Can the Sony FDR X3000 be the best action camera on the market? Is the Sony FDR X3000 ideal for motorcycle trips or moto vlogging? Is the sony better than a GoPro? In this article, motocmperz.com answers these questions and breaks down the pros and cons of this camera.
We discuss the specs and functions of the Sony action camera. We will also address what makes this camera so good quality wise and the features that put the Sony FDR X3000 at a competitive level with the GoPro series, and why we think this camera is so awesome!
Best 4K Action Camera
The Sony FDR X3000 is a 4k professional quality action camera with a Zeiss lens and an EXMOR R CMOS imaging sensor.
I think its very important to give a little background on Sony cameras before we get into the review of the Sony FDR X3000.
Sony owns the market when it comes to imaging sensors used in digital cameras. Most people do not know that Sony sensors are in a lot of cameras manufactured by other camera manufacturers.
The imaging sensor in a camera is what collects the light digitally, instead of the film like older cameras use to collect the light through the lens. The imaging sensor quality is paramount in a digital camera, and the sensor is what determines the quality of the digital files. The most significant difference from a $500 DSLR camera to a $5000 DSLR camera is the sensor.
Sony imaging sensors are so good that Apple uses them on their iPhones. Several other mobile and tablet manufacturers use Sony imaging sensors in their devices. Nikon also uses them on their DSLRs, and Nikon clearly leads the current DSLR market in image quality.
Best Action Camera
What makes the sony fdr x3000 so good? We will talk about all the features later in the article. For now, we are going to talk about the one feature that no other action camera has and its the one feature that puts the X3000 as one of the best action cameras on the market today.
Whats the one feature the Sony FDR X3000 has that no other action camera has? Optical image stabilization.
The optical image stabilization on the sony is unbelievable, and I am not kidding. The optical stabilization makes the camera look like it’s on a gimbal, for real!
Take a look at the video below and see for yourself. The footage is as smooth as butter with no shake at all while you can see the bike just moving around the frame as it leans around the corners and bounces over bumps.
What Is Digital Image Stabilization
Most action cameras have image stabilization, but they are done digitally. Electronic or digital image stabilization is the process of stabilizing the image by cropping the image inside the full resolution of the image file being recorded to reduce shake. So you lose image quality because the image is being cropped on the fly leaving you with reduced resolution.
Digital image stabilization works and will reduce image shake, but it’s not near as effective as optical image stabilization.
What Is Optical Image Stabilization
Optical SteadyShot image stabilization is where the optical lens floats with the image sensor to reduce shake. The results of the balanced SteadyShot optical image stabilization are significant compared to digital stabilization. The lens moves very fluid in the camera and creates buttery smooth footage just like being on a gimbal.
The optical stabilization is also the reason the Sony FDR X3000 shape that is a bit different than we are used to out of an action camera designs in the last eight years. Most action cameras are square shaped with a wider profile than front to back. However, the Sony fdr X3000 is opposite of most camera designs, with it being longer from front to back to allow the optical lens to float for the stabilization.
The look might be hard for some people to get used to but it reminds me of the older sony PC1 that I used to shoot skydiving videos. The sony mounts with a tripod screw hole on the bottom and makes it a little harder to install on the side because of fewer mounting options.
The SteadyShot optical stabilization is the reason this camera is ideal for motorcycle trips and adventures.
Whats included with the Sony FDR x3000
The Sony fdr x3000 comes in two basic packages.
The standard package comes with the camera body, with an underwater housing, as well as a battery and micro USB charging cable.
The camera body plus the live view remote kit which is an Amazon Choice comes with the camera body an underwater housing and also a live view remote that can be worn on the wrist to control specific functions on the camera.
Mobile apps for Sony FDR X3000
The sony FDR x3000 also works with a mobile app called “PlayMemories Mobile” that allows you to view the live shot and control functions on the camera with a mobile or tablet device. The play memories mobile app works with iPhone, iPad, or even Android.
