Home / Digital Cameras / Eye-Catching Sony Action Camera: A Good Camera With Some Shortcomings

Eye-Catching Sony Action Camera: A Good Camera With Some Shortcomings

The Good: In the market of POV camera, Sony Action Cam is good entry which has waterproof case along with a standard sized tripod mount. It is available without or with Wi-Fi, has lightweight and small body and also offers many recording options.

The Bad: When viewed at large sizes, quality of video gets disappointing; lens couldn’t be rotated nor the videos be flipped 180 degrees; the camera couldn’t stand itself and can’t be used easily without any door in case; not any access to the mic jack once inside case; there aren’t still photos that are beyond the interval shots; additional purchases required.

The Bottom Line: Sony Action Cam is a good effort and the price is justified, but some shortcomings of design might be enough in keeping a number of potential buyers away.

 

Where To Buy:

J&R Music and Computer World
Buydig.com
Crutchfield
REI
Abt Electronics
Data vision Computer Video

 

Quick Specifications

Optical sensor type Exmor R CMOS
Weight 2.3 oz
Depth 3.2 in
Height 1.9 in
Lens System Lens – 2.5 mm – F/2.8
Width 1 in
Company Sony
Model Number CNETSONYACTCAM
Product Description Sony Action Cam HDR-AS10 – Camcorder – Wearable – Flash card

 

General Specs

Packed Capacity 1
Exposure Metering  Multi-segment
Product Type  Camcorder – 1080p
Image Processor  BIONZ
Camcorder Sensor Resolution  16.8 megapixels
Effective Video Resolution  11.9 megapixels
Optical Sensor Type  Exmor R CMOS
Effective Photo Resolution  2 megapixels
Min Shutter Speed  1/30 sec
Camcorder Media Type  Flash card
Optical Sensor Size  1/2.3″
Min Illumination  6 lux
Digital Video Format   H.264
Widescreen Video Capture  Yes
Max Shutter Speed  1/10000 sec
White Balance  Automatic
Exposure Modes   Automatic
Image Recording Format  JPEG , HDMI
Image Stabilizer  Electronic (Steady Shot with Active Mode)
Advance Selection Programmed

 

System Of Lens

Auto Focus TTL contrast detection
Type Carl Zeiss Lens – 2.5 mm – F/2.8
Min Focus Range 11.8 in
Min focal length 2.5 mm
Max View Angle 170 degrees
Lens aperture F/2.8
Lens system type Lens
Focus Adjustment Automatic
Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera 15.3 mm

 

Extra Landscapes

Status LCD Display Information Memory card status, Battery condition
Additional Features Exif Print support, High-speed recording,
Noise reduction, USB charging,  RGB primary color filter, Built-in speaker, Backlight compensation, Auto power save, Interval shooting mode, USB 2.0 compatibility,
Date/time stamp
Included Accessories Underwater housing, USB cable, Adhesive plate

 

Connectivity

Connector Type 1 x Hi-Speed USB,
1 x Microphone ( Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm ) 1 x HDMI output

 

Battery Capacity

Supported Battery Sony NP BX1
Supported Battery 1 x Sony NP BX1 L ion rechargeable battery ( Included )

 

Storage& Memory

Media type Flash card
Image Storage JPEG 1920 x 1080
Memory Card Slot microSD card,
Memory Stick Micro (M2) card
Video Capture H.264 – 1920 x 1080 – 16Mbps, H.264 – 1280 x 720 – 24Mbps, H.264 – 1280 x 720 – 12Mbps,
H.264 – 1280 x 720 – 6Mbps, H.264 – 640 x 480 – 3Mbps

 

Physical Characteristics

Width 1 in
Depth 3.2 in
Height 1.9 in
Weight 2.3 oz

 

Miscellaneous

Protection Dust resistant, Waterproof
Underwater Depth Up to 197 ft
Microphone Operation Mode Stereo

 

The companies with no history of making any other camera types dominate the market of action cam. There’s no Contour digital SLR or GoPro point-and-shoot. So, when such manufacturer as Sony gets in the market, it becomes reasonable to ponder that it may be capable of making an awesome POV camcorder, in video quality terms at least.

The first of its efforts in this category, HDR-AS15 and Sony Action Cam HDR-AS10 make a fine initial impression also. Though, the impression fails to stay after it’s used.

Maybe Sony had planned on staying below some specific price or may be preferred the camera as light and small as possible. The reason could be any, but in usability and design, the Action Cam doesn’t provide what the models with the price range below and above it provide. Anyway, some good features are also offered, especially when one opts for Wi-Fi enabled AS15. Also video is the same as other models of similar price, though it suits well to small-screen viewing.

What The Box Contains

Sony includes two mounts and waterproof/shock-proof housing, one curved and one flat. Housing happens to be waterproof to 197 feet along with having seals that are dust- and dirt-resistant. It is good that it is sealed up to this extent even when out of box, and housing has the standard tripod mount of quarter inch, in bottom, so that can be made use of with wide range of mounts available.
As housing happens to be waterproof, stereo mics towards front of camera are not exposed, that is why when it is sealed one will only get muffled audio. Pack of other two doors is also sold by Sony, one available with the mic openings and one with flat lens so that it could be used underwater, at about $50. Separately, they are not available, neither is door which comes along with housing. Once lens covering over a door is scratched , one is stuck to buying one more two-pack or entire housing of $40.

