I finally got my hands on a Sony HDR-AS15 Action Cam. I should really say “hand” because this camera is beyond small. I was waiting for this one in particular as opposed to the AS10, which shares most of the features with the AS15 except WiFi. This series from Sony is their first foray into the “Action” oriented camera and it’s a good one. I snapped it onto my helmet and took it for a ride.
The Sony Action Cam has an f/2.8 lens with a 170 degree field of view and SteadyShot Active Digital Image Stabilization. The image stabilization made all the difference in the world with this camera. It’s digital and while I prefer optical stabilization, as should we all, digital stabilization offered me an out of camera option. Now while I wasn’t tearing down a mountainside on my bike, the roads of Brooklyn offered a good enough challenge. The final video was solid and I was very happy with the results.
The very heart of the Action Cam is a 16.8 megapixel, 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated Sony Exmor R CMOS image sensor. According to specs however, Sony isn’t using the entirety of the sensor. It’s only using a 16:9 area that roughly has a resolution of 12 megapixels. Still sufficient but I found it an odd choice. The Action Cam also only offers 16:9 aspect ratio shooting in 1920×1080/30P, 1280×720/30P, 680×480/30P (VGA). Other brands of this ilk offer a number of aspect ratio shooting options. The Action Cam does offer interval recording for photos in 5s/10s/30s/60s. I wish it had just one lower interval setting. Five seconds can be an eternity while shooting. The Action Cam shoots to Memory Stick Micro and Micro SDHC card. Use the fastest one available for best results.
I was most impressed by the size and weight of the Action Cam. It isn’t the smallest of its type but is the smallest with all of the features it possesses. The WiFi again had me pretty excited. It allows for remote operation with Smartphones and tablets and transfer of video and stills. It’s a breeze to set up and with 802.11b/g/n at 2.4 GHz, is both fast and reliable. I ran the Action Cam after a full charge for about 70 minutes before I started to get a warning. If I was being more selective with my shooting I’m pretty sure I could have gotten more time out of it. All told I don’t think 70 minutes worth of shooting is bad at all for this type of camera.
Now the Sony Action Cam comes with a couple of adhesive mount strips for curved and flat surfaces and a waterproof / dustproof housing. The housing is waterproof down to 197ft. or 60m for our metric friends. It also has a standard tripod mount built-in. There are a load of accessories for this that offer different mounting options and camera orientations.
In closing, the Sony Action Cam is a great entry into the genre of ruggedized, action-oriented cameras. It’s smart and does everything well. I’ll be curious to see what the next generation of the Action Cam from Sony has in store for us. The Sony HDR-AS15 is available at our Park Row stores and at jr.com.