Sony is expanding the capabilities of its Action Cam cameras today with a new model that can shoot 4K video. The $499 (or $599 with a live view remote) X1000V has the same shape and design as Sony's earlier action cameras, but it can now shoot 3840 x 2160 pixel video at 30 frames per second. Prior to this model, Sony's action cameras could only shoot up to 1080p video. It will be available starting this March.
The 4K video captured by the X1000V can be played directly on a 4K TV via an HDMI cable. Other camera specifications include an ultra-wide-angle 170-degree lens, a back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, and Sony's Bionz X image processor. The X1000V also has the full pixel readout technology Sony employs in its higher-end interchangeable lens cameras, which provides better resolution and image quality.
The X1000V does not have optical image stabilization, but uses Sony's SteadyShot electronic stabilization system, which the company says has been fine-tuned for better performance when the camera is mounted to a drone. In addition to 4K video, the X1000V can shoot 1080p video at 120 frames per second or 720p video at 240 frames per second for slow motion effects. Sony has also added more manual exposure controls, such as white balance adjustment. The X1000V is being joined by the $299 AS200V, which offers many of the same features, but is limited to lower resolutions (1080p for standard frame rates).
Sony AS200V action camera
The action camera market is becoming an increasingly crowded space, with Sony's most obvious competition coming from GoPro. The GoPro Hero 4, released last year, can shoot 4K video and other resolutions at a variety of frame rates and is priced similarly to the new X1000V. In our comparison of action cameras, we found that GoPro's greater accessory ecosystem gave it a leg up over Sony and the others. Sony is launching a handful of new accessories to go with the X1000V and AS200V, such as a new helmet mount and snowboard / surfboard mount, and the X1000V comes with a waterproof case that can be used up to 10 meters underwater. Still, with GoPro's very strong grip on the market, Sony's cameras are going to have to be really impressive in order to sway action camera shoppers this year.