As small as the Ghost-S is brutish, this one’s for more sedate action
This Sony action cam is clearly a bit on the small side, but does that mean it’s a wuss? In short: a bit, yes, sadly. Sony noticeably don’t quote a battery life for the HDR-AS30V and ours dropped battery bars faster than all other rivals on test. It also didn’t cope brilliantly at night, with video very dark, undetailed and muted in colour. That’s far from an uncommon complaint on this test – trust us, you’re going to hear it a lot – but it is more surprising given Sony’s use of a Carl Zeiss lens and its experience in the camera market.
On the upside, however, including a dedicated waterproof case is a great move. It means the AS30V is fine to be dunked down to briny depths of five metres and the housing also means sound quality is the second best on test after the GoPro, with the microphone protected from distracting wind noise.
Take Sony’s cam out in glorious daylight and things look a lot better. When the image stabilisation kicks in, they get pretty smooth, too. Previously jittery footage recorded whilst riding over some of the worst potholes we’ve encountered are suddenly rendered serenely and in excellent clarity. Technically it’s a great feature, but we feel that by smoothing everything out the Sony cam loses some of the dynamic rawness of action cam footage. It all seems a bit, well, tame.
When it comes to providing a mount for every occasion, this cam looks to have things worked out. There’s a surfboard mount and you can even add a dog harness. You’ll notice one glaring omission, though: no vented helmet mount. Urban cyclists looking to record their rides will have to pedal elsewhere.
If you value pocketability over power, and don’t mind restricting recordings to short bursts in daylight, the AS30V will do the job reasonably well. We demand more action, though.
Love Compact. Good image stabilisation. Waterproof casing included. Very little wind noise Hate Night performance is woeful. Limited range of mounts and short battery life T3 Says This weedy action cam fits in your pocket, but struggles to impress when out of it