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iON announces tiny rugged HD video camera

42
The iON Air Pro 3 captures 1080p video and sends it to your smartphone via WiFi.

A new camera has joined the ranks of tiny, rugged, HD, WiFi-enabled video cameras. Measuring 1.5 x 4.2 inches, the iON Air Pro 3 is a cylindrical answer to the square GoPro. Able to capture 12MP photos and 1080p video, the Air Pro 3 has a 160-degree lens that can be adjusted to be less extreme, but still very wide, 140- or 150-degree angle.

Without any extra casing, the Air Pro 3 can be submerged up to 49 feet and iON offers a variety of accessories to mount the tiny camera on everything from a helmet to a snowboard. At $349, it is $50 cheaper than GoPro's latest Hero 3+, but promises similar imaging specs. The camera can be controlled by a smartphone via a WiFi connection and its dedicated app. 

From iON America's press release:

Designed for professionals and consumers alike, the aerodynamic iON camera line features a number of significant industry firsts, including Wi-Fi connectivity and free cloud storage. The unique iON PODZ™ system—thin, circular discs that attach to the back of the basic camera, adding virtually no weight or volume—extends the capabilities of the iON camera lines. The Wi-Fi capabilities of the iON Wi-Fi PODZ work with the iON app for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to control camera functions and settings, preview the scene before shooting, instantly replay recordings, and immediately upload footage to Facebook, YouTube and other social networks.

The new Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi records HD video up to 60 frames per second at 1080p, with dual streaming to enable users to simultaneously “shoot and share” their recordings. A new, 12-megapixel image sensor offers up to 4000x3000-pixel still-image resolution with superior light sensitivity and wider dynamic range, even in challenging low-light situations. The camera’s “anti-shake” feature minimizes the effects of vibration for crisper images, and its built-in microphone is equipped with noise reduction to minimize the effects of wind and other distracting sounds on the audio track.

Additional new features of the Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi include extra-long, 2.5+-hour battery life and a custom-made, fog-free lens with improved light transmission for top-quality videos and stills, and a 160-degree angle of view that can be customized for tighter 140- or 150-degree angles using the iON iOS or Android app. While retaining the sleek, cylindrical shape of the previous Air Pro models, the camera casing is redesigned and boasts improved underwater capabilities up to 49 feet, with no outer housing required. The addition of a pro-grade metal ¼” tripod screw mount assures stability when used with conventional mounting systems.

Comments

Total comments: 42
Roger Nordin
By Roger Nordin (8 months ago)

The price difference is too low to have a serious impact on the GoPro (not offering any killer features beyond the GoPro). A real GoPro killer is either killing it with some fantastic features the GoPro doesn't offer at a compare pricepoint, OR approaching the same feature set for a fraction of the pricepoint. GoPro is MUCH too solid a brand to be touched by a me-too offering at a me-too pricing point!

A latter camera is the $70 USD Mobius camera, which a lot of people doing RC photography could find good-enough to do areal 1080p 30fps or 720p 60fps video with real-time video output to feed a FPV transmitter, where previously the only option was to save and pony up for GoPro camera. It's hardly a killer, but at least it's an interesting option.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Steven Rounds
By Steven Rounds (8 months ago)

The iON appears to be very superior to the GoPro for one reason...its shape. The square shape of the GoPro makes NO SENSE when mounted on fast moving objects (skiers, race cars) due to its poor aerodynamics, and ease of being ripped of in a scraping collision.

2 upvotes
66GTO
By 66GTO (8 months ago)

Might be perfect on a DJI Phantom quadcopter!

0 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (9 months ago)

I know where this is going. I hope it comes with a flashlight!

0 upvotes
Barry Carter
By Barry Carter (9 months ago)

Does it have Bluetooth? I use BT all the time with my Hero 3 Black.

0 upvotes
Alec
By Alec (9 months ago)

Just when GoPro thought they can rest on their laurels with Hero3+ :-) This is an impressive entry capable of reinvigorating the innovation, and I suspect the next couple of years will see interesting competitive updates from all players.

