Available for pre-order now is the updated Sony RX100 VA Digital Camera, now with a few very promising features for pro shooters.
The RX100 has been a favorite B and C camera for many videographers who use other Sony cameras as their A-cam. It’s small enough that it passes as a Point-and-Shoot in restricted environments, or simply when portability is the ultimate priority.
While it looks like a consumer travel camera, the RX100 has specs that make it very attractive for professional video, such as UHD 4k at 30 and 24fps, ISO sensitivity up to 12,800, a good AF system, and a 1-inch sensor.
The RX100 VA has a built in 24-70mm f/1.8-f/2.8 lens, but we know that built in lens specs are never comparable to normal lenses on larger sensors. The focal length equivalent is more like 35mm, which is not that wide, and the aperture is most likely equivalent to f/5.6 and up.
Still, it’s highly useful for walkabout shooting and especially on a gimbal. There’s a built-in ND filter, digital zoom, and it has S-Log2.
And also there’s a built-in popup EVF that is a ton more convenient than the XC10/XC15’s magnifying loupe accessory.
There are a few updates to this model, but the most interesting one is that it now features dual video recording to two video files. That would be great if it did that to two SD cards, but we’re not sure what’s the advantage to recording duplicate video files on one card.
The other update is there’s a Gamma Display Assist feature, which gives you a more contrasty image on screen, while recording flat Slog2.
Tweaking an already stellar pocket-sized camera, the Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VA Digital Camera from Sony improves the existing RX100 V by increasing the buffer size to 233 images, reducing display lag time in the electronic viewfinder, and adding several small features over other aspects of the camera. With the 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor, the RX100 VA can output detailed images at sensitivities up to ISO 12800. The Fast Hybrid AF system has 315 focal-plane phase-detection points that cover 65% of the image area of the sensor and can achieve focus in as little as 0.05 seconds. That autofocus system is also capable of tracking subjects across the frame, even while shooting at high speeds. Sony’s BIONZ X processor enables continuous shooting up to 24 fps with the aforementioned buffer size of 233 JPEG images and improved High Frame Rate recording times.
Like the RX100 V, the RX100 VA can shoot HD video at 960 fps in High Frame Rate Mode and UHD 4K video at 30/24 fps. But a new feature of the RX100 VA is dual video recording, where the camera simultaneously records two video files at once. Also carried over from the RX100 V is Gamma Display Assist, which provides a more contrasty image while using a flat S-Log2 gamma, and the Photo Capture mode for pulling 8.29MP stills from your movies.
The RX100 VA keeps the same physical design as the RX100 V to keep compatibility with all accessories. A Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens still graces the front of the camera with an equivalent zoom range of 24-70mm and a fast f/1.8-2.8 maximum aperture that provides incredible flexibility in a wide range of shooting scenarios. A pop-up 0.39″ 2.36m-dot OLED Tru-Finder EVF and 3.0″ 1.23m-dot tilting LCD give you crystal clear previews of what you’re shooting. The RX100 VA also keeps the same lens control ring, built-in ND filter, and customizable buttons as its predecessor. It also has Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities for connecting to a smartphone.
- 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS CMOS Sensor & BIONZ X Image Processor
- The 20.1MP 1″ Exmor RS CMOS sensor of the RX100 VA can deliver outstanding image quality at up to ISO 12800 with incredibly fast performance. This sensor stacks the pixel area, a high-speed signal processing circuit, and memory to increase data throughput by over five times and deliver features such as 40x super slow motion, an Anti-Distortion shutter, UHD 4K video, and more. The sensor also has focal-plane phase-detection AF points for faster, more precise focusing in as little as 0.05 seconds.
This sensor is paired with the BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSI that improves the speed and throughput of the entire imaging system, enabling continuous shooting with AF/AE at up to 24 fps. An expanded buffer makes continuous shooting possible for longer bursts, up to 233 JPEGs. The front-end LSI is also able to improve overall quality of the images, especially at higher sensitivities.
- Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens
- With a 24-70mm equivalent zoom range, the integrated Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens lends itself to a wide variety of shooting situations. The wide angle to short telephoto range is a favorite among photographers and it is further befitted by the bright aperture range of f/1.8-2.8. This enables solid low-light performance and excellent control over depth of field.Two aspherical lens elements are incorporated into the lens design, minimizing chromatic aberrations and ensuring clear images. Zeiss’ premium multi-layered T* coating also reduces ghosts and flare caused by light reflecting.
