The Making Of.... - FDR vs HDR

Dear Christmas Fairy,

As you can see from my videos and photos from the "Baking Lesson at Barkery" post , Frodo and I had a pawsitively greedy time at Barkery.

I was so excited to show-and-tell, I did not get a chance to talk about my fabulous toy that captured all those wonderfully greedy moments - my Sony Action Cam!

Since the launch of Sony's shopping perks, I have been asked a couple of times about the difference between the HDR-AS300 and FDR-X3000 (the one I have) - other than the obvious fact that the HDR-AS300 is cheaper by SGD200.00.  And as far as my blonde brains can process, FDR-X3000 can do up to 4K recording wheras the HDR-AS300 is can only do HD recording.

Both cameras look and weigh exactly the same.  Only the glaring difference of 4K vs HD recording. (Image from Sony's website)

Both cameras look and weigh exactly the same.  And truth be told, I have only ever used the FDR-series of cameras!  Like the GoPro cameras, to put it simply, it is the 'atas' (high-class) and 'not-so-atas' choice of cameras.  Don't we all like 'atas' but at SGD799.00 for atas, there's quite a bit of consideration required.

So I decided to do a bit of snooping to see if I can see any glaring difference - on paper.

Recording specifications of the FDR-X3000
Recording specifications of the HDR-AS300
(Images screenshot from Sony's website)

On paper, the key differences lie in the video resolution and video recording rate.   Both are pretty much on par when recording in MP4-format but the FDR-X3000 has higher (4K) recording resolution and recording rate in XAVC-S format - 1920 x 1080 (HDR) versus 3840 x 2160 (FDR).

On April 7, 2013, Sony announced that it had expanded XAVC to the consumer market with the release of XAVC S.[3][4] XAVC S supports resolutions up to 3840 × 2160, uses MP4 as the container format, and uses either AAC or LPCM for the audio. - extracted from Wikipedia

So.... depending on what is the end use of the camera, the HDR seems spiffy enough.  All of the other specifications i.e. the optical stabilization, the lens etc. were all pretty much the same.  And the fact that the HDR has the same optical stabilizer, the lower resolution could work well as the cheaper alternative to the FDR.

Truth be told, I do not record in 4K.  My antique Macbook Pro does not have enough hard disk drive (HDD)and memory space to work with these monster files.  I tried 4K recording once last year with the FDR-X1000 and the footages playback lagged so badly that I stuck to HD recording in XAVC-S format. The file sizes are monstrous too but at least my antique com can still manage it with the help of external HDDs.

Note the 's' at the end of HDD.

Me with my antique Macbook Pro and HDDs to support the video files.  Recognize that desktop photo?

So I asked myself, "Since I only use HD settings and now that the Action Cam has that oh-so-awesome optical stabilization, can I safely say that HDR is good enough?"

I could not decide, really.

I guess not till I have tried the HDR to draw comparison from could I give my final verdict.

And as it happens, Sony Singapore did not have a spare set of FDR for me to use for the rest of the campaign (I had returned the set I loaned for the Birthday Getaway) and offered to loan me the HDR as my second camera instead.

Perfect timing!

The HDR as my second camera, only for the balance duration of the campaign, gave me the perfect opportunity to test the HDR and how it compares up against the FDR.

The Making Of....

Please forgive me for posting this video again....

I need it to talk about the making of my gingerbread baking videos using the Action Cams.

The making of the videos was super uber fun.  As this is an actual baking video, mummy decided to allow our greediness to present the moments.  To spice the cookies up a bit, mummy decided that his year's cooking video would include my derp brother, Frodo Choo, as well!  And believe you me, where there is Frodo, 'hazarDOH' moment(s) would surely happen too!

That also meant.... house rules were thrown out of the window and we - Frodo and I - were allowed to do things we were otherwise NEVER allowed to do on any given day i.e. stealing food off the table and free-feeding by the human off the table.

Doggies' heaven.
Labradors' paradise.

I know, I know, an Action Cam is supposed to be filled with action-packed activities but the beauty behind this camera is that it is equally effective for making home-videos and indoor videos as much as it is meant for outdoor usage.


Who doesn't like a cooking/baking video?

Overheard a few times.

Mummy: "I don't know if it is a good thing or bad thing now that the new Action Cam can capture such stable footages of Flapper's POV.  I can see his cunning ways when he thinks I'm not looking."

Unanimous answer from different people: "Good for you, bad for Flapper."

Mummy and I unanimously agreed.

So... for the making of this video -

  • We used two cameras - the FDR-X3000 (mine) and HDR-AS300 (loaned from Sony);
  • For my POV, it was done in two views - the dog-harness mount (entering Barkery) and self-made collar mount (for the ingredient delivery and actual baking video).
  • The other camera was mostly still-mounted on a cutesy little tripod and handheld.
Me wearing my FDR-X3000 on my self-made collar mount
The HDR-AS300 mounted on that cutesy little tripod.

