Rated 4 out of 5 by HRbnjR Happy
It's becoming a common sight to see boxy action cams sticking out awkwardly off people's helmets, mounted to chest straps, etc. In purchasing Sony's new AS30 I was hoping to find something capable of being a little less bulky and a little more subtle. I want to capture video of my adventures, but where the cam is something I can bring along without having to sacrifice any major attention away from the activity itself, and where it isn't completely obvious to anyone who comes within my vicinity. I can say that, after a couple days mountain biking with my new AS30, I've not been disappointed. Now, the cam only included a couple of sticky mounts in the box, and those don't really do it for me. The included mount let me position the camera sticking straight up off the top of my helmet, which works well enough, but between the shape of the camera and mounting it in that position, combined with the extra centimetre of height due to the mount itself, it doesn't really meet my desire for a degree of subtlety. I chose to forego the included mounts altogether, and used some double sided sticky tape and a zip-tie to lash the included waterproof case directly to the side of my helmet. This worked great, and I did it so that I was still able to easily remove the cam from the case in order to change batteries and retrieve the SD card. I have been reasonably impressed with the size and weight of this new model. I think one would have to be rather fussy to take issue with the weight of this cam when mounted on top of their helmet, as I almost didn't notice it. The weight is noticeable when mounted on the side of the helmet, but I find it tolerable, if still minorly annoying, but which is a small sacrifice I'm willing to make to have it down where it's at least little less protruding. Using Sony's "PlayMemories" Android app to live stream video from the cam was a significant aid for fine tuning the angle while I mounted it, and easily allowed me to copy videos to my phone for viewing or sharing. You can use your phone to start/stop recordings, but I prefer the physical button on the camera for that, and generally left the Wi-Fi turned off in order to extend the battery life and recording time. The one feature I haven't been able to find, either on the app or the cam interface itself, is the ability to delete unwanted videos or accidental recordings in order to reclaim space. I haven't tried the desktop software, but as a Linux user, I was happy to see that the cam connected over USB as a regular mass storage device, though I still found it much quicker to use a USB3 card reader to transfer videos to my PC. The cam also lists a setting where it can be continuously powered via the USB connection. The large easy-to-find (even with gloves) physical record button on the back of the cam can be used to almost instantly power the unit on and begin recording with a single press, or to resume recording again if the auto-shutoff hasn't yet engaged. The camera makes distinct noises which allowed me to recognize when recording was started or stopped. Right off, I was able to spend my time riding without constantly having to fiddle around with the cam. I'm happy with the picture quality, which I expect compares well with other cams currently in this class. I am very impressed with the excellent low-light ability of this camera, which far outshines the few other action cams I have owned previously. The image stabilization works well, though it comes with a noticeable cost to the visible details during segments where things get really bumpy. I didn't manage to drain the battery on either of my first two outings, so that seems to be working as advertised so far. I really love that I can just bring along an extra battery or two and easily pop them in for a whole day of filming. Overall, I think it really comes down to how you want to use it, and if it's shape and mounts are suitable for your intended uses, but I would happily recommend this cam based on my experiences so far.
September 26, 2013
Rated 3 out of 5
by Shadowlessfeet Built-in GPS plots location and speed not work
Had this action cam HDR-AS30V for 5 days and spent at least 2~3 hours a day trying figure out how to get the Built in GPS and Speed to display trail information as well as speed information with the PlayMemories™ Home software on video. The speed odometer icon disappear on video clip when I set the date and time while the GPS icon is there and PlayMemories™ Home software will not let me use the create multi view feature to create the video with dash board layer. I reset to default and not setting the date/time, the speed odometer icon is there and gps icon is there. I was able to create multiview but the there is no speed and the date is on 1/1/2013. Spoke to Sony Tech Support and they were not able to solve the issue. Not sure if I'm missing any step setting up or recording the video. I upload the screen shot and video to better explain my issue. I hope some one can help solve.
besides with the speed/gps issues I have, the video quality is great.
I give overall rating of 3 stars because the GPS and Speed Telemetry doesn't work for me yet. I hope someone can help with problem.
September 27, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by EP320 Good but missing some features
The camera is good and video quality very good. However, it does feel like the software is incomplete in some cases. You cannot delete videos you've shot, either from within the camera menu or from the computer, you have to format the card. So if you shoot a movie by mistake, you cannot delete it.
Another problem I found is using it with a compatible smart phone. I've tried it both with an iPhone and Sony Xperia phone. In both cases it works well, however, be sure to disable your WiFi connection on the phone after use, or else the camera will stay connected to your phone and as a result, it will not auto-sleep. This can cause the battery of the camera to drain very quickly. Not great especially since you might have the camera mounted to your helmet and used your phone to get the right angle. Afterwards, if you do not kill the Wifi on your phone completely, the camera will stay on and you'll never know. Then when it's time to take a new shot, it could be out of batteries.
December 9, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by YUMAHIKER70 Lots of FUN
I just recently bought the HDR-AS30V. The optics are excellent, Color reproduction is excellent. Espeaslly the skin tone. On a large High def. TV the picture is outstanding including sound quality. I took the camera out for a test, late afternoon to dark. Walking the city streets. People did not realize it was a camera. I went out of my way to engage people in conversation. The video quality after dark was more than I had hoped for. The only problem I had was the end of my baseball cap and part of the frame from my glasses was in the corner of picture. The camera does need the optional Live View wrist monitor/controller to correctly frame the picture. I spent two hours walking without losing battery, so I don’t know for sure how long the battery will last. I have a friend that has the new GO. Does not come close to matching Sony picture quality. I would suggest that Sony sell a light weight bicycle helmet accessory that would allow you to adjust angle of camera or you could buy almost any helmet and jury rig it without difficulty.
