Sony FDR-X1000V 2015 Review by The Good Ride
Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Camera Review
My goal was to shows things from a non-techy snowboarder’s perspective who just wants to go out and film their day without getting into serious editing and have it look good. If you are someone with a lot of video knowledge then some or all of this review might be beneath you. But if you are more like me then hopefully this will help.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. No one is perfect and we do make money from the “Where To Buy” links below, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
SD Card Used – SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB UHS-I/U3 Micro SDXC 4K Ultra HD Ready
Computer Used– Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro with 4k Screen.
Video Editing Software Used– CyberLink Power Director 13 Ultra.
I used Intelligent SRT which seems to render in the same format as the original file. I played around with a few different video editors including Corel Video Studio Pro 8, Corel Video Studio Pro 7, Sony Movie Studio Platinum and read a bunch of reviews on which handles the most formats. This was the only one that seemed to be able to understand the format of the original file and render it. Once I found that this works I stopped my search.
White Balance- Auto WB
Scene Selection- Normal
Color Setting- Vivid
Recording Modes- Many
Movie Formats- All I felt that are relevant to snowboarding
Steady Shot- On and Off depending on the setting. You will know when it’s on because the image is cropped and the angle is not as wide.
Audio Recording- On
Wind Noise Reduction- On
So the Sony FDR-X1000V is their first 4K action cam to the market and I have to say that other than it’s a rather large size it’s a great camera for plug and play snowboarders like myself. We tested this against the Go Pro Hero 4 Black and one of our favorites, the Sony Mini Cam. We found that right out of the camera (before editing) the X1000V had the best quality and the most post ready file. I don’t have time to get into tuning the picture and elaborate editing so this nice image quality out of the Sony 4K is good for snowboarders who want a good looking vid right out of the cam.
So I Filmed in 2 ways:
1. Using a Sony Monopod with a tripod mount which is our favorite way to film ourselves and others. The Sony Monopod isn’t ideal for usability but it’s taken a few smacks on the snow and still works. It can be a little glitchy extending and contracting.
2. Using a goggle mount.
I found the clip was hard to put on and take off. Also, I found the cam a little too heavy for a goggle mount unless they are super tight. Even then they will bounce. My Smith IO 7’s have pretty burley straps too so they can usually handle some weight.
I also used most of the format’s that seemed relevant to snowboarding. Here is some footage so you can see for yourself. The one problem is both the Sony Cam and Go Pro look soo much better on my 4K Screen PC compared to Youtube.
To me, this is the most important aspect of the cam so let’s jump straight to this.
Since these are the only two 4K cams out there it just makes sense to compare the X-1000V to the Go Pro Hero 4 Black. I also compared it to one of our favorite’s, the Sony Mini Cam.
FYI: This is a plug and plays comparison done with Sony Vivid and Go Pro Pro-Tune default settings that include “Go Pro Color”. the only editing done was just cutting clips down to make them shorter as they aren’t that exciting. The original video format wasn’t changed either. There was no other post-filming editing going on. The only problem is the quality of these YouTube posted vids are nowhere as good on my 4 K laptop because they are compressed. It hides some of the differences between the cams compared.
Sony FDR-X-1000V vs. Go Pro Hero 4 Black
Sony FDR-X1000V 4K 30fps 60mb
Go Pro Go Pro Hero 4 Black 4k 30fps 60mb
Sony FDR-X1000V 1080p 120fps vs. Go Pro Hero 4 Black 1080p 120fps- Unfortunately YouTube takes the FPS from 120 to 60 so it’s not a really accurate comparison. I left the comparison footage out because of this.
Sony FDR-X1000V 1080p 60fps 60mb
Go Pro Go Pro Hero 4 Black 1080p 60fps 60mb
Sony FDR-X1000V vs. Sony HDR AZ1VR
I believe both of these vid’s have image stabilization on so it’s cropped a bit and the angle isn’t as wide.