I do not have any experience with the live remote, I bought the basic package and used the mobile app to view the live shot. I have no trouble with the app on my iPhone 7 plus. I have my camera mounted on top of my helmet, and it gets mounted in the same spot every time so I never really need to check the live view to frame my shot.
There is also a mobile video editing app Sony has created to make quick and easy edits of your videos called “Action Cam App.” The Action Cam app allows you to import your videos, edit them, and create time-lapse all in the app.
There is also another app made by Sony that’s used with the sony fdrx3000, its called “motion shot.” Motion shot allows you to capture a short movie that then renders the movement into a single image. Kind of like a runner running past the camera and the single image would be like six poses of the same person in the individual picture. Kind of a neat effect, but not anything I use on a motorcycle trip.
All these apps are free, made by Sony and are compatible with Apple and Android. It is possible that these apps will not have full function with old apple and android devices.
Sony FDR X3000 Specs
Size is approximately 1 3/16 x 1 7/8 x 3 3/8 inches and the weight is around 4.1 ounces with the battery.
1/2.5 type Exmor R CMOS Sensor with an f2.8 fixed aperture.
The FDR X3000 is capable of shooting 4k video as well as 1080p, 720p, and 480p through a Zeiss Tessar lens.
The 4K (3840 x 2160) can record at 30 fps or 24 fps at a bit-rate of 100 Mb/s.
While the 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution can record at 30 fps, 60 fps, 120 fps at a bit rate of 60 Mb/s.
12 megapixel for still photos with a shutter speed from 1/30 to 1/10,000 at 30 fps.
Micro SDXC/SDHC memory card UHS-I U3 or higher for 4K 100 Mbps recording. (This card can handle any 4k and any 1080 settings on the Sony FDR X3000.)
Micro SDXC/SDHC memory card Class 10 or higher for 4K and 1080 60 Mbps recordings. (This card can only handle some 4k settings and all 1080 settings.)
Sony NP-BX1 Lithium-Ion Battery
The Sony NP-BX1 lithium-ion X type battery is a 3.6v battery that is used with other cameras in the Sony lineup.
The battery is listed at shooting 4K for around 60 minutes with the wifi off and 50 minutes with the wifi on.
The NP-BX1 is listed at recording 1080 for around 135 minutes with the wifi off and 125 minutes with the wifi on.
My experience with the FDR X3000 seems pretty accurate to the listed battery times. I shoot at 1080 at 60fps most of the time, and it is about 2 hours of footage on one battery.
Extra batteries are more than likely needed for your motorcycle trips.
The Wasabi batteries are a trendy alternative and come with a two pack of batteries and a dual charger for under half the price of the OEM Sony battery. I am sure these batteries do not last as long as the OEM Sony, but then again they’re less than half of the price. I just bought some myself, and I’ll let you know how they work after some long-term use.
Built-in Stereo Microphone
The FDR X3000 has a built-in stereo microphone that gives this camera pretty excellent sound quality, especially for vlog type where the mic is pointed at you speaking.
It also comes with a wind reduction option that helps to reduce wind noise. The wind reduction option will not help with direct wind while on a motorcycle but helps while talking outside with a slight breeze.
The best part about the audio on the FDR X3000 is that it has a rear-facing stereo minijack terminal that allows you to plug in an external microphone. This is a big deal because the audio on the GoPro is not that great and it has no external mic terminal.
Having the stereo minijack makes this camera ideal for moto vlogging.
Check out the Sony lapel microphone that is super affordable and is also an Amazon Choice. This same mic is what I use for the in-helmet microphone that I leave in my helmet. The sound quality is excellent in my opinion, have a look at the video below and hear for yourself.
I also use this very affordable external boom shotgun microphone when I use the Sony FDR x-3000 off the helmet and on a tripod for vlogging and product review videos.
