Sony's new 4K Action Cam has optical image stabilization

Sony

Sony has announced a new version of its very capable GoPro competitor, the 4K Action Cam. The new model, called the X3000R, costs $400 and has a slew of new features like optical image stabilization, face detection, and the revamped menu system that we first saw on the smaller Action Cam announced at this year’s CES. Sony also announced the $300 AS300R, which has essentially all the same features except it tops out at 1080p. Both cameras will be available later this month.

Sony’s Action Cams have had digital stabilization for years now, so it’s great to see that the company finally found a way to build optical, or mechanical, image stabilization into this model. Digital stabilization is software-based — it smooths out footage by cropping in on the image and using the excess space to adjust for vibrations, so the results are not always good.

Mechanical stabilization involves physically moving some of the lens elements and the image sensor, which can produce better results without losing as much of the image to cropping. With almost every action camera capable of shooting 4K, image stabilization feels like it will be the next defining feature for action cameras. In fact, Garmin announced a new Virb action camera last week that uses electronic image stabilization, but while I was really impressed with it, I’d take optical image stabilization any day.

That’s not the only new thing about this model, though. Sony built a new lens for these Action Cams, which is supposed to produce an image that isn’t quite so distorted as it was in past versions. They'll also be using a new version of Sony's Exmor R CMOS image sensor, which is now back-lit. And Sony’s including the new menu system that it launched on the smaller Action Cam earlier this year, which is good, because the menu on the old 4K Action Cam (and all the models before it) was awful. The new screen serves up more information at a glance and it no longer takes you a dozen taps to change modes or settings.



The refreshed Action Cam also has some new software features, like the aforementioned face detection, and an automatic highlight generator mode — similar to what we've seen on the TomTom Bandit camera, or in GoPro's Quik mobile app. Both cameras are splash-proof, but still require the separate (but included) housing for underwater use. Sony will bundle each of the new cameras with the new, smaller "live view" remote that it debuted alongside the smaller AS50 at CES, and those bundles will run about $150 more than the retail price of the cameras.


Sony's smaller action cam, announced earlier in 2016

Comments

As an owner of a GoPro, I’ve never really noticed I needed OIS. I guess the most common setup is mounting the camera on a subject that is quite unlikely to move during capture, such as a helmet, skateboard or handlebar. Whenever I’ve done this I get a very crisp picture of the "static" subject, and obviously everything else moves around it.

Unless you’re holding one of these with your hand, I can’t see it improving picture quality all that much.

yes, 3-axis gimbal still is the best option for stabilization

from gopro leak: http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/3/12782376/gopro-karma-drone-first-look-leak
gopro will use gimbal for stabilization

you can still use this with a gimbal, just OIS would just make it smoother. It’s almost never a bad thing. This would make me buy the sony over the go pro, personally.

you will needed it if you go mountain biking or something like that
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K73wMUtdG8o

that 60fps is terrible, but that gimbal looks to be doing an awesome job.

OIS is only a good thing, and if it acts like it’s supposed too, it will improve footage in a noticeable way.

Sony Cameras and Menu almost always means Awful

I spent hours researching and looking for a Hero 3 replacement (someone went swimming in the ocean without it’s water proof case lol), and came to the conclusion that Sony menus suck and so do there compatibility with Mac’s, which is where the video is going to be edited.. I can get it to work just fine, but what if there isn’t anyone there to fix a problem that might arise. But if the menu is really fixed than maybe..

I will be used by a graphic designer/video editor and vlogger for a company to catch random videos. Damn… I’m lost AND they want optical zoom but i told them with a Hero 4 Black they can zoom in post.

Not their Alpha line. Their quality of the Sony alphas are superb. Check into the A7Rii.

the menu sucks! tons of tabs for the same category, that’s a bad menu.

preference I guess, but regardless, a menu doesn’t impact image quality. The physical controls are good and let you adjust settings without looking.

which is why my comment was strictly about the menu.

but menus do matter, when a camera becomes second nature, to have things that work as they are supposed to is a big plus and a messy menu just gets more and more annoying.

sure it’s a matter of preference but one that is shared by lots of actual and former Sony users.

OSS! Every camera needs it, vital for making watchable footage. Once I had the 5-axis mechanical stabilization of the A7S Mark II I could never go back to an unstabilized camera.

Sony’s alpha line has industry leading OIS. IF they used the same tech in this little thing then that will be super impressive and should make GoPro Worry. I’ve said it before, Microsoft should buy GoPro now. There are some great synergies (Buzzword alert) that could be realized. The Lumia OIS is perhaps the best in the phone world (pending tests to see if iPhone 7 catches up) and could be used in the GoPro. Plus, who knows what kind of crazy ideas they could do with Kinect and hololens tech with the GoPro brand. Microsoft should buy them and use the same model they did with Skype. Let them operate semi-independently and keep their brand while they lift technology and infuse them with cash and integrate where it makes sense. This has worked perfectly for Skype and Microsoft has benefited with Skype for Business while Offie365 has exploded.

Ive seen a lot of videos from japan consumer and it really improved a lot interms of video quality, distortion, battery life and now steadiness!!! cant wai what Go pro can offer this is gonna be an awesome competition

RIP GoPro

View All Comments
Back to top ↑