual at the end of 2017 and disqualified a camera in this price range as a contemporary action camera or video camera.

This limitation is now over when we are doing this review update in 2020: The second edition of the RX0, practically the RX0 Mark II, can now record 4K video at up to 30 frames per second internally. But at the same time, it becomes more like a camera again, because it even has a folding monitor.

Of course, it is still tiny: 1.5 inches small. But it can be tilted up to 90 degrees down and 180 degrees up. With it then also selfie photographs are possible. You shouldn’t get too close to the camera on those, though, because the Sony RX0 II, like its predecessor, doesn’t have the fisheye lens typical of action cameras, but with a 24 mm equivalent 35 mm focal length, it does have a fairly extreme wide-angle.

People photographed with such a lens from close up do not look up very well. But if one keeps a proper distance to the camera during the shooting, it might be difficult to recognize anything on the monitor with a diagonal of only 3,8 cm.

Basically, such a flip-up display isn’t bad, especially since in the case of the Sony RX0 II, all the buttons on the back fold up as well, so that they are also easily accessible when you’re in front of the camera. However, the monitor tilt technology has one disadvantage, if you like: The case becomes thicker. The depth increases from 30 to 35 mm. And it’s also a bit heavier: 132 grams instead of the former 109 grams ready for use (incl. battery and memory card), the Sony RX0 II weighs in.

There is a third new feature: an electronic video stabilization. This takes advantage of the fact that there is a lot of space that can be used for stabilization between the 15.3 megapixels used by the 1-inch image sensor (whose area is only used to about three quarters in the tiny camera, though) and the space used for 4K videos (8.3 megapixels) or FullHD videos (2 megapixels).

This could work out well! Of course, this reduces the effectively usable image angle a little, but this can be easily overcome. By the way, zooming can also be done almost losslessly with similar technology: In 4K videos at least with a zoom factor of max. 1.5, whereas a maximum factor of 2 is possible in FullHD.

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Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II with monitor in selfie position. [Photo: Sony]

Interestingly, Sony has apparently lowered the price for the new model or rather includes the camera to handle VCT-SGR1 as a standard accessory in the bundle, which alone has an RRP of 119 dollars. Both together should cost 800 dollars. The predecessor model is 50 euros higher and is also currently traded from around 700 dollars. So the new Sony RX0 II clearly offers more for the money!.

sony RX0 II

The monitor of the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II can be tilted up to 90 degrees down and up to 180 degrees up. [Photo: Sony]

sony RX0 II

The tiny monitor of the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II folds out far back on a sturdy hinge and can then be swiveled up, down or into the selfie position. [Photo: Sony]

With the “Mark 2”, Sony is launching the second edition of its tiny RX0. New features are a now foldable monitor and the internal 4K video recording, which we had painfully missed in the first edition, as well as video stabilization. In return, the Sony RX0 II gains a bit in case depth and weight, but not in price. Since the introduction of the first RX0, Sony has launched a number of accessories for it. We tried the VCT-SGR1 handle, which could improve the handling of the tiny camera.

For those who don’t know the first RX0, we recommend reading our review of the Sony DSC-RX0. In the test report, we tried to classify what the tiny RX0 actually is and what not.

A little action camera, but somehow not. A little outdoor camera. A bit of a premium compact camera, but not really. A smartphone add-on camera, but it doesn’t bring much-added value.

But we had also found some possible applications for the camera: Spy camera, noble dashcam, and super slow-motion camera. It was meant quite seriously. Of course, all this still applies to the second edition.

The swivel monitor and the now possible internal video resolution naturally open up new application possibilities.

The Sony RX0 II is – at least for certain situations – an acceptable video camera. And we don’t think it’s too bad as a camera for street photography either, because with the panning monitor you can hold it very inconspicuously and take pictures from the hip, so to speak, and thus unobtrusively capture scenes that might not have been possible with a larger, more striking camera.

