In the worst kept secret in the industry, Sony has just officially announced the "Action Cam" HDR-AS15
, 2 small form video cameras for the mini-video camera market popularized by GoPro.
The 1/2.3" 11mp CMOS sensor cameras come with Steady Shot image stabilization and records at HQ 16mbps (compared to GoPro HD2's 35 mbps). The camera can do a Slow and Super Slow Motion mode at 60 or 120fps in 720/30p mode. Strangely, it does not shoot 720/60p at all.
The lens has a similar FOV to the GoPro, 170° without Steady Shot and 120° with Steady shot. Other features include Wifi for the AS15 with smart phone control.
The housing goes to 60m but uses a dome port. With a mfd of 30cm, I suspect there'll be a focus issue like the GoPro. The good news is that the battery is removable and can be replaced with a fully charged spare battery.
Looking at the specs, it is obvious Sony aimed the AS series at the weaknesses of GoPro, namely image stabilization, super slow motion and wireless connection without an accessory pack, all at the lower price than GoPro.
There's much to like with the Sonys, but ultimately the image quality will be the main factor. The GoPro HD2 can now shoot 35mbps with Technicolor's Cinestyle profile. The Sonys shoot 16mbps and only 2mp stills. It'll be important to see if the Sony sensor will shoot cleaner despite the smaller pixel pitch. The super slow motion mode alone is worth buy a AS10 as a complement to the GoPro even.
I can't wait to test this camera out when it arrives!