- Fast Hybrid AF System with 315 Phase-Detection Points
- The RX100 VA is equipped with an on-sensor phase-detection AF system that provides increased autofocus speed for both stills and video. The camera uses a hybrid system with 315 phase-detection points that covers 65% of the frame along with a contrast-detection system to provide fast, accurate focusing in a range of situations. The RX100 VA also benefits from reduced blackout for easier tracking when using the EVF or LCD.
- UHD 4K Video Recording
- The RX100 VA is a video powerhouse, delivering up to 5-minute UHD 4K movies with exceptional clarity. By using a full pixel readout without binning, the camera collects about 1.7x the information needed for 4K output. Oversampling helps to increase clarity while reducing the effect of moire and jaggies. Fast Hybrid AF is available during movie shooting for ensuring accurate, fast tracking using phase-detection AF points. The camera also offers Sony’s advanced XAVC S format for recording a high bit rates up to 100 Mbps.
Picture profiles and image controls are also available, including the S-Log2 gamma that can help expand the dynamic range by recording a flat image. Gamma Display Assist helps users view a more natural image when shooting with S-Log2. Other options such as timecode, zebras, peaking, and more are present for making shooting and editing easier. When recording internally, users will record video with a 4:2:0 sampling at 8-bit, but the RX100 VA can output via HDMI to an external recorder. This allows users to capture 4:2:2 uncompressed video and save in an edit-ready format.The camera also has a Photo Capture function, which allows shooters to quickly save an 8.29MP still from their UHD 4K movies. Additionally, the camera is NTSC/PAL switchable, making it usable around the world.
- High Frame Rate and Slow Motion Shooting
- Speed is a huge advantage of the RX100 VA, and in video users will benefit from advanced High Frame Rate shooting and super slow motion. In Full HD, shooters will have access to a standard 120 fps setting that will enable outstanding slow motion when placed in an editing software. In addition to this, the camera also offers a dedicated HFR mode which will boost the cameras frame rate to up to 960 fps. Videographers will have the option of recording in Quality Priority and Shoot Time Priority modes, depending on preference. The camera will output a Full HD file from slightly lower resolutions to produce high quality images at all frame rates. Additionally, an end trigger mode enables users to record 4 or 6 seconds before the record button is pressed so the perfect moment isn’t missed.
- Body Design and Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Pop-up 0.39″ XGA OLED electronic viewfinder offers a resolution of 2.36m dots for crisp, clear imagery. The EVF also uses a Zeiss T* coating to ensure clarity from corner to corner.
- The rear 3.0″ Xtra Fine LCD screen can tilt upwards 180° and downwards 45° for shooting at different angles or for composing the perfect selfie. The screen sports a resolution of about 1.23m dots and WhiteMagic technology has been applied to the LCD’s design to increase effective brightness for easier viewing in bright lighting.
- A manual control ring surrounds the lens and features a smooth, click-less design for quick and quiet changing of settings. The ring can be assigned to control a variety of features, at different values, such as zoom, aperture, and Picture Effects.
- Custom button and other programmable buttons can be set to one of over 40 functions for quick access to commonly used settings.
- A built-in 3-stop neutral density (ND) filter is available to enable working in bright light with wider aperture settings.
- Pop-up flash will help illuminate subjects in dimly-lit scenes.
- A redesigned menu makes flipping through settings easier.
- Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity enables instant transferring of imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices, with no complex set-up required. Once connected, the linked mobile device can also display a live view image on its screen and, using Smart Remote Control, remotely control the camera’s shutter release. Additionally, the RX100 VA can now connect to a smartphone using a QR code for faster access.
- Other Camera Features
- Anti-Distortion electronic shutter can enable completely silent shooting as well as the ability to work at shutter speeds as fast as 1/32000 second. This shutter also keeps rolling shutter effects to an absolute minimum and enables photographers to work in bright light with wider apertures.
- Step Zoom lets you quickly change between five common focal lengths (24, 28, 35, 50, or 70mm) by rotating the control ring.
- Clear Image Zoom allows users to enlarge the center of the still or movie frame being shot by up to 5.8x equivalent when using optical zoom as well.
- Eye AF in AF-C mode will lock on and tack a subject’s eye, even as the face moves.
- Users can set a minimum shutter speed when using ISO AUTO to help minimize shutter blur.
- Creative Style settings: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, and Sepia (all with +/- 3 step contrast, saturation, and sharpness adjustment).
- Picture Effect modes: Posterization (Color, B&W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-Key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-Tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, and Illustration.
- Adjustable Picture Profile parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-2, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode (Movie, Still, Cinema, Pro, ITU709 Matrix, White & Black, S-Gamut), Saturation, Color Phase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, and Reset.