Sony announces new RX0 II, an ultra-compact waterproof photo/video camera now with a flip screen
posted Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 12:30 PM EDT
Sony has announced the RX0 II, what they are billing as the "smallest and lightest premium ultra-compact camera." A waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, crushproof and extremely small "premium" camera, the RX0 II is capable of internal 4K recording and now includes a flip-up screen that tilts upwards 180 degrees and downward 90 degrees (for selfies, as you could guess). Sony has been careful with their wording regarding this camera, as they make sure to call it a compact premium camera capable of being taken "into places that no other camera can go," but stop short of calling it an "action camera." This may have been done to prevent the camera from being shoehorned as just a GoPro competitor, as based on the description of the product, Sony believes it's capable of much more.
The main featured specifications actually look really good on paper:
- Superb image quality delivered by 1.0-type stacked 15.3MP image sensor condensed into waterproof, rugged, highly compact body
- Features a ZEISS Tessar T* 24mm f/4 fixed wide-angle lens
- Movie shooting with 4K internal recording and new image stabilization solutions
- Advanced functionality for stills photography, including up to 1/32000 sec. anti-distortion shutter and up to 16fps continuous shooting
- Diverse range of shooting scenes enabled by waterproof 180-degree tiltable LCD panel and Clear Image Zoom
- Perfect for selfies with enhanced color reproduction, new Soft Skin Effect mode and advanced Eye AF
- Microphone jack and optional Shooting Grip (VCT-SGR1) delivers minimal and ideal Vlog shooting solution
- Multi-camera solution that enables creative video expression from various viewpoints
Like a GoPro or other action cameras similar in size, the RX0 II makes high-quality video. The RX0 II offers 4Kp30 internal movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning to collect approximately 1.7 times the amount of data required for 4K video. By oversampling this data, the appearance artifacts, such as moiré and "jaggies," is reduced to deliver clean, high-quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. Using the recently introduced Sony "Imaging Edge" mobile application, this footage can be transferred to a smartphone, edited and shared.
The RX0 II introduces in-body electronic stabilization for steady footage, even when shot handheld. This can be enhanced even further when footage is exported to a smartphone or tablet running Sony's "Movie Edit add-on" application, where the additional information captured during filming can be processed to produce a video with gimbal-like smoothness. An additional new feature that can be accessed via Sony "Movie Edit add-on" is Intelligent Framing, where the selected subject is kept in the center of the frame and image distortion is corrected in a final edit. Depending on where the video will be shared, a variety of aspect ratios can then be selected.
Additional movie features of the RX0 II include Super Slow Motion recording at up to 1,000 fps, uncompressed 4K HDMI output and simultaneous proxy movie recording. Users can utilize Picture Profile, S-Log2 and Time Code / User Bit functions as well.
But more than video, the RX0 II promises a high-quality photo taking experience. It boasts an anti-distortion shutter of up to 1/32,000 sec. and can shoot at up to 16 fps. In an upgrade from the original RX0, color reproduction has been enhanced for more natural-looking and vivid color of human skin tones. Sony also included an optional Soft Skin Effect can be applied to cover minor blemishes and wrinkles, likely similar to what the iPhone XS is doing with its front-facing camera. Rating and Protect functions can also be applied in-camera and a grouped display of continuously shot images can be viewed on the camera.
Sony's Eye AF, which is proving hugely popular with portrait photographers across the world, has been upgraded on the RX0 II. The speed, accuracy and operation of the Eye AF are said to be improved to make it even easier to capture a stunning portrait; a simple half-press of the shutter button will lock-on to the eye of the subject. The focused eye can also be selected (left / right / auto) in the menu or assigned to a custom button, allowing the user to concentrate on composition.
The camera can be set for interval shooting, so the tiny camera is capable of timelapse photography as well.
The RX0 II is also designed for multi-camera operation thanks to its ability to be controlled wirelessly using the Sony "Imaging Edge Mobile" application. Anywhere between five and 50 cameras can be controlled through an access point when this feature launches in the summer of 2019. What isn't clear is if it can operate with fewer than five cameras, as the Sony press release specifically stated between five and 50.
Further, the RX0 II is compatible with Sony's Camera Control Box, which would enable up to 100 cameras to be connected and controlled together in a wired multi-camera setup.
The Sony RX0 II camera will ship in April 2019 for approximately $700 US and $900 CA.