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Sony ‘s new 4K action cam is the absolute BOSS

Sony unveils its latest 4K action cam at IFA 2016 and its built-in optical image stabilisation makes it one smooth operator

Sony’s Balanced Optical Steady Shot (or BOSS, for short) has been a staple feature of its handy cam devices for quite a while now. Thanks to the multiple moving parts inside the camera itself, it effectively eliminates any unwanted vibrations or jerky hand movements, producing smooth, judder-free footage for everyone to enjoy. Now BOSS making its way into Sony‘s brand-new FDR-X300R 4K action cam, making it the first camera of its kind to use this type of optical stabilisation tech.

It’s an amazing feat of miniaturisation, and the device itself is pretty dinky, measuring just 83 x 47 x 29.4mm. That’s only a smidge bigger than Sony’s existing 4K action cam, the FDR-X1000V. However, the X300R does a lot more than simply produce smoother video, as it’s also received a number of improvements to make it easier to use and produce better quality images.

With its new 4K Exmor R CMOS sensor and Zeiss Tessar lens, the X300R can effectively produce the same kind of quality video as Sony’s AX53 handy cam. That’s impressive for such a tiny device, and its bundled waterproof housing means you can carry on shooting at 4K up to 60m underwater, too. Its Zeiss lens is multi-coated, too, so it shouldn’t have quite so much peripheral distortion as previous Sony action cams.

Sony’s taken a much more sensible approach to the X300R’s port arrangement as well, as they’re now all located on the back of the device to allow for easier mounting underneath. Much like previous models, you’ll find a micro USB port for charging, a micro HDMI port and a 3.5mm microphone jack. Sony’s covered all angles with its red recording LEDs, too, as there’s now one on the top, front and back of the device to let you know when it’s recording, regardless of which side you’re looking at it from.

Sony’s Live View Remote has also been redesigned, as it’s now smaller, lighter and more flexible than ever before. This watch-like device comes in the box along with the action cam and waterproof housing, and you can use it to see exactly what you’re recording from the comfort of your own wrist. If the watch setup doesn’t suit you, though, you can always pop out the main remote module and attach it to Sony’s copious amount of additional accessories, such as a tripod adapter, monopod or shooting grip.

However, the best new accessory for the X300R has to be Sony’s rather excellent Finger Grip. This provides a much easier way to hold and view what you’re recording if you want to capture stuff by hand. I particularly like the Finger Grip’s 120 degrees of tilt, as it makes the whole setup so much more flexible when you want to shoot from high or low angles. It’s really easy to use, too, as the whole mechanism moves with a simple roll of your thumb.

The user interface has been streamlined as well, so you’ll now see exactly the same layout and number of settings on the Remote as you do on the action cam itself. You can also power the camera on and off by the Live View Remote’s Bluetooth connection, making it that bit more convenient when you want to start or finish shooting remotely.

Another welcome addition is the ability to shoot 4K time lapses. This previously hasn’t been possible on a Sony action cam, and Sony’s new Action Cam Movie Creator software (which is free for all users) makes it really easy to edit your videos in post-production. Simply group all your time lapse pictures together and drag it into the editing pane, and it will automatically collate them all into a ready-made time lapse video.

It’s certainly a very promising bit of kit, but prepare to fork out quite a bit of cash for it, as the X300R will cost £500 when it launches this November. That’s quite a lot more than the latest GoPro, but if you’re an action cam fanatic and want the smoothest possible footage, then the optical image stabilisation will probably make it a worthwhile investment. We’ll bring you our final verdict as soon as we get our hands on a review sample.

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