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395 of 404 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2014
Firstly, I'm a heavy user of action cams. I've used them for everything from B-roll footage, timelapses, drones/quadcopters, helmet cams, weather balloons, high speed recording of MMA and plenty other things. I'm saddened that it took until 2014 for me to be wholly satisfied with a product all around (I've eagerly waited on my pre-order for over a month!).

I'm going to get straight to the main course. The quality of the video alone is an embarrassment to Go Pro (the innovator of this product and the "industry standard"). The sharpness of the lens and fluid motion of the CCD, even with the stabilizer turned off, isn't even in the same category as the competition's. It handles color beautifully, and allows you to record 1080p at 60fps so even the quickest turns and motions are captured accurately and not lost in frame sync.

On paper, there are a few competitors. The Go Pro Hero 3+ Black Edition offers just about the same specs, but lacks a live view remote. But the quality difference gets lost in the fine print. Sony's image sensor is far superior, its stabilizer is subtle and effective, and most importantly, there seems to have been a fine display of quality control and testing, whereas Go Pro absolutely craps themselves in that regard. The Hero 3+ is off focus, the Hero 3 is fragile and buggy, the Hero 2 skips frames and cannot focus underwater, etc, etc. That being said, I'm sure you can understand why I was so excited to try the Sony AS100VR out.

You're probably thinking: "But wait, doesn't the Hero 3+ support 4K video?"
Technically it almost does. What Go Pro considers to be 4k is actually about a thousand pixels short of the WHXGA standard. Practically it does not even come close. It can only shoot (almost) 4K at 12fps, which is about half of the suitable minimum for video. Remember claymation? That was mostly 15fps. You're also shooting "4k video" out of a lens that isn't designed for that resolution, or even properly focused.
Not that it should even matter right now. Most of us can't even keep a 720p video stream from Netflix or Youtube without buffering. 4k as a standard is a decade away.

Light!
The AS100V handles dynamic range very intelligently in both bright and dark settings, and adjusts the exposure faster than most other cameras. This means that if you're wearing it on a bike and ride out of a tunnel, it won't take 3 seconds to adjust to the drastic light change.
I was a little worried that the AS100V would fall short on low-light performance, as almost all action cameras do. But, anxiety averted. Recording under streetlights looks sharp and clean. I would put it far beyond the Hero 3 or 3+, and just slightly above the Hero 2 (which was my previous pick for low-light
performance). Sony takes the gold with quite a bit less noise. I would assume that the the Sony had a larger aperture lens while the Hero 2 had to compensate with ISO, but they're both f/2.4, so I have no explanation other than an improved CCD.

Finally, the game changer: You can opt to record in XAVC format if you buy a high speed memory card. If you plan on using this for anything other than your own enjoyment, this is huge. Before this camera, XAVC was only used in high-end professional camcorders. The compression is much crisper, and there's an upgrade in color depth from your standard 8-bit, to 12-bit. It's a proprietary format, but it is supported by all current Adobe products as well as Vegas and other mainstream video editing applications.

Other goodies worth mentioning:
-240 FPS/480p and 120FPS/720p for super slow motion fun.

- The option to shoot at 170 degrees or crop to a less wide 120 degrees.

-Tripod screw on both camera and waterproof case. The waterproof case has a standard 1/4 screw hole, and the camera has a 1/8. However it comes with a 1/8 to 1/4 base should you choose to use the camera on a tripod without the waterproof case.

- Both the camera and the wrist display charge via standard micro-usb. (Android phone charger)
- On-board GPS that doesn't require specific software or a website to use (although you have the option). It saves the data in a .log file, so you can load it into virtually anything.

- Easy smartphone integration/preview/sharing.

At the time of writing, this is easily the best in class for action cams, and probably the best video capture quality you will find behind the DSL price-range.

The only thing I can't comment on is it's longevity. But if it breaks easily or stops working, I'll certainly change those 5 stars and complain to the world by updating this review.
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181 of 189 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2014
I give the camera five stars, but the LV Remote only one star. [edit: see my update on the camera, at the end of this review]

I've used the GoPro Hero 3+ Black and wanted something better. The AS100V Action Camera is better in just about every way: much better battery life; better picture quality; but most of all, it includes motion stabilization. This is extremely important for an action camera, and not just for the obvious reason that it makes the video more stable. Even more important is that all action cameras have a "rolling shutter" and this can cause vertical structures to "lean" back and forth as the camera moves, and can introduce the dreaded "jello effect" if you use the camera on a motorcycle or other vehicle that vibrates. While some of this can be removed in post production using Mercalli, or similar stabilizer, the better way is to not allow the shake or shimmy to be recorded in the first place.

