HDR-AS300R / HDR-AS300

HDR-AS300R / HDR-AS300

Sony HDR-AS300R / HDR-AS300 Action Cam Review

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Preview posted 09/09/2016 by Michael Palmer
Full review posted 12/8/2016 by Josh Fate

Quick Take
Pros
  • Top quality Full HD video from an action camera thanks to the EXMOR sensor and BIONZ processor
  • Optical SteadyShot leads the way in providing you with smooth video
  • Built-in GPS allows the camera to collect a ton of data about your adventure
  • WiFi lets you connect the Live View Monitor
  • Three pre-set zoom angles for still shooting
  • Tons of Accessories
  • Underwater housing included with both the AS300 and AS300R kits
  • HDMI output for easy viewing of videos
  • Audio input for increased quality
  • $100 less than X3000 if you can live without 4K video capture
Cons
  • Images provide more noise and less detail than a smartphone image
  • No built-in screen to assist you in composing
Bottom Line
Very affordable, coming it at $249.99, the AS300 is an outstanding value for a Full HD action cam. Its smooth video capture and outstanding quality put it on top of the list of Full HD action cameras. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
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Sony has updated its POV Action Cam line for 2016 with the announcement of two new sister-models, the HDR-AS300R and the FDR-X3000R. For the most part, these rugged video cameras offer most of the same specifications and performance capabilities save for one key difference.

  • If you want to shoot videos Full HD 1080p videos (with 720p HD slow-motion), you want the the HDR-AS300R.

  • However, if you want or need 4K (with Full HD slow-motion), the FDR-X3000R is the model for you.

Otherwise, the two new models are effectively interchangeable. Outside the 8.57MP back-illuminated Exmor R® CMOS sensor and BIONZ X™ image processor, the key new feature for 2016 is Sony's new Balanced Optical SteadyShot aka B.O.SS. B.O.SS joins the image sensor to the Action Cam's ZEISS® Tessar lens and moves them together to "compensate for camera shake caused by excessive motion, whether shooting handheld with optional accessories or during a fast-paced sporting activity." Basically, video on the new Action Cams should be as smooth as can be without the assistance of actual camera stabilizing systems.

On the video front, the HDR-AS300R shoots Full 1080p videos at 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p, and 60p at up to 50Mbps in the XAVC S video codec. You can also shoot 720p HD slow motion movies at 120p (or 480p SD slow motion at 240p). The standard viewing angle is widescreen, as are most of these games, but there is a 3x digital zoom as well as three zoom presets (wide, medium, and narrow) for perfect framing. Just know you're losing resolution if you engage anything but the widest setting. There's also a built-in stereo microphone with noise reduction capabilities.
 
HDR-AS300_main2_with_case-Large.jpgThe Action Cams are splashproof themselves, but if you want to go into lakes, rivers, oceans, and pools, you'll need the supplied MPK-UWH1 Underwater Housing, which makes the Cams waterproof down to 197ft (60m).

To control your Action Cam, Sony gives you three options: First, there are manual buttons on the camera itself. Second, the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app, on any iOS or Android device, can connect to the camera's built-in Wi-Fi to operate things remotely. Or third, use the included Live-View Remote, which has been redesigned for 2016. Not only is it 30% smaller, but benefits from a more in-depth user interface, an energy saving mode where its display will power off when the Action Cam is recording, and a Wi-Fi High Power Mode that extends the camera's Wi-Fi signal range so you can control the Cam at greater distances.

In addition to PlayMemories, there are some other available apps and programs that you'll want to consider. For example, Action Cam Movie Creator utilizes the Action Cams' Time-lapse function to create 4K time-lapses (even from the HD model), and can overlay GPS data (like location and speed) over videos. The Action Cam app, on the other hand, can make HD time-lapses. Lastly, Highlight Movie Maker uses Face Detection to compile clips together and edit them with custom music.

Other nice features include Loop Recording, which allows you to save memory card space (limited to 128GB cards) while never missing a key moment. It works by always recording new material and only saving a pre-selected period of time once you stop recording. You can also manually adjust your white balance, or shift your automatic exposure settings.

All in all, Sony's 2016 Action Cams are a powerful and promising bunch.
HDR-AS300_main3_with_case-Large.jpgSony HDR-X300R Features

  • Full 1080p HD Video Recording @ 50Mbps in Sony's XAVC S codec
    • 720p HD Slow Motion @ 120fps
  • 8.57MP back-illuminated Exmor R® CMOS sensor
  • BIONZ X™ image processor
  • Balanced Optical SteadyShot (B.O.SS)
  • 3x Smooth Zoom (digital) or...
    • Wide, Medium, and Narrow presets
  • Built-in stereo mic with Noise Reduction
  • Live-View Remote
    • More in-depth user interface
    • Auto Display Off
    • Wi-Fi High Power Mode
  • Manual White Balance & Auto Exposure shifting
  • Loop Recording available
  • Splashproof
  • Waterproof to 197ft (60m) with the included MPK-UWH1 Underwater Housing
  • Time-lapse Capture
    • create 4K time-lapses via Action Cam Movie Creator software
    • create Full HD time-lapses via the Action Cam app
  • Built-in GPS
    • overlay speed and tracking info on video with Action Cam Movie Creator
  • Highlight Movie Maker
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
    • Sony's PlayMemories Mobile app

HDR-AS300_main3-Large.jpgSony HDR-AS300

For anyone who does NOT need a Live View Remote and is interested in saving about $150, you can opt to purchase an HDR-AS300 (no R) Action Cam which gets you all the same image quality and feature specs as the AS300R, but doesn't come with the Live View Remote.

Pricing & Availability

The Sony HDR-AS300R kit with the Live-View Remote will set you back $400, or you can opt for the body-only HDR-AS300 for about $250 (which still includes the underwater housing).

If you need 4K video (and it's definitely a good idea for sharing videos on places like YouTube), please check out our write up for the FDR-X3000R and FDR-X3000 4K Action Cams. They offer all the same great features AND shoot in 4K as well as a higher resolution slow motion.

Optional Accessories

The AKA-FGP1 finger grip will cost about $25, while the AKA-MCP1 lens shield will set you back $35.

Additional Product Images

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HDR-AS300_main1-Large.jpg

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.