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Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam review

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Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam
  • Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Still image quality is good
  • Decent companion app
  • Removable battery
  • Solid construction

Cons

  • Mediocre video quality
  • Only one adhesive mount included
  • Heavy in its waterproof case
  • So-so low-light performance

Key Features

  • 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor
  • f/2.8 aperture lens
  • 1080p/60fps video
  • 11.9-megapixel stills
  • Android and iOS companion app
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Manufacturer: Sony
  • Review Price: £179.00

What is the Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam?

Sony’s Action Cam range is pretty diverse, ranging from the entry-level AS20 all the way up to the 4K-capable X1000V. The HDR-AS50 sits just above the former, but it's still firmly at the cheaper end of the line-up.

For just £179, though, you get all the functionalities needed by all but the most hardened adrenaline junkies and videographers. It packs in 1080p/60fps video, waterproofing to depths of 60m, and electronic image stabilisation, making it a versatile entry-level action camera.

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Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam – Design and Accessories

Contrary to GoPro's distinctly rectangular action cameras – or cubic in the case of the GoPro Hero Session – Sony's Action Cam designs have long bodies that more resemble a traditional camcorder.

It means that, face-on, Sony’s Action Cams are slightly more streamlined. This also means hand holding the camera feels a little more ergonomic, as you can grip the body more easily. Chances are that you’ll be mounting the AS50 more often than holding it, however.

Outside of its waterproof case, the HDR-AS50 weighs 83g – not quite as feather-light as GoPro’s Hero Session (74g), which also has the advantage of not requiring a waterproof case.

Sony HDR-AS50 Action CamThe waterproof case adds a considerable amount of bulk

Throw it inside its decidedly chunky waterproof case and the HDR-AS50 weighs closer to 180g. It’s considerably more resilient to the elements with this addition, however, and will survive depths of 60m for up to 30 minutes, as well as becoming shock-proof and dust- and sand-resistant.

Along the side of the camera you’ll find a small LCD screen used purely for changing settings. You’ll need to pair with the companion Sony PlayMemories Mobile app for iOS and Android or opt for the separate Sony RM-LVR2 wrist-based remote control (around £120) if you want a live view for composing your shots.

Changing settings and shooting modes is intuitive and you quickly get the hang of the camera’s menu system. There’s the option to turn on one-button recording, so you can power on the camera and begin recording just by hitting the Record button on top.

Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

The camera can also be set to provide audio feedback when recording begins, but the case muffles this significantly so you may well miss it. A red LED on top indicates an active recording, but I would've liked a second LED on the front of the camera as well.

The HDR-AS50 is supplied with a basic adhesive mount, so you might need to consider the added cost of buying extra mounts. The camera has a standard 1/4-inch tripod thread on its base for attaching the optional Sony mounts. You can also buy an inexpensive GoPro adaptor, which opens up your accessories options considerably.

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Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam – Connectivity and Software

For connections, there’s just a Micro USB port used for charging and connecting the camera to transfer your footage to a computer. There’s no way to directly output to a television, nor connect an external microphone. Storage is handled through either microSD or Sony M2 memory sticks. The former are considerably cheaper. As the camera supports two different storage formats, you need to make sure you insert them the right way round as it's possible to insert a microSD card backwards.

Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

You can pair the camera with the aforementioned PlayMemories Mobile app through Wi-Fi and it’s generally a straightforward process. Each camera has a unique Wi-Fi password, so you’ll need to check the manual or connect the camera to a computer to find it, which is a little annoying. There’s also Bluetooth that lets you remotely switch the camera on and off through the app.

Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

As for using the app as a live view, it’s a pleasant experience. There’s minimal lag or delay, and the app makes it easy to change settings and shooting modes. There’s also a separate Sony Action Cam app that lets you edit your footage. It works well enough, but it isn’t as straightforward as GoPro’s Replay app for speed of knocking together a half-decent cut.

Eis Cat

August 18, 2016, 7:19 pm

There are some really important points to share about this little and very noisy marketing trick from Sony.

Why noisy?

Cause it makes a lot of noise when used in medium-light conditions. In low light it is unusable at all. Some reviewers said there is little difference against AS200, but the difference is huge. AS200 has got that very good micro-detail level the AS50 misses completely. And it’s impossible to bring the detail back even using advanced algorithms in a good video-redactor. I bought this cam via a relative from Austria, where it is still sold for 189 Euros on-line, advertised with free shipping. About 210 $. The sad thing is I cannot get my money back. In my country, Moldova, it is unavailable for purchase. And it is completely “bald”. Inside the pack there were: the cam, a short USB cable, one case, one base. Well, I thought, it should impress me with an astonishing video quality. When I tested it in different light conditions I was totally disappointed. The result – low detalization, high noise, bad light/shade balance. The cam comes with a 60m waterproof case. What’s the point, if going deeper than 30m the light intensity decreases so much that the cam becomes useless without an external powerful light-source. Add the heavily blurred image and welcome to the AS50 owners club. I advise those who think about buying this “marketing trick” to look at AS200, the one that comes with Live-View remote, waterproof case and some more accessories. In EU it is about 289 Euros, but You densibly get more camera for Your buck. Sorry, Euro. And the most important thing – the IQ. The rest of the features “packed” in AS50 are of no use if the image quality is bad. On a 4K screen it looks like a camcorder from the 20th century. And it is a firmware issue – Sony deliberately worsens the IQ, but they can drastically improve it in the next version. Till then – DO NOT BUY THIS “PRODUCT”. It does not worth Your endeavor, time, money and it is a waste of Your good mood. Thank Lord, I haven’t bought the SONY RML-VR2 Live Remote which is another 119 Euros. More money?

More.

The xavc-s mode is no visually different from MP.4, but it requires a 64GB SDXC U3 classed microSD card, otherwise camera switches to MP.4 mode. So it asks for more money. Always. What do I need xavc-s if the general IQ is blurred and noisy?

If You are (crazy) a Sony fan – the only way is AS200 at a sale price. Or save Your money for FDR X3000.

If You are not, consider this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
Runcam 2 $99. A lot more camera for the money.
Or this one, Kodak PIXPRO SP1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
More value for less quids, it is still sold on amazon.
Thank You.
PS:
Noise, were other makers do better:
http://tinypic.com/player.php?...
My 2012 smrtphne records much better video, and it also uses a Sony camera. AS50's IQ is lower than of dashboard cameras.

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