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Andrew Reid

Sony RX0 II gains Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens mount with special mod

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rx0-ii-ribcage-mod.png

Ever felt like owning a cheaper Komo... Erm, small dragon-like camera? Well now you're in luck. The Sony RX0 II has morphed into a living, fire breathing Super 16mm cinema camera thanks to this mod adding an exchangeable Micro Four Thirds & C-mount lens mount, removable IR cut filter and fast apertures to your previously drab F4.0 action-camera.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I've used the Backbone products and have a history of many years working professionally with electronics. I am no stranger to working in a precise manner.

 I will never buy another backbone product again.

The ribcage system was flawed and underwent iterations so it was compatible with more than one product. Before I bought it I checked the online tutorial and that first version *looked like* a good straightforward product. However, the second iteration involved *supergluing* (?!) componentry in place. Unfortunately the first tutorial was left online when it was entirely innappropriate for the second. If I had gone through the proper tutorial first (there was no way to know) I wouldn't have bought it.

Several hundred dollars in the red and nothing to show for it.

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Unlike the others here, I've had pretty good luck with Ribcage products... to as much of an extent as can be reasonably expected.

I first bought their kit to convert a Yi 4K+ to C mount and I somehow botched the installation, but they were willing to help me un-botch it in the end.  Ultimately, I found that C mount lenses were extremely difficult to use with the Yi because...

  • The internal screen is tiny and not very high-resolution.  This made critical focus nearly impossible, even when using a loupe.
  • There is no HDMI output option to use an external screen to check critical focus.  It is possible to use an adapter to get composite output, but none of my external screens are composite... 
     

More recently, I bought a pre-assembled kit with a Hero 7 Black.  This is a vastly better experience.

  • The internal screen on the Hero 7 is much better-quality than the Yi and there is an option to digitally zoom in which is very useful for focusing.  This is a little bit awkward, but works OK
  • The camera has HDMI output which can be useful for focusing if I already have another screen, but this has limits - in video mode, the HDMI output is very laggy.  In photo mode and timelapse mode it's very fast... but it is pretty awkward to have to change modes constantly in order to focus.
  • Image stabilization is not very well-optimized for longer lenses so they end up still feeling sort of shaky
  • I have found that a number of D mount lenses have sufficient coverage for the 1/2.3" sensor in the Hero 7.  I'm still looking for a wide angle option without a hard vignette, but lenses in the 10mm and longer range seem to cover sufficiently... which is at least enough for a very minor telephoto with around a 10mm lens.  I'm hoping, though, to find a 5mm or so D mount lens with enough coverage.  Unfortunately, D mount lenses aren't super common on the used market.  In this regard, the 1" sensor (2.7x crop) in the RX0 would be very strongly preferable.
  • Whatever the Ribcage looks like internally or how much electronics purists turn up their nose at it, the camera feels plenty solid from the outside and mine has been banged around quite a bit.  It still seems to be doing alright.
  • The Hero 7 has HEVC at around 78 megabits/second.  I would be curious to compare its output vs the RX0 with semi-cruddy HEVC-S at 100 megabits/second.  In addition, the Hero 7 can handle 60 fps in 4k where the RX0 is only capable of 30 fps.  On the other hand, the RX0 can output 4K at 422 for external recording if you don't mind bulking it up a little bit.
  • The Hero 7 also has 2.7kp120 and 1080p240 options and I think both can be used continuously.  The RX0 has 1080p240.  Assuming that it's like my RX100 V, this mode will be limited to only a few seconds.  I'm not sure how much any of this matters since the quality of all of the above is fairly mediocre.
  • The RX0 has Slog.  The Hero 7 has ProTune.  I think both are usable enough with moderate dynamic range scenes.
  • The RX0 almost definitely will work better in low light than the Hero 7 - and in addition, it's possible to use a speed booster with the Micro 4/3 mount where I am not aware of any decent-quality C mount speed boosters.

In the end, I thought about buying the Ribcage RX0...  but ended up deciding it didn't have enough advantages over the Ribcage Hero 7 to make it worth the swap.

This is reminding me that I want to use the Hero 7 variant more... I suppose I'll make an effort to bring it with me the next time I go shooting.  :)

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Yes, eatstoomuchjam mine was a Yi 4K and the reason the ribcage kit was upgraded was to accomodate both the Yi 4K and the Yi 4K+ I believe.

Ruined the camera. But yes the screen was difficult for focussing as well however I did love the form factor.

If you can live with wide lenses (35mm eqiv 20mm or so) you can just replace the built-in lens on a Yi 4K or Yi 4K+ and hyperfocus it without requiring a kit (remove the shroud, unscrew the built in lens and replace it). However, the way the 12mm thread works you cannot use a longer lens on it on this camera because the thread is so short. The Gitup cameras Git1 and Git2 were better in this regard having a longer thread and mount.

I think most of these action cameras have an M12 nylon thread and can accept 1/2.3" lenses. The M12 thread is really built to have a lens mounted with some threadlocker and not moved again. 

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inde - Yup, I also have a Yi 4k+ where I used a pliers to pull the original lens and a Hero 5 where I did the same.  The Yi now has a 7mm lens semi-permanently installed and the Hero 5 has a 5.4mm lens semi-permanently installed and set to infinity.  Not much need for glue on the Hero 5 - the M12 mount is tight enough that I had to use a pliers to screw the lens in.  I like the look of the 5.4mm lens!  It's still wide-ish, but not even nearly as crazy as the fisheye that came with the camera.  The 7mm on the Yi might be a bit long for most things, but it's sort of nice for a motion timelapse with the camera on a gimbal.  😃

At some point, I got a crazy good deal on a handful of Yi 4K+'s...  since I switched to GoPro, I have barely touched any of them - maybe I should just mod all of them with some sort of M12 lens.  At least then, there would be some reason to keep them around.  Having a better / more detailed lens might also make the bitrate hack more worthwhile. 
 

