Photography

Sony debuts its very own HD action cam

Sony debuts its very own HD ac...
The Sony Action Cam will hit the market in September
The Sony Action Cam will hit the market in September
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The Sony Action Cam will hit the market in September
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The Sony Action Cam will hit the market in September
With its included case, the Action Cam is waterproof to 197 feet (60m)
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With its included case, the Action Cam is waterproof to 197 feet (60m)
The HDR-AS15 includes 2x and 4x 720p slow motion modes
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The HDR-AS15 includes 2x and 4x 720p slow motion modes
With its included case, the Action Cam is waterproof to 197 feet (60m)
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With its included case, the Action Cam is waterproof to 197 feet (60m)
Sony plans to offer a number of mounts and accessories once the camera is live
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Sony plans to offer a number of mounts and accessories once the camera is live
The HDR-AS15 Action Cam weighs just over 3 ounces
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The HDR-AS15 Action Cam weighs just over 3 ounces
Sony designed the user interface for quick, streamlined use in the field
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Sony designed the user interface for quick, streamlined use in the field
Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
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Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
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Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
The standard Action Cam will retail for $200, and a Wi-Fi-equipped version will be $270
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The standard Action Cam will retail for $200, and a Wi-Fi-equipped version will be $270
The Action Cam has a Carl Zeiss lens, Exmor R CMOS sensor and SteadyShot image stabilization
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The Action Cam has a Carl Zeiss lens, Exmor R CMOS sensor and SteadyShot image stabilization
The standard Action Cam will retail for $200, and a Wi-Fi-equipped version will be $270
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The standard Action Cam will retail for $200, and a Wi-Fi-equipped version will be $270
After a light teasing campaign, Sony launched the Action Cam at the IFA show in Berlin
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After a light teasing campaign, Sony launched the Action Cam at the IFA show in Berlin
Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
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Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
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Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
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It teased it via blog and previewed it at the Outdoor Retailer show, but Sony saved the full detailing of its new HDR-AS15 Action Cam for this week's IFA show. The company is hoping to win the hearts of skiers, skaters, bikers and other adrenaline hounds with full HD recording with multiple slow motion modes, integrated Wi-Fi capabilities, and dive-ready waterproof casing.

It appears the creative minds at Sony were all on vacation during the camera's development because Sony regularly refers to it with the masterfully unimaginative name "Action Cam." As is essentially mandatory in the action cam market, Action Cam offers 1080p filming at 30 fps. It also has four other modes, including two HD slow motion modes (720p at 60 fps and 720p at 120 fps). The athlete controls filming with a simple start-stop push button.

The Sony cam films action through a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 170-degree lens. It smooths out the bumps and jars with integrated SteadyShot image stabilization and 3-Way Shake Canceling. Sony says the Exmor R CMOS sensor renders crisp video in a wide range of light conditions from "dawn until dusk." The included ruggedized waterproof case lets the camera snorkel as deep as 197 feet (60 m).

Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports
Sony will offer mounts for the range of popular action sports

The spec sheet is rounded out by a monaural speaker, built-in microphone, Memory Stick Micro and Micro SD/SDHC memory compatibility, microHDMI out and stereo mini-jack mic input. The action cam measures in at 1 x 1.9 inch x 3.25 inches (24.5mm x 47.0mm x 82.0mm) and 3.2 ounces (90 g). Sony plans to offer the full gamut of supportive hardware, including a Handheld Grip with LCD display, tilt adapter, anti-fog accessory and a range of mounts geared for different sports.

The standard version of the camera will launch by late-September for US$200. It is available for pre-order now. Those looking to use a smartphone as a viewfinder and/or viewing screen can opt for the $270 version, which includes integrated Wi-Fi.

GoPro has long dominated the action cam market, but it's now facing some stiff competition from major manufacturers like Sony and JVC. Depending upon how the actual user experiences shake out, we may start seeing a greater variety of hardware at ski resorts, trails and water bodies.

Source: Sony

View gallery - 15 images
6 comments
The Hoff
How do they figure that slo mo 720 is HD?
Rt1583
Will still take the GoPro any day over this.
BZD
@The Hoff: 720p is HD only it's not "Full HD". Or did you refer to something else?
@Rt1583: Personally I'll wait for reviews and perhaps a try-out. Sony knows stuff about cameras and might very well be able to deliver better image quality.
I think it is great more companies are doing such cameras. it can only bring more choice, lower prices and all the other things that are good for us users.
Rt1583
@BZD - While more players in the action cam game is a great thing from the standpoint of driving inovation, this camera is more than likely a secondary concern (if not tertiary) to its other products. To the best of my knowledge, GoPro's only product is its action cam and it peripherals.
In much the same way that Hassleblad is the leader in medium format cameras, GoPro could/can become the leader in the action cam market if it doesn't become complacent.
Synchro
GoPro's cameras always look and feel like engineering prototypes, where they're proving the functionality before making it usable. Their helmet mount is laughable, pretty much guaranteed to be broken on chairlifts, as it sticks up so far and makes you look like a tellytubby. Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apNKEhdokKM for an entertaining example! Some exercises for potential action-cam users: turn it on and off with ski gloves on; tell whether it's on or off without being able to see it; see exactly where it's pointing; change the battery without being able to see it (i.e. while it's on your head). These are all things I need an action cam to do easily. While GoPro and Contour's optics have been improving, they are improving from prior models that were glorified crappy webcams, so they're still pretty bad in absolute terms. Sony and friends are coming at it from the opposite direction: getting a decent camera into an action-ready form factor. In terms of usability, Contour walks all over GoPro, but neither can compete with the image quality of camera companies offerings that are starting to encroach on their territory, such as Olympus' µ-Tough range (which you can control by hitting it!), and now this from Sony at a pretty reasonable price point. As BZD says, hopefully it will result in better products and prices all round.
Chris Ostlind
Why do you writer guys always insist on saying "filming" when there isn't a frame of film in any of these devices?