Tilt Monitor Of The Sony RX0 II

The swivel monitor, or more precisely, the mechanics of the swivel monitor, is super well done. The tiny camera is still waterproof and robust – despite the swivel monitor. This snaps back to the housing with a full “clack” of magnets when you flip it back on. When unfolded, it can be folded up completely to the selfie position (180 degrees) or folded down by up to ninety degrees.

The hinges make an extremely stable impression but also need space. The mechanics are now located approximately where the monitor was previously installed. The monitor itself sits in a stable frame, which makes the case 5 millimeters thicker and 22 grams heavier.

However, the proportions are still quite successful and neither the increase in size nor the increase in weight should be a reason to prefer the predecessor instead. The fact that the monitor now swivels is great. The fact that he is still so tiny, however, is still crap. To the right of the monitor and below it are six equally tiny buttons.

With these, you should still be able to operate a menu that is practically identical to that of other Sony cameras. As nice as it is that Sony users can find their way around it immediately: What good is that if the tiny writing is only decipherable with a magnifying glass or reading glasses for many people?

In addition, the operating concept still suffers from the fact that even the most important functions, such as switching from photo to video or selecting the operating mode, can only be carried out in a very complicated way by pressing several buttons and looking at the small stamp-sized display.

A place for an extra video start-stop button would certainly have been found on the tidy top side. Only the on/off switch and the (after all two-stage) shutter release are located there.

sony RX0 II

The monitor of the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II can be tilted up to 90 degrees down and up to 180 degrees up. [Photo: Sony]

So, in terms of the operation, which we had criticized a lot on the RX0, nothing at all has improved. We have therefore tried the handle VCT-SGR1. It has separate buttons for photo and video. With it, you can actually take photos and videos directly, without having to change the mode cumbersomely via the menu.

The handle also has a zoom rocker, but this doesn’t make much sense on the RX0 and Sony RX0 II, as they don’t have an optical zoom.

Theoretically, it is possible to zoom a little bit digitally without having to extrapolate the image. But that’s not worth mentioning. We also do not think much of the so-called “clear image zoom”, in which the camera-internal image processing does its best to make the detail enlargement look good. The handle communicates with the Sony RX0 II and any camera it’s compatible with via a cable and micro-USB port – that’s a whole lot of current Sony cameras.

With the RX0, you have to open the flap on the back left side and remove it. You have to dare to “rip” her retaining strap out of the camera. You don’t damage it in the process, but it goes back in just as well. This is intended by the manufacturer. This is certainly not a masterpiece of Japanese engineering.

A disadvantage of the completely open terminal strip is of course that there is no weather protection. If you want, you can use the cable fuse that comes with the camera, which provides some mechanical protection.

By the way, the handle is also a halfway practical table tripod, but you can only adjust the inclination. All in all, our enthusiasm for the individually and officially 119 dollars expensive accessory is limited. The recommended retail price for the handle seems to us to be clearly too high. However, some dealers now offer the handle at a much lower price. Then he might be worth considering.

sony RX0 II

The monitor of the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II moves along with its buttons. That makes sense. [Photo: Sony]

Video Of The Sony RX0 II

Let’s get to the biggest innovation, the now possible internal 4K video recording directly in the camera. If you haven’t followed the matter with the predecessor model RX0, you’re probably wondering why we always emphasize this “internally”. In fact, the RX0 was also able to film in 4K, but couldn’t store it on the inserted MicroSD card, only output it to the HDMI socket.

So, at least in theory, you could connect a large external recorder to the HDMI socket and record the camera’s 4K video, i.e. store it in the base. Surely any special applications can be constructed where such a thing makes sense. But this is not practical and somehow runs contrary to the concept of the small camera.

sony RX0 II

Because the Sony RX0 II has no program dial, even switching from photo to video, for example, must be done with several keystrokes using the small screen and the directional buttons.

The Sony RX0 II can now save the 4K video directly to the memory card. Why this works with the Sony RX0 II and not with the RX0 is not known.

In the last test, we suspected either thermal problems or that the mini battery would then run out too quickly. 4K videos are very computationally intensive and creating and storing them generates a lot of heat.

