/ Gadgets / Sony Action Cam waterproof micro-camera review

Sony Action Cam waterproof micro-camera review

Reinis Zitmanis on 16/06/2014 - 13:15 in Gadgets
Hands-on review on ultra-compact Sony Full HD video camera for extreme sports and point-of-view shooting. Let’s do some hardcore testing – I’ve got both snow and underwater tests in mind.

Sony Action Cam review

It is really tiny. Twice as small as a pack of cigarettes, but still quite heavy for it’s size. Nothing much to play with – 170 degree lens, recording button, small screen with UI and two smaller buttons for menu selections – previous and next. The interface is the most annoying part, as there’s even a “map” included with the manual on how to navigate the menu, using just two buttons and series of abbreviations on a small screen. This one does require manual, but once it’s clear, we go outside.
Sony Action Cam side view
Action Cam comes supplied with a tough waterproof case for shooting in rain, snow or at depths right down 60 m/196 feet. It’s great for shrugging off dirt and dust if you’re battling through a muddy trail route. We’ll conduct some snow and underwater tests.
Cam case strap
As camera is safely secured in transparent-plastic waterproof case, there are few more accessories to use in order to strap it to your head or bike.
Optional extras include a handlebar mount, a wearable headband, and a waterproof head mount kit for fans of cycling, hiking, surfing, wakeboarding and other marine sports. Sony says: “Discover your sense of adventure”!

Recording and Viewing

Recording is easy. There’s a red START/STOP button on the back of the case. You push it and it starts recording, plus there’s a choice of five video record modes, from highest-quality Full HD 30p to VGA for extra-long shooting times. Two special slow-motion modes (4x and 2x) make it easier to analyse a golf swing or watch a BMX stunt in detail. Mode selection requires us to take out the camera from the waterproof-strap-case and remember what’s said in the manual. Supplied 16 Gb memory card for test enables video recording at 720p for 4h 40 min. Before taking off, make sure, the Action Cam is fully charged. No batteries to change, just a USB charge.

It’s impossible to view videos and photos on the camera, there’s just no screen for that. Either we connect the cam to PC or MAC by cable or install the PlayMemories Mobile app (Android or iOS) on smartphone or tablet and transfer videos directly from Action Cam via Wi-Fi. By the way, the free app also lets you control Action Cam remotely from your mobile device.

Each video is accessible as a separate mp4 file in video folder, images stored in separate folder. Sony made a good decision to go with ordinary everyday mpeg files, as Sony more pro-sumer cameras still have “avchd” videos, that are harder to extract and edit with common software.

Waterproof case performs great, both in fish tank (no diving nearby, it’s winter now) and showered with snow. No sign of water inside the case, excellent.

Image Quality

Both 1080p and 720p videos look great, well detailed and despite waterproof case, there’s plenty of well detailed sound coming in. Camera specs say focusing starts at 30 cm (almost 12 Inches), but closer shots suggest more like 17 Inches for a well focused shot. But this is not a macro cam. Outdoor fun is where Action Cam is supposed to be and nor snow, nor crashes impact the shot. Great performance.


  • Product name: Sony Action Cam, Model: HDR-AS15

  • Video format: MPEG4-AVC/H.264

  • Video resolution:

    1920×1080/30p (HQ);

    1280×720/30p (STD,SLOW,SSLOW);

    680×480/30p (VGA)

  • Image sensor: 1/2.3 type (7.77mm/0.305 Inch) Exmor R™ CMOS Sensor with approx. 11900K pixels (16:9) resolution

  • Still image resolution: Approx. 2.0 megapixels (1920 x 1080)

  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Tessar 15.3mm (35mm equivalent) / F2.8

  • Minimum focusing distance: approx. 30cm

  • Image stabilisation: SteadyShot™ (electronic) image stabilisation with Active Mode

  • Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz band)

  • Interfaces: HDMI Out (micro); Micro-B/USB2.0 Hi-speed (mass-storage); mic input (stereo minijack)

  • Memory card: Memory Stick Micro™ (Mark 2) and Micro SD/SDHC Memory Card (Class 4 or Higher) compatible

  • Other features: Monaural speaker and built-in microphone; display panel; date/time stamp; interval recording; fast playback

  • Dimensions WxHxD: Approx. 24.5mm/0.96 In x 47.0mm/1.85 In x 82.0mm/3.23 inch (including supplied battery)

  • Weight: Approx. 90g/0.198 pounds (including supplied battery).


Great performance! Recommended.


Send Us A Message Here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>