Sony Action Cam Mini AZ1 dreams big for such a tiny camera (hands-on)
Sony has defied the laws of physics with its new all-action camera. There is so much tech crammed into a seemingly impossible size that it must be pixie magic or something.
Of course, it isn't, but we have to say that on first impressions the Action Cam Mini ticks every box for a sports and lifestyle video recorder and then some - a staggering feat for something that weighs just 63g.
It fits an 11.9-megapixel back illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor into its diminutive body, has the latest Bionz X image processing and is capable of Full HD recording at up to 60fps. It can also record 120 frames per second for slow motion clips at 720p.
The lens on the front is a Zeiss Tessar F/2.8 with a 170-degree wide angle and there's a stereo microphone that even works when the device is housed in an included waterproof casing, which allows it to be submerged down to three metres of water.
Image stabilisation is on board thanks to Sony's proprietary SteadyShot technology and the camera records to microSD (SD/SDHC/SDXC). It is also compatible with Sony's own Memory Stick Micro cards.
During our briefing at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, Sony showed us how easy it was to stream from the Action Cam Mini straight to Ustream and therefore onto the net live. We also saw some test footage taken using the Mini and it is staggering for a device so small and, even more importantly, light.
We'd have to test it for ourself before we could make any significant judgements on its picture and video performance, but what we've seen so far is on a par with the company's larger devices.
One of the sacrifices made for the Action Cam Mini is a GPS tracker. There isn't one. Instead, the Mini works well with Sony's wrist-worn Live-View Remote. That takes the GPS position and can then send it to the Mini to overlay onto footage. It's worth it because the stats shown are worthwhile for many activities.
Naturally, we didn't get to take the camera for any significant spin, but from our experience so far, cannot wait to do so. And with the new Head Mount Kit, which allows you to clip it to a baseball cap or the like, you might see us wandering down the road wearing one pretty soon.
The Sony Action Cam Mini HDR-AZ1VR is available for pre-order now and will be shipped in October. A number of different kits will be available, including one that comes with the Live-View Remote for 350 euros, a Bike Mount Kit version for 400 euros, one that comes with a Wearable Mount Kit and wrist mount for 400 euros, and on its own for 250 euros. UK pricing revealed so far has it set at £329 for the camera and the Live-View Remote Kit.