Exactly a year on from Sony’s release of its last action cameras, the electronics giant has unveiled its latest rival to GoPro – the HDR-AS50. This new camera offers greatly improved image stabilisation, simpler mounting options and improved waterproofing.
With just a $50 price increase (international figures TBC) over its HDR-AS200V predecessor*, the Sony AS50 is priced to compete with the likes of GoPro’s Hero+. Much of the new technology is borrowed from Sony’s range-topping 4K FDR-X1000V, a camera that’s more comparable to the GoPro Hero 4 Black in price.The Sony HDR-AZ1VR Action Cam Mini continues unchanged.
Released at CES, this is the Sony AS50
With the same Advanced SteadyShot technology seen in Sony’s X1000V camera, the anti-shake ability of the AS50 is said to be three times better than the model it replaces. The updated stabilisation system is claimed to be ideal for use on drones, but also at providing clearer and steadier footage on the bike.
There’s a new 11.1 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, which should provide for better low-light sensitivity, less image grain and improved image clarity – all ideal for mountain biking on dimly lit singletrack. Keeping with Sony traditions, the lens is a Zeiss ‘Tessar’ f2.8.
The AS50 will now shoot 1080p Full HD at 60 frames per second (fps), and can record 120fps slow motion in standard HD. There is 4K, although it’s only available for the time-lapse feature.
With a new 3x zoom, the field angle is now adjustable via both angle and zoom settings.
With new buttons and menus, the AS50 is said to be fair easier to use
We’ve heard previous users complain of learning to use the previous AS200V. Sony is stating the AS50 to be far more intuitive, easier and quicker in operation.
As with previous models, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 enables the camera to be operated via the phone app, or be linked to Sony’s own Live-View remote controller (sold separately). Where other models in Sony's action camera range – including the older AS200V – has built-in GPS, it appears the AS50 does not.
Promo footage of the new AS50 from Sony
A new underwater housing is provided with the camera and is now rated to a depth of 60m (197ft). Both camera and housing are now directly compatible with standard tripod threads for far wider mount compatibility.
The device is claimed to weigh 58g (without housing) and has approximate dimensions of 24.2 x 47.0 x 83.0 mm. This puts at a similar size to its more expensive X1000V sibling, but at a noticeably lower weight.
The Sony HDR-AS50 is expected to be available from January, and will sell for $350 / £170 / AU$TBC.
*Sony has not confirmed if the HDR-AS50 is a direct replacement for the year old HDR-AS200V. This is our educated assumption.