Sony Action Cam Mini HDR-AZ1 review2015-02-262015-02-26/wp-content/uploads/imaging-alliance-photo-marketing-and-innovation-logo.pngThe Imaging Alliance/wp-content/uploads/imaging-alliance-photo-marketing-and-innovation-logo.png200px200px
GoPro’s Hero cameras may be the undisputed leaders in the action camcorder market, but no manufacturer comes closer to besting them than Sony. Its Action Cam models are well-made cameras that are chockfull of great specs that deliver very good image quality.
One of the newest models is also Sony’s smallest. The Action Cam Mini (HDR-AZ1) fits nicely inside the palm, yet it delivers excellent video quality that can rival GoPro’s. It doesn’t offer many fine-tuning options, but the AZ1 will satisfy those looking for an easy-to-use action cam that shoots good-looking videos.
The AZ1 is Sony’s smallest model in the Action Cam series. It weighs 2.2 ounces (with battery), and measures approximately 1 inch wide, 1.4 inches tall, and 3 inches in length. The camera is lightweight and easy to pocket, but still slightly larger than GoPro’s Hero camera in some areas — only by a bit. Smaller is better when it comes to recording action sports, since it’s less cumbersome on your body when worn.
Sony uses a unique pistol-like design that makes it easy to grip in your hand or between your fingers. It’s different from GoPro’s boxy approach, but we don’t find it any more difficult to use – or easier for that matter. It does protrude out a bit in some scenarios, like when using the chest harness.
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One advantage Sony’s Action Cams have over GoPro and most POV camcorders is that the camera is splashproof without the housing. That means it can handle light rain, pool splashes, and even snow. We still recommend you use the housing, because it adds a layer of protection.
Sony had to sacrifice some features to compensate for the small size, but not many. Compared to larger models like the AS100V and AS200V, there’s no HDMI-out, the LCD is smaller (it’s practically useless, except for indicating battery life), and the battery is smaller as well. There’s also no built-in GPS and mic input, and it can shoot slow motion only at 720p at 120 Mbps.