This camera's motion stabilization does just that, and it works very well.

I found both the enclosure and the mounts much easier to use than those that come with the GoPro.

The menu organization and function is very similar to the GoPro.

The only downside I see to this camera compared to the GoPro is that it doesn't have as much third-party support. So, if you want to control the camera through the expansion connector, like you can do with the GoPro, you won't be able to do that. As a result, this Sony camera would not be a good choice if you want the camera to be part of some larger, custom image capture system.

So, except for those small caveats, the camera is really good.

However ...

The "Live View Remote" is an absolutely terrible product. Save yourself some money and instead get just the bare camera, without this viewer. Use a smartphone, or some other device instead.

What is wrong with the viewer?

1. You can't see it in sunlight. Let me repeat that: you cannot see anything in the display when viewed in direct sunlight, or even bright shade. The attached picture shows the problem (and yes, the viewfinder IS turned on in the outdoor picture). This flaw pretty much makes the LiveView Remote not fit for its intended purpose. If you want to use the viewfinder to help frame the picture while you are filming outdoors in full sunshine, you simply will not be able to do that.

2. You can't easily get it onto your arm. The wrist band strap must be completely opened in order to get it over your hand, if you happen to have large hands. If you are a man, and are over 5' 11", you will not be able to get it over your hand. You can, however, completely un-do the strap, and then attempt to get the velcro back through the opening of the buckle, using just one hand. However, because the end of the velcro strap is doubled over and therefore barely fits through the hole, I found that even after several tries, this took over one minute each time I wanted to use the view finder. I have a few old watches that have old-fashioned leather straps that you have to put on in this way, but on those watches, the leather end easily slips into the buckle.

3. You can't see the video on your wrist without putting your arm at a strange angle. To see what I mean, try this: if you wear a watch on one arm, hold a camera with the hand on your other arm, and then, while filming, hold the arm with the watch so you can read the time. Now imagine having to hold your watch-hand in that position while filming for a few minutes. Not pleasant, eh? The mounting for the viewer should have included ways to mount it at an angle to your wrist, or to wear it on other parts of your body, or to allow the video to be shown in portrait mode as well as landscape. Even if your are wearing the camera (e.g., on a helmet), the "watch reading" approach to viewing the video is awkward.

So, while the "Dick Tracy 2-Way TV" is initially appealing, for those of us old enough to remember that comic strip, it is actually a lousy way to view video while simultaneously participating in some sort of activity.

4. You cannot play back recorded video!! Yes, that's right, you cannot review anything that you have recorded. This is actually quite unbelievable. So, you cannot use this to edit and delete your videos, from within the camera.

5. The range of the Live View Remote is less than ten feet. You will see this mentioned in other reviews. I tried it indoors, and as soon as I took even a few steps, the video froze. I realize that this remote viewer is not designed for watching the video while the camera is mounted in a quadcopter, but it sure would be nice to be able to step into a group on the other side of the room and still at least turn the camera on and off, or snap some still photos.

Unfortunately, you cannot do this because the range is so limited.

6. The free Sony PlayMemories software (download from the Sony site) is completely useless for anything, and does not help you manage the photos on the camera, so that is not an alternative for managing and deleting videos.

So, here's the bottom line: I would highly recommend the camera, but the Live-View Remote is a terrible product, and I don't see how anyone could be happy with its features and performance.

Get the camera; forget about the Live View Remote.

[edit]I've now used this camera for over a year and I have a few important things to add.

First, it is really difficult to mount this camera on your body for a face-forward view. This is due to having the lens on the end of the camera, like most traditional video cameras. By contrast, the GoPro has the lens in the middle of the body of the camera. which makes it really easy to strap to the front of your chest, hat, head, or helmet.

