Sony Cyber-shot RX0 II (DSC-RX0M2) Review

Sony Cyber-shot RX0 II Review - We review the ultra-compact Sony RX0 II - the smallest digital camera with a 1inch sensor. Designed for stills and video, we find out how it performs.


|  Sony RX0 II in Compact Cameras
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Sony Cyber Shot RX0 II (2)

 

Quick Verdict

The Sony RX0 II is an ultra-compact premium camera that's waterproof and tough, with a 1inch sensor, a high-quality lens, and 4K video recording. For still photography the camera can produce some great looking photos, but can also be frustrating to use. For video use, it's small size, microphone socket, and new tilting selfie screen may be ideal, but there are a number of issues, most noticeably the short battery life, as well as the high price compared to other action cameras. 

+ Pros

  • Very compact, tough, and waterproof
  • Zeiss lens gives sharp images
  • 4K video recording
  • FullHD video at upto 120fps
  • High-speed video

- Cons

  • Small screen (and small menus)
  • Small controls
  • NTSC/PAL switch over required to change frame rates for video
  • Short battery life for video recording
 

 

RX0 II

The Sony RX0 II is the update to the RX0 adding a tilting screen, as well as internal 4K video recording, electronic image stabilisation, a closer focusing distance, and a number of other updates. This should address a number of the complaints we had with the original RX0, so let's find out how the RX0 II performs. 


 

Sony RX0 II Features

Sony Cyber Shot RX0 II (1)

The Sony RX0 II camera maintains the same rugged tough-ness as the original RX0, but the screen can now tilt forwards, for "selfies" and vlogging, you can also tilt it down, as well as away from the camera, which can help with viewing the screen, or for different angles.

The RX0 II is the World's smallest and lightest camera with a 1inch BSI CMOS sensor (for improved noise performance), and it's also waterproof down to 10m. You can use the camera as an advanced (but very compact) premium camera, but we suspect that most people will be using the camera for video. It's a premium alternative to the popular GoPro series of cameras, and has a price tag that puts it firmly in the "premium" category, being priced at around £730

With a tough metal body, and resistance to drops, shocks, and crushing, the RX0 II is a very rugged, and very tough looking and feeling camera. Many other action cameras offer waterproofing, but not the same level of toughness. If you're looking for another tough camera, then cameras like the waterproof Olympus Tough TG-6 also offer toughness. 

 

New features introduced with the RX0 II include:

  • Tilting screen
  • 4K internal recording
  • Electronic image stabilisation (for videos)
  • Shortened close-focus distance (20cm)
  • Soft Skin Effect
  • Eye-AF

 

The Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f/4 lens can now focus closer (20cm), and the camera features a 1inch BSI CMOS sensor, normally this would give you a 20mp image, but on the Sony RX0 II, you get 15.3mp images. 

You have all the same shooting modes as Sony's other cameras, it's just a little more difficult to switch the modes as there's no mode dial, or dedicated mode button - instead you need to access the function menu, and the first option lets you scroll through the modes available. The modes are:

  • Intelligent Auto
  • Superior Auto
  • Program Auto
  • Manual Exposure
  • Memory Recall
  • Intelligent Auto Video
  • Program Auto Video
  • Manual Exposure Video
  • High Frame Rate

 

Canon Powershot G5X II Vs Sony Cyber Shot RX0 II (2)

Here's a quick size comparison showing the RX0 II next to the Canon Powershot G5X II

 

The video or movie recording features of the RX0 II include: 4K video recording (internal), 30/24fps (NTSC), 25fps (PAL). FullHD video recording, up to 120fps (NTSC) or 100fps (PAL). High-speed video recording at 1000 / 500 or 250fps (PAL), or 960 / 480 / 240fps in NTSC. There's also built-in stereo microphones, and a microphone socket on the side.

Creative styles can be selected (with customisable contrast, saturation, sharpness). You can also select from a number of different Picture Profiles, and these let you customised: black level, gamma, black gamma, knee, colour mode (movie, still, cinema, pro, ITU709 Matrix, Black and white, and S-Gamut), and saturation. Great for videographers.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in. You can use this to connect to your smartphone or tablet, and remotely control the camera as well as transfer images. 

Sony Cyber Shot RX0 II (4)
 

Key Features

  • 15.3mp 1inch BSI CMOS sensor (Exmor RS)
  • Zeiss Tessar T* 24mm f/4 lens (24mm equivalent)
  • 1.5inch screen, 230K dots, tilting
  • 16fps continuous shooting
  • 20cm minimum focus distance
  • Waterproof and Dustproof (IP68, 10m), Shockproof (2m), Crushproof (200kgf)
  • 4K 30/25fps video, S-Log2
  • FullHD video at 120/100fps
  • 960/1000fps high-speed video
  • Stereo mics, microphone socket
  • Time-lapse / interval recording
  • ISO125-12800, extends to ISO80 to ISO25600 (Multi-Frame NR)
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in
  • HDR/DRO dynamic range options
  • Buy now on Amazon UK, Amazon USA

Sony RX0 II Handling

Sony Cyber Shot RX0 II (7)

Handling - The Sony RX0 II is a compact, square camera, with tough and ridged sides and top. The bottom features a standard (metal) tripod socket, and labels with the serial number on. The build quality appears to be very tough, you can feel the toughness and thickness of the metal body, and the small screen has solid feeling metal hinges. 

Care needs to be taken not to scratch the rear screen, as this is made of plastic and the camera we had for review managed to pick up a number of scratches on the back. If you do end up damaging the front glass, then it's possible to replace this, using the four torx screws in the corners of the camera. You can also add an adapter, the VFA-305R1, to support filters.

Using the camera, it can feel a little odd at times, particularly if you use it like you would any other compact camera. The buttons are very small, and with no other way to change settings, it can be awkward to change anything beyond the most basic settings. It can also be quite frustrating if you get the framing wrong on a shot because you couldn't see the small screen properly. However, if you use it for video, and use a small tripod or camera grip, then this makes the camera much better the handle. 

 

Sony Dsc Rx0m2

The menus are quite simply too small. Sony has used the same menu system as other Sony cameras (which isn't great to start with), but seem to have given no consideration to the fact that the screen is a tiny 1.5 inches in size, making the text too small, and difficult to read outdoors in bright light - ideally it would be useful if the text size was increased. Switching on the "Sunny Weather" setting for the screen brightness helps make it easier to see the screen, but this doesn't help with the small text size. When you're in 4K video mode, the screen brightness can't be changed, making it even more difficult to see the screen, presumably because the battery can't cope with the added battery drain.

Sony Cyber Shot RX0 II (9)

You can connect the camera to your smartphone, and use the smartphone screen as larger view to shoot and compose your shots (using Wi-Fi). Low-power Bluetooth means you can transfer images, without using as much power as Wi-Fi needs, saving some of your precious battery life. You can also use GPS data from your smartphone to add geolocation information to your photos. Sony's Imaging Edge Mobile app lets you control multiple cameras.

 

Sony Cyber Shot RX0 II (6)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 240 shots according to Sony / CIPA test results, which is average for a compact camera. Video recording time is 35 minutes, so a spare battery is highly recommended. Or an external USB powerbank, however, once the ports are open and accessible you no longer have a waterproof camera. 


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Photographs taken using the Sony RX0 II

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