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on 12 July 2013
The main bias of this action camera seems to be in camera technology, at the expense of usability. Whether you want to go for this depends on your priorities. The GoPro Hero3 Black may out-perform this camera in some areas, but do keep in mind the cost difference between the two.

I personally prefer the elongated form of this camera. Someone else may prefer the box form factor.

NOTE: I'm not an action man - I'm using a pair of these to shoot ultrawide FOV stereoscpic footage. I don't have insights on the action/field usage of this camera.

Pros:
+ Sharpest image in the market, with up to 170 degrees FOV
+ Best, least noisy low light performance in the market thanks to the back-lit sensor
+ Very clean high quality stereo sound (by action camera standards), both from the internal microphones and the external input (which also takes stereo!). The noise floor is fair enough - for an action camera.
+ With the latest firmware update, it can shoot 1080P at 60 frames per second. 720p 120fps slow motion mode also available (this requires daylight due to short exposure).
+ Surprisingly good digital image stabilization (limited to 120 degrees FOV) - among the better ones I've seen.
+ Smooth white balance / exposure adaptation. No sudden jumps. Works well for long time lapses too.

Cons:
- Very poor mountability. The camera itself is impossible to mount on anything on its own due to its rounded shape and the lack of a tripod screw on the chassis. It comes with a waterproof housing with a tripod screw - and that's it. All other mounting accessories need to be purchased separately.
- The external inputs/outputs are located in the bottom of the camera, making them inaccessible if the camera is mounted in any way (except upside down - good luck finding a suitable accessory)
- Applies heavy dynamics limiting/compression to the sound to maximize the perceived volume. This is OK for direct use but not good for post processing. It sounds pumpy and clips easily if it gets a loud signal. (most users won't care - I do)
- Inconsistent manufacturing quality - some specimens may have a slightly mis-aligned lens which can give a blurry image in one of the corners of the image (also noted by Techmoan) - this is not the Zeiss quality I would expect. Make sure to check that the camera's picture is sharp all over and if not, be prepared to return it for a new specimen.

Other points:
* The color range is a bit vivid, making the sky very blue. You may whether like it this way, or not. It's a bit 'colder' in tone than the GoPro. However these can be graded easily in post.
* Charges via micro USB. Comes with a cable, but not with a charger. The charging indicator is a tiny light in the bottom under the lid.
* With the new firmware, you can change the on-board speaker sound settings, to either get the loud feedback you want, or make it quiet for time-lapses.
* Be prepared to purchase a MicroSD (or the Sony proprietary equivalent) with this camera - it doesn't come with one. The card cradle is not designed to only allow iserting the card the right way around, which may lead to a bit of confusion. Even the right way around the camera may not always recognize the card until you try again.
* The bottom lid that protects the external inputs/outputs tends to get in the way and is flimsy. I removed it permanently by unscrewing the bottom panel.
* There is a(n expensive, bulky) cradle accessory available, that turns this camera into a tripod-mountable camcorder with a viewfinder.
* The recently introduced AKA-SF1 skeleton frame offers new mounting options, which leave the inputs accessible.
* The slow white balance adaptation is good for avoiding flicker, but if the footage frequently changes between indoors and outdoors you may have moments where the white balance is off for quite a while as the camera slowly adapts.

Possible alternative: Braun Sixzero (similar price range; similar form factor but more practical: has a viewfinder screen and a tripod screw on the body; poor sound quality, not as good picture quality; narrower FOV; comes included with a good set of mounts)
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on 17 April 2013
Amazing.
My mate has the Go Pro 3 Silver and we were both waiting to compare the two,
I have to say the Sony is better, what stands it apart is the Steady Shot and video
quality. delivery was a day earlier than quoted so well pleased.
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on 12 June 2014
I bought this camcorder as an alternative to the GoPro, as I was told that they were of similar quality. The camcorder was a neat little thing, image stabilising wasn't quite as effective as I had hoped it would be, but seemed good enough value for the price. (However, since purchasing I have come to discover that the GoPro 3 produces footage that is noticeably more stable and of better clarity and colour.)

My main issue with this camcorder is that when it was still fairly new, I wore it out sailing on the headband. However, the plastic clasp on the headband failed and the camcorder flipped off and into the ocean. Camcorders sink quite quickly and despite my boyfriend jumping in after it, it was gone forever. Sony says it is not their problem and as I cant afford to purchase a new one, that is it for me. Since then, my boyfriend has purchased a GoPro3, with all accessories (including an attachable float and a floating wriststrap) for not a huge amount more that what I paid for the Sony. In hinsight, perhaps that would have been a better investment for myself.
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on 23 September 2013
I wrote loads for this review, so I thought I'd share just the summary points instead and save you all the hassle of reading an essay.