Perhaps Sony has now somehow solved this by making the case slightly larger, or rather “outsourcing” the monitor. Both concerns are unfortunately confirmed.

When filming in 4K, the camera has two settings in the setup menu that determine the recording time. In standard mode, the Sony RX0 II only gets hand-warm externally, but depending on the start temperature, the videos already break off under “desktop conditions” (no sunlight) after a maximum of about 13 minutes and the camera switches off.

If the recording is then restarted immediately, it can be finished again after only 2 minutes. If they are left to cool for longer, it is sometimes 8 minutes, sometimes 12 minutes. We were able to record a total of 47 minutes of 4K video in five clips, then the low-power 700mAh battery was empty.

If you set it to “high temperature” in the setup, a warning message will appear every time the camera is switched on, telling you not to use the camera with your hand, but to mount it on a tripod, for example,  B.

In this setting, the camera will continue to shoot until the memory card is full or the battery is exhausted. For testing purposes, we gave you a 64GB memory card at 4K with 60 MBit/s. 2 hours and 24 minutes in one piece were the results.

The aluminum housing of the camera serves as a heat sink and actually gets very warm over time. So warm that you really don’t like to hold them in your hand anymore (but you don’t really burn yourself either).

In this mode, the handle would be useful. Normally, however, the camera will surely be permanently mounted somewhere.

Of course, such long recording times don’t work with the internal battery, it is then empty after about 45 minutes.

But if you want to film longer, you can simply connect the Sony RX0 II to an external power supply via micro-USB (e.g.  B. an external smartphone battery or a USB charger, also e.g.  B. a USB adapter in the car) and then have practically unlimited battery capacity (this is how we achieved the almost 2.5 hours until the memory card was full). By the way, the sound recorded along with the video is really clear and good, even via the internal microphones, and has a great stereo effect.

The microphones for this are not, as usual with action cams, scattered somewhere on top or on the side of the housing, but rather very cleanly next to each other on the front. If you want, you can still connect an external microphone via a stereo mini-jack without any problems.

Sony RX0 II Image Quality For Pictures

We tested the Sony RX0 II like any other digital camera through normal usage and with the test software. This was no problem at all, considering the 24mm lens (35mm equivalent).

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 slightly less than 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, with a smooth 58 line pairs per millimeter in 35mm equivalent, a good value for just over 15 megapixels and an increase of about 20 percent over the previous model.

Towards the edge of the image, the resolution drops to about 42 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 II

Despite its tiny size, the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II even has an HDMI and a direct microphone connection. For the memory card slot, Sony continues to rely on double compatibility with MicroSD and MemoryStick. [Photo: Sony]

sony RX0 II

To protect the filigree sockets, the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II is supplied with a cable guide shaft to prevent the connectors from kinking. [Photo: Sony]

The signal-to-noise ratio is OK and is in the acceptable range of 35 to 40 dB from ISO 80 to 1,600. Above ISO 1,600, however, 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. With the Sony RX0 II, the strong oversharpening of the predecessor is a thing of the past and artifacts do not create artificial details in the image.

At ISO 800 and above, artifacts decrease to normal levels; above this sensitivity, fine details are slowly lost because they are removed along with the sensor’s image noise. At around ISO 3,200, the images become visibly blurred without becoming unusable. Even the maximum ISO setting of ISO 12,800 can be used conditionally.

So the Sony RX0 II still provides 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 Sony RX0 II is a bit disappointing in contrast to its predecessor. Between ISO 400 and 800, it provides a dynamic range over ten aperture stops. Up to ISO 6.400, it loses about two f-stops, at ISO 12.800 another one to a meager seven f-stops dynamic range.

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 just over 160 brightness gradations of 256 possible.

