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GoPro vs Sony (Action Cam & RX0 Cameras)

In the market for a new action camera and having a hard time deciding between a GoPro or Sony Action Cam or RX0 II? We’ve got you covered.

GoPro and Sony both have a strong product lineup with a lot of unique features. The problem is that it can be difficult to cut through all of the marketing gimmicks to figure out exactly what works best for your needs.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the differences, similarities, pros and cons of GoPro and Sony action cameras. You’ll find the information you need on everything from overall video quality to durability and everything in between.

We originally planned for this comparison to be for the GoPro Hero7 and the Sony FDR X3000 Action Cam only, but we added the Sony RX0 II to the mix in our final draft. Even though the RX0 II is not intended to be a true “action cam”, there have been tons of users wondering how it stacks up in the market.

Intro & Specifications

I’ll start off with the general specs behind each option. This whole comparison is much more about real world results than it is about nitpicking technical details, but it’s still important to know what’s actually inside these cameras on a base level.

It’s also worth saying ahead of time that this comparison is “unfair” in a straight-up apples-to-apples sense. This is true for two reasons. The first reason is that the FDR X3000 is several years old and the GoPro isn’t. The second reason is that the Sony RX0 II isn’t really an “action camera”.

Technicalities aside, these are the three most popular cameras on the market for anyone looking for a tiny 4k video powerhouse that can go anywhere and do anything.

GoPro Hero7 Black

Sony FDR X3000 Action Cam

Sony RX0 II Camera

Sony RX0 II

Video & Image Quality

Winner: Sony RX0 II

Video quality and image quality are the main areas in which you can clearly see that the Sony RX0 II is a cut above true action cameras. If pure quality of footage is your main priority, you’ll probably want the RX0 II over the GoPro or the Sony FDR X3000 Action Cam.

The RX0 II’s sensor is significantly larger and better than the sensor in a GoPro or X3000. It will give you better dynamic range, better low light performance, and some depth of field. It doesn’t have continuous autofocus, but that’s not a big gripe in the grand scheme of things.

It’s actually amazing to get some quality depth of field out of a camera so small. Vloggers will especially love this, as the RX0 II’s focal length is perfect for getting your face and blurring the background. The RX0 II was designed to be more of a vlogging camera than an action cam, so this makes sense.

Advanced users will also love that the RX0 II allows you to shoot in SLog-2. This gives you much more control over your footage in post. SLog-2 is a great feature, but only useful for those who want to spend time using third party software to edit footage.

There are two catches to the RX0 II’s superior video quality though. The first is that it isn’t a great choice for action videos. This is due to the camera’s 24mm focal length. By comparison, a GoPro Hero7 in “Wide” mode has an effective focal length of 6mm. So, even though the RX0 II’s video quality is superior, it won’t get you the super wide angles you’d want for getting those awesome action shots.

The other catch is that the RX0 II will overheat after about 15 minutes of 4k shooting. Not a problem for people who use these types of cameras for quick clips, but a potential deal breaker for anyone who needs longer videos.

Second Place: GoPro Hero7 Black

The GoPro doesn’t beat the RX0 II in pure video/image quality, but it is still the better choice for shooting actual action. The Hero7’s field of view is way, way wider than the RX0 II’s field of view and that alone is enough to give it the edge in the action department.

GoPro definitely stepped it up a notch when they released the Hero7. It comfortably leads the action cam market in video quality and it’s impressive how much it can do with such a small sensor.

The only real gripes I have with the GoPro is with color and with low light performance. You have to tinker with the settings a bit to avoid oversaturated footage. Some people actually like the oversaturated look, but I’m not a fan. As far as low light performance goes, it’s just the nature of the beast with a small sensor.

All in all, you can get some very nice action footage with the Hero7. The only place it truly struggles is in low light. A good trade-off for a powerful camera in a miniature body.

Third Place: Sony FDR X3000

It’s hard to rank the Sony FDR X3000 in last place without mentioning again that this camera is several years old. It honestly holds up very well against the GoPro’s video/image quality, losing only by a relatively small margin.

The X3000 Action Cam still does a heck of a job delivering decent footage in a small package. Lots of users still prefer it for getting more natural-looking footage without having to spend any time messing around with settings.

Image Stabilization

Winner: GoPro Hero7 Black

Image stabilization is definitely a key area in which GoPro has spent some serious time and energy innovating. The Hero7 Black has what is easily the best image stabilization in the action cam/mini cam market.

The Hero7’s stabilization is so good that you’ll hear plenty of bloggers and vloggers saying that it’s a “gimbal killer”. I’ll can tell you that a statement like that is a bit ridiculous, but that doesn’t make the Hero7’s performance any less impressive.

It really is crazy how stable this thing is when you’re simply shooting it handheld. The Hero7’s reduction of small jitters and side-to-side shake is massively improved from the previous Hero6 model. You’ll still encounter some up-and-down bounce when running, but even that is markedly better.

