GoPro finally has some serious competition.
Sony dropped its new Action Cam lineup at CES yesterday. It included two new cameras: the FDR-X1000V includes 4k video and improved image stabilization and the AS200V, a full HD camera in a smaller form factor.
The X1000V shoots 4K/30p video and has a Zeiss Tessar lens with a 170 degree wide angle field of view. Under the lens, it soaks in the scenes with an Exmor R Back Illuminated CMOS sensor along with a BIONZ X processor. The camera can shoot 120p in Full HD and 240p in standard HD, which should make for some awesome slo-mo shots. So far, all of the specs line up well with GoPro’s Hero 4. The Sony beats the Hero4 when it comes to standard HD framerate.
The X1000V borrows the acclaimed full pixel readout technology from other high-end Sony cameras including the popular α7 S. This allows the camera to read and process data from all of the sensor’s pixels. Normally, a sensor performs some downsampling or anti-aliasing before sending video to the processor. Sony sends raw, unprocessed video from the sensor and lets the processor take care of any messing about.
Along with the X1000V, Sony also introduced the Action Cam HDR-AS200V, which includes many of the same features and technologies as the X1000V including full pixel readout image, improved image stabilization, clean HDMI out and upgraded manual controls. The AS200V can shoot full 1080p HD/50Mbps video at 60p, 720p HD video at 120p and WVGA video at 240p.
Sony threw some pre-production versions at skateboarding legend Tony Hawk to try out. He seems to like them. How much of that affection is genuine versus purchased by sponsorship dollars, we can’t be sure.
Our current favorite, the GoPro Hero4, still tops the charts. Sony wins in standard HD framerate (240p to GoPro’s 120p), but we never find ourselves shooting in 720p, so that’s a weak advantage. Sony has a great reputation for its CMOS sensors. The Exmor R is a 10.2 megapixel sensor, compared to the Hero4’s 12 megapixels.
But, where GoPro continues to shine is in the accessories market. By keeping a standard form factor and attachment system, GoPro has built a library of accessories, both in-house and through a variety of other companies that have sprung up. Sony does not have that ecosystem.
We’ll keep an eye on the X1000V!
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