Say goodbye to vibrations and seasickness! In the highly competitive world of action-cams, Sony stands out for some time being the only one to offer stabilization in all its models. With its FDR-X3000R, the Japanese strikes hard, very strong, since the stabilization is now electronic and optical, a system inherited camcorders of the brand. Add 4K UHD video, Full HD slow motion, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, an original remote control and you get one of the best action-cam of 2016. Muscular, but not without reproach.
- Definition (maximum): 3840 x 2160
- Sensor: 8.57 MP
- Angle of field: 108°
- Optical Stabilization
- Video Format: mp4
- Integrated display: No
- Waterproof camera (without box)
- Memory card capacity
- Capacity of battery: 1240
- Interchangeable battery: Yes
- Dimensions: 47 x 29.4 x 83 mm
- Weight: 114 g
- Options: Waterproof Case
Do not be fooled by appearances: this FDR-X3000R is both smaller and lighter than the FDR-X1000R it replaces. If it gives the impression of being overweight, it is just because it had to be expanded to pass the optical stabilization. The good news is that the X3000 uses the same batteries as all the action cameras of the brand, namely a NP-BX1 Lithium-ion 1240 mAh. We will come back later on its autonomy.
|Lens protection (right) is an option, but a handy option against splashing and scratching.|
Follower of the lengthened format, with screen on the right edge, Sony has completely revised the ergonomics of its flagship camera, without changing the general principle. The battery is removed from the side, fully lifting the battery cover. An interesting choice but a performance that inspires little confidence since this side panel is retained only by a piece of rubber which we fear for holding in time. Bonus: even with the usual, it will often take you there several times to properly close the battery compartment. The good news is that memory and connectivity access are now separate. The microSD / Memory Stick Micro card retires through the camera's outsole, where you'll find the always-convenient standard tripod thread. Micro-USB jacks, micro-HDMI and the brand new microphone jack (3.5mm jack) are grouped on the back. This jack is saving as the internal microphone blows and is sensitive to the wind. On the right edge, you always find the monochrome screen, now accompanied by a third button: one for the menu, two for navigation, which is much more efficient and faster than that of the X1000. Other new features: the X3000 now has three red LEDs (one above, one below the lens, one at the back) that can control, from any angle, that you are actually filming. A detail that looks like nothing but is still very practical. This jack is saving as the internal microphone blows and is sensitive to the wind.
|The QR code for connecting the camera to a mobile device (via Play Memory Mobile) is located on the back of the flap hiding the battery.|
The remote control is, meanwhile, brand new. This version RM-LVR3 is more compact and now square. With its five keys (on / off and menu on the left side, rec / enter under the screen, navigation arrows on the right) the control is fluid and matches that of the camera, since the logic is identical: excellent in the fire of the action! Better yet, it is now possible to turn the X3000 on and off directly from the remote control. The extinction is done in 2 seconds, cons, there are still failures in the ignition: by pressing the on / off button on the remote control, the action-cam goes out of standby in 5 seconds, but then, you have to wait between 10 and 30 seconds for the Wi-Fi / Blutooth connection to be established. The bracelet to carry the remote control is provided of origin but, what we prefer is the brand new accessory AKA-FGP1. Under this barbaric name hides a support for securing camera and remote control, which becomes an orientable screen. The "handle" AKA-FGP1 (25 €) is a bit like a gun, the recording is triggered by the thumb. For our part, given the weight of the set, we prefer to slip the thumb in the ring and support the coupling of the other four fingers, taking care not to hide the pickups at the front. If using this "handle", it will however be necessary to make a cross on the MPK-UWH1 waterproof case (75 €), now allowing to dive to 60 m.