As with all things in digital photography/videography, the image stabilization performance falls off significantly in low light. You may want to consider the FDR X3000 or the RX0 II if you plan to shoot often in low light.

Unlike the Sony options which use physical image stabilization, the GoPro uses strictly electronic stabilization. The GoPro’s electronic image stabilization is the undisputed champ in the vast majority of settings, but it won’t quite stand up to Sony’s physical image stabilization in low light.

Second Place: Sony FDR X3000

The Sony FDR X3000 was widely considered to have the best image stabilization in the action cam market when it released a few years back. GoPro has since improved their stabilization to take the lead, but the X3000 is still a solid contender.

The biggest benefit that the X3000’s stabilization enjoys is that it features physical stabilization in lieu of electronic. The real impact of this can be debated for hours, but the main takeaway is that the X3000 will still be a bit more stable than the Hero7 Black in most low light settings.

Third Place: Sony RX0 II

The Sony RX0 II coming in last place for image stabilization is a bit of a technicality. It would probably be ahead of the FDR X3000 if we didn’t account for focal length.

Stabilization on the RX0 II is actually very good for what the camera is. The reason it doesn’t beat the X3000 is that it has a fixed 24mm focal length. (The X3000 has a 17mm focal length when set to “Wide”)

A 24mm focal length is more “zoomed in” than what you’ll find on true action cameras like the Hero7 or FDR X3000. And even though the RX0 II has very good relative image stabilization, it still won’t look quite as stable as an action cam with a wide angle field of view.

Sound Quality

Winner: Sony RX0 II

The RX0 II wins out for two reasons. First, it sounds decent out of the box, even though it’s waterproof. Second, it has a built-in 3.5mm microphone jack. My favorite mic to pair with the RX0 II is the Rode VideoMicro (here’s an Amazon link to it).

Cameras have come a long way in recent years in retaining audio quality when adding extra protection from the elements. It used to be that you’d get absolutely terrible audio from any waterproof camera. These days, you can get serviceable performance out of a camera you can still dunk underwater.

Add a 3.5mm audio jack to the mix and it’s easy to see why the RX0 II is the winner in the audio department. It’s the best of both worlds: respectable waterproof audio and endless possibilities to attach a third-party external microphone.

Second Place: Sony FDR X3000

I’ll go ahead and say now that choosing a second place and a third place was difficult for the Audio Quality category. I’m giving the nod to the FDR X3000 over the Hero7 for a couple of reasons.

The first reason I like the X3000’s audio better than the Hero7’s is that it sounds way better out of the box. Surprisingly, the x3000 actually is the better than the RX0 II out of the box. There’s an important caveat though- the X3000 is not waterproof unless you put it inside a separate waterproof housing.

Your next question should be “how much does the waterproof housing affect the X3000’s sound quality”. The answer is “a lot”. When you put it inside the housing, the Sony FDR X3000 Action Cam is dead last in audio quality.

The balancing factor is that the X3000, like the RX0 II, includes a 3.5mm mic jack. This gives you much more freedom to attach external microphones that will greatly increase audio quality.

Third Place: GoPro Hero7 Black

The only reason that we don’t give GoPro the Hero7 the edge over the Sony FDR X3000 is that the Hero7 doesn’t include an audio jack. When you account for the fact that the Hero7 is waterproof without an audio-muffling waterproof housing, the X3000 would fall behind.

That’s why it seems so silly that the GoPro doesn’t come standard with a microphone jack. It does an ok job with audio quality for being waterproof, but it would be the complete package if it only had a mic jack.

Don’t worry too much though, as you do have a solution. GoPro sells a special external microphone adapter (here’s a link to it) that works with the Hero7. It’s a bit clunky to have hanging off your GoPro, bit it at least solves the mic jack issue.

In case you’re wondering- yes, it’s annoying that GoPro makes you purchase a 3.5mm mic jack adapter instead of including a built-in jack. I’m giving it a bit of a pass though. The Hero7 has enough positive features that this one glaring negative shouldn’t necessarily keep people from buying it.

Hopefully GoPro fixes this next time around.

User Interface & Ease of Use

Winner: GoPro Hero7 Black

If you’ve used a GoPro camera in the last few years, you shouldn’t be surprised that the Hero7 wins out with its interface and ease of use.

GoPro has done an incredible job designing a killer interface. It’s very intuitive and allows you to access everything with a few clicks and swipes. Settings can be adjusted on-the-fly without the frustration that comes with endless menus.

The LCD is a touchscreen, so the Hero7 also has that going for it. You’d be surprised how helpful it is to be able to swipe your way through menus on a tiny action cam screen.

To top it all off, GoPro has created some awesome apps for your phone. They make it super simple to turn your footage into fun edits ready for social media.

