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Adventure Tech: Sony Updates Action Cam, Toshiba Joins The Party

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Currently the big IFA 2013 consumer electronics show is going on in Europe where some of the top technology companies in the world are taking the wraps off new products that will be making their way to the market in the months ahead. Yesterday Sony and Toshiba announced new action cameras that may be of interest to the outdoor community who are looking for alternatives to the GoPro Hero 3 which has become the dominant product in this market.

First up, Sony made a minor splash with the release of the  HDR-AS15 Action Camera last year. This year they've decided to make some important upgrades to that product that will make it more competitive with GoPro and other models currently on the market. For starters, the new Action Cam comes equipped with on board GPS, which is standard on cameras from the competition. It also now has NFC options for pairing with smartphones, in addition to WiFi. The camera sensor has been upgraded to take 12-megapixel still photos as well.

Some new accessories help to extend the versatility of the camera too. A Live-View Remote is now available which should prove very useful for aspiring outdoor filmmakers. This tiny LCD unit wirelessly connects with the camera and allows you to set up shots and turn the device off and on remotely. Sony has also done away with the bulky waterproof housing that was included with the previous model and replaced it with something that is smaller, lighter and more versatile. The older housing was rated for going down to depths of 60 meters (197 feet), which was probably more than most people need. The new one is rated for 5 meters (16 feet), which is better suited for day to day use. Scuba divers will still want the old housing however.

The updated version of the Action Cam should become available by the end of the month for a retail price of $300. The older HDR-AS15 version will remain in the line-up for about $200 as well.


Sony wasn't the only one making waves in the action camera market yesterday. Toshiba unveiled their new Camileo X-Sports camera as well as they seek to gain entry into this increasingly competitive market. The Camileo comes with a 12-megapixel sensor capable of capturing solid looking photos and video of up to 1080p quality at 60 fps. It features built-in WiFi which can connect to an Android or iOS device for use a remote control or view finder and the transfer of images and video to those devices. The Camileo includes an ultra-wide angle lens and a 10x digital zoom too.

While Sony is moving away from its rugged waterproof case, Toshiba is including one with their camera. The Camileo will come with a housing that is good down to 60 meters. It also comes with a basic remote control that you can wear on your wrist for starting and stopping recording. Optional mounts for a clip, head strap and more will be available at launch.

Toshiba says the camera will have a battery life of around 1.5-2 hours depending on your shooting mode, which is about standard for a device of this kind. It will also be capable of shooting photo bursts, time lapses, simultaneous video and still photos, self-timed shots and more. The versatile little device will be available in the fourth quarter with a price tag of $325.

Both of these models look like worth entries into the action cam market but they certainly have an uphill battle in terms of competing with GoPro. I wish them luck.

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