We have to give Sony credit — it’s hard to surprise us with a camera, but they managed it! They’ve expanded their RX line of cameras with the RX0, a very expensive fixed-lens camera in a tiny box. It’s got the usual Sony quality to it, but from what we can tell, it might be the most niche consumer camera we’ve ever seen from them.
The RX0 is strikingly tiny at just 2 3/8″ x 1 5/8″ x 1 3/16″, so you know it’s not going to have the super powerful sensors and optics we see in other Sony cameras. It’s no slouch, though — the RX0 has a 1.0-type stacked 15.3 MP Exmor RS CMOS sensor behind a Zeiss Tessar T* 24 mm f/4 wide-angle lens, along with Bionz X image processing. The shutter speed can get up to 1/32000 second and the camera can shoot at 16 fps, while ISO tops out at 25600. Sony has included a microphone jack for use with external mics to help record better audio, and there’s a 1.5″ display on the back to check on shots, too,
The camera is built to take a beating. Sony says the camera is IP68-equivalent, making it dust- and waterproof. It’s also met military-grade standards for protection against shock, and Sony has tested the body enough to call it crushproof. Normally, that would lead us to call this an action cam, but we’re not so sure that’s what this is.
For one, Sony already has a line of perfectly good action cams, some of which can take 4K video. While the RX0 can take 4K video, it needs to be attached to an external recorder to do so, and we’re not sure how many frames per second you can record in. On top of that, the RX0 does not have a GPS chip, nor does it have any sort of electronic or physical stabilization. Despite the ruggedness, it doesn’t seem like something meant to be strapped to a surfboard or a bike helmet.
At $700, it’s sure not priced like an action cam, either. My impression of the RX0 is that it’s not meant to be anyone’s primary camera, and that probably means it’s for someone who’s already invested a lot of money in camera equipment. For those people, it might be a worthwhile buy — even if it might only be worthwhile only if they buy more than one. Sony says 15 RX0 units can be controlled simultaneously by their radio commander, a number that drops to five if you use the Sony PlayMemories app for control, instead.
With how small the cameras are, this should make it really easy for creators to use multiple cameras to record scenes from several angles. Sony suggests this can allow people to create bullet time-style scenes (relevant: the camera can shoot 960 fps at 1920 x 1080 for some crazy slo-mo action), but with that many synced up camera angles, I’m sure there’s loads more cool ideas that more creative people than I can come up with.
It seems like Sony has made the RX0 rugged more to make them trustworthy professional or semi-pro grade cameras — despite their size, they seem like they’ll perform best when in a fixed position. If that’s all cool with you, you can pick up an RX0 or 15 for $700 each when the cameras ship in October.
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