Last week, after being enticed by the in-store marketing video, I purchased a GoPro HERO3+: Black Edition along with headstrap and suction cup mounts. As with most impulse purchases, I had a bit of buyer’s remorse after actually using the product. My plan was to shoot some footage of Boston under a few conditions: sunset, reflections from a roving vehicle at night (think the first episode of Miami Vice). After viewing the sunset footage, I decided to forego wasting fuel on the nighttime footage. Simply put: the GoPro’s sensor is ineffective at shooting low-light footage. This is most likely due to its small sensor size. I have shot with a full-frame DSLR for the past couple years, and a crop sensor for a few years before that. My 5D Mark III gobbles up light. The GoPro (pardon the pun) can’t hold a candle to it. After my impulse buy I decided to do a bit of research, and came across Sony’s HDR-AS30V. It’s a bit smaller than the GoPro, and I especially appreciated the headband mount. Contrary to GoPro’s headstrap mount which positions the camera on the wearer’s forehead, Sony’s headband mount positions the camera at eye level near the ear. This position results in footage that better simulates a first person point of view. I also appreciate Sony’s use of a standard ¼” screw mount instead of GoPro’s proprietary mount. This makes DIY mounts a bit simpler to implement. I ended up shooting a bit of first person POV footage of myself performing an aerial silks trick, double star drop. Footage from both cameras, along with footage from my iPhone 4S, is below. The room was not brightly lit, so the quality once again was not perfect. iPhone 4S <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/i-jpBPvoXek?rel=0" width="420"></iframe> ActionCam <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/aotrR_R9BbY?rel=0" width="420"></iframe> GoPro <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/jBmIgiyY6yk?rel=0" width="420"></iframe> Neither camera is perfect. I prefer the video quality of the AS30V; however, this camera does not record sound when shooting in slow (720p60) and super-slow (720p120) modes. The Sony also stores footage shot in these modes at 30fps (instead of the original 60 or 120fps), so the footage is literally stuck in slow motion. The value of storing 120fps is the flexibility to change footage speed in post-production. Both manufacturers provided iOS apps that can be used to control the cameras via WiFi. GoPro’s app is the better of the two. It allows for full control of recording settings (e.g. resolution, frame rate), viewing the footage being recorded, and, best of all, viewing previously recorded footage. Sony’s app pales in comparison. It is limited to previewing and viewing footage currently being recorded, and does not allow viewing when recording in the slow and super-slow modes. Want to view footage on the card? Remove the camera from its case and either connect it to a computer via USB or remove the microSD card. Either way, it’s a hassle. GoPro has a limited editor available for download from its website. I do not recommend wasting the bandwidth to download it. Source footage seems to be poorly decompressed, and the output is poorly compressed. The result is a grainy mess that I eventually deleted from YouTube. I ultimately downloaded a trial of Adobe Premiere to edit the silks videos above. Sony’s software options are quite nascent. They provide a fairly pointless uploader that only uploads video to Sony’s own network. Other software is forthcoming. All told, I feel that GoPro’s marketing video oversells the camera’s capabilities. I accept responsibility for naïvely assuming it would perform well in low-light conditions; but, even under ideal conditions, image quality seems to be lacking. Just take a gander at non-GoPro-produced videos for evidence. Sony’s marketing team doesn’t seem to be up to snuff. Their poor quality videos would have never convinced me to buy the AS30V. While the Sony ultimately produced videos of better quality, the GoPro has the better software. Regardless, quality is key to me and neither is good enough to justify the price: $400 for the GoPro, $300 for the Sony. Perhaps the next generations will improve on image quality. Until then, I’ll stick with my 5D Mark III.