There’s really not much else to say. The Hero7 wins handily for anyone looking for the most straightforward interface possible on a camera of this size. Turn it on, change a few quick settings (or nothing at all) and you’re good to go.

Second Place: Sony RX0 II

The RX0 II interface is powerful, but it can be a bit tricky to navigate. Anyone familiar with modern Sony cameras knows what I mean.

Don’t get me wrong though. I’m a major Sony fan when it comes to full frame and APS-C cameras. I shoot almost exclusively on an A7III. The rare occasions I don’t have my A7III, I use my A6000 with my favorite crop sensor lenses. The point is that I’m very comfortable with Sony interfaces.

Even so, I understand how the Sony user interface can sometimes be a pain for those who don’t want to spend a ton of time learning it inside and out. The RX0 II isn’t an exception. You can make it do just about whatever you want (like Eye AF), but there’s a learning curve.

Wrapping it up, the standout feature of the RX0 II is its rotating flip screen LCD. It’s a vloggers dream to be able to flip the screen around on a camera this small. The only downside (if you’re a person who considers it a downside) is that it isn’t a touchscreen.

Third Place: Sony FDR X3000

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: The X3000 Action Cam’s interface is awful. There are plenty of things I like about the X3000, but the interface isn’t among them.

Compared the the nice big screens of the Hero7 and the RX0 II, the X3000’s display is pretty rough. It’s just a tiny window that shows you the most crucial info. On one hand, it’s very simple and straightforward. On the other, it’s outdated and outclassed in current times.

I’m not knocking the X3000 just to knock it. It stacks up very well with the competition, even though it’s several years old. This is just the one area in which it struggles mightily.

Durability & Waterproofing

Winner: Sony RX0 II

When you pick up a Sony RX0 II, you immediately feel that its basically bombproof. And it pretty much is.

The RX0II is waterproof up to 33ft, shockproof up to 6’5″, and crushproof up to 400lbf. All you really need to know is that it can handle anything you can throw at it, within reason.

It’s also nice that the RX0 II is completely contained within a little box. There aren’t any protrusions to create weak spots or catch on things.

Second Place: GoPro Hero7 Black

The Hero7, while it may not be quite as durable the RX0 II, is still very durable.

You can take the GoPro up to 33ft underwater. And while you can’t find perfectly reliable specs on durability measurables, the Hero7 has been field-tested enough to confirm that it can take a serious beating.

Third Place: Sony FDR X3000

The X3000 can take a beating. It just can’t take quite the beating that an RX0 II or Hero7 can.

Waterproofing is the X3000’s biggest weakness. It’s slightly water resistant, but it’s not at all waterproof unless you put it in its external housing. This means that it can take a tiny splash of water, but you don’t want to go submerging it.


Winner: GoPro Hero7 Black

For the uninitiated, suffice to say that the GoPro brand has created an ecosystem jam-packed with with accessories.

Grips, mounts, tripods, mics- you name it, GoPro has it. And almost every one of them is compatible with the Hero7.

Even the most novice users will have an extremely easy time finding the accessories they need for their Hero7. GoPro has designed everything to be plug-and-play for their cameras.

Second Place: Sony RX0 II

You could definitely make an argument than the Sony RX0 II deserves the top spot in the “accessories” category. It’s essentially a tiny version of a full-feature camera.

The sky is the limit for advanced users, as the RX0 II gives you the freedom to use all sorts of Sony-brand and third-party accessories. Almost anything usable on any small digital camera is usable on the RX0 II.

It’s worth mentioning that the RX0 II has built-in threading on the bottom, allowing you to directly attach it to tripods, mounts, or gimbals.

Third Place: Sony FDR X3000

The X3000 has some dedicated mounts and accessories, but it really can’t stand up to the competition here. There are enough options to keep the average user happy, but that could change if you take a look at the accessory possibilities available with a GoPro or even an RX0 II.

Like the RX0 II, the X3000 does include threading on the bottom. This makes it easy to attach to tripods and mounts, but the X3000’s somewhat abnormal shape could keep users from building advanced cage setups around it.

The Verdict

If you’ve made it this far, you should hopefully have a pretty good idea of which camera best suits your needs.

The GoPro Hero7 is a great choice and should be considered the top dog for true action cam applications. It shines in many ways, especially for beginners who want to spend less time editing and more time having fun.

An RX0 II, however, can be the perfect choice for travel videos, vloggers, or anyone who wants all-around performance and doesn’t need an extra-wide-angle field of view. It’s more expensive than the GoPro or the Sony Action Cam, but its high-end performance can’t be beat.

The Sony FDR X3000 may lag behind the other two, but it’s still a respectable option that caters to certain needs. It can’t be considered a “bad” choice, even though it’s past its prime. This is especially true if you find it at great price.

Let us know what you think. We want to know which of these cameras you prefer for different applications!

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