At the start of IFA 2016, Sony announced a new 4K action camera – the FDR-X3000R, featuring, for the first time in a Sony action cam – in body image stabilisation, or B.O.SS (Balanced Optical SteadyShot). This is the first time Sony is porting their advanced stabilisation technology usually found in their premium handycams to their 4K action cam lineup. The new optical stabilisation found in the FDR-X3000R compensates for image shake by moving around the entire image block as opposed to only separate optical elements, providing for a greater degree of shake compensation. The innovative new stabilisation systems makes the new Sony action camera particularly interesting to vloggers and adventure junkies.
The FDR-X3000R is powered by the same BIONZ X processor which can be found inside the Sony A7sII and A7RII for example, and optimised for use in a POV environment. Light is captured via a newly developed 8.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and the new Zeiss Tessar Lens delivers a more natural image with significantly less distortion than current models.The combination of image sensor and processor enables full pixel readout without pixel binning for truer colours and reduced rolling shutter effect.
Sony Balanced Optical SteadyShot as implemented in a Handycam
New Sony FDR-X3000R
The FDR-X3000R features 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) recording at 100Mbps up to 30p in XAVC-S, as well as Full HD up to 60fps at 50Mbps in the XAVC S MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format. The camera also records 720/120p and the stereo mic allows users to capture crisper sounds thanks to the Wind Noise Reduction.
Sony FDR-X3000R Features and Frame Rates
Balanced Optical SteadyShot (B.O.SS) image stabilisation, even in 4K and high speed recording modes
UHD 3840 x 2160 at 24/25/30p in XAVC-S at 100Mb/s
1080p/60 and 720/120fps
800 x 480 at 240fps super-slow motion
New 1/2.5 type 8.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor with big pixels designed for video with 16:9 aspect ratio
BIONZ X processor enabling full pixel readout without pixel binning
New Zeiss Tessar wide-angle lens with 3x smooth zoom
Wide, Medium, Narrow modes for the lens
Intuitive operation, full control of shooting and on/off power settings with new Live-View Remote in wearable and mountable design
Waterproof up to 60m with supplied Underwater Housing (MPK-UWH1)
4K time–lapse movie mode with 8.3MP images
12 megapixel stills capture
Built-in GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-fi
Live-View Remote included
Records onto Memory Stick Micro and Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC media cards
It’s really cool to see such impressive image stabilisation into an action cam, as after all those things are meant to be used in anger and usually strapped to helmets, selfie-sticks or other contraptions that often accompany the adventure inclined shooters. How it stacks up to the GoPro Hero4 for example remains to be seen, but as we expect to see a new GoPro Hero 5 soon, who knows maybe GoPro have figured out a way to get some sort of advanced image stabilization in their unit as well.
Nonetheless, the Balanced Optical SteadyShot is a welcomed addition and certainly impressive from the video samples above. The new FDR-X3000R (kit version including the Live-View remote) should be available in November 2016 and priced at around £500 (inc. VAT) / 660 Euros / $549 USD. The AKA-FGP1 and AKA-MCP1 will start to ship sometime in November 2016 and according to Sony, we should expect pricing of around €25 and €35 respectively.
You can pre-order both the body FDR-X3000 version for $399 from B&H, as well as the Sony FDR-X3000R kit version for $549. According to B&H, orders start shipping September 26th based on availability, so some may take a bit longer, but if you pre-order now you may be able to get one of the first batch.