Sony HDR-AS30V

Australian T3 - - RATED - $379, SONY.COm.au

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

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