This morning, Sony introduced a pair of new flagship action cameras that are loaded with features. New 4K and 1080p models bring a number of improvements over the previous generation. Today’s announcement comes just 10 days before GoPro’s upcoming event that may very well include the new HERO5.
Sony’s biggest improvement comes way of a new Balanced Optical SteadyShot system (BOSS). This is the first time that a big name manufacturer has integrated optical image stabilization in a major release. More below.
There are two new models as a part of today’s release. The 4K FDR-X3000 brings high resolution capabilities to the table while its more affordable sibling, the HDR-AS300, is 1080p only. The use of optical image stabilization is particularly notable. It can be used in 4K, as well as other formats. Inside the camera, its lens and sensor are joined together to compensate for shaking and other movements. Sony guarantees that footage will be “smooth and stable” even at 2160p.
A new Live-View Remote Wearable will also be available with each of these Sony cameras. This is not a fresh idea (see Monoprice’s budget option) but one that has not been particularly well-executed over the years. The remote will allow users to see footage if the camera is not in view plus it adds full control of the device. Functions include settings, stop/start, power and more.
Additional features include a waterproof housing, built-in GPS, plus iOS and Android connectivity. Pricing breaks down like so: the 4K model starts at $400 and ships with the Live-View Remote for $550. Sony’s 1080p camera will retail for $300 and $450, respectively. This pricing model puts today’s releases on par with GoPro’s offerings. Each will be available for pre-order from Amazon later this month.
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Sony Announces new Flagship 4K and HD Action Cams with Superior Image Stabilization
SAN DIEGO, Sept. 9, 2016 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging, has today introduced their first POV cameras to feature the innovative Balanced Optical SteadyShot (B.O.SS) image stabilization technology, the FDR-X3000R 4K1 model and HDR-AS300R Full HD model.
The flagship feature of the two new cameras – Balanced Optical SteadyShot2 – is an advanced form of image stabilization where internally, the camera’s lens and sensor are joined and moved together to compensate for camera shake caused by excessive motion, whether shooting handheld with optional accessories or during a fast-paced sporting activity. This is a particularly effective technology when paired with a POV action camera design as it ensures captured video footage is smooth and stable – even in 4K or high-frame-rate shooting modes.
The versatile new FDR-X3000R and HDR-AS300R Action Cam feature a new ZEISS® Tessar lens with significantly less lens distortion than previous models3. They are also equipped with a new back-illuminated Exmor R®CMOS sensor with large pixels designed for 16:9 aspect ratio video plus a powerful BIONZ X
The new cameras utilize full pixel readout without pixel binning technology to produce exceptionally high resolution and accurate colors in both 4K (FDR-X3000R only) and Full HD videos. This allows them to read and process data from all of the sensor’s pixels, producing highly detailed video content with minimal noise and ‘jaggies’ in a variety of formats including the high data stream XAVC S
FDR-X3000R and HDR-AS300R each have a built-in stereo mic7 with wind noise reduction to reduce the impact of wind interference on overall audio quality, and are equipped with stereo microphone input for advanced recording.
Live–View Remote and User Interface
Sony’s new Action Cam models will be offered in a kit with a compact Live-View Remote8 that is about 30% smaller than previous9 version. The remote, with a mountable design, acts as an extension of the camera and allows users to see what is being recorded when the camera is not accessible. The remote has the ability to control various functionalities including shooting settings, start/stop recording, power on/off and more. It also features an “auto display off” mode that turns off its LCD screen display automatically during shooting in order to save power of both camera and remote.
The versatile remote accessory can be attached to various optional accessories such as Finger Grip (AKA-FGP1), Shooting Grip (VCT-STG1) or Handlebar Mount (VCT-HM2) using supplied mount adaptor, or worn as a wristband using supplied belt. Users can also utilize Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile
Based on extensive feedback from athletes, filmmakers and more casual users, the new cameras and Live-View Remote feature a more in-depth user interface and menu system, with a rich indication of camera settings that makes it easier to navigate menus and customize settings as needed. The new models also offers “Wi-Fi high power mode”, which extends to communication distance between the camera and Live-View Remote11 for more flexible shooting.
Additional Feature Enhancements
The FDR-X3000R and HDR-AS300R both include a unique Time-lapse Capture feature that shoots still images in pre-set intervals that can later be transformed into a stunning 4K time-lapse movie utilizing the Action Cam Movie Creator software12. The Action Cam App13 can also create time-lapse movies in Full HD.
Built-in GPS inherited from previous models3 is available, allowing location tracking and speedometer to be added to the video file when Action Cam Movie Creator is used. This also allows GPS Data Overlay on video to read your speed data and generate another video file14 that includes your route, speed information, etc.
Additionally, an updated version Sony’s own in-built movie creator – Highlight Movie Maker15 – is available in the new cameras. The innovative feature, which now utilizes face detection technology, automatically assembles footage into a video highlight package and pairs it with custom music for the ultimate viewing experience.
For the more advanced user, there are an expanded scope of manual controls and setting adjustments including white balance, and auto exposure shifting. Loop recording is also available, allowing users to maximize usage of available memory card space to ensure they get the exact shot they are looking for.
The FDR-X3000R and HDR-AS300R have a splash-proof body and are waterproof with supplied Underwater Housing (MPK-UWH1) 7 that is certified down to 197 ft. / 60m in depth. A new range of accessories for Action Cam has also been announced, including the Finger Grip (AKA-FGP1) that is an ideal travel accessory as it enables flexible one-handed shooting and the MC Protector (AKA-MCP1) for extra protection from lens scratches and dirt.
Pricing and Availability
The new Sony FDR-X3000 will be sold as body only for about $400 US ($550 CA), and will be offered as a kit (model FDR-X3000R) with the new Live-View Remote for about $550 US ($700 CA).
The new Sony HDR-AS300 will be sold as a body only for about $300 US ($400 CA) and will be offered as a kit (model HDR-AS300R) with the new Live-View Remote for about $450 US ($550 CA).
The new AKA-FGP1 finger grip will be sold for about $25 US ($40 CA), and the AKA-MCP1 lens shield will be sold for about $35 US ($50 CA).
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