Second, I have now used the PlayMemories Mobile on an iPhone 6 Plus to view live video and control the camera. I was hoping for an increased range compared to the Live-View Remote that I reviewed above. However, there was no increase in range, and no improvement in functionality. I could not play any videos stored on the camera, so you still cannot review video you've taken while still in the field. Also, if you change modes on the camera while connected to the iPhone via Wi-Fi, the Wi-Fi disconnects. Basically, all you can do is see the video you are taking, with a slight delay, and start and stop recording. Very disappointing.

[edit]I have now owned this camera for over a year, and one downside that I can't get around are the problems of mounting this camera. The GoPro has the lens on the side of the camera, and this has the lens on the end of the camera. This causes problems. The best example is a chest mount. Basically, this design makes such a mount almost impossible. Even if you can find a mount (I haven't been able to find one), the camera is going to wiggle and wave back and forth, increasing the amount of unwanted motion. Many other mounting positions are equally compromised. In addition, I haven't been able to find many mounting options for this camera compared to what is available for the GoPro. A good example is the Zemuse gimbal for the DJI Phantom quadcopter. GoPro yes; Sony Action Cam, no.

So while I still prefer the quality of the video this camera takes, compared to the GoPro Hero 3+ Black (I haven't tried the GoPro 4), the mounting options could be a real show-stopper for some people, and you need to consider this before you buy.
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174 of 184 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2014
This is a great action cam and is better than its predecessor and any of the GoPro products in many ways.

Weight is minimal. The feature I'm most happy to see is the mount on the camera. This means you can mount it to most anything without needed a bulky/heavy case. For use on a Quadcopter (some people call these "personal drones"), weight is critical. The case adds another 60g, nearly 2/3 the weight of the camera. Thats 60g I'd rather not have to carry around draining battery. When mounting it to a helmet or other headworn method every bit of extra weight is weight you'd rather not have. The AS100 resolves that by adding a mount to the camera. HOWEVER, this mount is NOT a tripod mount. It is a smaller threaded hole that allows for an adapter to be mounted. That adapter has a standard tripod mount and anti-rotation pin hole. It adds minimal weight, but one could use the correct bolt to mount the camera directly in some applications. For example, on my quadcopter I'll use the proper screw to mount the camera directly to the frame and skip the adapter.

The camera is now splash proof. This is great for the times when I would use it without the case (i.e. mounted in the 'skeleton' mount) and in environments that it might get wet: sledding, biking, hiking, etc.

Another issue with needing the case at all times is fogging. In colder weather the case cools off and the camera heats up. This causes fogging inside the case and directly on the lens area. I could use the skeleton case, but most of the time when it is cold there is snow and I need the protection of the full case. They sell an anti-fog accessory, but I'm not sure it works and no case is of course a MUCH better way to make sure the case won't fog!

The mounting options alone make this a great upgrade. However there are other features that make this a contender for best action camera:

-50MB professional Codec. If you don't know what a Codec is, think "secret recipe for making video look great". Its like a higher bit rate MP3 for your music. More data means better looking video. I found the "Pro" setting made video look sharper and have more accurate and rich colors. Definitely noticeable even when comparing the AS100 "Pro" 1080P to the AS100 standard 1080P (50Mbit vs 16Mbit).
-Improved image stabilization. The Sony's have an advantage to GoPro with in camera stabilization. The AS100 stabilization is better than the stabilization in the AS30.
-Wi-Fi preview. The iPhone app (and Android) does not let you access every setting on the camera, but enough. You can adjust the recording quality and frame rate. The real time preview is something I cannot go without. I just connect it to my iPhone and voila! I can see a real time preview of what the camera is recording. Great for framing when mounted to something or as a viewfinder when doing more "run and gun" handheld style recording.
-slim profile is better for speed applications vs the flat wide face of the GoPro. On small R/C aircraft this make a difference to the flight performance. On larger full size cars and aircraft it certainly won't but does mean less wind induced vibration and movement.

There are a few issues that are not improvements. Those are:
-To use the "Pro" Sony XAVC codec you need to use a microSDXC card. My existing SDHC cards will only record to the h264 codec (~20MB) and not the 50Mbit codec. Those cards are not cheap. They are only available in 64GB and up, and a card capable of 70Mbps read is about $60. Write speed need only be 10Mbps (50Mbit video is 6.25MB per second), but read speeds should be as fast as you can get so you don't have to wait an hour to transfer the video. These micro SDXC cards will of course also work in the lower bitrate recording modes.
-I already mentioned the screw mount is not a tripod mount, but a mount for the tripod adapter. Not bad, but it would have been nice if it at least allowed you to connect it to a trips even if that isn't recommended.
-There is no longer an option for 120degree or 170degree field of view. You can use 120degree by turning on image stabilization, but that will drain battery faster. You can of course always shoot at 1080 and then crop in post to get a narrower FOV, but you lose resolution that way.
-No altitude data in the GPD log. No idea why. This baffles me. It is data most of use that use GPS are interested in, and I don't see any reason it can't be in the log file. Hopefully a firmware update can fix this.