If you remember my Action Cam: Top 8 Tips and Tricks article for the FDR-X1000, I featured my self-made collar mount.  Till now, one of my major gripes is the fact that Sony only has the dog-harness mount that is unable to do a frontal POV.  *sigh*  I was really hoping with the launch of the new Action Cams, comes new and improved mounts for dogs.  Ah well!

Refresher: How the collar-mount was made.

THAT Optical Stabilization

As the HDR was new to me, I decided that I should wear the FDR instead as I was confident of the camera's capability.  The HDR footages should not go too wrong with it still-mounted.  PLUS... the FDR belongs to me and I am renown for my vicious back rubbing ways.  😏

I must confess.  I did not test out the stability of using the self-made collar mount prior to making the video.  Either mummy has gone loopy or she has that much confidence in this new optical stabilizer.  And I have to say, the FDR-X3000 never fails to surprise me each time regardless of which way I use it - my POV, handheld, still mount, indoors or outdoors.

Last year, I did many many tests with regards to harness positioning and camera distance from neck in order to capture somewhat stable footages. There were limitations in camera positioning in my POV as the electronic stabilization could not compensate for a dog's exaggerated movements.  So if you had watched my cooking video from last year, you'd see alot of my flappy ears.

For this gingerbread video series, mummy had totally forgotten about proper positioning.  She just plonked the camera on me, checked the framing from the Live Remote Viewer and that was that.  No other thoughts given.

The optical stabilization has proven superior yet again.  My POV footages using that self-made collar mount exceeded expectations with decent clarity, stability and no flappy ears in the way - good for mummy, bad for me.

And boy oh boy did mummy bring out the Gin and Tonic just to enjoy watching my POV moments to enjoy my "conniving ways" of vacuuming the floor, attempting to nudge my way to cookie dough, licking ingredients etc. with decent clarity and stability.

Mummy could not resist.

Here's her Top 3 favourite moments in my POV.
(To watch the first comparative video, click here)

So... HDR vs FDR.  Is HDR good enough?

Blame it on too much editing.

I think I have attained hawkeye vision of visual sensitivity.

When I first reviewed the HDR (still-mount) footages on the computer, I could see that the details on Frodo and my face looked a little muffled and somehow the details were not as well-defined.

I was a little puzzled as I was so used to seeing well-defined and crisp details that I could not fathom why it looked different this time.  After staring at the screen for about five minutes, I remembered, "Oooohhhhh!  That's the HDR!"

Here's the thing about camera tests - when taken outdoors, the lack in resolution is more fogiving due to the gift of natural lighting.  Now you know why photographers have a preference for outdoor shoots. 😏  It always becomes more tricky when it comes to indoors shoot and as I've been told about an established POV camera, the indoor shots are erm... and I quote, "cannot make it".

So is the HDR's inferior resolution really that bad?


I did sit to ponder about this HDR question for some time.

The truth is, the HDR camera is impressive in its own rights.  It has the same Balanced Optical SteadyShot™technology as the FDR.  This means that getting good stable shots are not a problem as proven in our handheld video footages displayed above.

Can I say the indoor footages are all that bad?

No again.

The fact is, the indoor video quality is actually pretty darn good.

And why am I emphasizing so strongly on indoor video quality?

Because face it, we do not spend 24/7 outdoors.  Realistically, whether humans or dogs, we spend more time indoors than outdoors.  And capturing one's life moments, the camera must have the capability for outdoors, indoors... and handle low/poor lighting pretty well too.

So here's my very honest verdict - if your eyes has not been spoilt by the crystal clear 4K resolution of the FDR (3840 x 2160), the HDR is actually good enough.  And unless you spend many many hours like me editing videos, the resolution difference may not be all that obvious either unless you watch the footages on a large-screen TV then perhaps the pixelation difference may show.

As an entry price point POV camera at $499/$599 (without/with Live Remote Viewer), the HDR-AS300 is a very decent camera.  And if you feel like or can afford to stretch your pocket for that extra $200 for that awesome 4K resolution, then of course the FDR-X3000 is the must-have.

If not, the HDR-AS300 is good enough for regular use.

And there you go, guys!

I hope this helps your decision in which camera to get!  I'll be happy to answer any more questions you may have about the Action Cam.... to my best ability.

And thanks to my to-die-for FDR-X3000, I think I may slowly progressing to becoming an Action Cam tech-geek.  😱 😱 😱

Where's my tennis ball?
Where's my cookies?
Where's my liver?
Where's my miilllkkkk?

Me?  Tech geek?

P.S.  Don't forget... the Sony Action Cam $150 Shopping Perk is still up for grabs till 30th November 2016.  It's a rare rare discount off the Action Cam so go get yours today!

You Might Also Like