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Sony HDR-AZ1VR Review

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Introduction

The Sony HDR-AZ1VR is a new addition to the Action Cam Miniseries. It is 30% smaller than the size of the previous generations. In this small size it has 11.9 megapixels Exmor R CMOS sensor, XAVCS codec and BIONZ X technology for great looking footage. It can record Full HD 1080p video at the data rate of 50mbps and upto 120 fps. The Sony HDR-AZ1VR is currently available for £279 on the Sony’s UK online store.

Ease of Use

The new Sony HDR-VZ1VR is smaller, lighter and perfect wearable camcorder. It is around 2/3rd smaller from the size of the previous modelAS100VRand just weighs 63grams (including battery) while the previous one weighs 92 grams. Fits perfectly in your pocket and you can capture your adventures on the go while attaching on the headband or bike helmet.

Because of its compact body design doesn’t mean it has less features. You can stream your video live on Ustream.tv by simply connecting to the internet via built-in WiFi and share it with your friends and family.With WiFi you can also view the live image on your smartphone by using the PlayMemories free app. It has NFC technology with which you can pair a NFC enabled smartphone to the camera simply by tapping the two together.

The ultra-wide 170°field of view ZEISS Tessar® lens captures epic wide-angle views. Switched to 120° when Steady-shot Stabilization is turned on for the smoothest possible handheld footage it beats the bump and motion blur while you are surfing or bicycling.It has maximum aperture of f/2.8 which ensures the cam receive as much light as possible when shooting under low-light. Focal length is 17.1mm while capturing video at 170° and 21.8mm at 120°. Still images focal length is also 17.1mm.

This models comes with the Live-View Remote kit which allows you to do more than just viewing the live video, it comes with a GPS technology and a bright LCD screen giving you the full control of the Action Cam. The Live-View Remote kit let you control up-to 5 cameras simultaneously with which you can take multiple angle shots, start/stop, take photos and much more. You can view the saved video on the LCD screen and playback it quickly 5, 10, 30, or 60 times speed-up. There are 3 modes on the camera i-e Video, Interval Photo, Still Image but you must have a remote or smartphone to quickly switch between the modes.

Setting up HDR-AZ1VR along with Live View Remote (RM-LVR2V) for the first time can be tricky but I found that if you follow these steps exactly:

  1. Power ON your HDR-AZ1VR action camera
  2. Ensure that Wi-Fi is ON (Wi-Fi icon on LCD) or by pressing Wi-Fi button once.
  3. Power ON your Live-View Remote (RM-LVR2V)
  4. It will automatically discover your Wi-Fi SSID of HDR-AZ1VR action camera
  5. Press `Enter’ Button on Live-View Remote once
  6. You will hear a beep waiting to pair your HDR-AZ1VR action camera
  7. Press the Wi-Fi button on your HDR-AZ1VR action camera quickly
  8. A chime will be heard and the Blue LED will light up on Live-View Remote.

It can record the video at the data rate up-to 50mbps in two formats XAVC S or mp4 and store the video in Memory Stick Micro™ – Mark 2 or Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards. Micro SDXC class 10 required for XAVC S format recording. There is no way to wirelessly transfer the photos to the computer you must have to insert the memory card into the laptop to transfer the photos. It has a built-in stereo microphone which captures quality sound. You cannot attach external microphone to the camera.

You can create great time-lapse videos by using the feature called Interval Still Shooting which takes photo every 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. Capture the fast moving action by using the burst shooting simply activate the settings in the menu and you’ll be able to capture 10 high-quality shots at intervals of 1, 2 or 5 seconds.

It also have Splash proof body so you can take it in underwater up to 5 meters, perfect for those who love water sports like swimming and surfing. When you are using splash proof you’ll lose WiFi technology, so you can not able to live stream or share your adventures while you are using Splash proof.Splash proof also makes it dust-proof and shockproof.

When it comes to battery, it has 640mAh Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery which can be charged via any USB port on your laptop or PC or alternatively you can charge it via USB adapter. It takes 2.5 hours to get fully charged.

Here are some PROs and CONs

PROS

  • Small compact size & lightweight design
  • Good quality Audio & Video recording
  • Battery life (2+ hours non-stop operation)

CONS

  • No settings possible on the camera for switching between modes
  • High-Definition (HD 60p 50mbps) XAVCS recording requires faster than Class 10 MicroSDXC card!
  • No external Microphone input possible
  • User manual is less than desirable

Image Quality

Image quality seems quite good for both the default video (MP4, 1920×1080, 30p) and interval recording which is 1920×1080 resolution. I set the interval to 2 seconds and shot directly into the sunrise and the battery lasted for 2:13 (3980 shots). The stills actually look pretty good with direct sunlight. With 11.9 megapixel picture quality with a 170° wide angle ZEISS Tessar® lens shows the whole experience as you see it.

You can see the sample video below:

Sony HDR-AZ1VR has no zoom in it. It has 11.9mm focusing distance with 170° angle of view. Size of the still images are 4608 x 2592 at 11.9 megapixels but when you are on interval photo mode images size are 1920 x 1080 at 2.1 megapixels.

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