Garmin introduced its new high-end VIRB Ultra 30 action camera last week and Sony has no plans to stay behind their competitor in this avenue. Sony’s latest action cams have something that top-end models like the compactGoPro Hero4 Black don’t—optical image stabilisation. The 4K-capable FDR-X3000 and its Full HD sibling, the HDR-AS300, bring a host of improvements, but the biggest new feature is undoubtedly Balanced Optical SteadyShot, or stylishly termed as the ‘BOSS’ feature. BOSS works by moving the sensor and lens unit together to counter vibrations, which smooths out video without cropping or adding additional digital processing to the image.
Unlike Electronic image stabilisation which was used in Sony’s previous cameras, BOSS can be activated in any mode, including 4K (X3000 only) and high-speed shooting, a significant advantage over Sony’s previous action cams and those of other major manufacturers. Both models sport a new Zeiss Tessar wide-angle lens, which is married to a BSI Exmor R CMOS image sensor with a native 16:9 ratio. The Video is compressed using XAVC S, which delivers excellent quality at high bit rates—100Mbps for 4K and 50Mbps for 1080p. The FDR-X3000R sets itself apart from its sibling by supporting slow-motion 120fps capture at 1080p while the HDR-AS300R is limited to 720p if you want to crank the frame rate that high.
The two new cameras can be paired with an updated version of Sony’s Live-View Remote that the electronics giant says is 30 percent smaller than the previous model. The remote gives you a view of the camera and full controls, which now includes being able to power the camera on and off using low-power Bluetooth. Sony also improved the interface and menu system and added a high-power Wi-Fi mode so the remote can be used from greater distances from the camera.
The 4K Sony FDR-X3000 arrives in late September for $400 or $550 bundled with the Live-View Remote (as the X3000R). The full HD HDR-AS300 is $300 for the body only or $450 with the remote. Pricing for the X3000 bundle in the UK is £500 and AU$650 in Australia. The AS300 bundle in Australia is AU$500 but is currently not listed for availability in the UK.