And you're right - the majority of action cameras (that I've seen), cheap to expensive, use some form of M12 mount with a 1/2.3" sensor...  makes sense since there are cheap, but decent lenses available for that mount!

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1 hour ago, eatstoomuchjam said:

inde - Yup, I also have a Yi 4k+ where I used a pliers to pull the original lens and a Hero 5 where I did the same.  The Yi now has a 7mm lens semi-permanently installed and the Hero 5 has a 5.4mm lens semi-permanently installed and set to infinity.  Not much need for glue on the Hero 5 - the M12 mount is tight enough that I had to use a pliers to screw the lens in.  I like the look of the 5.4mm lens!  It's still wide-ish, but not even nearly as crazy as the fisheye that came with the camera.  The 7mm on the Yi might be a bit long for most things, but it's sort of nice for a motion timelapse with the camera on a gimbal.  😃

At some point, I got a crazy good deal on a handful of Yi 4K+'s...  since I switched to GoPro, I have barely touched any of them - maybe I should just mod all of them with some sort of M12 lens.  At least then, there would be some reason to keep them around.  Having a better / more detailed lens might also make the bitrate hack more worthwhile. 
 

And you're right - the majority of action cameras (that I've seen), cheap to expensive, use some form of M12 mount with a 1/2.3" sensor...  makes sense since there are cheap, but decent lenses available for that mount!

did you get a colour shift at all with the gopro five after the lens swap ? and where did you get the lens from ?

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On 8/20/2019 at 4:01 AM, eatstoomuchjam said:

Unlike the others here, I've had pretty good luck with Ribcage products... to as much of an extent as can be reasonably expected...

Thanks for the thorough post, but it makes me wonder, what use cases do you use the modified RX0 and GoPros for? I can't quite see the reason to not just use a camera with the right mount in the first place, but I'm sure you've got good reasons.

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1 hour ago, UncleBobsPhotography said:

Thanks for the thorough post, but it makes me wonder, what use cases do you use the modified RX0 and GoPros for? I can't quite see the reason to not just use a camera with the right mount in the first place, but I'm sure you've got good reasons.

if i'm understanding you correctly. I think its about using the gopro for more than its intended. everyone knows their great little action cameras with a really wide field of view. Swapping the lens out would give you more options than just shooting superwide, wide or linear. without affecting resolution. i seriously looked at getting the ribcage for a gopro 6 the only issue i had was the fact that crop factor on the  cmount lenses was huge turning everything into a superzoom. Price was the other thing that turned me off.

One day i'll look at installing a less wide angle lens on it but for the moment i'm traveling in a different direction. Maybe if andrew has another $200 cheap video challenge i might do something in that direction.

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4 hours ago, leslie said:

if i'm understanding you correctly. I think its about using the gopro for more than its intended. everyone knows their great little action cameras with a really wide field of view. Swapping the lens out would give you more options than just shooting superwide, wide or linear. without affecting resolution. i seriously looked at getting the ribcage for a gopro 6 the only issue i had was the fact that crop factor on the  cmount lenses was huge turning everything into a superzoom. Price was the other thing that turned me off.

One day i'll look at installing a less wide angle lens on it but for the moment i'm traveling in a different direction. Maybe if andrew has another $200 cheap video challenge i might do something in that direction.

For me, the value of a GoPro is that it's small, robust, waterproof and "fire-and-forget". Modding it with a new mount removes all of those advantages. I guess it would still be the smallest camera with 4k60p at a high bitrate, but for most practical cases, a GH5 would make more sense. Then there is of course the entertainment aspect of doing camera mods.

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On 8/20/2019 at 8:49 PM, leslie said:

did you get a colour shift at all with the gopro five after the lens swap ? and where did you get the lens from ?

I don't notice a major color shift after the swap, though I no longer have any unmodified hero 5's to compare it with.  I'm pretty sure I got the lens from Amazon.  If you search for "M12," they have lots and they're mostly pretty cheap.

On 8/21/2019 at 3:13 AM, UncleBobsPhotography said:

Thanks for the thorough post, but it makes me wonder, what use cases do you use the modified RX0 and GoPros for? I can't quite see the reason to not just use a camera with the right mount in the first place, but I'm sure you've got good reasons.

I don't have a modified RX0 (or an unmodified RX0).
As far as the modified GoPros...  the Hero 5, I still use as a car camera.  I have a couple of unmodified Hero 7's that I can use as car cameras if I want to go back to a wider angle or if it's extremely rainy or dusty.  
I haven't used the Ribcage Hero 7 for a lot of useful stuff, but I'll be starting to use it more in the near future, now that I got a holder that makes the annoying GoPro microphone connector a little less annoying.  One of the reasons I'm always hunting for wide angle D mount lenses with sufficient coverage is that I'd love to use it as a vlogging camera, especially when in areas where I'm iffier about carrying around fancy-looking cameras (I've used the RX100 V for that, but even it draws some unwanted attention that something looking like a Frankencamera might not).  It's mostly a fun/tiny camera where I can use my C/D mount lenses.  I also want to use it in some upcoming short film projects in places where a GoPro might otherwise be used, but where the fisheye is not desirable.  I may also try using it as a car camera with a fast lens sometime when it's getting dark enough that a standard Hero struggles.  :)

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