The REAL GoPro killer cam, in my opinion, would have the following features (at the time when GoPro is still not delivering them):
1) Full-frame pixel readout. This eliminates the vibration-induced jello inherent in line-readout cameras.
2) An optical image stabilization solution that reduces high frequency frame to frame jitter.
3) Lens can be manually focused at 30cm, 1m, 3m, infinity.
4) A true raw video format with 14-16 bits of resolution pulled from the sensor photosites.
5) Micro-HDMI output on the body with clean output at max res, allowing uncompressed recording via an external unit.
6) 60+ min battery life
7) Able to charge, access camera without taking off ext casing which is sealed AND thermally coupled
8) 4K @ 24, 30, burst 48Hz

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
D E Mitchel
By D E Mitchel (9 months ago)

Alec, Thanks for posting a wish list. The Canon hack proved its possible. Someone will build it. I would buy it in a flash. Sensor and lens are one component of a system. Data storage, battery, monitor are all separate components. Daniel

2 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (9 months ago)

The battery life sounds good. However, the GoPro still shoots 2.7K @ 30 FPS. I use that all the time. This camera doesn't shoot anywhere near that.

1 upvote
mrdancer
By mrdancer (9 months ago)

Rather than fight action cam wars, let's discuss where this technology is headed, or should be headed!

I'd like to see an onboard sensor, not unlike what's found in most modern smartphones, that automatically levels the picture no matter what angle the camera is mounted at. Yes, there are times when you want POV perspective, but there are also times when you just want a nice level video without worrying about mounting setup, or occasional lean on a vehicle, airplane, etc. It is nice to have options.

I can see mounting one of these things on a retractable pole sticking up out of your car or pickup truck, watching the view of traffic, etc. from your co-navigator's smartphone. They should incorporate Bluetooth, also, for onboard vehicle monitors, etc.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (9 months ago)

I see "fast motion" usage that an 8K camera keeps shooting at 1 fps all day from bed to bed which can be played back at say 24-240 fps.

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (9 months ago)

You label it a gopro killer based on company marketing release? You are not connecting with me and I'm not connecting with you

2 upvotes
Sordid
By Sordid (8 months ago)

It's labeled "MAY BE a GoPro killer".

0 upvotes
SimenO1
By SimenO1 (9 months ago)

I think an action sports camera should have 120 fps high speed video to make smooth slow motion clips afterwards.

Low light performance is bad on all small sensor camereas, but i greatly prefer decent framerate (30+ fps viewing framerate) over less noisy slideshows. 15 fps why i think GoPro3 BEs 4K mode is useless. 30 is absolutly minimum for viewing in my oppinion. 60 and 120 makes 2x and 4x slow motion possible. 60 fps viewing is smooth.

0 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (9 months ago)

I cant help but feel the comments so far who all have been just attacks against this product and dpreview must be from the employees of the company that makes the go pro.

0 upvotes
Suntan
By Suntan (9 months ago)

I think you would see a more positive response if the article actually tested this new camera, you know, actually compared it against the GoPro it has been claimed as possibly killing.

As is, it is nice to know that there is a new contender, but there are a lot of contenders already. Show people how well it actually works in comparison and then we can have a discussion about it.

Personally, I hate the form factor of the GoPro, but it is the standard to measure against because of the results provides.

-Suntan

0 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (9 months ago)

Well it does have impressive specs & people are already attacking it even when all they know are the Specs.

It is equal to me bashing nikon as a canon user while never having TOUCHED a nikon camera.

And yes my point was: try it before you throw hate and BS about it (as many have done in the comments here without even having tried it or read anything about it other than the specs)

0 upvotes
utomo99
By utomo99 (9 months ago)

Gopro Killer ? You must create better cameras. The title is same as last year title. and what happened ? GoPro still win.

2 upvotes
KariIceland
By KariIceland (9 months ago)

Ever heard of marketing? Maybe gopro has got a better marketing strategy, oh nevermind, they sued DIgitalRev for using they're name in a REVIEW.

Non the less, this is like a canon vs nikon thing, haters on both teams that don't know what they are talking about.

0 upvotes
webrunner5
By webrunner5 (9 months ago)

Not too fond of the form factor??

0 upvotes
Mooman
By Mooman (9 months ago)

This looks astonishingly like a slightly repackaged version of my Polaroid action cam: http://polaroidaction.com/xs100.html

0 upvotes
Photog74
By Photog74 (9 months ago)

Outwardly it does, but has the XS100 also got Wi-Fi?

0 upvotes
Mooman
By Mooman (8 months ago)

No wifi in my XS100, and I think it has a couple other features mine lacks, but physically they look very much like one another. Polaroid somewhere acknowledges they rebadge/license their name for their action cams so I wonder if this is the maker actually wanting to make a better version of their own?

0 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (9 months ago)

"and a 160-degree angle of view that can be customized for tighter 140- or 150-degree angles using the iON iOS or Android app."

