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Picture yourself with an Action Cam

Durban - You may never have heard the term “action camera”, but you’ll have seen what they can do. Remember the viral video of a woes wildebeest blikseming that hapless mountain biker? It was filmed using an action camera.

More and more such footage is flooding on to the web as active, adventurous and increasingly imaginative types mount these gizmos on their handlebars, skydiving helmets and, even pets.

The camera is tiny and nestles easily in the palm of even a small hand. Credit: SUPPLIED

“Oh, you mean a GoPro,” I hear you say. It’s an understandable reaction given that the pioneering California brand pretty much created this market segment, so much so that GoPro has almost become a generic term for any small, lightweight, rugged and easily mountable camera.

But as this niche has exploded, so has the choice of competing products, and the Sony Action Cam is, in my opinion, one of the better alternatives.

I received the second generation AS30V from the tech-savvy folks at the Sony Centre Gateway recently and so far I’ve been mightily impressed with the video I’ve been able to capture, particularly given my decidedly amateur skill level.

The camera is tiny and nestles easily in the palm of even a small hand, and while the waterproof plastic housing makes it ever so slightly bulkier, it does allow you to carry on filming down to 5m underwater.

And I can confirm the waterproofing is effective, having put it to the test on the water slides and in the snorkel lagoon at uShaka Marine World as well as in the surf outside the park.

Unlike the square form factor of the GoPro, Sony has opted for the more traditional and easily palmable camcorder shape and that’s how I used the Action Cam. But to get the most out of it, you’ll want to mount it on something – your head, surfboard or Jet Ski handlebars, for example.

And Sony offers a variety of after-market mounting options as well as an optional full colour LCD viewfinder, although you can also download an app that turns your smartphone into one.

Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilisation and the a 170-degree, ultra wide-angle Carl Zeiss lens made for pretty impressive footage, whether I was shooting full HD video or 11.9 megapixel stills, and sharing it, with location data, it was a breeze using the built in wi-fi and GPS.

At R3 499, the Action Cam AS30V isn’t the cheapest action camera on the market, but it’s one of the more solid options. If you’ve got an extra R500 to spare, I’d go for the newly released AS100V with improved spec levels.. - Sunday Tribune

For more about the Action Cam, including full specs and additional pics, visit: alanqcooper.tumblr.com. If you’ve got any questions, pose them to @alanqcooper on Twitter.

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