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Stefan Mileschin 30th August 2012 07:20

Sony's tiny ruggedized Action Cam gets official
Remember that itsy bitsy GoPro competitor we spotted at Sony's CE Week booth earlier this summer? Well, it's gearing up for an official release late next month. Dubbed Action Cam -- a fitting name given that it'll live mounted anywhere from skydiving helmets to downhill skis -- it'll ship in late September or early October for $199. In a surprising twist, the incredibly small HD shooter will also be getting WiFi -- that version will be available for $270. Both cameras are identical save for wireless functionality, but considering that WiFi enables remote configuration and viewfinder capability for framing your shots (there's no video-capable LCD on the device itself), you're gonna want to shell out the extra 70 bucks. Regardless of which flavor you choose, you'll net a very capable camcorder with a 16-megapixel Exmor R sensor (great for low-light shooting) and fixed-zoom Carl Zeiss lens, complete with SteadyShot image stabilization, a 1080/30p capture mode and a 720p option at 120 frames per second, enabling some pretty slick slow-motion effects.

The Action Cam is a modular system, so you can count on a bevy of accessories -- there will even be a "Handycam Adaptor," which comes complete with a 2.7-inch display and a familiar camcorder interface. More standard options include an adhesive mount pack ($20, though two ship with the cam), a bar/bike mount ($30), angle mount ($30), a replacement housing that's waterproof to 60 meters and offers a standard tripod socket ($40 -- you'll get one in the box), two head straps ($25-30) and a suction cup ($30). It also uses removable storage (microSD), a swappable battery, and includes HDMI, USB and audio input jacks.

We weren't able to take the camera out on any wild adventure shoots, though plenty of professionals have, judging from the looks of the demo reel on display at Sony's event (and included at the end of our hands-on video after the break). We did get to play with the remote viewfinder feature, however, paired with the Android PlayMemories app (also available for iOS). This tool worked quite well over WiFi, with decent response and a usable framerate (for framing your shot, at least). The Action Cam itself feels quite solid, despite its size, especially when paired with the thick plastic housing (it's designed for use both underwater and on land). What we're not quite clear on is battery life, which will surely factor into any purchase decision -- that detail will likely come to light as we near launch. You can take a closer look at the camera and accessories in our gallery below, and the hands-on video (complete with remote viewfinder demo) after the break.

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