Sony FDR-X3000 4K action cam is one of the most versatile action cameras out there, and although GoPro may be dominating the action camera market, this offering from Sony is one to really consider.
The FDR-X3000 4K action camera offer many similar features to other high-end cameras on the market today, but Sony has perfected it to make it your go-to tool for capturing your life and adventures, no matter your lifestyle.
With the FDR-X3000, Sony is arming you with all you need to capture content as intended. There’s the Exmor R CMOS sensor with enhanced light sensitivity to help you shoot in the dark and stabilisation is a bonus.
There’s also the BIONZ X image processor for recording fast moves and smooth action up to 4K at 100 Mbps and a ZEISS Tessar lens for capturing landscapes with less distortion. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, more on its performance and what it has to offer later.
Sony FDR-X3000 Action Cam Design And Hardware
Finished in white, it’s rectangular tube-like shape measures approximately 29.4 x 47.0 x 83.0 mm and around 114 g with battery inserted; not only is it light, it’s also a pocketable size ready to be pulled out when life calls for it.
Unlike the GoPro or most of the action cameras on the market today, the Sony FDR-X3000’s shape is not the conventional square block, perhaps it would have limited Sony in terms of the level of technology that can be built-in for the best user experience – again more on this later.
On the camera body itself, you have all the controls so you can use it without its remote control and it’s even water-resistant to a certain extent with IPX4 rating, meaning it will withstand water splashes.
On the top area, you will see a power button and record/enter button; the power button is slightly lower and is almost embedded compared to the record button and that’s so you don’t accidently power off whilst recording, and the latter is raised so it’s easy to find. When placed in a water-proof casing, then you can flick the lock switch to lock the controls.
One thing that Sony has added from its predecessor is the extra indicator lights; there are three red indicator lights, one on the front, another on the back and one on top of the camera in front of the record button, furthermore, it will also beep when recording starts.
To the left of the X3000 with the camera facing you, you will notice three buttons and a small display for adjusting your settings; note that it might need some getting used to but once you figure it out, it’s smooth sailing from there.
On the back, there’s a locking mechanism switch for the battery housing which is very easy to operate but make sure it’s fully secured before using it as it could expose your battery and camera to water and dust.
Next, to the lock switch on the back, there’s a flap covering the HDMI, Multi connector and External microphone ports. The FDR-X3000 is so small and it’s amazing that Sony has managed to include not only a Balanced Optical SteadyShot mechanism, but they’ve also managed to include the capability to use an external mic.
Let’s not forget about the bottom of the camera body; there’s a tripod mount which allows you to mount it without a case and a flap that covers the memory card slot. You can use a Memory Stick Micro or Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. I’d advise getting a class 10 memory card, especially for 4K content.
Sony FDR-X3000 Action Cam Video And Audio Performance
Equipped with some of the latest and state-of-the-art technology, the X3000 is definitely one of the best action cameras on the market right now and beyond just the specs, the results I’ve seen speaks for itself.
Packed with a Zeiss Tessar multi-coated lens and a 1/2.5 inch 16:9 Exmore R CMOS sensor, the FDR-X3000 captures a great level of detail when it comes to videos and still shots. It offers an 8.2 MP resolution depending on which mode you have on (steady shot off and shooting angle set to wide).
Elsewhere, Sony has worked on setting the FDR-X3000 apart from its competitors with barrel distortion to limit the fish-eye effect that you get with most action cameras. This is very noticeable and a feature I really like about the X3000.
As mentioned earlier, the X300 is very versatile, it’s capable of Loop Recording at 5 to 120 minutes, Burst Shooting up to eight shots at a time, Motion Shot LE at various burst settings, 4K Timelapse capture and Live Streaming. To get the best picture, you can also manually adjust White Balance and Shutter speed between 1/30 and 1/10,000 of a second at 30fps.
4K videos can be captured at 30fps as per normal and if you want something a bit more cinematic, you also have 24fps and 25fps. If you need to shoot slow motion videos which I assume most people who get action cameras do, you can dial the resolution down to 1080p to get 120fps. The good news is no matter what frame rate or resolution, BOSS will be active to keep things smooth.
Overall, the above would mean something to those who already know about cameras in general, however for those looking to get into this area of creativity, the FDR-X3000 is up there if not better than GoPro when it comes to how it handles all resolution with BOSS. BOSS (Balanced Optical Steady Shot) means you will be able to shoot videos without having to worry about shaky hands.
If you don’t want to mess around with the settings, it’s all set to capture videos accurately and I would even recommend using vivid mode to get some great colours in your images. Combine a good level of stabilisation with a wide aperture, and BIONZ Z processing, you get images with a great level of detail, whether in video or picture mode, noise is reduced especially in low light.
I mentioned 8.2MP earlier for stills, however, don’t get that confused with stills in photo mode where you can go up to 12 MP 16:9, so if you need something more detailed or for printing, then make sure you switch to photo mode for photos.
With ample lighting, still images are just as good as some of the best smartphones and point to shoots in the market today, the only time you will struggle without patience is in low light as shutter speed begins to struggle. So much to talk about for video performance, however, let’s not forget its built-in stereo microphone that surprisingly good when not used in its waterproofing case.
Sony FDR-X3000 Action Cam Battery Life And Durability
The X3000’s battery will last you just over 2 hours if you record at 1080p then that drops by half if you decided to record 4K videos, having said that, though, with a removable battery you can always buy some extra batteries if you need it to last a bit longer – for most people 1080p will suffice.
Durability is no issue here also, the X3000 is designed to be ready for any water splash without a case on, and when you put it inside a waterproof housing, it would be ready for snorkeling or diving up to 60m – just be aware that the remote control viewfinder can only go so deep before it won’t be able to handle water.
Once inserted in its waterproof housing, the X3000 becomes very durable, you can throw it around without stressing, it’s dust-proof, shockproof, and you can even use it at altitudes or in freezing temperatures with no issues.
Sony FDR-X3000 Action Cam Accessories
I thought GoPro cameras has a lot of accessories, but not until I saw the wide variety of attachments you can get for the X3000. Sony has really put the effort into making sure no matter where your adventures take you, there is something to ensure you can capture what you see with no hassle.
There’s a trigger-like accessory which at first I thought was a strange design, but once you attach it to the action cam and begin to use it, you soon realise how awesome it is. It feels like carrying a mini camcorder with a finger grip to allow for steady shots. The grip has a slot for the remote viewfinder which makes it perfect for everyday recording.
Then there are other accessories for mounting to a surfboard, helmet, wrist, chest, head, so basically, you can attach it anywhere you want, even a suction attachment for in car dash capture.
Should You Consider The Sony FDR-X3000 Action Cam?
Absolutely! For the majority of my time with the FDR-X3000, it’s been a great tool and an enabler for adventures and even when I’m not doing anything active like skating, I can simply pop it on my fingers and capture my environment with no hassle.
It’s incredible how Sony has managed to include BOSS in such a small camera body, and it deserves some plaudits for its performance. It’s durable, outputs high-quality images and videos, and Sony provides a lot of accessories so you’re never limited to what you can do. 4K timelapse is awesome too and with a removable memory card, you can get some spare ones for capturing more 4K content.
If I have any qualms with the FDR-X3000, it would be with the remote control viewfinder can be slow to power on and when placed in its wristband harness, it feels bulky on the wrist especially if you plan to wear it for a prolonged period of time.
I write about all things tech!