Video - 8/10
Excellent quality; Crisp image with great levels of contrast and brightness. Handles light changes very well and shakiness even without the digital image stabilization turned on. Plenty of video modes to choose from and two viewing angles available allowing for a wide field of view. Firmware update gives you 1080p @ 60FPS PS mode. Almost all video modes are superb quality with no noise or interlacing issues on playback. The 720p @ 120FPS slow motion mode is the only exception to that. Noticeable difference in quality compared to other modes and not essential when you have 720p @ 60FPS slow motion mode anyway.

Sound - 9/10
Fantastic sound quality; the best I have heard from an action camera yet! Sound quality is very clear and crisp, even in the waterproof case.

Photos - 2/10
Your mobile phone will most likely take better quality images. Photography with most action cameras is difficult because when you are in the middle of the action, access to the camera may be difficult and using a remote control or remote control application to take the shot means you're holding onto another device anyway. So you may as well just get a decent camera and a photographer or just take stills from the footage captured. If you are adamant you want good photos too, get the AS30 due out at the end of this month, it has a 12MP camera instead.

Accessories (inc. PlayMemories app) - 7/10
Good quality accessories including helmet mounts, tripod mounts, head mounts and cases are available.Both head cam mounts have a single adjustable strap. Waterproof case can be easily removed from its strap but the skeleton case can't (not without a screwdriver). Pitch cannot be adjusted and you are limited with strap positioning before it slips off your head.

Chest mount is not available (but due in October 2013 according to Sony's website) which most other action cameras have, however, because of the cameras form factor and the pitch adjustment already available on the tripod mounts, I feel a shoulder mount which uses the existing tripod mounts would be a better solution. Waterproof case suffers same problem as the rest, it fogs up. Sony's anti-fog patches are quite pricey, I'd consider looking for silica strips since there is little space left in the case when the cameras in it.

Ease of use - 9/10
No issues changing video modes, attaching it to computers and TVs (via USB or HDMI), accessing footage, updating firmware, using remote control application and inserting and removing the battery and SD cards. Most of the options are self-explanatory but it is worth briefly looking at the diagram in the manual to know how to get to the options you want.

Battery Life - 7/10
Battery life is above average, allowing for several hours of constant filming but maybe an extra hour or two when filming intermittently and the PlayMemories remote control app is not in use. When I spent 3 - 4 hours of playing with camera settings, using the PlayMemories app and intermittent filming, only half the battery life was drained. Battery charge rate is quite good, took around 4 hours to charge fully.

Price - 8/10
At time of writing, I paid around £250 (£185 for the camera as Amazon were doing an offer on it, probably due to the HDR-AS30 release coming soon) which included waterproof case, skeleton case, tripod mount and a 32GB SD card. Competitive price for a bit of kit that is up there with the GoPro Hero HD 2 and Hero HD 3.

So, overall, a rival to the GoPro camera series with competitive pricing and should not be overlooked if you are considering an action camera. Also, unless you need variable FPS, geo-tagging, a better still camera and support for Micro SDXC format cards, then stick with the AS15, otherwise, grab yourself a HDR-AS30.
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on 17 November 2013
Honestly SONY!

I am technically savy but just charging this is a minefield of undocumented gotcha's

It comes with two little black plastic battery carriers.
They both sort of fit with the supplied battery BUT only one actually works!
Apparently there are two sony batteries types that could be used (G and X), hence 2 carriers. The carriers do have a distinguish mark... in black writing on the black plastic.

Sort that out?... So lets just plug in the uUSB and charge the battery... Not that simple. You need to actively put the device in POWER OFF before it charges.

Charge up, put in your memory card, and you can test it works.

Finally... lets get the supplied firmware updated. There is a downloadable app from Sony to do this. Well that makes things easy doesn't it. So why didn't it work first time? Turns out you need to remove your memory card before you can get the USB in the right mode.

HURRAY!
In use the video quality and image stabiliser are great.

But my final negative is that while I have it in 10 sec auto power down, that doesn't seem reliable and I often find my previously fully charge battery is flat when I want to use it later in the day. I suspect the WIFI is keeping it powered up even when I don't have a WIFI control device attached.

