2015 POV Camera Shootout: Sony Action Cam Mini

High-end performance in a compact, aerodynamic and affordable package

Cameras

2015 POV Camera Shootout

High-end performance in a compact, aerodynamic package that sells for just $250, making it both a value and performance leader in this test.

High-end performance in a compact, aerodynamic package that sells for just $250 makes this camera both a value and performance leader in this test.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the 2015 Mtbr/RoadBikeReview POV Camera Shootout. We’ll also be publishing reviews of the Drift Ghost-S, Garmin Virb Elite, GoPro HERO4 Silver, iON Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi, and the Shimano Sport Camera. These reviews will be followed by our final rankings, plus video samples from all six cameras. Read all POV Camera Shootout articles here. To download full resolution video files from all the tests, go HERE.

The Lowdown: Sony Action Cam Mini

Sony may not be the first name in POV cameras, but they’re one of the only serious options if you want professional quality video. What sets Sony (and GoPro) apart is their proprietary high bit-rate mode for video that’s more natural, with sharper details, better color, and smoother motion. The Sony Action Cam Mini gives you that high-end performance in a compact, aerodynamic package that sells for just $250, making it both a value and performance leader in this test. The Action Cam Mini further improves video quality with built-in image stabilization for incredibly smooth trail videos (some might even think it’s too smooth). It’s also weatherproof, so you can use it without wrangling with extra housing; and it has a built-in stereo microphone that yields excellent audio quality. The Action Cam Mini doesn’t quite match the specs of the GoPro Hero 4 Silver, but it does hit all the important marks — full HD at 60 FPS, 720p at 120 FPS, solid time lapse controls and 11.9-megapixel still photos at up to 8 FPS. If you want more, Sony’s slightly larger AS100 V Action Cam has a better sensor. Still not enough? Sony just announced the AS200 V and a new 4k Action Cam, which should be available soon. It’s also worth noting that we tested the Action Cam Mini with Sony’s watch-style wireless remote, which made using the camera much easier. It’s definitely worth the extra $100.

Stat Box
Max Resolution: 1920 x 1080 full HD Waterproof: 15 feet with housing
Max Full HD Frame Rate: 60 FPS Battery Life: Approximately 2.5 hours
Max HD Frame Rate: 120 FPS at 720p Built-in Wi-Fi: Yes
Time Lapse Controls: Yes GPS: With Live View Remote
Still Photo Resolution: 11.9 megapixels Weight: 63g (129g with housing)
Max. Still Photo Burst: 8 FPS MSRP: $250
Image Stabilization: Electronic Rating: 4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 Chilies-out-of-5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • Image stabilization makes trail video too smooth
  • Splash proof standalone design + included waterproof housing
  • Awkward to use without mobile app or optional wrist remote
  • Sony’s proprietary XAVC S format produces truly professional video quality
  • Digital image stabilization reduces angle-of-view from 170° to 120°
  • Built-in stereo mic
  • Proprietary XAVC S video uses more storage and
  • Least expensive in test
    is harder to edit

Sony Action Cam Mini Video

Sony Action Cam Mini tested on the trail at full HD (1920×1080) at the fastest frame rate.

Specification Comparison Chart

POV Spec Comparison Chart

For more information visit store.sony.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: John Shafer

John Shafer, a.k.a. Photo-John, is a respected photography expert and adventure photographer. He’s been an Mtbr forum member and contributor since 1999 and you can find his writing and photography across the Web, in mountain bike magazines and on his own Web site, Photo-John.net. John loves big mountains, rocky singletrack, low-visibility powder days, 6-inch trail bikes, coffee and tacos. Look for him pushing his bike uphill, carrying an inappropriate amount of camera gear in an overloaded backpack.


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