The HDR-AS15 is a Full HD camcorder from Sony aimed at extreme sports. Taken to face any adventure, the Action Cam has integrated Wi-Fi and works up to 60 meters underwater. Check out the full review and see if it is worth investing in a competitor of GoPro.
When you pick up the camera for the first time, its size and weight are impressive. 5 cm x 8.2 cm x 2.45 cm, the HDR-AS15 fits in the palm of the hand. The weight of 660 g also provides comfort and good handling.
There are few buttons on the body, which accelerates the learning of commands. The functions are implemented via the Start / Stop button on the back and Prev / Next to the right. The main button is large enough to be located right in the helmet with the equipment. When stirring the functions of the equipment, it emits a loud sound and surprisingly, there's no option to disable it. This rather annoying.
The display is small, but nothing that hinders use. The LCD screen is only for help with the menus, not to view content. To view images and Live View, the user can download the app PlayMemories Mobile for Android and iOS , but we'll get it later.
There is the option to block the Hold buttons and avoid possible unintended touches. When you open the lid down, you see the connection mini USB, mini HDMI output and external microphone input. Have the battery and micro SD (not included in kit) are in sharing your sides.
Even within the tight waterproof box, the design of the device remains pleasing. The case that withstands up to 60 meters water immersion also provides protection against snow, mud and dust. A very negative aspect to be highlighted is that the buttons are not accessible through the housing waterproof.
Thus, if a person diving into water from shooting mode and want to switch to shooting will be necessary to return to the surface, remove the box and only then access the menu. In our tests, this was one of the major defects of the Action Cam When shooting at sea, for example, there is a great risk of slipping the camera to remove it from the case.
The Action Cam from Sony is recommended for surfers, skaters, cyclists, divers, snowboarders and athletes in general who want to record or photograph all the action in detail. To not miss anything, it is equipped with Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with wide angle of 170 °.
The sensor is an Exmor R CMOS which according to the manufacturer, shooting in good quality even in low light conditions. In our tests, however, it disappointed. In dimly lit places, images and videos were left with noticeable noise, and lose sharpness.
We use the camera on a tour of Jet-Ski with choppy seas and even then, the videos were not shaky, which really pleased. Thanks to SteadyShot feature, the HDR-AS15 stabilized the images blurred and not even moving.
You can choose from a scale of five recording modes, from 1080p Full HD to HD Super Slow, which records at 120 frames per second. There recording modes to suit all tastes and environments: Lowest, High Resolution, HD slow motion picture (2x), HD super slow (4x) and, finally, the default resolution.
In general, the performance of Action Cam was satisfactory. As previously mentioned, it is weak in low light. In contrast, in enlightened places videos are impressive and well highlighted with colors. The blue sky was intensified so that, in some parts of the recording, were with exaggerated contrast. Yet tested the slow motion mode and enjoyed the result. In this mode, however, the audio is sacrificed and need a larger space on the memory card to store videos.
In relation to the limited camera photos found. It has shooting mode with time intervals of 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds. You can not take just one photo at a time and it leaves much to be desired. In general, the images are good, but depend strongly on the local lighting.
Under ideal lighting conditions, the camera plays the role pretty well. However, some photos are with exaggerated contrasts, and some noticeable noise.
The battery was a big surprise. We use the Action Cam a day, between videos and pictures, and it held up well, only had to charge it at the end of the day. It came with a USB cable and does not come with external charger, which can be a negative for those who do not have a computer nearby.
Finally, there is a welcome feature free Wi-Fi. There is a similar to the AS15 model, but without Wi-Fi, Sony HDR-AS10. We do not recommend, although they were more into account, because the feature enabled Wi-Fi is very useful. To use it, you must download the PlayMemories Mobile application mentioned earlier. With it, you can move photos from the camera to the phone, plus you can control it remotely.
This means that it is available on your smartphone Live View option, or you can view live everything the camera sees. In addition, there is the possibility to use the mobile device to start and stop recording, change the resolution settings and shooting modes.
On the Water.
We use the camcorder from Sony a full day at the beach water and noticed some flaws that must be taken into account when buying.
As previously mentioned, you can not change the mode inside the box waterproof. We use the camera in shooting mode to ride a jet-ski and after some time, we moved to shooting. Imagine the situation: at sea, with the waves crashing, the jet-ski and stirring is necessary to open the case to change the function. Very complicated and risky.
Also, after about an hour of use, the lens started to fog. That's right: we need to open the box several times to get the air and defog the lens. The photos and videos are left with a very poor quality in these hours. To resolve the problem, there is an anti-fogging film which is sold separately.
The kit Sony Action Cam is pretty full. Among the accessories supplied, there is a rechargeable battery, a USB cable, a waterproof case and battery tray. It even came with brackets stickers. There is a buckle snap, an adhesive backing and a curved plane.
Surfers can be carefree because the box has a surfing kit. It contains a tilt support supports two flexible adhesive and also two safety cables. However, we missed an external charger that is sold separately. There are items that can be purchased later, depending on your needs as a head support, bike mount and an adapter with LCD screen.
The Sony HDR-AS15 spends a good first impression. In use, however, there are a number of small problems that makes you lose points against the competition. Despite the satisfactory quality of the video, it sins to capture images with noise and exaggerated contrasts. The camera passed the test with flying colors waterproof, but the lens fogs up and it does not provide access to the features inside the case. Already embedded Wi-Fi is certainly a positive aspect to be taken into account.
The model is already on sale in the Brazilian market at a suggested price of $ 999. Having said this, we recommend that a survey be made to assess whether there are better options on the market. If you find errors do not affect its intended use, then buying may be worth.