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Sony Skates into CES with Two New Action Cams: 4K and HD

Like many extreme athletes, Sony can’t seem to get enough action. Less than four months after releasing its smallest action cam, the Mini, Sony showed off two new action-oriented cameras at CES 2015, one with 4K and one HD, that aim to push the limits of its adventure-ready shooters.

The $500 Sony FDR-X100V 4K leads the way, claiming the spot as the first 4K action camera shooting 3940 x 2160-pixel videos at 30 fps. The Action Cam 4K, as I call it for short, features improved SteadyShot image stabilization tech which Sony says is three times better at reducing vibrations -- important for when the camera is mounted on a skateboard or on a drone.

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The Action Cam 4K uses a wide-angle 170 degree Zeiss lens, and Sony’s own CMOS image sensor to create stunning high-res videos even legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk was proud to show off at CES. His test footage displayed steady, wobble-free clips taken during a wide range of activities such as snowboarding, slipping down a water slide and of course riding a skateboard. Even the audio was crisp, thanks to Sony’s new and improved wind noise reduction on the X1000V’s stereo microphone.

Additional features include the ability to shoot super high-speed clips at 120 fps at full-HD (1920 x 1080p) resolution, and a blazing 240 fps at 1280 x 720. Like Sony's older actions cams, the 4K X1000V can stream video to U-Stream via a smartphone using the camera's built-in Wi-Fi.

The less-expensive $300 Action Cam HDR-AS200V carries over most of the features of its slightly larger sibling, except the 4K resolution. The main improvements over the older AS100V, which it now replaces, are the same image stabilization and wind noise reduction from the 4K model, and the use of a new threaded mount that supports most of Sony's action cam accessories since the AS100V was released at last year's CES.

With some previous experience using Sony’s Action Cam Mini, I was impressed when I got to see for myself the size of the new 4K X1000V Action Cam. It’s only 0.6-inches longer, 0.6-inches taller and 1.8-ounces heavier than the Lilliputian Mini. The 4K model also has a much larger side-mounted screen, making it easier to see what settings you have selected than when looking at the Mini’s tiny display.

Tony's a fan.

Tony's a fan.

And like many of its action cam competitors, Sony has created a wide range of accessories for its new 4K flagship cam such as the VCT-HSM1 Helmet Side Mount, the VCT-BDM1 Board Mount, and the SPK-X1 Waterproof Case 9, which protects cameras to depths up to 33 feet. Sony also teased its upcoming Action Cam app for Android and iOS, which it Sony says promises a simple method of achieving pro-level editing.

Both new action cams will be available in March, and will joined by Sony's action cam app around the same time.

Sam Rutherford is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide. Follow him @SamRutherford on Twitter, and Tom’s Guide on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.