Have you ever seen on TV the camera view from the perspective of the person in action? Watching the action from a real-life perspective makes it all a lot more dramatic and immerses you into the action as if you’re really there. Skateboarders, snowboarders and mountain bikers are the first sports that pop in to our minds when we try to imagine it. Today we will be looking at something that will let you do all that, the Oregon Scientific Action Cam.
“Established in the US in 1989, Oregon Scientific is both the inventor and market leader for Smart Clocks and Home Weather Stations. These two principal areas of expertise remain at the centre of Oregon Scientific’s core competencies. Besides the award-winning Time and Weather collection, Oregon Scientific has successfully developed four other lifestyle enhancing product collections: Sports and Fitness, Telecommunications, Digital Media and Electronic Learning collections.”
Thanks to Oregon Scientific, we can all now record action straight from our own perspective for everyone to experience. It’s probably the only ‘helmet cam’ we’ve seen that’s available from a large range of stores both in the real world and in cyberspace. This camera isn’t limited to sports, for example it’s great for recording your bike rides.
Features & Specifications:
- Selectable resolutions (640×480, 320×240, 160×120)
- Video clip file format: AVI – 640×480, 320×240, 160×120
- Two frame rates (15fps and 30 fps) for all three resolutions.
- PAL A/V out for showing the video in the TV With built-in memory and SD card slot for memory expansion
- Low battery detection
- Power-saving management
- Firmware upgradeable
- Features: Multiple mounting design (bike, helmet, …etc)
- Splash proof
- 32MB internal memory (NAND flash)
- SD memory card support up to 2GB
- USB interface
- A/V out interface
- Operated by 2 x AA batteries
- Compatible with Windows XP/2000/Me/Vista
As you can see from the specifications, the Action Cam captures video with sound at three possible resolutions; 640 x 480, 320 x 240 and 160 x 120 and you can choose whether to record at 15 or 30 frames per second. It has 32MB of internal memory and an SD card slot for expansion which we would definitely recommend if you record at the highest resolution and frame rate.
The manual informs you of all the possibilities of the internal 32MB memory and various sizes of SD card. Using the internal memory, the maximum you can store is 11 minutes and 10 seconds of footage with the lowest settings possible, that’s 160×120 @ 15fps. Choosing the highest resolution at 30 frames per second and you can store a mere 52 seconds. That’s not really enough for anything but a quick run. However, upgrading to a massive 2GB SD Card allows you to store between 60 minutes and 794 minutes (13+ hours) at highest and lowest settings respectively.
The camera itself is a cylindrical body coming in at 40mm in diameter and 110mm long. It is powered by two 1.5V AA batteries and weighs 175g fully loaded. The Action Cam comes with a handlebar grip for your cycle, some Velcro straps for helmets and a rubber strap that is better for most cycle helmets.
Using the rubber strap for attachment feels most solid but it is better you don’t use it when running, or when it’s attached directly to your head. The rubber grip isn’t too comfortable directly on hair and the camera’s weight makes your head feel unbalanced.
The SD expansion slot is on the back of the camera, and the Action Cam will record directly onto there if an SD card is inserted. The controls and a small display panel are on the top of the camera. The controls let you choose shooting mode and, when you are ready to start/finish, a large button starts or stops filming.
You can watch video directly from the Action Cam on your TV using the provided AV cables. You can also transfer your footage onto your PC using a mini-USB cable which unfortunately isn’t provided. Thankfully, the Action Cam is a plug-and-play device, so you don’t need to install any drivers. Alternatively, you can just take the SD card out and pop it into any SD card reader or device that can read AVIs such as your portable media player.
Image quality at the highest resolution and frame rate is quite impressive. The Action Cam does well to adjust to different lighting conditions. However, due to the nature of your recording, you’ll find you can quite unstable recording which is, of course, not the fault of the camera.
We got one of our staff members to record his early morning journey to work on his bicycle, and it was a delight to watch as the quality was great and it wasn’t as unstable as we expected. Here’s a tip: if you are recording your bike ride, attach the Action Cam to the handlebars. Another, when you transfer your videos to your computer, speed them up (like a time-lapse) and the video will be a lot more interesting.
The Action Cam works; and quiet well at that. It is definitely fun to use and you can come up with some cool footage if you are creative enough. It would have been nicer to have more footage on a 2GB card at highest settings but still 60 minutes should be enough for most. Overall, this camera is pretty awesome and if you routinely go on bike rides and such, this is something worth getting to show everyone your travels.
- Light weight
- Splash proof
- Easy controls
- Lots of features