November 30, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by RickBennette Great camera, lousy housing.
The image quality is not quite as sharp as the GoPro, but it does offer two wide angle settings of 170 and 120 degrees. At 170, you get more wide angle, more fisheye distortion but full sharpness. 120 degree setting digitally zooms in a bit, lowering sharpness but adding electronic image stabilization. Exposure is automatic, and the camera does a great job at making the entire video properly exposed under any normal outdoor condition. Color balance is automatic, and is accurate almost all the time. Focus is fixed and clear from two feet to infinity. Low light and color are also good indoors, so if you can get by without seeing what you're shooting, the camera works well indoors, too. The 60p mode is excellent for motion. Battery life is about an hour. You need to look at the side panel to be sure you are shooting video, because an accidental double press will stop the recording in under a second, and you'll not realize it until it's too late.
The SPKAS1 underwater housing does not allow the camera to focus under water. The problem is the curved front lens. Above water, it focuses fine, so you can use the camera in the rain or while river rafting. But underwater, the index of refraction difference between water on one side and air on the other causes the focus problem. The solution is to use a flat front lens, which Sony eventually figured out two years later. They now market a replacement front door with a flat lens for an additonal 40 bucks. It should have been issued as a free replacement for their original error.
Another major problem I just discovered is lens fogging, even when the camera isn't wet. I took this on a river rafting ride in Alaska expecting to get some splashes on the camera, but the river was calm and the camera stayed dry. After a few minutes of filming, the lens fogged up so much I couldn't use the camera until I opened the case and cleared the fog. But each time I closed the case, it would fog up again in two or three minutes. It was a sunny, dry day at 65 degrees. I finally just removed the case and took my chances.
The net result is this. The included Sony underwater housing makes the camera useless under almost any condition you'd need to use a waterproof or underwater housing. Sony has really dropped the ball with this worthless design, and it makes their cameras useless under any condition you might need water or shock protection. They'll never compete with a GoPro this way.
August 31, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by LeMarQ Real Action Cam
I just purchased this Action cam AS30v and I was blown away with the quality of the video. The sound quality is Amazing which is one of the main reasons why I purchased this along side with Video quality, color quality, slim, light weight, compact size, user friendly buttons, easy to read directions, steady shot, 120 to 170 pov, variations of mounts and last but not least Carl Zeiss lense. Sony has been around for a really long time. I am 41 now and when i was a kid Sony was in, Sony was founded in May of 1946 and in 1982 they were already releasing Camcorders. I have the Drift HD Cam and was impressed by that already and my friend also has the new GoPro 3 blk Edition...and these companies are good but you really can't compete with a company thats been around with the technology like Sony. GoPro may have got the jump start on the Action cam but Sony was there way before and will always be here with tech advance and will always be the winner in Video and Sound quality as it is a part of their expertise for over 30 years. Good job Sony with the Action Cam. I truly recommend this product. You will not be disappointed.
October 9, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by Seikidokid Great Camera
Great camera, be careful though the waterproof case that comes with the camera is only good down to 15 ft or so. You need to purchase the other waterproof case to be waterproof below 180 ft.
Very happy with the camera great video.
December 31, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by jnhphotography Better than GoPro Hero 3 Black
I've been in the market for an action camera for a while now. Just a few weeks ago, I picked up a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. Considering the Hero 3 Black is the industry leader, I was quite surprise to find out that there is no image stabilization built into the camera. Further, while shooting some video clips at night, the video quality was quite bad in low light situations. When Sony announced the predecessor to their action cam at IFA 2013 last month and having heard of all the features, I decided to pre-order the camera.
The Sony HDR-AS30V comes with 6 accessories.
- Micro USB
- Rechargeable battery pack
- Waterproof Case
- Adhesive Mount Attachment Buckle
- Flat Adhesive Mount
- Curve Adhesive Mount
- Set of printed documentation
The 73 page user manual is provided as PDF on the camera's memory and can be accessed when the camera is connected to a pc.
To access the settings on the camera, you have 3 buttons. An ENTER button, PREV, and NEXT. Navigating through the menus take some time to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, it's quite easy.
Sony also offers a free mobile app called PlayMemories Mobile. With the camera on and app launched, once you enter the SSID and password provided to you on one of the printed documents, you'll have a LIVE VIEW of what the camera is aimed at. This comes very handy when framing your shot. With the app, besides starting and stopping the video recording, you have options to turn on and off the SteadyShot, toggle the camera viewing angle between 120 degrees and 170 degrees, and set the camera in PHOTO or MOVIE, or INTERVAL RECORD mode. The lag time between what the phone display sees versus what is happening in front of the camera has been noticeably improved from Sony's last year model.
From initial tests, the camera does an excellent job in low light situation and bumpy video footage. I have yet to test the NFC, GPS Data Overlay on Video, nor underwater picture quality yet.
- image stabilization
- gps data overlay on video (shows map view, average speed, distance traveled, current time, duration time, total time, and date.)
- nfc for quick one touch connections
- excellent low light
- battery is REMOVABLE, allowing one to carry spare battery packs without needing to stress about finding a charger when the camera is out of battery
- cheaper than industry leader
- video quality is better than industry leader all around
- one touch START and STOP video recording
- PlayMemories Mobile
- does not have "G-sensor" to detect camera orientation and keep horizon consistent through recording. if camera is up-side-down, video will be up-side-down
I would highly recommend buying the Sony HDR-AS30V if you're in the market for an action camera that takes really nice video with all the features I've mentioned. This is a very fine camera.
September 25, 2013