If you want to shoot action footage then your only option used to be to risk your expensive gear, or have a friend help. But now we have something called action cameras. These are great little gadgets that let you film your action without thinking about it. They are little cameras that offer great picture quality without the fragility of a digital camera or the clumsiness of your mobile telephone. This allows you to film point of view video in almost any situation.
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GoPro were the original action camera with their stylish looking cube design. The Gopro was revolutionary when it was released. There was an obvious market for amateurs that wanted to film their moves and action. Snowboarders in particular were fast to adopt the cameras with action being filmed like never before. The cameras offered great footage at an affordable price and they were durable enough to stand up to a bashing.
On top of this they were waterproof, opening up the possibility for surfers to film! Action cameras are now used in ever sport and often in situations that you wouldn't imagine. People are now even using them as dashboard cams on their cars.
What To Look For In An Action Camera
When you start looking for your cam it isn't immediately obvious what you should be looking for. Below we have outlined some of the features you should look for in your action camera.
- Ruggedness. This isn't something you can quite describe in words. Basically your camera is going to take some abuse. No matter how well you look after it, the very point of the device is that it is going to come in harms way. It needs to be able to take the knocks and bangs that you are going to subject it to.
- Waterproof. You might not want to go swimming with it but it may still get wet. All action cameras should be waterproof. Even on your mountain bike or your BMX, it can still rain....These are usually the most fun times!
- HD Video and Great Pictures. Great quality video and pictures is essential. After all this is the cameras primary function! Most will shoot in HD and some include picture stabilization and processing. However they do it, the picture quality needs to be top notch and there is no reason why you shouldnt be getting crystal clear, full HD video quality while you glide down a mountain.
- Ease of use. Im not sying you are stupid but ease of use is another thing that is often overlooked. You need to be concentrating on your action, not the camera so simple controls are a must. Plus in most cases you will likely have gloves on, limiting your ability to push tiny buttons or press icons on a screen.
- Mountability and Portability. If its massive then forget it. If it cant be mounted anywhere then forget it. The camera needs to be mountable and it needs to be light. You don't want it to weigh your head down or have to carry it in your hand. If you need to hold it then you might as well use a mobile telephone.
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- Records 4K/30fps (60mbps), 1080p/120fps, 720p/240fps video and 12MP photos using a 155Â° wide-angle lens with F2.8 aperture
- Built-in 2.19" LCD touchscreen with 640 x 360 high resolution for easy previewing and shooting. Designed with Gorilla Glass Retina to resist scratches and daily impact
- World's leading technologies: Ambarella A9SE75 Chip, Sony IMX377 Image Sensor, 7 layers of glass lenses, and Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) to guarantee ultra-clear and stable 4K video resolution and 12M pixel photos even in low light conditions
- 4K Ultra HD allows you to shoot high quality pictures and videos
- 170°Ultra Wide Angle LCD screen allows you capture more scenery from a wider and broader field of view
- Wireless Wrist Remote Control
- 3 batteries up to 240mins using time
- 100 Feet (30m) Waterproof HDMI, USB, AV video output, available for connecting computers, TVs and projectors.
- Easy to transfer photos and videos to mobile phones and tablets. With the free app (Final Cam), it controls your remote camera. WIFI reaches up to 15m.
- 12MP pictures and Full HD 1080p videos, 720p(1280*720) at 30fps, 720p(1280*720) at 60fps, WVGA, VGA are available. Allows you to adjust ISO, exposure compensation, white balance, image sharpness, etc.
- Large HD LCD Screen - Large 2-inch screen, 6-layer 170-degree fish-eye lenses give you bright image.
So what else should you look for in your helmet cam?
- Video Quality is important. This is why you bought an action camera in the first place right? The resolution is crucial, you shouldn't settle for anything less than full HD. Most will shoot in 4K but a lot will only do standard high definition, which is fine for most people. Hardly anybody has 4K yet anyway!
- Field of View is the area that your action camera can film. a narrow angle means it will shoot the area directly in front of it, but just a little square in front of it. I wider angle will record more of the surrounding.....Its actually quite difficult to explain. A wide angle camera sometimes can look a bit like a fish eye type lens but you can get apps and software that will convert it and give you a great experience when playing back.
- Battery life is usually not an issue with action cameras in these modern times, but it is still worth checking how long you can shoot for. The Gopro is famed for its battery life but the cheaper alternative action cams do compete to a certain extent, but the batteries are swappable and cheap.
- You should insist on a wifi connectable device. For the extra cash its not even worth thinking about it. If anything you should imagine having to plug your device in before you can share your latest vid!