Skip to main content

Like a 'BOSS': Sony’s latest Action Cams stay steady with optical stabilization

Just over a week after Garmin introduced its new high-end VIRB Ultra 30 action camera, Sony has come out swinging with a pair of updated flagship models in its Action Cam-series. The 4K-capable FDR-X3000 and its Full HD sibling, the HDR-AS300, bring a host of improvements, but the biggest new feature is undoubtedly Balanced Optical SteadyShot, or BOSS. These are the first action cameras from a major manufacturer to include optical image stabilization (previous Action Cam models employed electronic IS), and it’s nice to see that Sony hasn’t reserved the feature for just its highest-priced model.

BOSS works by moving the sensor and lens unit together to counter vibrations, which smooths out video without cropping or adding additional digital processing to the image.

Sony’s market research has found that SteadyShot is the number one feature that has drawn customers to its action cameras, so a new stabilization system makes perfect sense. BOSS works by moving the sensor and lens unit together to counter vibrations, which smooths out video without cropping or adding additional digital processing to the image.

Unlike electronic image stabilization, BOSS can be activated in any mode, including 4K (X3000 only) and high-speed shooting, a significant advantage over Sony’s previous action cams and those of other major manufacturers. Garmin’s electronic stabilization, for example, works great for 1080p, but can’t be used at all for 4K. GoPro currently doesn’t offer stabilization at all.

Sony also announced several new accessories for its action cameras, including the new MPK-UWH1 underwater housing that is waterproof down to 60 meters. The housing is included with with both new cameras. There is also an updated live-view remote that features a compact and mountable design. Although it is optional, the remote will likely be a must-have option for any serious shooter.

The shape of Sony’s action cameras more-or-less prevents them from having a built-in LCD screen (these new models do get an upgraded dot matrix display for viewing camera settings) but Sony sees this as an advantage. In most situations, once an action camera is mounted, a rear-facing LCD screen can’t be seen, anyway. Sony’s live view remote can be warn like a watch or mounted in a visible location, such as a bike’s handlebar, making it more practical that a built-in screen.

The live-view remote can also be attached to the camera itself for handheld use, thanks to Sony’s new AKA-FGP1 finger grip, which essentially turns the X3000 or AS300 into the world’s smallest camcorder.

Naturally, both cameras can also be controlled via the Sony PlayMemories app for iOS and Android. Like previous Sony action cams, footage can be live-streamed through the app to Ustream (other live streaming services, like YouTube, are not supported).

Other improvements include a new, 8.57-megapixel (MP) backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and a redesigned lens that offers a claimed 50-percent reduction in optical distortion. The X3000 manages to snap 12MP still photos, although it’s not clear how it’s doing this from a lower resolution sensor. It can also capture 4K time-lapse sequences thanks to an 8.3MP interval shooting mode.

While the X3000 and AS300 are mostly the same camera, beyond 4K capability, the X3000 can also shoot 120 frames per second in Full HD (1080p). The AS300 has to drop to HD (720p) in order to achieve 120 FPS, but this isn’t a big drawback for a casual user.

Both new cameras will begin shipping by the end of this month. Customers will have the option of buying them as kits with the new Live-View Remote, or as the camera body alone. The FDR-X3000 will retail for $550 for the kit or $450 by itself, while the HDR-AS300 kit will go for $450 and the body-only option will be just $300.

Daven Mathies
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Daven is a contributing writer to the photography section. He has been with Digital Trends since 2016 and has been writing…
The best free photo-editing software for 2024
Side view of a laptop on a desk.

Professional photo-editing applications aren't cheap, nor are they easy to master without formal training. That's why we're taking a look at the best free photo-editing software on the market.
Our top pick is GIMP, an open-source photo editing software available for the big three operating systems. It offers a huge workspace and a wide variety of professional editing tools.
We provide thousands of how-to articles, news articles, and best-of lists to help you build your photography skills, choose the best gear for your photography needs, and make the most out of your photo equipment. And if our top pick isn’t for you, check out the other options on this list. There are great choices for conventional desktop software, mobile apps, and even web-based solutions that don't require installing software.

GIMP

Read more
The best photo printers you can buy in 2024
Alan compares draft, standard, and high-quality photos from Epson's EcoTank ET-8500.

A comparison of draft, standard, and high-quality photos from Epson's EcoTank ET-8500. Tracey Truly / Digital Trends

If you love sharing photo prints or building physical photo albums, you might want to upgrade to a photo printer. When manufacturers optimize printers for pictures, the results can match or exceed that of the best printers available.

Read more
Crutchfield sale: Save on Canon, Sony and Nikon mirrorless cameras
Canon EOS R5

Photography can be a fun and even lucrative endeavor, although it also can be exceedingly expensive, with some of the best full-frame cameras on the market easily reaching and even exceeding one or two thousand dollars, and that's without taking into account the cost of the lenses. Luckily, there is a great sale at Crutchfield right now on various cameras and camera kits, and you can actually grab yourself some excellent cameras, whether you're just starting out or want to upgrade to the next level. To that end, we've picked some of our favorite deals below, although it's well worth checking out the full Crutchfield sale that's happenning now.

What you should buy in Crutchfield's camera sale
If you're just starting out with photography and don't want to spend the thousands of dollars you do for the slightly better cameras that you'll find in the mid-range, the Canon EOS R100 is an excellent option, and this kit includes a lens as well. It has a 24.1-megapixel sensor for high-quality photography, a 3-inch screen so you can get a better sense of what you're filming, and, of course, the RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 lens that the kit comes with. It can also connect with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and all of that comes packaged at , which is $100 off the usual $599 price tag.

Read more