|Since the remote control does not have a USB port, a dedicated base is required to charge it.|
However, the X3000 is far from perfect and there are many grievances. The first will go for the screen. That it is monochrome and does not display what is filmed is not very serious, since the remote control provided by the office is there for that. However, neither the screen nor the keys being backlit, the reading of the information becomes delicate in too bright weather or as soon as the night falls - or that a big cloud passes. The criticism is similar for the remote control. The screen is certainly in color, but it is impossible to adjust the brightness. Above all, Sony has opted for a slab with calamitous viewing angles, all under a glass too reflective: not always easy, in full light, to check its framing! Finally, like most action-cams, the X3000 suffers from limited autonomy. When used with the remote control, do not expect to shoot for more than an hour. By activating the airplane mode (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS off), you can gain 50% autonomy, a total of 1:30, which, given the more energy-consuming optical stabilization, is more than remarkable.
|On the wrist or on a table tripod, everything is allowed!|
|Filming camera in hand, literally.|
Unlike its excesses on the side of smartphones, Sony has, for its action-cam FDR-X3000R, shown more than reasonable in the choice of the sensor, a Exmor CMOS of 1 / 2.5 "(smaller than 1 / 2.3 "of the X1000) which has" only "8.2 Mpx (against 8.8 Mpx previously). It does not look like much, but to shoot in 4K / UHD (3840 x 2160 px = 8.29 Mpx) and in Full HD, it's more than enough. Above all, since the BOSS stabilization moves both the lens and the sensor, the 1 / 2.5-inch diagonal is more of an advantage, but the BionzX is the well-known processor when, for the optical part, it is the Zeiss Tessar f / 2.8 of the X1000 which was taken again, with slight modifications to preserve the angles of field.
No need to keep the suspense longer: the Sony FDR-X3000R is simply the best action-cam with which we have been filmed. The image quality is exemplary, with good dynamics, the colors are right, the image is very quilted in 4K / UHD and, above all, the stabilization is incredibly effective. It eliminates without difficulty all the small vibrations and lets pass the big shakes which, far from being disturbing, avoid obtaining a too fluid effect which would prove finally too artificial. It's been a long time since we had so much fun filming and watching captured images in the heat of the moment, whether it's walking,
The editing application "Action Cam Movie Creator" proposed by Sony is pretty and allows to exploit the GPS track, play easily on slow motion effects, but its possibilities are limited (no transitions between sequences, no fine adjustments sound, no image correction, etc.)
Suddenly, it would almost dispense us to say that the X3000 films in 4K / UHD 30/25 / 24p 100 Mbit / s, in Full HD 120 / 100p (100 Mbit / s / 60 Mbit / s), in Full HD 60p / 50p / 30p / 25p / 24p (50 Mbit / s) and HD 1280 x 720 240p / 200p (100 Mbit / s / 60 Mbit / s), which will make beautiful slow motion. Note that all this is done in XAVCs, which requires the use of a microSDXC card. In the absence of such a card, it will be necessary to film in MP4 with, to the best of the simple Full HD.
|Illustration of the three field angles available from the same point of view.|
Like the X1000, three field angles are available: wide (eq 17 mm), medium (eq 23 mm) and narrow (eq 32 mm). Note that it is possible to vary the angle when shooting in HD and Full HD but not in 4K / UHD, where you shoot, by default, in the 17mm position. Note also that these angles affect the definition of your photos: only the images taken at 23 mm are 12 Mpx, in the other two cases the definition goes down to 6 Mpx.
- Optical stabilization, sensor and electronics.
- Image quality.
- Video 4K / UHD (30/25 / 24p) and Full HD (120/100/60/50/30/25 / 24p).
- Removable battery.
- Micro-HDMI and microphone jacks.
- Remote control provided.
- WiFi, NFC, GPS
- Ergonomics reviewed and improved.
- Thread tripod.
- Screens (camera and remote) perfectible.
- Limited autonomy (50 minutes with the remote control).
- Not waterproof without box.
- Internal microphone disappointing.
With its optical, mechanical and electronic stabilization, 4K recording, efficient ergonomics and compactness, the Sony FDR-X3000R stands out as the best cam action of 2016, both in terms of stabilization and image quality. It offers a vast creative potential that will, as often, be limited by the autonomy a little weak and audio capture very perfectible.