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Same as last year's (almost)

New case


Video overlays

Size matters

New mounts

More accessories

The Sony Action Cam HDR-AS30V doesn't change too much from its predecessor, the AS15. The big changes are that its built-in Wi-Fi is now accompanied by NFC for fast pairing with NFC-enabled smartphones; it has built-in GPS; it can capture single 11.9-megapixel photos; it has a new case; and post-production tools are more robust.

However, the lens and the sensor are the same, so if you didn't like the video from the AS15, don't expect much different from the AS30V.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET

The AS15 came with a big waterproof case that, while nice, was good down to 197 feet -- overkill for what most people use these cameras for. Sony made the new case slimmer and lighter than the previous version and it's waterproof down to a more reasonable 16 feet. That allowed Sony to use waterproof membranes in front of the built-in stereo mics so you can actually record audio while it's in the case. A very good thing considering the body can't stand on its own outside of the case and feels pretty fragile.

Also, so added buttons on the case, so you can change settings, switch modes, and turn the thing off without taking it out of the case.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
The AS30V has built-in GPS for capturing location, speed, and elevation data.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
GPS information for recorded video is typically only visible when video is viewed with the manufacturer's software. In this case, Sony lets you use the recorded data for a few different things in post-production. For example, you can have it display trail information or it can be used to create a speedometer-style video overlay.
Caption by / Photo by Sony
The original waterproof housing is on the right, the new one is on the left.
Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET

A new Chest Mount Harness (AKA-CMH1; middle), Roll Bar Mount (VCT-RBM1; right), and Universal Head Mount Kit (BLT-UHM1; left) will be available. Due to the camera design, the chest mount is a little awkward, but it at least can be folded down when not in use. The head mount is much improved from the last version, allowing for better positioning so you can change the angle up and down as well as left and right.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET

Sony's beefing up its other accessories, too. What you see here is a new USB car charger as well as a secondary battery charger (the AS30V's battery otherwise needs to be charged in-camera).

What's not pictured is a Live-View Remote (RMLVR1), which is basically a small waterproof color LCD that wirelessly connects to the camera. It can be used for setting up your shots as well as starting/stopping recordings and switching between photo/movie modes.

Caption by / Photo by Lori Grunin/CNET
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