GoPro might have started the POV camera craze, but Sony is hitting back hard with their new Action Cams. The company says that they have taken their time to come to market with these imaging products. To that effect, they waited to release a product that could produce footage good enough to do justice for all of your exploits. We had the opportunity to recently test out their $249 HDR-AS15 action cam while zip lining, riding on ski lifts, and skiing at the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah.
Sony offers two Action Cam models – the $249 HDR-AS15 and the more affordable HDR-AS10 which costs $199. Both cameras are able to record video in full HD 1080p with up to 4x HD slow motion. The cameras both include ruggedized waterproof housing and come with two adhesive mounts. The significant difference between the two models is that the AS15 has built-in Wi-Fi. Built-in Wi-Fi means that you can easily transfer your footage on to a Wi-Fi connected smartphone or tablet, when using the PlayMemories Mobile app. Currently, this free app is available for both Android and iOS. And of course, once you’ve transferred your video and photos taken on the action cam, onto your phone, you can then easily wirelessly upload them to the web – all without ever touching a computer. This can be very useful when you’re not in the mood to take a break from the fun to run and connect to a computer for uploading, so it allows for more instant sharing. Sony’s app also lets your smartphone display become a viewfinder and remote control for the action cam.
But enough about the cameras’ specs, the videos produced by the Action Cams really speaks for themselves.
Below is a video that our colleague Ryan Van Duzer shot on the same morning that we went zip lining at Canyons, and during a bob sledding session. Lets just say that his video is a lot braver and more entertaining then the footage we captured on our own Action Cam, that and it’s also a lot less embarrassing.
Thanks to Carl Zeiss optics, an illuminated Exmor R CMOS Sensor, and a BIONZ image processor, the video capture with the Action Cam offers pretty sharp visuals and vivid true to life colors. The lens itself is also an ultra-wide angle lens that provides a 170 degree viewing angle, so that you can capture everything in your environment. The camera also features SteadyShot image stabilization, which helps smooth the video and provides 3-Way shake-canceling. The end result is that you’ll feel like you’re reliving the whole experience when you play back footage taken with the Action Cam. Speaking of playback, when it comes to playing back footage, you can do so almost instantly thanks to the HDMI out on the camera.
No sports / POV camera can truly stand on its own without some great accessories. Fortunately, Sony has a plethora of accessories available for their action cams. That includes the rugged, waterproof housing which comes free in the box. This housing allows the camera to go as far down as 197ft in water! Other available accessories include a headband mount, a waterproof headband mount, a handlebar mount, a suction cup, anti-fog sheets, and a tilt adapter. We especially appreciated the versatile waterproof headband mount since it allowed us to easily take our Action cam with us while zip lining, and while performing most winter sports. We’re also excited about the pet mount accessory that Sony announced back at CES a few months ago, which should be out soon
Our only gripe with the Action Cam so far is that the microSD card door is a bit temperamental. But putting that gripe aside, it managed to take quite a beating from us during our travels in Park City, Utah. And after spending time putting the Sony Action Cam to the test, we finally understand why the POV camera craze is gaining such traction. After all, I can barely believe I went bob sledding at the Olympic Park in Utah – and no one else would either! But that’s what action cams are for – providing evidence! That said, if you’re on the look out for a tough POV camera that won’t break the bank, but will provide great visuals, the Sony Action Cam series succeeds, and it’s available with and a plethora of accessories to meet every high octane situation. Go Pro should be shaking in their helmets.
That said, we highly recommend opting for the slightly pricier $249 HDR-AS15 Wi-Fi camera – because the ability to wirelessly upload footage of you falling face down in the snow – well that’s priceless.