I have not used a GoPro, but from what I see, the research I've done, GoPro users comments, and what my needs are this one is the best option for me. What sold me on the AS30V was the video quality, stabilization, choice of field of view, mounting options (i.e. accessories), and the size/weight. The AS100V only gets better (well, apart from the loss of a non stabilized 120degree FOV). Sony is clearly moving into this market in a very aggressive way. I'm sure more good stuff will come, for now this is my action cam of choice for my hiking, biking, R/C flying, and other needs.

What card do you need?
There is some confusion about the right card to use. The camera can record up to 50Mb/s. That is "Megabit" per second. Not "Megabyte" per second. 50Mbit is only 6.25MB. So any Class 10 has the speed BUT it must be a micro SDHX card to use the "Pro" codec. A microSDHC card may have the right speed specs, but it won't work. It us FAT32 format and needs to support EXFAT format. The Samsung microSDHX card that is 70/20MB/s is the one I'm using. It works just fine for both h.264 and the Pro XAVC codecs.

Some Test Results:
Record time with wi-fi and GPS on: 1:55 (1080 30P, XAVC "pro" mode, stabilization off, monitoring via iPhone every 20-30 minutes, stock Sony battery on its first cycle)
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105 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2014
Here is a short side by side comparison between the Hero3 and the AS100V.

The Hero3+ Black Edition is on the LEFT.
The Sony AS100V is on the RIGHT.

you can also see it on youtube in HD.
search for "Sony AS100 vs Gopro Hero 3+ Black Edition"

Here is an audio comparison of the AS100, Hero3+ BE, Rodes videomic pro and AS15
search for "Sony AS100, Hero3+ BE, Sony AS15 and Rode VideoMic Pro Audio test"
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2014
I've been shooting with the AS100 for about 3 weeks now. I also have a GoPro Hero3 Silver, and since comparison between Sony and GoPro is inevitable I will weigh in on that. Sony clearly has better video than GoPro (I realize my GoPro is not the newest, but based on the reviews and videos I've seen the Sony simply is better). I love the fact that I can shoot 1280x720 at 120 fps, as one of my primary uses for an action cam is taping little league baseball and youth golf for swing analysis. All of the videos I've shot with the Sony have been superior to GoPro.

I think GoPro does have the edge on a few features, though. Obviously the GoPro's compatibility with all the mounting accessories is a big plus. I wish Sony would simply adopt the GoPro mounting system, but knowing Sony they never will. The GoPro has better buttons, especially inasmuch as I never had a problem with accidentally turning my GoPro on and draining the batter; I've done this 4-5 times with the Sony. I finally had to buy a small case for the Sony (rather than just keeping it in a soft bag).

GoPro feels more solid and durable. I feel like if I were to drop the Sony it would shatter. I find it beyond irritating that Sony didn't think to include a lens cap with this camera. I rarely use the plastic case (which interferes with the video shot), so having a lens cap is a fairly big issue for me. For now I am using my GoPro len's cap on the Sony (very tight fit).

Sony's battery life is pretty short. You will need to buy some additional batteries if you are planning on shooting for more than 45 minutes or so. If you are using WiFi and GPS you'll run the battery down very quickly.

I purchased the unit that includes the wrist LCD deal. I wouldn't recommend purchasing this as an add-on, the iPhone Sony app works just fine for shooting video. It has terrible reviews on the App store but it works well enough IMO. The wrist LCD deal is kind of cool, but it really just amounts to something else you have to keep track of and charge. Much easier to just use your phone.

Be aware that the Sony has to be powered off to charge by USB. This is a pretty substantial ding IMO. If you want a camera that you can leave plugged in and shoot all day I don't think the Sony is for you (I read the owner's manual thoroughly and it clearly states "charging is not possible when the camera is turned on" on page 14). Another reason why getting additional batteries is critical.