Sony HDR AZ1VR
Sony HDR AZ1VR
As you can see the quality is a little better with the X1000V but for the size of the little Sony HDR AZ1 is pretty cool.
More Sony FDR-X1000V Footage
Sony FDR-X1000V Goggle Mount in 4k 30fps 100mb
Sony FDR X1000V Goggle Mount 1080p 60fps 25mb with Steady Shot
So as you can see from these last 2 vids using Steady Shot at a 120-degree angle makes a bit of a difference in terms of stabilization but it’s more filming others at a bit of a distance than using the monopod or goggle or helmet cam. As you can see it really reduces the field of view and turning it off brings the angle back to 170 degrees which is much better.
Video Quality Summary
I personally like the Sony video right out of the cam onto the PC but they are really close. It could go either way. For me, it seems less grainy and the colors seem truer compared to the Go Pro. It makes me wonder if the bigger Sony 4k cam has a better processor. You might not be able to tell with the compressed YouTube vids posted here but on my 4K laptop at home, the difference is a little more noticeable. Also playing them on my 70″ 1080p Sony TV at home there was a noticeable difference between the Sony 4k over the Go Pro and the Sony Mini Cam. I’m sure if you filmed in raw format with the Go Pro and then tuned it up with a good video editing software like Go Pro does in their sample footage it would be better than the Sony but I just don’t have the time or skill to make that happen myself.
What I discovered from filming with these cams over 5 days and 40+ GB of files later is filming with 4k and higher frames per second really hog up hard drive space. If I owned this cam I would mainly film with 1080p 60fps 28mb MP4 (PS), occasionally 1080p 120fps (or 60fps) 60mb XAVC S and only use 4k 30p 60mbps for those epic sparkling deep bluebird powder days. All the other settings like 4K 100mbps, 1080p 60fps 100mb, and 720p 240fps 100mbps seem like a little overkill for me personally but they do come out nice and are fun to play around with. I’d love to see a 2.7k setting with 60fps but it’s not a deal breaker. The Reality is PS and 4K modes are my favorites and would be used the most. The 24fps settings aren’t that good for snowboarding and I wouldn’t ever use them.
Regarding Steady Shot– This is a great feature and I’d like to see this option with all video settings. I know techy guys say that digital image stabilization doesn’t make much difference but I did notice a difference. I would use the steady shot feature when filming others but turn it off to get a wider perspective when filming myself with a monopod. It really does crop down the wide-angle perspective from 170 wide to 120 wide but that’s good when the following someone as it doesn’t look as fisheye. The more fish eye the less steep a run looks or the more easy a feature looks.
All Three Cam’s had a nice wind block. The Go Pro sounded a bit tinny like metallic speakers but the Sony X1000V had more of a lower sound. Even though it was a little nosier I liked the lower more realistic sound better…
I was expecting it to be a lot worse but it’s not that bad at all. Especially compared to the Go Pro Hero 4 Black. When the Go Pro Hero 4 Black was done the Sony 4K still had one bar left. Of the 4+ days of filming the Sony never lasted the whole day but it could make it past lunchtime filming every run with WiFi on. I bet if I turned WiFi off it might make it to the end of the day. With the Go Pro Hero 4 Black, I always turned off the WiFi setting each time and GPS was off for both. Each day I was changing the settings so if you chose to stick with one setting like 1080p 60fps 25mb, GPS off and WiFi off then you might make it through the whole day because that’s not a real battery drainer. If you plan to ride the whole day and film the whole day I’d get an extra battery just to be safe. If you went Go Pro you for sure have to get an extra battery to make it through the day even with WiFi off, no GPS and a lower resolution FPS setting like 1080p 60fps.
Size and Fit
Ok so this camera is a bit on the big and bulky side. It’s not easy as a goggle mount. At least it’s on the side and not on the top of your head but even with the goggle strap as tight as I can make it it bounces around going down the hill. With a helmet mount, you feel a little weight but it’s doable. On a monopod (our favorite way to film) it’s fine and I don’t have any issues. I’d love to see the next model size down a bit closer to the size of the HDR-AS200V.