Also, as camera gets totally sealed, there is much chance one would have to face condensation inside, to some extent, which could fog lens. Desiccant packs are sold by Sony but one could squeeze small pack of silica gel into housing to get the same thing.

The two mounts that are included are a bit large and adhesive happens to be a bit weak, so one might get on to find alternatives in which tripod mount is used or else get adhesive pads that are better. There are other mounts available that include the head strap which doesn’t need housing. There’s a cradle also, that has LCD screen of 2,7-inch which flips out in order that Action Cam could be used as a handheld camera which is traditional, albeit being very small.

The Features And Design
The weight and size of Action Cam are remarkable. The super-compact camcorder has these dimensions: 2-in high by 2.6-in deep by 0.9-in wide and weighs only around 3.2 ounces and with the battery pack NP-BX1. This means that there is less camera for strapping to side of one’s head or anywhere else it is planned to be mounted. Because of the rounded bottom, it would always have to employ some mount when it is in use.

Ideally, tripod mount should be there on actual camera, though actually there isn’t any room for it. There is a record button on back and hold switch to prevent from accidentally stopping and starting the recordings. Whole of the back consists of sliding door which covers battery compartment along with card slot that supports Memory Stick Micro cards and microSD.

Once the bottom door is opened, one finds Micro-HDMI and Micro-USB ports, mic jack which is external and expansion connector to be used with the camcorder cradle mentioned before. Basically you’ll have to deal it all yourself: using mic jack and mounting the camera.

Similarly, if stereo mics that are built-in have to be used, one needs to buy suitable door or any mount from the company or find any other way of securing camera inside included case when the waterproof door is off. Nothing is there to prevent camera from coming out of case without any door on it, so if accidentally lock should open while door is “on”, camera will slide out.

Small LCD towards the right of camera is to view the settings and also to change them, with the use of two buttons on screen’s right side. Buttons couldn’t be accessed when waterproof housing is there; if something other than stop and start recordings is to be done, camera needs to be taken out of housing. The camera is much slippery, without any hedges to hold onto, so for bare camera it’s quite easy to just drop.

Five options for MP4 recording are available: 720p120, 480p30, 720p30, 1080p30 and 720p60. Camera tends to have image stabilization that is digital and can do time-lapse photography also, shooting stills of 16-megapixel. Though, there isn’t any option to snap one photo or even burst of them.

The lens’ view field happens to be 170 degrees when “digital image stabilization” is shut off. When DIS is on, video is cropped, changing field view to about 120 degrees. Sony Action Cam doesn’t offer any way to rotate lens, unlike ContourRoam2 and Drift HD Ghost, so depending on one’s mount, leveling camera becomes tricky. And, if camera is mounted upside down, the video would have to be flipped with the editing software; image could be set so that it could rotate to 180 degrees in models like GoPro Hero3.

At the end, it has Wi-Fi. It could be tempted to buy the less costly AS10, though if it is possible, it would be better to spend more, if possible, on AS15 as it is Wi-Fi enabled. Not really to upload or transfer videos while you or on the move, but for camera’s remote control.

The step in the beginning is easy normally: download, then install Android or iOS app, turn the option of camera’s remote control on, open app on mobile device. Afterwards, enter the password of camera, then wait for some seconds so that they connect. There, one gets live view regarding whatever seen by camera, and could use mobile device in order to stop or start recordings or change settings of resolution.

Quality Of Video

Video is like that of old Bloggie Sony mini camcorders. While shooting such scenes that involve only some movement of camera or the subject, the video is quite detailed and sharp without appearing crunchy. Action Cam deals motion much better than Bloggie models did, though.

Conversely, with fast movement or complex scenes, one gets to see many artifacts and much of detail is lost. There are over saturated colors, but that tends to be standard for the action cams. Generally the exposure transitions smoothly at the time the conditions change, but the highlights blow out easily.

Some aspects that are disappointing include lens flare, chromatic aberration’s extent around subjects that are high-contrast. There is some color banding visible in blue skies’ images also.

Viewed at some small size on screen of a computer, many of these aren’t much noticeable. Blown up at some larger HDTV, the video doesn’t look that impressive.

Quality of audio is pretty good, though you tend to lose the use of built-in mics when the housing included is sealed up with waterproof door. Those who require audio during shooting should buy housing doors’ two-pack, find some mount which exposes mics, or look for any DIY solution.

Closing Comments
Sony Action Cam makes fine first impression. When it’s used, there come many minor issues which don’t make it as great as other models from any other manufacturers. The video of Sony cam is expected to be really good, though it is really average in this one and couldn’t be improved by any mediocre lens. Even then, current price sub-$240 for Wi-Fi enabled AS15 looks reasonable for the features offered and the drawbacks of camera aren’t so serious that wouldn’t be worth consideration if it happens to perform all that one needs it to.

The Good: In the market of POV camera, Sony Action Cam is good entry which has waterproof case along with a standard sized tripod mount. It is available without or with Wi-Fi, has lightweight and small body and also offers many recording options. The Bad: When viewed at large sizes, quality of video gets disappointing; lens couldn’t be rotated nor the videos be flipped 180 degrees; the camera couldn’t stand itself and can’t be used easily without any door in case; not any access to the mic jack once inside case; there aren’t still photos that are beyond the interval…

Review Overview

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