At the end of the day, though, the proof is in what you use. Since I picked up the Sony I haven't used my GoPro except for DJI Phantom shots (and that is purely an issue of not being able to mount the Sony on the Phantom yet). GPS works great, it acquires a signal quickly and I've had no problems picking up the coordinates in meta-data (makes me wonder why my Nikon D5300 can't pick up a signal in less than 5 minutes). The user interface is good, like GoPro it takes a while to memorize the menu options so you can zip around quickly. I like that they added a WiFi shortcut.

Lastly, I tried to use the XAVC feature, but my class 10 card apparently isn't fast enough. I'm frankly not sure what kind of card would work with it, since mine is allegedly has the fastest data transfer speeds out there.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2014
I got this camera right when it came out in Japan on March 14th 2014.

First of all, here is a link to my blog with sample images and videos from this camera. http://sonyas100v.blogspot.jp/
I have many posts with all types of videos, pictures and tests for this camera on it. This blog is constantly updated, this review is not. Feel free to post a request or question on this review or on my blog!

UPDATE:

The bottom review is largely outdated now since I run the above blog instead. However, know that I absolutely love this camera and believe it is the best action camera for cyclists and is an excellent camera for divers. I also enjoy using this camera for city shooting and for timelapse video. I absolutely love this camera and am even considering picking up a second one for my video work.

Prior to purchasing this camera, I have been using a Gopro white edition, which is a pretty good camera for some informal cycling videos, but I really needed something with better image quality. I had read and watched many comparative videos between the sony as30v (previous model) and the Gopro black edition+. It seemed like both of these cameras were pretty evenly matched, and when this camera was announced I decided to wait for this.

I must say, when Sony said they "tamed" the fish eye effect, they did a great job. The lens is still a fish eye, but its distortion its much more practical with this camera. Their claims about making quality very sharp is also very true, both images and images are very sharp. The image stabilization on this camera is incredible, this feature takes the edge off regular walking and riding shakiness, and can salvage even very bumpy rides. I would compare this image stabilization to something on par with Adobe warp stabilizer, its also superior to the stabilizer in Final Cut Pro. With steady shot on, my rides look like I am riding on silky smooth steel railing.

As a cyclist, I am very happy that this camera is very light weight and can be mounted without the waterproof case. One major problem I had with the gopro was that it needs to be in a case to mount and is a pretty weighty camera. This extra weight pushed my helmet down onto my head and decreased the ventalization on my helmet which made my head soaked with sweat. This camera is much lighter and mounting it on my helmet no longer yields this problem. Also, it is much more aerodynamic than the blocky gopro design. With the gopro I could feel the wind drag my head back when I was riding fast, and especially in headwinds. This camera design cuts through the wind and overall is much more enjoyable to ride with.

A nice feature they added to this camera is the neutral video mode. I was hesitant about the vivid video mode of the AS30v because I like to edit my videos and fine adjust color in Final Cut pro. There is also a flip function, and 120 or 240 fps mode, which is really cool. The lowlight performance on this camera is also amazing. Image noise is no longer an issue, and it can give me great footage even during my night rides.

Lastly check out my blog listed above for still image quality. I have been using this camera in place of my 7mm fish eye lens for my Cannon 50D. Its that good.

Also, you can buy a cheap adapter for this camera that enables you to use GoPro mounts. Great for former GoPro users who have mounts already.