At ISO 3,200, only an acceptable value is achieved with less than 128 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.

sony RX0 II

The tiny 700mAh battery is inserted into the side of the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II. The flap is waterproof and well locked. [Photo: Sony]

sony RX0 II

The Sony VCT-SGR1 handle is not only suitable for the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II, but also for many other Sony cameras. It can make handling easier, especially with the separate video button. [Photo: Sony]

sony RX0 II

In addition to the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II, an optional microphone can also be mounted on the VCT-SGR1 handle via a rail. [Photo: Sony]

The Sony RX0 II doesn’t take colors too seriously. Thus, many color tones, especially those with a red component, are clearly supersaturated. Fortunately, the pure hue deviation looks a little better.

So it shows that the pictures should look crisp and bright instead of neutral. After all, the Sony RX0 II 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. At ISO 6,400, the camera can no longer display two million colors, which is not very convincing.

So, all in all, the photos 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, losses begin to be seen, which becomes more visible at ISO 3.200 and 6.400. ISO 6.400 should rather be avoided and at ISO 12.800, you shouldn’t expect miracles from the image quality.

sony RX0 II

Very nice: Unlike many action cams, the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II has a stable metal tripod thread in the middle of the underside and can, therefore, be attached directly anywhere with the appropriate standard accessories. [Photo: Sony]

In practice, outside the test software, however, the Sony RX0 II 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, as does the effective crop factor of 3 instead of 2.7, but as soon as the light diminishes, especially 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 cannot get much out of the wide-angle of only F4.

sony RX0 II

On the tidy top of the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II, we painfully miss a separate video button or mode selector. [Photo: Sony]

sony RX0 II

Not only does the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II’s case look a bit like a heat sink, but it actually has this function, because without temperature limitation the camera gets very warm when filming in 4K. [Photo: Sony]

The Sony RX0 II offers many more features for taking pictures in addition to video. The camera shutter makes times of up to 1/32,000 seconds possible. This effectively minimizes distortion and provides up to 16 frames per second in a row.

The color reproduction has been improved even further compared to the original RX0. Straight skin tones are reproduced realistically and the optional “Soft Skin Effect” conceals minor blemishes and wrinkles. Rating and protection functions can be selected directly in the camera. Continuous shots can easily be viewed individually on the camera.

Sony’s eye autofocus, which has won over portrait photographers worldwide, has been improved for the Sony RX0 II, making it even easier to capture portraits by improving speed, accuracy, and operation.

When the shutter-release button is pressed halfway, the focus is automatically shifted to the subject’s eyes. The focused eye can be selected in the menu (left/right/automatic) or assigned to a button to allow the photographer to concentrate fully on the composition.

Interval shots can be converted into a stunning time-lapse video using Sony’s Imaging Edge desktop application “Viewer”.

sony RX0 II

The Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II is so small that it allows all kinds of unusual shooting perspectives. [Photo: Sony]

Multi-Camera Options 

Sony’s “Imaging Edge Mobile” application can control up to five Sony RX0 II cameras and between six and 50 cameras via an access point such as the new Imaging Edge software for smartphones and PC. This function is added by a firmware update 2019. The Sony RX0 II is also compatible with the CCB-WD1 controller, which enables networking and control of up to 100 cameras. These multi-camera solutions open up completely new recording possibilities and perspectives.

Sony RX0 II Image Quality For Video

Video recordings from the Sony RX0 II are of really good quality, even in 4K. The small camera can write data rates of up to 100 MBit/s to correspondingly fast memory cards. The videos are correspondingly clean and have a few compression artifacts.

The changeover 25 versus 30 fps is done by switching PAL/NTSC, which is actually an anachronism when the camera was launched in 2020. The memory card must be formatted. This can be annoying, especially if you have already taken a few photos and want to film and then find out that the camera is running in the wrong mode (if you can even see that on the tiny screen).

A new feature of the second version of the RX0 is the video image stabilization, which of course we also looked at. Our enthusiasm, however, has its limits. In 4K the stabilizing effect is quite low.

The effect is much better when filming in FullHD. The difference is that the camera crops the field of view differently when the stabilization is switched on. At 4K, “only” 480 pixels of “air” remains left and right, which can be cut off. 520 pixels each at the top and bottom can be used for stabilization. This sounds like a lot, but in practice, it is not enough for well stabilized freehand videos.

