Sony Action Cam: Review of $200 waterproof Handycam

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Sony has recently launched its very first action camera, named as Action Cam in the market. It is available in two versions namely, HDR-AS10 and HDR-AS15. Both the models look exactly the same, and even their dimensions, specs, video/image quality, etc. are identical. The only difference between these two cameras is that the HDR-AS10 model doesn’t support Wi-Fi, while the HDR-AS15 variant comes with built-in Wi-Fi. Currently, the HDR-AS10 and the HDR-AS15 (with Wi-Fi) models are available in the market for a price of $199.99 and $269 respectively. Moreover, both the cameras will be shipping along with a kit that includes a waterproof case, a rechargeable battery, and a flat & curved surface mounts.

Sony Action Cam

Image Source: uncrate.com

The rugged and wearable Action Camcorders weigh just 3.2 oz (including battery) and measures 1 x 1.9 x 3.2 inch in dimension. The camera is very easy to use. It contains a monochrome LCD menu screen. Even though this screen does not give a live view, it does provide easy navigation through a menu system. The menu choices are made with “Prev” and “Next” buttons, together with huge rubberized ON/OFF button on the back. If you have basic camera experience, then you will not find any problem in using and running the Action Cam. On the other hand, if you are new to digital photography then you can take help from ‘cheat sheet’ or the owner’s manual that is included in the camera’s firmware.

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Sony Action Cam works on 1/2.3″ back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, which helps the camera in delivering spectacular low-light sensitivity with better image clarity and considerably reduced grain. The sensor, especially designed for compact camcorders & cameras, has the ability to maximize the light gathering area per pixel so that you can get the same superior results even when shooting under low lighting conditions. Moreover, the camera uses a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens having an ultra-wide 170° viewing angle. This impressive wide viewing angle would help you in getting big perspective from such a small camcorder.

The Action Cam provides a number of different resolutions to suit your requirements. You can shoot in any of the video resolutions, including Full HD 1920 x 1080p at 30 fps, HD 1280 x 720p at 30 fps, and SD VGA 640 x 480p at 30 fps. One of the most attractive features of the Action Cam is its ability to record impressive slow motion videos. Extreme sports athletes & enthusiasts would just love HD Slow 2x (1280 x 720p at 60 fps) and HD Slow 4x (1280 x 720p at 120 fps) modes that record slow motion, which is perfect for learning or refining a technique. The device also supports playback on a compatible HDTV via HDMI for amazing clarity and smoother playing of your videos on larger screen.

The camera can also capture amazing still photos in two modes, namely manual and time lapse. In the automatic time lapse mode, the device will automatically take pictures in every X number of seconds (where X is 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds). The ‘SteadyShot image stabilization with Active Mode’ feature uses a new 3-way shake-canceling function to prevent the videos or pictures from becoming blurred due to camera shake. This feature is very much useful, especially when you are shooting POV action for extreme sports or when you are using the device while enjoying activities like skiing, biking or surfing.

Another useful feature of the camera is that it supports expandable memory with a Memory Stick Micro and Micro SD/SDHC card slot. If your phones or tablets are Wi-Fi enabled and they have free PlayMemories Mobile app in them, then you can pull out your favorite movies and pictures from the HDR-AS15 camera directly without requiring any type of cable. Once you copy them in your phone or tablet, you can upload and share your collection via email or social media networks, using available 3G or 4G networks. Sony has also incorporated a function called ‘Press-n-Go recording’ in Action Cam, which allows you to start recording anytime by simply pressing a large Start/Stop button.

There is also a built-in stereo microphone in the Action Cam with which you can capture all the thrilling sounds of your adventures too. As said earlier, the camera comes with a waterproof casing. It can turn your camera into a waterproof device down up to 197 feet of water. In addition, the case makes the device both dirt and dust resistant. Along with the case, you will get 2 adhesive, quick-connect mounts that let you mount the Action Cam almost anywhere. So, we can say that the all new Action Cam is indeed a tough competitor to the very popular GoPro Hero2 and Contour’s series of wearable camcorders.

EXCLUSIVE HANDS ON: New Sony ActionCam video from youtube:

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