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Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam Review - Video Quality, Battery Life and Verdict Review


Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam – Video and Audio Quality

Sony has slapped a Zeiss Tessar lens on the front of its camera, with the same f/2.8 aperture size as on the GoPro Hero Session. This is paired with a 1/2.3-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor. One of the advantages that Sony’s Action Cam has over rival GoPro cameras is its electronic image stabilisation. While not as good as fully fledged optical image stabilisation, it does make for steadier footage.

Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

The sensor is capable of 1080p footage at up to 60fps. If you want the higher 120fps frame rate, you’ll need to drop the resolution to 720p. Recording using the XAVC S codec, you can get up to 50Mbps video bitrate, otherwise it’s 24Mbps when using MP4. Still images are captured at up to 11.9 megapixels (4,608 x 2,592 resolution).

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Captured footage during a Ride London cycling event was a little underwhelming. Even when presented with ample outdoor lighting, there was some noise evident in darker areas of the scene and colours overall were rather muted.

Overall sharpness was a little lacking as well, and detail such as brickwork went missing. The camera also has a slight tendency to overexpose scenes, resulting in completely blown-out skies and more missing detail. Indoor, low-light performance is also a little noisy for my liking.

Audio quality is reasonable, but when mounted to a bike frame the stereo microphone picked up every vibration. When mounted elsewhere or handheld, the microphones perform well, however, and wind noise wasn’t an issue even during the cycling. It’s still a shame you can’t connect an external microphone.
Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

The HDR-AS50 fared far better with still images that were considerably sharper, better exposed and had far higher levels of detail. Unless you like the barrel-distortion effect, you might want to change the field of view; you have a choice of Wide or Narrow. There are also timelapse modes at intervals of 1, 2, 4, 10, 30 and 60 seconds.

Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam – Battery Life

Shooting video at 1080p, 30fps, the Sony HDR-AS50 lasted an excellent 2 hours and 30 minutes on a single charge. This managed to beat the GoPro Hero Session by about half an hour. The HDR-AS50 has the added benefit of having a removable battery, too, so you can carry a spare. Charging is done through the camera’s Micro USB port.

Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam

Should I buy the Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam?

There’s plenty to like about the Sony HDR-AS50 Action Cam. The camera is intuitive to use, especially compared to the slightly fiddly GoPro Hero 4 Session. It also has longer battery life and the advantage of having a replaceable cell.

Having said that, now that the Hero Session has been drastically reduced in price since its launch, I’d still opt for the GoPro. It has better image quality and far superior audio recording. It’s also considerably more svelte than the HDR-AS50 in its waterproof case, too.

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The Sony HDR-AS50 is a decent all-round entry-level action cam.

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