The Sony Compact Action Cam impressed me its smooth footage capture and its ability to record in 4x slow motion. The quality of the footage was good, but not great. The Action Cam performed best during low-light settings but during mid-day shooting, I noticed a lack of detail in the video. So even though Sony offers the least expensive camera in our test, I not sure it’s worth the cost. Unless price is a sticking point, it’s probably worth it to kick down the extra money for one of the more expensive cameras on our list.
Very Smooth Video, Washed out Color Sony’s diminutive Action Cam boasts a Cal Zeiss lens and Sony’s proprietary SteadyShot tech for exceptionally smooth footage, even when bouncing down rocky single-track trails. While the smooth footage impressed, as did the ability to record in 4x slow motion, the footage was merely good, not great. It performed best during low-light settings, but recording on bright, sunny days led to washed-out colors, and I noticed a lack of detail when compared to the other cameras I tested. The 11.9MP still images came through clear, but the only available time-lapse settings were 5, 10, 30, and 60 seconds with no burst feature.
User Experience The Action Cam is simple to use–one push of the button on the back of the body turns the camera on and starts recording, or either of the two buttons on the side will turn it on without recording. The menu system is easy to grasp if not master–some menu items take some deciphering, but you can get the gist of the main functions without cracking open the manual.
Versatile mounting options The Sony Action Cam offers a good selection of mounting options with the camera– the cam’s external case sports a built-in tripod thread so it’ll work with most standard mounting systems while the proprietary headband mount and the super-cool pet harness are nice touches.
Drawbacks Sony’s definitely pushing their pricing, having recently bumped down the price from $300 to $250, but there’s a definite feeling of “you get what you pay for” here. Maybe not even that. Besides the washed-out color and the lack of detail in the video, we had some issues with physical aspects of the camera. The body of the camera doesn’t stand up on its own, and while we like the camera’s light weight and small profile, the protective case that’s necessary for helmet mounting almost doubles the weight. Unless price is a sticking point, it’s probably worth it to kick down the extra money for one of the more expensive cameras on our list.