29 Mar 2016

29th March 2016 Sony HDR AS-15 action camera fails again!


Tuesday 29th 41-46F, 5-8C, today's POO [Pigshit Olfactory Offense] scale 7/10, windy, bright but very cloudy becoming solid overcast then clearing to bright but cloudy at times.

I tried my Sony AS-15 webcam on my walk today to compare it with the cheap little Denver AC-1300. The Sony's image motion stabilizer certainly helped when I was walking but not perfectly by any means. Lurching was most noticeable in the lower screen area despite my best effort to hold the camera steady and pan very slowly. The wide angle lens made it very poor at recording the landscape. Stretching and flattening it to the point of being completely worthless as a record of my walk. Even watching the resulting video full screen on my 24" widescreen HD monitor it was like looking the wrong way through a telescope!

I had the AS-15 in the later, protective case and actually managed to record some birdsong over the grating wind noise and an irritating rattle/creaking within the camera and/or its fit within the case. I used a small, bendy rubber tripod fitted to the screw socket in the case bottom as a secure handhold. Its compact dimensions meant it could be easily be pocketed when I had finished filming.

Yet again the Sony performed very badly indeed when pointing into the still dim/obscured sun. Basically turning itself into a dark, B&W camera! It still manged to steam up the case lens cover even in cool weather and without strong sunshine.  And, managed to make the sky a lurid turquoise despite the over-all greyness of the sky. You'd think Sony would have offered an improved firmware to fix colour problem by now but that might actually dig into sales of their latest [and probably still broken] iteration. No point in fixing what's badly broken if you have a planned, slow release, incremental, drip feed, annual release of "new" models for the next 1500 years and counting!

The colour rendering of my videos was easily as dull and miserable as I remember from last time. With very poor/no detail in the shadows and leafless hedges and trees. The fields, still with their low, early, grass-type crops, were almost monochromatically drab green. All very depressing and further confirmation that it was a complete waste of money buying the AS-15 and then adding the expensive second [later] smaller case plus other accessories. I'm really not sure I want to be bothered putting it back on my handlebars knowing the mechanical racket it will be sure to record. Not to mention its delight in steaming up at the slightest excuse. 

Will I want to add it to my helmet knowing that I will not be able to monitor if it is even working? Or whether it has already "steamed up" and I have just wasted literally hours of recording. The small display screen and rubber setting buttons are on completely the wrong side for helmet mounting in both Europe and the USA! Only in Japan, Australia and the UK will the buttons be accessible. So the camera will need to be removed from its protective case to check recording time left or alter any of the settings. You'd think Sony could have "handed" the cameras for particular markets, but no. The tiny, dim, recording LED is also on the back of the camera so would require I remove my helmet to check it has actually started recording! What a total mess!

Is Sony relying on sales of anti-misting sachets to make a profit on their action camera range? Much as printer manufacturers do with their Fabergé designed, platinum-unobtainium-saphire-moondust filled, ink cartridge? Perhaps we should be told?

Fleeting sunshine and gales with spots of rain accompanied me on my ride. Some quite nasty crosswind gusts at times. At first I was being chased by an old fart, of my own age, on his electric bike. I kept leaving him behind on the downhill bits through sheer devilment on my part. We were better matched on the flat until the big hill intervened. By "big" I am referring to a breathless hump rather than anything exceptional. Of course I was determined not to be caught and put some real effort into the climb. I was watching him in my rear view mirror as he sat bolt upright with his knees at 45 degrees to his crossbar and pedaling slowly. I beat him over the top by quite a margin and then shot down the following descent so that he became a tiny blob in my mirror. Not as easy as it sounds with a strong and gusty crosswind pushing me all over the place on the drop. Every time a car passed the wind would shove me hard with their bow wave, suddenly vanish and then return with a vengeance. That was the last I saw of him as he turned off after the next rise. 

On the way back I enjoyed a slightly different route to normal just to add a few extra miles. Some areas of Fyn are very attractive thanks to seemingly, accidentally arranged blocks of mature woods and fiercely corrugated fields. One would almost think it was manicured parkland at a historical, stately home. Though it is usually an illusion due to low green crops pretending to be extensive lawns when seen beyond a certain distance. Only 16 miles and a docking of house points for being "a dirty stop-out."

I keep explaining to the Head Gardener that I am not much of a "catch" being a certified old clown, on a trike, in my usually gaudy cycling "uniform" with tight-wearing, skinny legs, cycling shorts with a baggy bum and wearing funny, Edwardian style, waterproof, MTB winter boots. Besides, I have very little free time for any likely "dalliance" between my "deeply meaningful" relationships with [usually] pre-teenage checkout operators. Which are now so commonplace in Danish supermarket chains. While I may "clack" around the aisles like some "cheap tart in high heels," my SPD plates hitting the floor makes my cornering ability somewhat constrained should I ever be daft or deluded enough attempt a "Benny Hill" style chase of the staff or customers! ;-) 

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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