MOORESTOWN, N.J – Looking to expand its brand and seize some of the share of the action video camera market relinquished by Contour, Ion America introduced last week the Ion Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi wearable camera.
The newest iteration offers greater mounting options and is affordably priced compared to other competitive offerings in its class, the company said.
The third-generation Air Pro goes on sale this month at a $350 suggested retail, and will be packaged with a Wi-Fi Podz to enable shoot-and-share operation through a connection to a smartphone, tablet or other connected device.
The Ion Air Pro 3 Wi-Fi retains the compact size, light weight and fully waterproof design of last year’s model but adds new mounting options that extend the versatility of Ion cameras, allowing secure, hands-free use in a wider range of environments, the company said.
As with previous Ion Wi-Fi-equipped models, the camera comes with free cloud storage using the supplied Wi-Fi Podz. The Ion Podz system offers thin, circular discs that attach to the back of the basic camera, adding little extra no weight or volume.
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 upload footage to Facebook, YouTube and other social networks.
The Air Pro 3 records HD video up to 1080/60p or 720/120p. It also features dual streaming to enable users to simultaneously “shoot and share” their recordings, without sacrificing battery life.
A new, 12-megapixel CCD image sensor offers up to 4,000 by 3,000 still-image resolution with improved light sensitivity and wider dynamic range. The CCD sensor is said to capture “more data” than a typical CMOS sensor offering more dynamic range, auto white-balancing, and auto-exposure information for post production work.
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 wind noise.
“It was always our intent in our product roadmap to launch a product using a custom-made lens, a Sony CCD sensor, and really step up on the aesthetics to make it a best-in-class product, and we’ve now achieved that with the Ion Air Pro 3,” said Giovanni Tomaselli, Ion America CEO. “It’s in the same class as our competitor [GoPro], but at a $50 lower price.”
The Ion Air Pro 3 also includes an international AC adapter, helmet mount and mini tripod, which the competition does not include, Tomaselli said.
Other new features include a battery life of more than 2.5 hours; 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 app.
The new model retains the light weight and cylindrical shape of previous Air Pro models, but has been redesigned to achieve improved underwater capabilities (up to 49 feet), with no outer housing required.
The Air Pro 3 also offers a pro-grade metal 0.25- inch tripod screw mount.
Other features common to Air Pro models include one-click capture; auto rotation G-sensor to automatically orient the image for the viewer; CamLock system; built-in microphone; multiregion AC adapter; Ion mounting system; Ion FCS mount for surf, snow, paddle and wakeboard mounting; Ion rollbar mount; and head strap and goggle mount.
Tomaselli said Ion has also stepped up its promotions and advertising to make the Ion Air Pro name more top of mind with action-oriented consumers.
The company is now a sponsor-partner of Team Lucas, the “grassroots” advertising and marketing platform created by Lucas Oil, to reach hundreds of millions of consumers a year while giving Ion cameras exposure at all motorsports events and properties operated by Lucas Oil.
Tomaselli said Ion and Lucas Oil are working on bringing certain activities associated with racing events to big-box retailer parking lots across the country.
Other events have included camera placements around the stadium for the San Francisco Giants, “Ion Giants” promotions and TV commercials. Additional event sponsorships include the Tough Mudder endurance road race and other sporting events.
Ion Air Pro cameras are carried at all Best Buy stores, Fry’s, TigerDirect and Meijer stores. The company places a prominent 4-foot end-cap at Meijer stores to showcase its now four “very different” action camera model lineup and accessories, Tomaselli said.
“I think the piece that is really going to put us over the top will be a big ‘event-tainment’ promotion, bringing off-road trucks, skate ramps and bike ramps to the parking lots of retailers,” Tomaselli said. “We have a clear line of sight now that we should be heading toward double-digit market share next year.”