Not the easiest cam to set up but if you follow the instructions then it can work. There are many cams I’ve tried that are very easy and intuitive to set up but it seems that the Go Pro’s and Sony’s (best ones out there) take a bit of work to set up. It’s not going to drive you crazy but just set 15 -30 minutes aside. I like that you have 2 options:
1. Going through the interface on the Cam- Not very easy but doable.
2. Loading Play Memorie S Mobile- Once it’s loaded and the devices are connected this is pretty easy. I used a Samsung Galaxy S5 to link the two devices. Then it’s just a matter of going through the menu to choose your resolution and go through your preferences.
Now the Play Memories for the PC didn’t work that well. After it was installed and launched it immediately started grabbing pics from the folder I have to hold images from my phone. I liked the GoPro app better. It just sits in the background not doing anything until you load an SD card that has GoPro files on it. Then it wakes up and syncs or moves them all to a folder of your choosing.
Video Format Configuration
The Sony config interface is pretty simple and it’s not terrible by any means to figure out what formats you want to film in but I would like to see it reworked a bit so it’s a little more intuitive for people like me. I’d like for them to spell it out instead of calling different resolutions and formats from MP4 “PS” or “HD” or “STD” (that one’s funny though) etc. Instead, I’d just like to see each “Movie Format” option just say what it is like “1080p 60fps 30mb”. The MP4 Movie format explanation is the worst but XAVC S is better. I’d just like to see XAVC S go one step further because some formats are in 720p while others are in 1080p. I had to constantly check the specs to get the low down. Instead of 100M 30p I’d rather see 1080p 100m 30p on the app. XAVC S 4K is much easier because every option is in 4k so you know what you are getting. Or they could Separate XVAC S into 2 groups like “XAVC S 1080p” and “XAVC S 720p.” That would make things easier to understand without referencing the manual.
One part of the Sony cam I loved is the low light setting in the phone interface right next to the record button so if the light suddenly changes it’s easy to adapt to it. It’s much more intuitive that way. What would be even better is to have Video format buttons on this screen too instead of going into the settings list.
Incase Camera Case– Nice improvement over the old super large sony case. Very protective.
Monopod– In the first video at the end, I touch on this and although it’s sturdy I have 2 complaints.
1. You can’t angle any cam all the way level. When pushed all the way down it stops pointing up just a little bit.
2. It takes a little time to figure out how to pull it in and out smoothly (insert joke). Also, the thing that holds the leash isn’t fixed to the bottom so it can slide up and down on the pole.
Goggle Mount– Works fine but the cam is so heavy that it bounces a bit no matter how tight you make it.
Helmet Mount- The best way to go if you don’t want to use the monopod. You will feel the weight on the helmet but the shot will be steady.
For both the goggle and helmet mount I’d like to see an easier clip to get on and off. It’s very hard to get it on. It’s a little easier to get it off but it’s still a little tough.
So all in all this is a well made a fun plug and play cam. It’s a tough call between this and the 4k but here is why I found the 4k better for snowboarders like myself.
1. Video quality is pretty close between the Go Pro Hero 4 Black and this Sony 4K cam but I personally like the Sony a little better right out of the cam. The Sony Vivid setting is all I ever need to get good footage.
2. The battery life is better than the GoPro Hero 4 Black. With WiFi and GPS off it could last well past lunch where the GoPro Hero 4 Black doesn’t last as long.
3. Steady shot really makes a difference when the following someone while filming and we do that a lot. The more I play around with it the more I like it.
The Go Pro Hero 4 Black has more video format versatility, Superzoom and the ability to edit raw footage which is a plus for some. However, for me, the Sony 4k is a better plug and play. Peter is more into the Go Pro because he also wants a great free diving cam as well as a snowboarding cam. So I guess it’s up to you to decide if you are a Biesty or a Peter when it comes to filming.
Sony FDR-X1000V Images
Sony Company Information
Sony FDR-X1000V User Reviews