Overall I must say that if there was discrepancy as to whether the as30v was better than the Gopro black edition, then there should be no question that the as100v trumps both cameras handily. Other members on my team use the black edition and we will be doing side by side tests that will be posted on my blog post soon. But already, this camera is getting a lot of attention among the team with its many features that appeal directly to us cyclists.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: ElectronicsVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
 I had bought and tried both Sony AS15 and GoPro hero 3+ silver and black cameras last year. Both have pros and cons just like any gadget, but I enjoyed both.
At first, I liked Sony's AS model action camera because the video clips looked better than GoPro's, and that had not been changed in this AS100 model. With the `pro' mode on, shooting at 1080 60P resulted clearly better looking video clips. The video quality looks clearer, crispier, and sharper. The color mode `vivid' and `natural' worked well depending on the activity, but I preferred vivid mode all the time. Even though Sony named it vivid mode, it felt more like a slightly "contrastier" natural mode. Also, Sony's XAVC S (`pro')mode gives highest quality in action video setting; I was quite impressed and pleased with the result. However, in order to have the `pro' mode on, the transfer rate on the microSD card should be fast enough.
Slowmotion at 720 120P and 480 240P worked really well, and the videos looked amazing when played in slow motion. I shot this slow mode at bike wheels and pedals, and they looked cool and fun. FYI, SteadyShot is not available with the slowmotion. And speaking of SteadyShot, I think, this is the major advantage over GoPros. As I tested, there is noticeable difference in reduced motion vibrations with this AS100 compared to GoPro's. This kind of feature really benefits the purpose of the action cameras that most likely have motion packed shooting conditions. Even though it is not an optical stabilization, it actually worked really well in many different shooting environments.
Besides the SteadyShot feature, there are still several more advantageous features than other brands. GPS logging is one of my anticipated features and it was fun to integrate to my videos. In order to implement the GPS logs, I had to use Sony's PlayMemories application (free) to import the clip. And there are three different designs to overlay the GPS log. The logged information seemed very much accurate, and it was really fun. I also looked into the photo files taken with this cam to see if it had GPS log, and sure enough it was embedded in the photo file (photoshop->file info). It was impressively accurate, and I could point out what was only missed by a couple of feet.
Another cool feature in this set is the wearable live view remote controller. GoPro's black edition comes with a remote, but it lacks screen. This AS100V comes with a rather bulky live view remote, and it is just a great way to control and view the camera. The set already paired, I didn't have to do anything. The remote and the camera reconnects quickly when disconnected and the wireless transmitting range roughly goes around 100 feet. If there's wall or obstacle, it easily loses connections, but then they reconnect quickly when in range. The live view is extremely handy in many situations, but I found that it was not easy to view the small screen under the bright sunlight (just like any other lcd based screens). The remote has a built in battery, and it lasted about 4~5 hours, and recharging took about 2~3 hours. Along with the mobile app remote, this remote also does not support full control of the camera, yet the more controllability would probably be added via firmware update as it did on the latest update.
One last thing I want to comment is the splash proof body. I am not sure if I can call it weather sealed like they do on pro camera bodies, but the tiny door edges are sealed with rubber rings, and it can prevent water or dust coming in the ports. I would rather not use the waterproof casing most of the time due to the added weight and another plastic layering in front of the lens, so the splash proofed body is another cool feature to have.
Despite all the nice features along with better audio and video quality, there are also a couple of things I think Sony can improve in this product line. First, the battery life is not too good. With the pro mode and SteadyShot on at 1080 60P, the battery lasted about 1.5 hours while my GoPro was still shooting. I guess shooting at highest quality with the image stabilization take lots of power. (FYI, 16GB SD can take about 1.5 hours of 1080 60P Pro + SteadyShot, and fully charged battery last about 1.5 hours. Recharging took about 3 hours using 5W USB charger)
Secondly, this action camera has an unconventional shape. I don't think this is a major weakness, yet I found sometimes that it's not easy to mount this camera on my head or gears, such as a multirotor gimbal. Luckily, there are already plenty of mounts available. The headband mount was rather awkward to have the camera on the side, but I soon got used to it. The handle bar mount worked really well on my bike, and it was actually really solid and well built. One thing I really like about Sony's mounting system is that they use the universal 1/4". This means I can use other photo tripods, stands, or gorilla pods with the 1/4" adapter plate (included). Sony also has similar design to GoPro's for the underwater case mounting, yet I found Sony's system is more flexible than GoPro's.
Lastly, it lacks a recording indicator light. This is not a big deal at all since the live view remote shows the status on the screen, but when the remote is not carried, it is not easy to tell whether the camera is recording or not.
Overall, this is a feature packed action camera that is directly challenging GoPro's market share. Features like GPS and image stabilization are highly beneficial for the users whereas GoPro doesn't offer any of those features yet. Also the remote with live view screen is another awesome thing that other brands don't have yet. Small things such as improving the mobile app, battery life, and indicator light can't be the reason not to buy this product, considering the unique and wonderful features and higher video and audio quality.
review image review image
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49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2014
I bought this to use for in-car video recording during performance driving events. I tried some other conventional point-and-shoot cameras to record some videos, and they did pretty well except for suffering from vibration issues. So I hoped the Steady Shot feature on this camera would solve that problem. It did that very nicely, so I was happy about that.