At least with a GoPro, such angle-of-view adjustments can be made with its frustrating onboard interface. It's not always practical to use the iOS or Android app for adjustments.

0 upvotes
alexzn
By alexzn (9 months ago)

Well, if the image is correct, the achilles heel of this camera will be the bulbous lens front element. It will get scratched in no time and bye bye clean videos. It looks like a really questionable design decision. I don;t like GoPro, but at least there you don't have to worry about scratches.

1 upvote
edu T
By edu T (9 months ago)

Good point, but hopefully they were clever enough to give the front element a pretty hardened surface (even if not optically ideal).
Am I being too optimistic?

0 upvotes
Suntan
By Suntan (9 months ago)

I thought the same thing. That element looks awfully unprotected sitting out there.

-Suntan

0 upvotes
biker7
By biker7 (8 months ago)

Here:
http://www.ioncamera.com/
I didn't find anything about a hardened surface.

0 upvotes
Bob Janes
By Bob Janes (9 months ago)

..but isn't it just fantastic that this sort of stuff is even possible?

1 upvote
JaFO
By JaFO (9 months ago)

If there's a flaw, we'll find it.
call it crap, tell them where to shove it
flame, flame, baby
;)

0 upvotes
RPJG
By RPJG (9 months ago)

Are any of these cams designed properly, such that their battery life is greatly extended in timelapse mode (i.e. shutting down between shots to conserve battery power)?

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (9 months ago)

On the GoPro we just plug external power into it via the mini USB connector for extended time-lapse ... if the clip-on battery pack isn't enough. I did a 4 hour time lapse today with the internal + clip on battery pack

0 upvotes
RPJG
By RPJG (9 months ago)

Thanks.. but I'm thinking of a case where I'd be wearing it for around 36 hours (and therefore there would preferably be no external batteries etc).

You'd think that would be easily possible when set to 30s or 60s timelapse, if it can last 2+ hours when constantly on, taking video.

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
vladimir vanek
By vladimir vanek (9 months ago)

gopro killer? :D you must be kidding, guys. at least you're very funny in your conclusions. :)
and "...the aerodynamic iON camera line features a number of significant industry firsts, including Wi-Fi connectivity..." - well, I'm not sure what industry do you mean. is your date set correctly? hello, it's 2013! :)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (9 months ago)

yeah, the Garmin Virb Elite also has Wifi
they even have a built-in screen and GPS.
Contour has similar features to the iOn and some kind of wireless interface.
It's pretty much standard on a decent action cam.

0 upvotes
groucher
By groucher (9 months ago)

GoPro's Achilles' heel is its lousy low light performance. Can't see this camera fixing that problem despite what the blurb says.

1 upvote
makofoto
By makofoto (9 months ago)

The new + model automatically slows down frame rate if necessary for better low light performance. This is a 12 fps clip ... on a 12 fps timeline ... in very low dusk light: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVeYCl-_zfU

1 upvote
groucher
By groucher (9 months ago)

I take it back - that's a pretty impressive clip. Thanks for posting.

0 upvotes
EricoftheNorth
By EricoftheNorth (9 months ago)

It appears Gizmodo and Huffpost are teaching DPR how to make headlines...

1 upvote
BlueBomberTurbo
By BlueBomberTurbo (9 months ago)

Hmm, that's kinda.... huge compared to GoPros, especially the new 3+ with its super slim case. Around as long as two GoPros side by side, and a bit wider. Hopefully it won't weigh as much as those, as the weight of just one GoPro on a helmet is very noticeable.

Also, didn't GoPro have an issue with curved lenses underwater, causing a blurry image? Flat lenses/lens covers are necessary to properly pass light underwater...

0 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (9 months ago)

Since the 3 it hasn't used a curved port. You need to work out if the weight of a GoPro is noticeable to you. :-) ... I use two, one forward, one backwards when kart racing, I don't notice anything?

0 upvotes
afterburn
By afterburn (9 months ago)

Depends on what he does. I can imagine using a GoPro on a light weight cycling helmet to be noticeable, but on a full-face motorcycle or car racing helmet less so. Also speed is a factor. If you go well over 100mph, the drag on the camera can cause quite a bit of neck strain.

0 upvotes
kirbysdl
By kirbysdl (9 months ago)

I do not know with what weapons World War GoPro will be fought, but the winning side better have a freaking global shutter.

5 upvotes
Total comments: 42
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