Sony, which was not only late to the Action Cam market, but when they finally did enter, failed to inspire (or to create significant sales). Thus, this market segment has been dormant for quite a while. At CES 2016, the Japanese concern decided to give it another go by announcing the Action Cam HDR-AS50.
It’s amazing to us that Sony cannot deliver a knock-out punch in the POV action cam ring, and it appears that the HDR-AS50 won’t help them in this regards. Far from a ground-breaking flagship, the AS50 is basically an entry level cam, coming in at $350 when it is slated to debut in February.
Sony HDR-AS50 Features:
» 11-megapixel Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor
» SteadyShot electronic image stabilization
» 1080p full HD movie capture at 60fps
» High-speed 720p HD movie capture at 120fps/100fps
» 4K time-lapse movie capture
» Built-in stereo mic
» High-bit-rate recording in XAVC S format at 50Mbps
The Sony HDR-AS50 attempts to clean up some of the mess of past efforts, but GoPro, who has their own issues with their lame Session model, will not lose any sleep over this release. The new camera combats some of the fisheye distortion with a modified lens housing and the company now includes an underwater housing that is rated to 60 meters / 196 feet. Instead of having to use an adapter, the AS50 has a built-in 1/4-20 tripod mount.
Other enhancements aim to make the Sony easier to use and more accessible, such as putting all the connectivity on the back. The auto-tagging feature, which never worked well has been revamped to help differentiate between action shots and more static footage. The Live View, which was a key competitive advantage, but again, never delivered reliability, now adds Bluetooth LE to smooth over the very rough edges.