The ultimate motorcycle action camera system

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by blackcap, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. blackcap

    blackcap Been here awhile

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    Ill start by apologising to those that though I was about to show you the ultimate setup. Im just another punter looking for advice on a new camera system. And I say system, because the best helmet camera means little if its difficult to use on a motorcycle on the trail.

    For the past 5 years a VIO POV HD has served me ridiculously well, but the technology as advanced so far now that I go into a motovlog depression anytime I see the crisp, clear pictures being displayed on other peoples youtube channels.

    My ultimate camera setup on the bike consists of the following in no particular order:
    Tough as nails. Over a long enough timeframe everything on a motorcycle gets destroyed (at least in my experience) so I want something that I don’t have to have constantly wrapped in cotton wool.
    Good quality images in a range of different lighting conditions.

    • Smallish form factor. This was one of the drawbacks of the POV system; its recording unit used a fair amount of luggage space.
    • Large range of mounting options. Nothing is quite as boring as watching footage of someone elses ride from a single perspective. Even if the story is good, being stuck to the top of someone’s helmet for the whole ride fails to draw viewers into the story.
    • Ease of operation. It doesn’t matter how many other boxes a camera ticks, if it’s a pain in the arse to capture anything with, it will likely end up staying the tankbag more often than it should. this point includes having a sleek design with minimal cables (something I want to get away from with the POV) and some form of remote activation so that its ready to record when I am (this was a big plus with the POV as the remote was simple, straightforward and worked for years without having to change/charge batteries constantly)
    • Powered options. The beauty of the POV system was the ability to have it run off the bikes 12V system while remaining waterproof or of using AA batteries when way from the bike. That meant all day power under any circumstances with minimal compromise.
    • Audio input. The tiny microphones on most action cameras record abhorrent audio. An external microphone that can be hidden out of the wind to capture more of the ambient noises is a must for anything that youd want to expose other people to.

    So ive boiled the list of new action cameras down to the following but still have reservations about some of them, largely due to unknowns about their functionality. So if anyone wants to fill in the blanks for me (and anyone else reading this) that would be great.

    Gopro Hero 5 Black
    Currently in the lead with good picture quality, image stabilisation, small form factor, reportedly pretty tough and probably the largest range of mounting options. My only concern is around battery life, powered options and ease of use. At the moment there are a lot of reviews going around about the smart remote not charging properly and that is only lasts hours before needing to be charged again which is going to be difficult to work with on full day rides. Theres the Remo remote too but very little information about battery life out there at the moment (costing a quarter of the camera isn’t really attractive either)

    Drift
    Based on their previous models, the Drift 4K looks like it has the best potential to compete with the Gopro at the moment. Details are scarce but it seems to tick most of the boxes that the Hero 5 Black does and if the remote of previous models is anything to go by, it should solve the issues of the battery problems reported with the gopro. The modular design with the choice of touchscreen or additional battery expansion looks like an awesome addition too. Unfortunately, the newest version hasn’t been released, there isn’t much news on when it will be released and the Drift website has inactive pages which is worrying.

    Sena
    The Sena 10C looks like a nice little unit but still needs an extra waterproof case, has no remote and limited mounting options. I kind of feel like this one is going to be a bit of a pain to turn on and off all the time so not sure if it would make it out of the tankbag as often as id like it to.

    Revl
    This thing is pretty bloody impressive for a consumer product on paper. Accelerometers and gyro stabilisation would totally change the experience of the viewer. Unfortunately, its kind of new so there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on reliability, claimed battery life isn’t great, mounts are limited, form factor isn’t the best and there is no mic input option.

    VIRB
    The new VIRB Ultra 30 looks like its taken a page out of Gopros book with similar form factor, good quality footage, the option for permanent power, and a simple and functional remote that doesn’t need charging every single day. Unfortunately, it takes a step backwards in the need for a waterproof case to protect it from the weather and makes no allowance for an external microphone. The older XE takes a hit in the image quality department but is waterproof without a case and will take an external microphone

    Sony
    The X3000 looks like an amazing camera with all the inputs and image specs I expect from Sony. Unfortunately none of it is useable while in the waterproof case which makes it a pain in the arse. The remote suffers from the same excessive functionality as the gopro too, meaning it needs to be charged every couple of hours.

