It sometimes seems as if GoPros are the only action cams people consider buying. In part, it's because the company has done an admirable marketing job at resurrecting the camcorder market at a time when many prefer to capture video on a smart phones. It’s also because GoPros perform well: They’ve often been among the top-scoring models in our Ratings. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider other models. In fact, one Sony model we've recently tested, the HDR-AS100V, $300, topped our action cam Ratings and outscored both of the most reccent GoPro Hero 3+ models (Black and Silver editions).
Find the best model for your needs and budget: Check our camcorder buying guide and Ratings.
Here's why Sony's AS100V did so well: For starters, it takes very good quality video and good quality still photos. In part, these scores reflect the fact that it actually includes a very good quality image stabilizer. Many action cams, including GoPro models, don't include any type of image stabilizer. So, on the AS100V, this very good image stabilizer counteracts hand shake and gives you less jittery video and sharper still photos. Also, unlike many in its class, it captures good quality audio when shooting video.
This Sony has some other nice features: It's splash proof, which means light rain or a little bit of water won't affect it. But it's waterproof to a depth of 16 feet, when used with it's protective housing. It also includes built-in GPS, for geotagging your video and still photos.
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