Check out the very affordable small tripod I use for hand holding vlogging with the Sony and I also use this tripod with my iPhone for timelapse and videos.
Waterproof Action Camera
Sony fdr x3000 comes with a supplied underwater housing that keeps the action cam waterproof up to 197 feet or 60 meters.
The housing also makes the action cam shockproof and dustproof. The housing has a flat panel and makes it easy to use the buttons.
The camera is splashproof without the underwater housing. I mount the action cam on my helmet most of the time without the underwater housing because I use an external mic and I want to keep the housing waterproof for those underwater shots or the rides in a downpour.
I’ll share my camera and microphone setup as soon as I find exactly what I’m happy with.
Sony FDR X3000 Features
The Sony x3000 has an easy to use interface that makes the camera user-friendly with the different settings and menu options.
My favorite feature I use all the time is pushing the record button one time to power up the camera and start recording within just over a second. The one push power and record option is an excellent feature for a camera mounted on a motorcycle helmet. You also have the option to be able to push the power button and then the record button, so the camera is not being turned on accidentally.
A Vivid color profile to capture a more vivid saturated color profile in camera eliminating post editing color profiles.
Connect easily with built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, and GPS that allows for instant control and tracking of your motorcycle adventures.
Sony vs. GoPro
GoPro has had most of the market share over the last seven or eight years, until now!
With technology advancing action camera manufacturers are now giving GoPro a run for their money. There are some very affordable options out there offering 4k cameras at a lot better price than GoPro.
I think the Sony fdr x-3000 with the 4k quality, external audio jack, and the optical image stabilization is a better product than the latest and greatest offerings from GoPro. I believe this is the camera that has dethroned GoPro and has started the decline of GoPro’s market share.
Mounting Options For Sony FDR x3000
Ther are not a lot of mounting options for the x3000.
Sony does include a quick release adaptor with a tripod screw, but it is big and bulky and not ideal to mount on a curved motorcycle helmet.
What I use are the GoPro mounts since I have so many of them already and I bought an adaptor with a tripod screw on it. I like this setup because it’s small and simple.
Check out the GoPro conversion adaptor I use to top mount my Sony x3000 on my motorcycle helmet.
There are not many cons to this camera.
Price – It is less expensive than the latest offerings from GoPro however almost $370 for a 4k action camera is still pricey in my book.
Mounting options – There are not any really good options to mount the Sony other than using GoPro mounts that most people already have.
Lens Protector – You will need to purchase the lens protector if you use the x3000 without the underwater housing.
Optical Image Stabilization – This is a huge factor and creates buttery smooth footage like the camera is on a gimbal. I don’t care what people say; the shaky footage does not make you look faster, it just makes everyone sick and not want to watch the videos.
4k at 100Mbps
4k and 1080 at 60Mbps – Still more than GoPro.
External Microphone minijack – real facing with easy access. Quality audio out of the internal stereo microphone, again not found in other action camera offerings.
Splash-proof – without the underwater housing.
Did I mention the Optical Image Stabilization? Lol, well it’s so good it’s worth mentioning again.
This camera is awesome, and I don’t know how you wouldn’t want this on your next motorcycle trip.
The Sony x3000 has image quality features that no other action camera currently on the market now has to offer.
The optical image stabilization gives super smooth footage that is gimbal like even handheld, and again, it is a feature that is not offered in any other action camera on the market. Yes, other action cameras have electronic image stabilization but its nothing like Sony’s Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization.
Being able to just plug in an external microphone without buying any extra adaptors is a big deal and makes this camera ideal for motorcycle vlogging.
Get the Sony FDR x3000 action camera with the Live Remote or the Sony FDR X3000 standard package for your next motorcycle trip. By purchasing the Sony FDR X3000 through our links helps motocamperz.com bring more great content and videos for our loyal followers.
Check out more product reviews on the electronic reviews page of all the electronics that we bring with us on our motorcycle adventures.