To summarise

When it is working it does the job fine, but it is a minefield of poor documentation..
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on 27 April 2013
I bought this camera on a whim after trawling through videos on Youtube with people filming themselves biking or driving. I decided that I wanted in. I was torn between getting this and one of the GoPro series. However I feel I've made the correct choice. Despite the current lack of mounting accessories the camera is simply brilliant, especially in low light (at normal recording levels - the high speed stuff gets a little grainy). Sound quality is another thing that happens to be pretty spot on, with the only limitations to it depending on the mounting style. Finally, the major selling features of this camera are the SteadyShot and WiFi capabilities, and they don't fall short. I prefer my sources (be it audio or video) to be untampered, but the quality of the SteadyShot implementation is something to be seen! WiFi truly has a place with the camera too. Imagine setting up to capture your driving skills on the track only to be disappointed the first time because of poor positioning, well with the WiFi, you can connect your smartphone/tablet and view what the camera is seeing!
I can only give the camera 4 stars currently because of the lack of mounts, however don't be put off by this as it uses a standard tripod fitting. I'd really like a chest mount similar to what is available by the competition and I don't fancy buying a GoPro one to then hack it to fit.
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on 21 August 2013
Everyone else has more or less said all there is to say about this little camera from a technical perspective. So I shall only add that, apart from its good and bad points, even in its waterproof case the camera is quite discreet. I haven't tried any of the mounting accessories yet because I've just been using Velcro on the left side of the waterproof case, a mounting method that has so far worked fine for me. But I did get a battery charger and a spare battery from EXPRO via Amazon. I also got another camera similar to HDR-AS15: JVC's GC-AX1 (now GC-AX2). Perhaps even more discreet than the Sony, GC-AX1 is waterproof down to 5m without a housing. So cyclists and bikers should never have any problems on the sort of rainy days we always get here in the UK. While on balance I would say that the Sony produces better pictures and audio than the JVC, the latter would probably be less noticeable on your bike or motorcycle in wet weather (because it doesn't need a protective housing). The JVC also uses full-size SD cards and has better mounting options straight out of the box. Otherwise both cams were around the same price, which was considerably less than any of the GoPros or the Contour+2. I also like the fact that Sony and JVC have been making video cameras for a lot longer than the new kids on the block.
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on 20 November 2013
I've had this camera for 5 months, never once had a single issue with it despite dropping it a few times with and without it's protective case on. As I use it for moto-vlogging I drilled a hole in the bottom of the waterproof case in order to allow a microphone to be plugged in whilst in the case, This still keeps it completely weather proof I just can't use this case for any underwater shots (not that I intend to) .

The upside of drilling a bottom hole for the mic is I never get the problem with fogging up when the camera warms up like some people have reported.

Mount options are limited out of the box but with a little bit of ingenuity you can pretty much mount it any way you like for very little cost, for side helmet mounting I simply purchased a £4 roll of heavy duty velcro (rated to 15kg) and have kitted out 5 helmets and still have 80% of the roll left. I have ridden at 110mph+ without issues and can easily pick the helmets by the camera without it coming loose, I used a three velcro strip stairstep effect on the camera body velcro to compensate for horizontal tilt caused by most helmets.

Image stabilizer is one of the best I've seen, far out stripping consumer compact digi cams versions. Nighttime recording is phenomenal! often pulling in more light than the human eye, I have recorded at night where it was pitch black sky to my eyes but on the video you can still see the haze of blue sky and lighter horizon almost like it's early evening, although I would always recommend switching off steady cam in low light to greatly improve image quality. I also have the more expensive Dogcam DVR system but the Sony beats it in every respect. If I ever break or lose the AS15 I would buy another in a heartbeat.

Pros
* Superb image quality
* Image Stabilization
* Night Time/Low Light performance
* Good Battery Life (2+Hrs constant record / wifi off) and low cost spares available (£4 each for third party ones that last the same amount of time)
* Super lightweight and low profile (good for helmet mounting)

Cons
* Mounting options out of the box limited (but DIY solutions easy to implement)
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on 7 August 2013
I wanted an 'action' camera for the following purposes:

Motorcycle riding
Mountain biking
Urban exploring
Recording photoshoots (photographer PoV)
Investigating the bottom of ponds (surveying)

After much asking around, I bought a GoPro Hero 3 Black. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to mention just how much editing would be required to get the colour balance I want. I find the GoPro raw footage to be pretty horrible unless I spend time editing the colour in Premiere.

A friend of mine bought a Sony Action Cam and let me borrow it for a day. Well, I was hooked. The Sony gives beautiful footage right out of the camera. Sure, everyone has different opinions on what's right and what's not, but the Sony does exactly what I want, as easily as I want, and at a price that my accountant wants.

Sure, the (currently) available accessories are limited, but they do what I want, and I could buy every single one of them on top of my Action Cam, and still spend much less than a GH3 costs. I use the curved helmet mount (supplied), a camera monopod (already owned) and a Sony headband (bought) and that's all I think I'll need. If not, I still have the GoPro Grab Bag mounts and I'll order an adaptor if need be.

I'm putting my GoPro up for sale now.
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on 5 September 2013
that camera is so good, i would say it films better than GoPro, and the best part is, it is cheaper than GoPro.
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