Pure vibrations (up/down) are still stabilized well, but especially when the camera is rotated (in the lens axis), the stabilization at 4K resolution quickly reaches its limits. This looks visibly better in FullHD, where the camera can select an even smaller image section, and thus has correspondingly more space in which the electronic image stabilization can work – but also significantly less wide-angle.

sony RX0 II

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

After all, 4K still results in “real 4K” at the end and it is not – as with current action cams, e.g.  B. by GoPro or DJI with a small 4:3 format 12-megapixel sensor – first clipped down to a value of less than 4K for stabilization and then scaled up to 4K.

Nevertheless, it is a great pity – especially for image stabilization – that the lens in the RX0 and Sony RX0 II uses only part of the surface of the 20-megapixel sensor. If the full area were used, there would be much more room for image stabilization in 4K. The short high-speed videos that the Sony RX0 II 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.

The Sony RX0 II can record films internally in 4k 30p with full pixel readout without pixel binning and captures approximately 1.7 times the data required for 4K shots. This high sampling rate reduces moiré effects and image errors and delivers smooth, high-quality 4K content with exceptional accuracy and depth. Sony’s recently launched “Imaging Edge” mobile applications allow users to transfer their recordings to a smartphone, edit them on it and easily share them on social networks.

sony RX0 II

In addition to the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II, an optional microphone can also be mounted on the VCT-SGR1 handle via a rail. [Photo: Sony]

The Sony RX0 II also features built-in electronic image stabilization for blur-free video recording. If the recordings are exported to a smartphone or tablet with the film editing add-on, the content can be further optimized: This is where the additional information captured during recording is processed so that a video can be calculated without any additional shaking – almost as if it had been recorded with a gimbal.

In addition, Sony’s film editing add-on provides access to the new Intelligent Positioning feature, which keeps the selected subject in the center of the frame and corrects image distortion in a final edit. Depending on where the video is split, the required aspect ratio can then be selected.

Other recording features of the Sony RX0 II include Super Slow Motion recording at up to 1000 frames per second, uncompressed 4K output via HDMI and simultaneous proxy movie recording. Users can use Picture Profile, S-Log2 and time code/stamps to ensure that the result matches their creative vision.

sony RX0 II

The Sony VCT-SGR1 handle is apparently now included in the Sony DSC-Sony RX0 II. [Photo: Sony]

Sony RX0 II: Is It Worth It; Conclusions 

The Sony RX0 II is a camera for special applications. Even though Sony calls it a still camera, the video function seems equally important, especially since the camera can now record 4K videos internally in its second edition.

The picture (and sound) quality of photos and videos is really good. The effect of video image stabilization, especially at 4K, is small and by no means replaces a gimbal.

We find the operability of the RX0 to be underground. The swivel monitor is practical, but it is much too small and the menus are not adapted to it. People with less good eyesight are likely to find the camera difficult to operate due to the complex menus on the tiny monitor. The smartphone app only relieves this to a limited extent. Moreover, elementary controls are missing, not even a dedicated video trigger is available.

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Sony RX0 and Sony RX0 II presented at a branch of Big Camera in Tokyo (the photo was taken with our Sony RX0 II test device). [Photo: Sony]

You can count on the Sony RX0 II even in difficult places. It measures just 59 x 40.5 x 35 millimeters (WxHxD) and weighs only 132 grams including the battery. The Sony RX0 II fits easily into any pocket and is always ready for use. It is waterproof (up to ten meters deep), dust-resistant, shockproof (up to two meters) and unbreakable (up to 200 kilopond).

Brief assessment

Pros

  • very small, robust housing
  • waterproof to 10 meters
  • for a camera of this size very good image quality (even with 4K video)
  • many interfaces (incl. HDMI and microphone)
  • tilting monitor

Cons

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

Sony GP-VPT2BT Handle For Mirrorless And RX Cameras

For your own Vlog (video blog) to be really successful, you need videos that don’t look as if you’ve held the camera spasmodically with one hand, and this is exactly where the GP-VPT2BT from Sony comes in.