    So that’s where im at with this process so far. I kind of feel like if there was more information on the Drift 4K I could make a direct comparison with the Hero 5 Black and come to a conclusion. If anyone has any more information about the other cameras or any that aren’t even listed, it would be great to get some real world advice.
    #1
  2. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

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    It's not on your list but I really like my Polaroid Cube
    #2
  3. blackcap

    blackcap Been here awhile

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    what makes it a standout camera for you? at a glance it looks nice and simple but a little lacking in features
    #3
  4. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    Olympus TG-Tracker?
    #4
  5. blackcap

    blackcap Been here awhile

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    i did have a quick look at it but it only gets 1.5hrs out of a charge and there is no remote available. i do like the look of it though
    #5
  6. MGilman

    MGilman Adventurer

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    Like you, i've been struggling to find the right camera for me. I think it's going to be the hero 5. The 12 mp camera is what is selling it for me.
    #6
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  7. Deviant

    Deviant aka KTM 1290SAdvR

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    The Sony I use is water resistant outside of the case. It's strictly for Helmet cam recording. Plus the form factor is probably the best around for that. I run a line out to a mic inside the helmet and another to an external battery. I can record upwards of around 10 hours on a charge. I use GoPro for every other shot, they are just better.
    DSC01075.JPG

    Also, it's just velcro'd on.
    #7
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  8. blackcap

    blackcap Been here awhile

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    i liked the look of the sony for its slimmer form factor; its doesnt hang off the side of your head like the brick of a gopro. the Drift 4K has just been released too which looks like it has massive potential with the ability to add larger battery packs directly to the camera and it has a nice and simple remote that runs off a watch battery which hopefully means it wont need constant charging to operate. now it just needs someone to do a thorough review of it and if it all checks out, ill be getting one of those
    #8
  9. Deviant

    Deviant aka KTM 1290SAdvR

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    The Drift would be decent but without a separate mic jack I don't think it'd suit my needs, you can either charge or record audio. Bummer.
    #9
  10. blackcap

    blackcap Been here awhile

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    im kind of counting on someone releasing a 2 way splitter for the drift so it can have both audio and charging capabilities. either that or a modular 'battery' pack that can be plugged straight into 12V/5V for all-day recording. unfortunately none of this exists right now haha
    #10
  11. K1W1

    K1W1 Long timer

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    You did not mention the Sena Prism. May I ask why you discounted that one?
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  12. blackcap

    blackcap Been here awhile

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    from what i understand, the senas not waterproof without a case (that was the big one for me), cant be powered externally when its in the case and needs a bluetooth microphone which would be an extra expense for me
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  13. K1W1

    K1W1 Long timer

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    The Prism is water resistant without the case. The case is really only required if you intend to submerge the camera. I have used mine in rain with no apparent ill effects. The mic side of things would be an issue for what you want but the upside of using the Bluetooth is that you can recaord both sides of a conversation that you are having with another rider. I can see that being useful to some.
    #13
  14. blackcap

    blackcap Been here awhile

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    yeah i can see how it would be good for others getting both sides of the conversation but i ride alone and i like the idea of not having to worry about the camera around water at all. some shots i get are from points on the bike lower than the water line on some river crossings
    #14
  15. Ozi

    Ozi live in the moment, life is short

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    @DeviantMoto - some details of your mic & external 10hr battery mounted inside the helmet pls ; and how much of the left side of the FOV field of view is just "the helmet"
    #15
  16. Deviant

    Deviant aka KTM 1290SAdvR

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    I use a SENA wired mic that's run to the back of the helmet and a short 3.5mm to 2.5 cable to connect it to the camera. The battery is just a samsung 6000mAH that I keep in my breast pocket, any will do, and is connected via a 3' USB extension cable.

    https://goo.gl/grksQ2
    https://goo.gl/BqCNFc
    https://goo.gl/un5iQj

    As for the FOV here's a screencap of the piece of shit that pulled out in front of me a few weeks ago... missed him by around a foot. And it's a great example why I have the camera in the first place.
    vlcsnap-2017-04-02-08h56m58s250.png

    If you want an example of the audio here's the vid... fair warning, I wasn't happy and expressed my discontent (nsfw language)
    *edit* removed
    #16
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  17. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    No offence, but you made that a lot closer than it should have been.
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  18. Deviant

    Deviant aka KTM 1290SAdvR

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    *edit* never mind, neither here nor there. Thread is about cameras, not breaking distance.
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  19. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    So what is the distance that the camera breaks? Does it break when you brake hard? :lol2
    #19
  20. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    I've been using the Sony 4K Action cam for a year now. The first post says the camera needs to be in the waterproof case but this is only needed for going underwater - it is fine for using in rain or getting splashed without the case.

    One thing needs to be highlighted, it is the only action cam with optical image stabilization. All other cameras use digital stabilization (if any) and while it's getting better it isn't a match for optical. It was a far better camera than my old Gopro 4 Black but I'm keen to see how it shapes up against the later generation Gopros.

    #20