However, it also over-exposed the view through the windshield and side windows, which made objects outside look out of focus and washed out. The partial view of the dashboard in the bottom half of the image was very sharp and clear, but the camera couldn't deal with the difference in brightness between the portion of the view of the inside of my car and the view outside. That made the video quality look very poor, and nothing like other 1080p videos I have seen or taken with other cameras. I tried carefully aiming the center of the field of view directly through the windshield, hoping that would cause the camera's auto-exposure metering to adjust the exposure more appropriately for the bright outdoor conditions, but that didn't really help. I tried adjusting every other setting available on this camera (it has pretty limited options), and none of them helped.

Refer to the image that I uploaded to the Customer Images section for just one example of this issue.

I also took video and still photos with the camera of outdoor scenes from outside of my car to see how it performed without the wide dynamic range of lighting from inside the car, and it still over-exposed all of those shots, although not quite as badly as the ones taken from inside my car. The nearby objects (within < 10 feet) look pretty nice, but the farther objects look slightly blurry because of the over-exposure and the resulting poor contrast. I took side by side photos with this camera and another, and it's a night-and-day difference.

So, for my intended use, I really wish this camera had a feature to manually adjust exposure compensation. I have since discovered that the latest GoPro, Drift, and Contour cameras do have this feature (possibly others do as well), so I just returned this Sony camera and ordered the Drift camera instead.

I also just found an online video review of an earlier version of this Sony camera compared to a GoPro, and the reviewer notes the same thing that I discovered. The camera seems to do impressively well in lower light conditions, but seems to suffer from some over-exposure in sunny outdoor scenes.

Hopefully Sony will add a manual exposure-compensation feature, since otherwise the camera seems pretty nice, except for one more issue:

For those thinking about using an external microphone, I still can't believe where Sony decided to place the mic jack. You have to hack your own solution to mount the camera if you want to use an external microphone with it, since the jack comes out of the bottom. None of their supplied mounts can be used with an external microphone attached. I planned to use an external mic to allow me to place the mic in a location to avoid wind noise. Without one, the wind noise on the built-in microphones was very loud for my intended use.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2014
Let me start off by saying, I hate it when people do reviews of an item they have only owned for a few days. It takes time to tease out the subtle nuances of an item such as a camera.

Problem is, NOBODY has owned one more than a few days. And I can almost guarantee that folks are on the fence about buying one of these cameras. How can you make an informed decision without reviews, no matter how early?

So here we are, writing a review.

I own all of the Sony camera lineup. HDRAS-10, 15,30 and now 100. So far, the 100 has not disappointed me. Like the other reviewer, I am quite impressed with the video and audio quality out of such a camera. I won't delve into too much detail as I feel it has already been covered quite well. Sony has AGAIN raised the bar quite high in the race for action cam supremacy. And I think this bar will be quite a stretch for GoPro to stumble over.

Functionally, the camera operates almost identically to its predecessors. With the two side buttons to toggle between menus, and the large red "RECORD" button on back. Even without reading the manual, I was able to get this thing configured and recording in a matter of minutes.

I had inserted the mini HD card backwards, and the camera quickly reminded me of the mistake. I continue to hope that Sony can make it impossible to do such a feat, but alas, they have not. Sooooo, if the display is flashing at you when you try to setup the video, the card needs turned around.

Once going, I instantly wanted to put it into service recording my driving. For both liability reasons, and sheer morbid boredom, I have a camera on my dash at almost all times. I drive extensively for work and find that neat little videos in blizzards and driving around in the mountains are quite entertaining.

The 100 made my driving and filming much easier. Instead of using the skeleton case (so I can access the bottom accessory plugs and power the camera continually), I can just screw on the small adapter and attach the camera itself to my dash mount. The benefit is twofold here. One, the skeleton case can rattle obnoxiously when driving down very rutted dirt roads. No only can this lead to bouncy videos, but I may just have to throw the little sucker out the window after several hundred miles.

And secondly, the skeleton case allows the camera to stay a bit cooler than in it's waterproof one, but having no case is FAR better for letting out built up heat. That, and the white case of the camera does seem to make a difference. The camera runs exponentially cooler than previous models.