The compact handle is not only compatible with Sony Alpha and some RX cameras but also connects wirelessly to the camera, making tedious cable connections a thing of the past.

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Sony GP-VPT2BT. [Photo: Sony]

However, the GP-VPT2BT has not been developed exclusively for VLoggers. Travel photography and the popular selfies are also part of the handle’s field of application.

The non-slip design is protected against moisture and dust, but Sony makes it clear that there is no such thing as 100% protection from these two elements.

The handle also has a convenient pan function that allows the photographer to flexibly align the camera horizontally by 360 degrees and vertically by -80 degrees to 90 degrees. Furthermore, the handle can be used as a small table tripod. However, the maximum weight of the mounted camera including lens must not exceed 1.5 kilograms.

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Sony GP-VPT2BT with Alpha 6600 in use. [Photo: Sony]

The already mentioned wireless connection to the camera is established via the power-saving Bluetooth connection. It allows for shutter release and zoom adjustment (RX cameras), there is also a video trigger as well as an individual button and a small locking switch.

The GP-VPT2BT is compatible with the following cameras (as of April 2020): Alpha 9 II, Alpha 9, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7 III, Alpha 6600, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6100, RX100 VII, Sony RX0 II. However, compatibility requires that the camera’s firmware is up to date. The Sony GP-VPT2B handle is available since 2020 for just under 200 dollars from specialist retailers.

Press Release From Sony

Below we reproduce the original press release, which still contains some interesting details, especially for those who are not yet familiar with the RX0 series.

The world’s lightest and most compact premium camera: the Sony RX0 II from Sony

The new Sony RX0 II combines the best of the first generation with many new intelligent features: 4K video is now internally possible. The display can be tilted and image stabilization is also provided.

Inside the new camera is a multi-layer one-inch sensor with 15.3 megapixels. The housing is compact, robust and waterproof. The ZEISS Tessar T* 24-millimetre lens stands for first-class image quality. To ensure that the sound quality is also right, the camera has a separate microphone socket and harmonizes perfectly with the VGC-SGR1 recording handle.

Sony Firmware Update for the Sony RX0 II: Firmware 2.00

Sony has released a firmware update (version 2.00) for its Sony RX0 II ultra-compact camera (model DSC-RX0M2G) with a 1-inch sensor, providing important updates such as AF-S during movie recording, improved operational stability and compatibility with the optional RMT-P1BT wireless remote control.

With the update to version 2.00 and the addition of AF-S during movie recording, Sony is improving the internal 4K 30p recording and usability of the Sony RX0 II.

The AF-S function is located in the camera’s menu settings and can be activated during recording by pressing the shutter release button halfway. When this function is activated,
noise is generated by the autofocus and when the angle of view is changed.
To prevent these sounds from being recorded, the use of an external microphone is recommended.

In addition to the new features, the firmware update improves the operational stability of the camera and adds compatibility with the RMT-P1BT wireless remote control, allowing users to capture their subjects from any angle.

The firmware upgrade of version 2.00 can be downloaded free of charge from the Sony support page (see link).

Sony RX0 II Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 1″ 13.2 x 8.8 mm (crop factor 2.7) 21.0 megapixels (physical), 15.3 megapixels (effective)
Crop factor effective 3,0
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
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 120 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 100 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) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
Maximum recording time 45 min
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, tilts 180° up to 90° down

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 Cable release, Bluetooth release, remote control via smartphone/tablet
Scene modes 10 scene modes 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

Flash no built-in flash available

Equipment And Features

Memory
Micro SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I)
GPS function GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)
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, USBUSB type
: USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
Audio output: noAudio 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 132 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 59 x 41 x 35 mm

Miscellaneous

standard accessory Sony AC-UUD12 AC adapterSony
NP-BJ1 Special batterySony
VCT-SGR1 (handle)
Micro USB cable
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.