Since its inception over 20 years ago, the world’s first action came has dominated the market for off-camera handheld video recording, leaving its home-shopping-channel-worthy rival, the GoPro, for a distant second-place finish.
To be clear, the GoPro was born to compete in the high-end video-capturing space and quickly became the industry standard for the most extreme forms of human motion.
The Sony Action Cam, on the other hand, was designed from the ground up to match the video-capturing needs of the everyday, social media-saturated consumer.
Over the years, the system has successfully taken down all challengers with very little hardware or software innovation, while at the same time staying ahead of a plethora of upgraded, similar-looking competitors.
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Sony Action Cam
While the lineup is currently missing a 4K camcorder, an all-new superzoom Sony Action Cam has emerged at CES 2018. It has a similar form factor to Sony’s RX100 series, with a handle, microphone and a 16-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor.
Sony has also detailed some additional specs, including a waterproof (with a waist strap and an extra shock-proof casing), shatterproof body that can be submerged in water to depths of 10 meters for up to 60 minutes.
The camera also comes with a power zoom with an optical zoom that doubles the reach of the lens, while also adding 4K video at up to 120p.
Alongside this new Action Cam, Sony has also announced the RX10 IV, which adds an electronic image stabilization system to its 20.2-megapixel APS-C sensor.
With an integrated touchscreen LCD and touch-sensitive switch, the GoPro is easy to use and functional. It has voice command, which will soon become a feature on all GoPro cameras, and a 12MP color sensor with a 200-degree wide-angle lens and a time-lapse function.
The touch interface allows users to do all the shooting they need to do, as well as control the settings.
The GoPro also has voice command, voice recognition, and voice control, which allows users to tell the camera what to do. They can shoot a video, speak a command, and the camera will give them the shot they want, all without even picking it up.
It also has a 1-inch image sensor with 12MP resolution and has a 5 to 6 hours of battery life. The camera also has an incredible 4K video recording capability, and the ability to shoot raw files, which will greatly improve their quality when editing it.
Sony Action Cam Vs. GoPro
You can either have Sony or GoPro. Sony makes much more than just a camera, however. They make a lot of other stuff. They are just a camera company. As such, the Sony Action Cam is an action camera. It’s just a simpler one.
GoPro is an action camera company. It makes a much more sophisticated camera that is better at what it does. The difference between the two is pretty stark when you look at what they are trying to do.
Sony doesn’t need to try to be an all-around camera company. Its gaming focus is still its core business.
GoPro, however, has many, many businesses all pulled together. The action camera is only one of them. For the most part, it’s their bread and butter. Like any company, the action camera is the lens on which they focus.
So, by way of no fault of the action camera, the company is only scratching the surface of its potential. In the larger scope of things, that lens is only so wide. Eventually it’s going to get a little bit weird.
Both companies will, by the way, eventually have cool stuff in-between. The real question is whether that stuff is going to be any good. That is what we find to be the most curious thing about the competing action cameras.
They are, at face value, remarkably similar. But a closer look reveals that there are several more differences than similarities. Both of these are very capable options for capturing HD video with ease. However, there are some important differences between the two.
Perhaps the most glaring difference between the two cameras is the price. At first blush, the Sony Action Cam looks like it’s just as much of a deal as the GoPro. It is the same price in Canada, it has a 3-year warranty and comes with free updates.
And then you start digging into the details. It should also be noted that the Sony Action Cam comes in a 2GB 4K version and a 16GB ‘standard’ version. The GoPro is 2GB and the standard 16GB GoPro.
After using both, we found that the Action Cam does things a bit better in almost every category. However, if you are on a tight budget, then this does not sound as good.
The fact that the GoPro has an interface that is easier to use should be the main reason for this. In the long run, most users will find the ease of use to be much better than the Sony Action Cam.
Weight and Size
With a battery that can last for an entire day, and a compact body, the GoPro Hero 3 Black is much lighter than the Action Cam. This is more evident when compared side by side.
Both cameras shoot at a full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) with the GoPro having a slightly higher resolution of 1440 x 1080 pixels, so this could be an important factor in the price differential.
There’s an HDMI port on the bottom of the Action Cam which makes it more portable than the GoPro. However, it does have to be plugged in, unlike the GoPro which is always connected to your PC or Mac.
It is safe to assume that the differences in camera are pretty similar across the board. But, to offer the Sony Action Cam 2GB at a lower price is obviously going to make for a much bigger advantage in the market.
Some Other Main Differences Between Sony Action Cam Vs. GoPro
Each camera has its advantages, and it’s a good idea to compare the two before you decide on which one is best for you, whether you’re a student or just have your entire life to document. If you’re an avid traveler, you may also want to consider an action cam.
Since both have become such popular choices among travelers for capturing their adventures, these two rival products have a lot of the same features. Here are the main differences between the two:
- The Sony’s Digital Steady Shot can handle video at up to 1080p HD quality. The GoPro’s GoPro Live features up to 720p HD video, according to a company spokeswoman.
- The video resolution isn’t the only thing you’ll pay more for. The GoPro’s Hero 5 Black offers better image stabilization and an array of more features, including a touchscreen interface and on-camera live streaming, according to a company spokesperson. The Sony’s a7S II goes beyond 1080p HD resolution, including 4K.
- With the Sony, you get unlimited cloud storage for your content. GoPro has a one-hour limit, while the a7S II’s storage is unlimited.
- Both can shoot in Burst Mode, which is great for getting a bunch of shots in a short time. The GoPro doesn’t offer the a7S II’s L.F.C. technology, which means you can achieve a greater depth of field, which helps focus your shots.
- Neither is as rugged as you might think, although the GoPro offers a price drop for its waterproof packages, which bring the cameras down to a maximum depth of 32 feet. Both include a waist strap.
- Unlike the GoPro, Sony has waterproofed the a7S II. It also offers an AC power adapter, but lacks a carrying case.
- The Sony also has a bigger battery than the GoPro, which delivers roughly 12 hours of recording time, versus the GoPro’s stamina of about 5 to 6 hours, depending on the speed and resolution settings.
- For some extra dollars, you can get a Sony USB charger and battery, which extends the life of your Sony Action Cam to as much as 200 hours. The GoPro doesn’t have a battery extension.