Videos or it didn’t happen. The sport of Mountain Biking has been more and more popular among those looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life in Singapore. Riding into Bukit Timah or Pulau Ubin with just your bike has been proven to be one of the best ways for you to enjoy Singapore’s last patches of wilderness and break a sweat at the same time. It is during these adventures that we find ourselves in the most exciting situations sometimes, and capturing the moment or just recording the whole ride allows us to relive and share those amazing rides with all of our buddies.
Sony’s AS100VR Action Camera is one of the best available action camera’s available today made for those exciting moments. This small, powerful, and splashproof action cam was perfectly designed to be able to let the user to easily mount, record and let it do it’s job.
We were intrigued and curious when we first saw the camera when it was released but it was only much later until we got our hands on a unit.
Holding it in our hands, and fiddling it around, we were impressed with the Sony AS100VR’s build quality. The plastic body does not feel cheap and the buttons has a solid tactile feel when you press them. It has a 13.5 megapixel camera with an Exmore CMOS sensor as well as Image Stabilization built in, and the standard tripod mounting piece was a huge welcome on our part. It also has the Advanced Bionz X™ processor with 50Mbps high bit rate data transfer to turn fast action into smooth motion and high-quality HD footage.
On the front, the camera has the ultra wide angle ZEISS Tessar® lens, which allows up to 170° of capturing angle and stereo microphone holes. On the side of the camera, it has a small LCD screen to show you the camera details and settings when you switch it on. The record button is on the back of the camera, including a locking switch that helps prevent accidental recording.
The Sony AS100VR comes with a Live View Remote that you can wear it on your hands, or strapped in to your handlebar. You can see what the camera sees from your remote and this helps you to set up your angles correctly and to remotely start recording.
While the camera is splashproof on it’s own, a waterproof case is also supplied for full protection against the elements. All of the camera’s functions are usable when the case is worn, and the buttons feel solid when pushed.
The Sony AS100VR is feature packed with;
- 13.5M Exmor R™ CMOS Sensor
- GPS Function
- Advanced SteadyShot®
- High Frame Rate (120p/240p)
- Multi Camera Control (up to 5 cams)
- Pro Functions
And this thing is small, measuring only 70mm in width, 50mm high and only 20mm thick, you can easily keep it in your pocket if it’s not on your bike. With the camera in your hands, you can easily use it during walkabouts.
So how can you mount the camera? The best and easiest way is on your helmet. It comes with the mounting plate and straps for you to use it on your open face helmet.
Riding angles vary from helmet to helmets and due to our helmet’s shape, we had to
mcguyver slot in a couple of cardboard paper underneath the base plate for the best riding angle.
You can use the helmet mount with or without the waterproof case, and the only difference we’ve noticed during recording is the sound quality. Apart from the supplied standard helmet mount, optional mounting accessories can be bought for you to go crazy with shooting angles. A chest harness is also available if you’re looking for some behind the bar action. The harness comes with a different mounting plate that allows you to angle the camera according to your riding position.
The fit of the harness is very good and the wide chest plate has an easy system for you to take it off. The elastic straps are nice and wide, and bunching was never an issue with this harness.
We’ve been using the harness on a couple of rides and found that the recorded video can be very shaky if you’re not strapped in tightly. Due to the rather long-ish mounting piece, the camera does have a tendency “sway” left and right if you’re riding over gnarly rock gardens and during landing on jumps. On relatively mild trails, the videos were flawless. It would be perfect if the camera was mounted closer to the chest harness to prevent gravity and momentum from shaking the camera.
Another mounting option is the Rollbar Mount.
The Rollbar Mount comes with 2 different length straps to allow you to mount it on different parts of your bike. A short strap is perfect for seatposts and seatstays while the long strap (shown above) is perfect for mounting it on your bike’s frame or fork lowers.
The Rollbar Mount allows you to capture really cool angles during your rides and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. Having your camera mounted on different parts of your bike opens up a whole different riding perspective, and you’ll see what a bug sees when it’s hanging on for dear life when you’re shredding through Bukit Timah 😀
The video quality varies when your cam is mounted on the Rollbar though. Videos of rough sections of trails proved to be similar from the scenes in “Blair Witch Project” and rolling through mellow singletrack has given us very good results. Rolling through town on a Friday night street ride or via our vast network of park connectors is perfect for such a setup. Another way to mount your HD cam is via the Handlebar Mount.
The handlebar mount fits all handlebars with a 31.8 diameter. The mounting piece is attached via an arm that uses an allen key for secure fitting and has a push button to adjust the camera angle.
You can use all of the mounting options with or without the waterproof case. A simple lens cover (shown above) protects the Ziess lens if you go sans case, and you get better audio recording quality. We’ve also been using the cam with only the lens cover on our helmet during one of our rides recently, a tree stump decided to suddenly appear out of nowhere and throw us over the bar. The joys of mountain biking indeed 😀 I crashed into the ground like a sorry lump of bricks and and heard a “pop” knock from the top of my helmet.
I had crashed near some rocks and my helmet, including the camera, had came into contact with some nicely sized granite. After picking myself
and my shattered ego up, I inspected the camera expecting the worst. I was pleasantly surprised that the camera was intact and the only piece that was broken was the lens cover.
I was pretty sure that the lens would have been shattered if I didn’t have the lens cover on it. *Phewww..*
So now that you know how to mount your brand new Sony AS100VR, how about the video quality? Here’s a video that was shot totally on the Sony Action Cam during the recent Singapore Mountain Bike Carnival, edited on iMovie with a funky tune attached to it. Change the settings on the YouTube video below to watch it in HD.
The Sony AS100VR Action Cam is a very good camera. The HD video quality, build quality and the mounting options available for mountain bikers are some of the main criteria that you should look out for if you’re in the market for an action cam. With Sony’s history in technology, imaging, service and support, you can’t go wrong with a reputable brand like Sony. After sales service is also a factor in our opinion, and Sony has a huge service centre in Jurong East if there’s ever anything wrong with your action cam.
With all good things, there are certain niggles that we wish Sony could work on. Even though the Live View remote is handy when setting up your angles for recording, we’ve found out that you cannot preview recorded videos from the Live View Remote. The only way for your to preview your recorded footage while still in the trails is to use Sony’s mobile app (connected via wifi to your smartphone) and download the videos to your mobile device. It’s kind of cumbersome (especially when you don’t remember the wifi password to connect to your action cam) and it drains the battery when you’re performing the download. If Sony could work on a firmware update to allow recorded previews on the Live Remote, this camera would be perfect.
Other than that, the Sony AS100VR is an excellent piece of equipment to record your adventures while you’re out in the trails. Video quality is excellent and the colours are natural. The image stabilization helps alot in rough trails and the various video settings makes it easy for you to record your latest rides. We’ll be using this action cam for quite abit and visit our website or our Facebook page often to see more videos from us. Remember guys, videos or it didn’t happen.
Happiness is only real when shared – Alexander Supertramp