The iOn Air Pro 2 action cam only came out in March, but the company apparently didn't sit still after the release because here's No. 3.
The Air Pro 3 is not a complete redesign -- it's still the same cylindrical shape as previous models -- but the body looks and feels more durable while still being compact and lightweight, at just 5 ounces. Its waterproofing is improved, so you can dive down 49 feet with it, whereas the Pro 2 is limited to 30 feet. This is without an additional housing, so you can go straight from land to water without additional equipment.
Out in front is some new glass: a 16mm f2.8 fog-free lens with improved light transmission giving your videos a 160-degree angle of view. But, if that's a little too wide for your needs, you can make it a tighter 140- or 150-degree angle. The fixed-focus lens is good from 3.3 feet to infinity.
Behind the lens is a fast Sony-made 12-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, which should produce good low-light results. And judging by some of the recording capabilities of the Pro 3, the sensor is joined by a powerful processor.
The Air Pro 2 maxed out at a recording resolution of 1080p at 30 frames per second with a bit rate around 12Mbps. The Pro 3 can do full HD at 30fps or 60fps and 720p at 120fps, 60fps, or 30fps at about 22Mbps. And if you want smaller files for sharing, it'll do QVGA and WQVGA at 120fps, too. You can also turn on vibration reduction to help with shake and you can curb wind noise hitting the built-in mono mic with noise reduction.
In addition to the video, it'll capture 12-megapixel photos (they're in 4:3 aspect ratio, though, so you might want to do some cropping if you want to drop them in your videos). You can shoot them one at a time or as a 10-shot high-speed burst or as a time-lapse at intervals of 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds.
Controls remain the same as prior models. There's a big switch on top that you slide forward to quickly start and stop recordings, and the body vibrates to let you know what's going on. There's also a power/shutter release button in front of the switch.
A big reason to go with iOn over other action cams is its Podz system of exchangeable rear caps. The cap covers the camera's microSD card slot, Micro-USB and Mini-HDMI ports, and external mic jack, but also allows you to add things like Wi-Fi to the camera for a wireless connection to a computer or smartphone or tablet. Along with the Wi-Fi Podz, there's a wireless remote that can control up to eight cameras from up to 60 feet away. A battery Podz is also planned, which will extend the camera's 2.5-hour battery life.
Apps are available for iOS and Android and with them you can view battery level, change settings on the device, view and download recordings or photos, and remotely start and stop recordings as well as get a live view before and after you start recording so you can set up your shot. If you record movies in either 1080p or 720p at 30fps, the camera will simultaneously record a second 432x240-pixel-resolution clip for faster mobile uploads (frame rates are 15fps for 1080p and 30fps for 720p).
The $349.99 package includes the camera with the Wi-Fi Podz, a mini tripod, a helmet mount and an adhesive pad, a universal power adapter, and a Micro-USB cable, so you can get started right out of the box (though you'll have to supply a microSDHC card up to 64GB). There's a metal tripod mount in the bottom, but iOn has its own CamLock system that uses a little quick-connect clip that slides into several different mounts, including new ones for rollbars, boards of all kinds, and goggles.
Look for it to become available in early November, and I'll have a full review up very soon.