Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 review – Waterproof adventurous camera
Sony had announced some time ago that they would be making action camera for people who like to go adventurous and this announcement had photography freaks really excited. Contour and GoPro has dominated this category and hence a lot of people were keen to see if Sony were doing anything different.
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 is offered in 2 flavors – with Wi-Fi and without it. Some countries will only get Wi-Fi enabled model and it is recommended that you check before buying.
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 review says that this camera is lightweight and small and the design is similar to a shotgun. There is stereo microphone on the front along with 170 degree lens. On the side, there is small LED display and next/previous buttons which give you options for navigation. But you can’t play any footage on screen. The back side has lock slider is quite simple and there is big recording key along with physical controls.
The small design of the Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 might seem pleasing to the eyes but there are some issues with the design. It cannot sit upright without help of waterproof casing and you need the waterproof casing because it allows you to use it 60 degrees under water.
Bottom side of the Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 has Action Cam and using it is really easy if you just want to shoot some video. If you press record button, the camera will start automatically even if the device is switched off. Apart from the standard video, you can also take snaps at intervals and this is good if you are making time lapse video clips.
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 also lets you attach a microphone to it and there are connectivity options with HDMI output and microUSB. Action Cam has MemoryStick Micro cards and microSD cards and both of them are accepted in dual slot which is located behind rear door. It is really easy to insert card in to the device and there aren’t any hassles involved.
In terms of specifications, this camera is as good as other devices in this category. This camera has support for full HD recording of video at 1080p (30 fps), 720p (60, 30, 120 fps), or 480p (30fps). One feature that other cameras in this class often miss is image stabilization but this one is offered on this camera. However, it is just electronic image stabilization and it is not as good as optical image stabilization. You also need to know that it works only when you are shooting at 120 degrees field of view.
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 comes with Wi-Fi inside and you can use it for transferring videos and use your mobile device as wireless view finder for controlling this camera. PlayMemories Mobile app is there for iOS and Android gadgets.
After you install it, you will get to connect the devices using Wi-Fi; it is provided in the instruction manual. You just have to enter it once and the 2 devices will then automatically connect in future.
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 price is $269.99 for Wi-Fi model and $200 for the non Wi-Fi model.
There are some issues in the app. Transferring video and photo is quite easy and functionality of remote viewfinder is great. You first need to turn remote functionality on Action Cam by navigating through menus for finding option of Remote menu. After this, start app. You will have to do this every time while using functionality of remove viewfinder or else you it’ll just assume that you want to transfer video and photo.
Through this app, you get to change view field (to 170 degrees from 120 degrees) and turn on the image stabilization off or on. You get to switch between movie recording and interval.
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 can record for maximum one hour.
Automatic has good exposures and this is quite reassuring because there aren’t any manual exposure control onboard. Video image is quite sharp and colours are accurate too. In my testing, this camera did well with smooth movement and there wasn’t much evidence of any rolling shutter.
The still pictures are not as well processed or crisp as video and with 2 megapixels resolution, you just get to use them for the small prints or web display. There is plenty of over-procesing for the still images and this gives you noisy image. The quality of pictures taken in low light isn’t really impressive and this is a bit disappointing considering that there is Exmore R backside illuminated sensor.
The sound from stereo micro phone is good and it is on par with GoPro HD Hero2. You can only do the photo recording in the interval mode. There isn’t any provision for snap stills 1 by 1.
When compared to GoPro and Contour, the big disadvantage on the Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 is that there isn’t any lens or image rotation. You don’t get to change lens rotation in the camera settings or in the device.
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 is the first action camera from this company and it is quite good. However, there is a need for some design tweaks and fixes in feature for making it stand out amongst the rest.
- 1080p (30fps), 720p (30/60/120fps), 480p (30fps)
- MicroSD/MemoryStick Micro
- No image or lens rotation
- 2-megapixel still images
- Wi-Fi built in
- 170-degree lens
- f/2.8 fixed
- 65 gram