Finally my Sony Action Cam arrived. I purchased the WiFi version so I can monitor the pictures on my iPhone or iPad when setting it up or maybe when using it as an impromptu pole-cam on the end of a microphone boom pole. I have not had a chance to do take an in depth look at the images yet, the weather here is pants, grey and misty and anything I shoot at the moment looks soft. Anyway, after charging up the camera using the supplied USB cable (there’s no charger, you have to use a laptop or get a USB power adapter) I decided to try to connect it to my iPhone.
First problem: The manual is…. err….. well…. how can I say this politely… it’s carp. It’s a huge sheet of paper with an almost incomprehensible flow chart of the menu options and a few brief paragraphs of text. Finally I found the bit that I needed however, the WiFi connection instructions. These comprehensive (not) instructions tell you to turn the WiFi on and connect to your device using the login details on a tiny sticker attached to the giant piece of paper.
OK, so I have a login and password, but what software do I use? Eventually I found a link to the software on one corner of the manual that tells you to use something called “Play Memories Home”. At first, assuming this was an app I did a search on the Apple store and found a Sony app called Play Memories and installed this on my phone. However this is some sort of media sharing app for your photos and has no way to connect to the camera. Next I followed the link to www.sony.net/pm which took me to a page where I could download a PC application, but still no iPhone app. By now I was getting somewhat frustrated, this should be really simple!
Anyway after some digging around I finally found the right app, it’s called Playmemories Mobile. Click here to go to the apple store. Even after you have installed the app things are not entirely obvious. You need to run the app on the phone, then turn on the camera. Press the Prev or Next buttons to fire up the camera and go to the setup menu, press next till you get to setup and then press the record button to select. then using prev/next go to RMOTE press record to select, and then set ON using prev/next. This turns on the WiFi. Now on the phone with the app running you will see a cryptic error message saying “Search the shooting device from the network settings of the terminal and set it”. This is telling you to go to the phones WiFi settings and search for a network with the same name as the SSID on the tiny sticker on the instruction sheet (I peeled my sticker off and stuck it on the side of the camera). Select the WiFi network and enter the supplied password. The phone should now connect to the camera, you won’t see the normal WiFi indication at the top of the phones screen. Go back to the Playmemory mobile app and you should now be able to see the live feed from the Action Cam.
What a palava! Now that I can get connected I’m pleased to say that the lag between the camera and iPhone is only minimal, about 1/3rd of a second and the image quality on the phone is plenty good enough for framing and camera setup, so I happy at last. But come on Sony, you really need to do a better job of the manual. There’s more information on EC and FCC directives on interference and battery disposal than there is on how to actually use the camera.