Sony FDR-X3000R / FDR-X3000 Action Cam Review

Preview posted 09/09/2016 by Michael Palmer
Full review posted 12/05/2016 by Josh Fate

Quick Take
  • Top quality 4K 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 X3000 and X3000R kits
  • Slightly more affordable than the other top models
  • Only wide-angle shooting for 4K video
  • Images provide more noise and less detail than a smartphone image
  • No built-in screen to assist you in composing
Bottom Line
The Sony FDR-X3000 is a powerful action camera, capturing smooth 4K video thanks to the built-in SteadyShot image stabilization. With a MSRP of US $349.99, this is a top quality action cam at a great price. Read more in our Full Conclusion.

Sony has updated its POV Action Cam line for 2016 with the announcement of two new sister-models, the FDR-X3000R and the HDR-AS300R. 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 in 4K (with Full HD slow-motion), get the FDR-X3000R.

  • If Full HD 1080p videos (with 720p HD slow-motion) is okay for you, pick up the HDR-AS300R.
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 FDR-X3000R shoots 4K videos at 24p, 25p, and 30p at 100Mbps in the XAVC S video codec. You can also shoot Full HD 1080p movies at 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p, 60p at up to 50Mbps. OR create in-camera Full HD slow motion at a whopping 120p, not to mention 720p HD 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.

The 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.

Sony FDR-X3000R Features:

  • 4K Video Recording @ 100Mbps in Sony's XAVC S codec
    • Full 1080p HD Video Recording @ 50Mbps in Sony's XAVC S codec
    • Full HD 1080p 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
Sony FDR-X3000

For anyone who does NOT need a Live View Remote and is interested in saving about $150, you can opt to purchase an FDR-X3000 (no R) Action Cam which gets you all the same image quality and feature specs as the X3000R, but doesn't come with the Live View Remote.

Pricing & Availability

The Sony FDR-X3000R kit with the Live-View Remote will retail for about $550, while you can pick up the body-only FDR-X3000 (which still includes the underwater housing) for about $400.

If you don't feel like you need 4K capability (though honestly, it's a good idea to be planning for the future), please check out our write up on the Sony HDR-AS300R and HDR-AS300 Action Cams. They boast many of the same features as the FDR models, but are limited to Full HD video capture.

Optional Accessories

The AKA-FGP1 finger grip will cost about $25, while the AKA-MCP1 lens shield will set you back $35. There is also a BC-TRX external charger that will set you back about $50 (or $35 if you order from Amazon)

What's in the box (X3000R)?
  • X3000 Camera
  • Attachment Buckle
  • Live-View Remote (RM-LVR3) includes Wristband, Mount Adapter and Cradle
  • Micro USB cable
  • Rechargeable battery pack (NP-BX1)
  • Startup guide
  • Underwater Housing (MPK-UWH1)

What's in the box (X3000)?

  • X3000 Camera
  • Attachment Buckle
  • Micro USB cable
  • Rechargeable battery pack (NP-BX1)
  • Startup guide
  • Underwater Housing (MPK-UWH1)

Additional Product Images


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.