The "RECORD" button on the back was/is a bit of a bummer for me. It seems squishy and not as positive as previous models. If you cannot hear the little musical diddle of the camera turning on or off, the button push is of little help. I had to push quite hard to make it record. Also, Sony employed a different rear door assembly than in previous models. Instead of sliding the door sideways and letting it hinge off, you now must use a small LOCK/UNLOCK tab. With wet hands this mechanism is a bit tough to do. I would deem it all but impossible if a person were wearing gloves.

Earlier I mentioned that I will not delve into video quality. I want to deviate ever so slightly. Sony as somehow bested the AS30 and come up with an even smoother anti vibration scheme. If you think about it, Sony has been making stabilized cameras for years and years. They SHOULD be top of the heap IMO. This camera has once again proven that they are.

On the bottom of the camera, there is actually a round external power jack. I have not dug through the manual yet, but this is somehow interesting to me. However, this plug is covered and inaccessible when the camera tripod adapter is installed, and it is certainly unusable while in it's waterproof housing.

I'm sure time will tell (and this review will get updated) about the cameras longevity and rightfulness at the pinnacle of action cam mountain. I do not fly my unit on drones, but I do intend to strap it onto every form of 4wheeler and off road truck known to man. Hopefully I don't smear the camera off with a big boulder or anything.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2014
I, and my wife, are astonished of the clarity of this camera. From research and reading reviews, I decided to purchase this product with a 64Gb 80Mb/s card (to place the camera in "PRO" mode - 1080/60FPS) where it performed greater than our expectations. The microphone sound great the speed of it is lightning fast (press the record button while it's off and it will turn on and start record in less than 3 seconds). The image stabilization circuit is a big plus, I don't know how anyone can work without it. Sony definitely knows what they are doing with video products!

The directions read like stereo instructions, so I was able to get a handling on it rather quickly, however, there are some modes that I have not worked with yet (timer and real-time streaming). I not quite sure why they have you go to a different menu to enable the "PRO" mode, as they could have integrated it with the "VMODE" menu - with a rejection if the card was not compatible (or better yet not listing the "PRO" mode if the card was not compatible).

The "water proof" case that comes with it is not really designed for underwater video. I see it as more to protect it in the snow, rain, around a pool, and to prevent scratches of the lens. Yes, they have other products to protect the lens, however, I can see the included case as an "all around" general protector of the camera and lens. The case has a built-in tripod mount, additionally, you can run the camera without the "water proof" case with the included tripod adapter.

I've only worked with the free program (PMHOME) just a little bit and have not been able to figure it out yet (like the GPS overlay), so I will update when I get a chance. I work almost exclusively in Linux, so I'm not sure if I will even use it. Some have reported that you cannot delete video nor pictures from the camera without performing a "format". This is not true. It is true that you cannot accomplish this function from within the camera software, nor the PMHOME software, however, you can open a file manager and search through the card when the camera is connected to a computer and manually delete the files. This is MUCH more preferable then formatting the card as these cards have a finite number of writes (so if you "write" the image then "format" the card, then "write" a new image - that's three writes).

The camera that I purchased already had the updated firmware, so I did not need to make any changes.

-Update 1 (1 month from purchase)

The camera continues to impress! Learned more tricks and now have added a "selfipod" adapter. Have recorded about 10 hours worth of video so far. Here is what I have found:

- Check the lens (du). Seems simple enough, however, a few times I have placed it in the case without checking the lens and left smears on it. I have also neglected to check the case lens as well (oops).
- When dealing with a "selfipod" be very careful of grip as slight grip change can and will transfer down the pole to the camera where it WILL be picked up by the very sensitive Mic's.
- Having a high quality/high speed card really helps.
- The "MyMemories" phone software tends to hang on connection - not sure why, just says "connecting...'. When it works, it works well, just not consistent. I'm not sure if it is a problem with the actual camera or the phone software.
- I've seen some complaints about the mounting capability - The camera includes a standard tripod mount! This means that if you can (and you will) find a standard camera mount, this camera will work with it! Grant you, it's funny to see this little camera on a full size tripod or the selfipod taking a foot print of half the size of the mount itself, but it does work - just like a regular camera.
- I LOVE the feature of taking 10 pictures in 2 seconds. No more blink problems.
- Taking still pictures is a little strange because you don't know what you are going to get, however, remember that even if you are not centered you can crop to center the shot.

More later!
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