Introducing the New Sony RX0

Sony Introduces a New Kind of Camera

Yesterday, at IFA 2017, Sony announced some new “innovations” (their word) and while most really didn’t mean much to me, there were a few items that caught my eye. The first was their new projector announcements (I have a pretty extensive background in video projection so I still follow that industry very closely). The second was the announcement of a new camera, the Sony RX0.

At a glance it looks like a new “action cam” – but a quick look at the specifications tells me it’s anything but a new entry to an existing digital imaging market. It’s something all together different from anything I’ve seen. For this article I’ll share some of the technical specifications and some thoughts about this camera and who it’s most likely aimed at.

the Sony RX0

the Sony RX0

When I first saw the new RX0 I was convinced it was a new action cam (something that I just haven’t been interested in owning or using, to date) and if we judge these things just on looks I think everyone would understand why. In appearance it looks like a “Go Pro” style camera. But because it was a new Sony camera I decided to go deeper than just the first impression and see what this new camera was all about.

In Sony’s official press release it says:

“The RX0 is a new digital camera that continues to feature the high-quality imaging capabilities that Sony has achieved over years with the RX series, while also boasting a robust and waterproof design — all in an ultra-compact body. This enables users to capture high-quality photos and videos in any shooting conditions including the rain, underwater, in sandy or dusty environments or in a scene where impact force is applied to a camera body. It also has the super slow motion recording capability to capture and replay fleeting moments of action in an impressive way.
The RX0 opens up entirely new imaging possibilities, and inspires an unprecedented scope of expression from all who take it in hand.”

So it’s a new camera with high quality imaging, is waterproof, small and crush resistant with super slow motion recording. OK, Sony, you have my attention…

Here’s a look at the specifications (I’ve highlighted in red the specs that I’m most interested in):

  • Outputs 4:2:2 UHD 4K Video via HDMI
  • Slow motion up to 960fps (NTSC) at HD 1920x1080p
  • Up to 1/32000 sec. Anti-Distortion Shutter (prevents “rolling shutter effect”)
  • Ultra-Compact, Lightweight Body
  • up to five units can be connected together with the Play Memories app (additional units can be controlled when an access point is used)
  • An optional ” Camera Control Box” can be used for wired connectivity
  • 20MP (15.3MP effective) 1″ Stacked CMOS Sensor
  • Timecode-Sync Multiple Cameras
  • Internally Records 1080p60 Video
  • Zeiss 24mm-Equivalent Lens, f/4 Aperture
  • XAVC-S, AVCHD and .MP4 Recording
  • Control via App or VP1K Remote
  • NTSC/PAL Switchable
  • Waterproof & Shockproof Body

OK – after reading the specifications I can honestly say I’m interested – but the real question is: what would I do with it?

Who the Sony RX0 is For

After spending the day thinking about the RX0 (and watching some of the cool videos Sony made available) it became obvious that this camera is aimed at movie/video producers who specialize in super cool special effects (think Matrix style “bullet time” shots). With a dozen of these cameras rigged up around a subject you can do some seriously cool stuff.

Obviously there’s all sorts of opportunities for cool shots using rigs you probably wouldn’t have previously thought about. Heck – with a camera this capable (and small) the production possibilities are just about endless.

Still photographers and videographers may not find all that much use for a camera like the RX0, but the fact that such a camera exists means there are now possibilities that didn’t exist before. Amateur film makers have been empowered in recent years (myself included) but special effects like multi camera capture is something truly exciting, if you ask me…

Will I Buy One?

This brings me to the real question: Would I buy one? I’m not really sure. The $700 price for a single Sony RX0 is a lot for a camera with such specialized usage (think of all the lighting or audio gear $700 can buy) – but it really looks like you need a few to really take advantage of it’s capabilities (along with the external 4K recorders and possibly a time code generator). Before you know it you’re investing several thousand dollars for a camera system that is only good for extremely specialized shots.

On the other hand – this kind of system is extremely inexpensive for design studios and smaller video production companies who never dreamed about getting all the gear necessary to create multi-camera effect shots. My friends at Ford Design, for example, probably have 30 or so of them on order already. A system like this is great for creating shots of a new design from several angles – which is something that is extremely useful in an industry like theirs…

Like all of the latest announcements I’ll be contacting my friends at B&H to get sample units out as soon as they’re available. Until I give them a thorough testing in the “real world” I can only guess about how I would integrate them into my business.

Price and Availability

The Sony RX0 has a Retail Price of $699.99 and shipments are expected to begin in October 2017.

A wireless multi-camera shooting solution capable of connecting additional RX0 units when an access point is used14 is currently under development with a target release date of January 2018 via firmware update. For users looking for a more reliable wired connection, a camera control box is being developed and will also be released in January 2018

The Sony RX0 will be available for preorders starting Sept 5 at B&H Photo here.

Note: all the images and videos in this article were supplied by Sony USA.

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