Sony RX0

Targeting what the company describes as a new mode of content creation involving multiple POV cameras, Sony announced the DSC-RX0, a new POV-style camera that can be controlled in sync with other cameras via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Sony calls this new style of capture “multi-viewing,” and says the RX0 was created expressly to meet that need. “Probably the most common manifestation of this idea of multi-viewing is what’s being done for VR capture,” said Mark Weir, Senior Manager of Technology for Sony Electronics. “This idea of being able to capture from a different point-of-view — and, in many cases, from many points of view — is what [the] RX0 has been designed to support.”

To get the idea across, Sony posted two videos. In one, “Ørbit in blue,” the RX0 captures a series of humans in motion from multiple, sometimes moving, perspectives using an array of RX0 cameras. The second video is a behind the scenes clip showing how more than 40 cameras were set up to capture those shots.

Unveiled on the eve of IFA in Berlin, the RX0 captures images with a 1.0-type stacked-CMOS Exmor RS sensor with approximately 15.3 active megapixels. In-camera recording is limited to 1080/60p to AVCHD, XAVC S, or MP4 files, but the camera also outputs 8-bit 4:2:2 4K (3840×2160) at 24p, 25p or 30p via HDMI. A super-slow-motion mode allows lower-quality recording of up to seven seconds of footage at 240, 480 or 960fps (NTSC) or 250, 500 or 1000fps (PAL).

The sensor’s read speed — the effective shutter speed apparently reaches up to 1/32,000 of a second — is so high that typical CMOS rolling-shutter artifacts are “virtually” eliminated, Weir said. The camera supports Picture Profiles and S-Log 2 and S-Gamut to maintain latitude for color-grading.

The camera body is less than two and a half inches wide, but still sports a rear-facing LCD screen, physical buttons and a menu system for control, along with a MicroHDMI jack, mic input, and Micro MS Duo/Micro SDXC slot. It’s waterproof to 10m, can withstand a 2m drop, and is crushproof at 200 kg/foot, Sony said.

Key to the RX0’s “multi-viewing” capabilities is the PlayMemories Mobile app, which can control up to five cameras at a time. The cameras can be powered up via Bluetooth command, and can be monitored, started or stopped, or have settings adjusted via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The ability to control many more cameras via a Wi-Fi access point is “coming soon,” Weir promised. And, next February, Sony plans to release a new accessory that allows the cameras to be controlled over a wired network via PC and ethernet hub.

“Control over IP from an ethernet switch and a PC with an ethernet cable will become possible a couple months after introduction,” Weir explained. “On the wireless side, freedom of motion during capture is the advantage,” Weir said. “Wired is for fixed locations with locked down cameras.” Accessories connected to the network switcher via ethernet and to each camera via MicroUSB will provide camera control, power, and video transfer capabilities.

Sony’s accessory line-up for the camera includes a camera cage, an underwater housing, a new battery and accessory kit, a spear lens protector, a filter adapter kit, and a cable protector.

The DSC-RX0 is expected to ship in October for $699.

Sony RX0: