March 8, 2011

Review: Wearable HD Video Cameras

If you love to record activities continuously, you need a wearable HD video camera. A wearable camera can function as a runners-cam, bike-cam, ski-cam, surf-cam, helmet-cam or even a golf-cam.

A wearable camera is hands-free, so you can participate in the activity while doing the video recording at the same time. And, if you have mobile Internet available at location, then you could also share the video with friends and family immediately after recording it.

Drift HD170 wearable camera

So, next time you want to provide a video view of your activity, consider a wearable video camera. Whether for gentle activity or for professional sports, the wearable cam will provide the action-video that will look awesome e.g. check the video below

GoPro HD Hero – Mountain Biking

A list of wearable cameras is below.  While ContourHD, GoPro HD and Drift HD170 are well known names and are widely used by professionals and amateurs alike, Looxcie and Zion Eyez are newcomers targeting social sharing by amateurs.

Before discussing the list, a quick overview of wearable camera features that are important –

Mount: Most cameras provide a variety of mounts options, so they can mounted on the body, on a bike, surfboard etc and provide views from any angle.

Resolution: The full HD 1080p resolution provides the best quality. Looxcie is the only camera that does not provide 1080p but only goes to 480p.

Weight: You will be wearing the camera for hours and the lighter it is the better it is. The lighter the camera the better it is.

Lens: A wide-angle lens is a must. A rotating lens gives flexiblity to capture the scene correctly even if the camera had to be mounted upside down.

Recording time: The longer the recording time with a single battery, the better. And it is always a good idea to carry spare batteries for longer recording sessions.

Internet: With Internet access, the videos being recorded can be shared over the Internet immediately after the recording is done or in near real-time, a good feature for social sharing of the videos. Internet access is provided with a BlueTooth or WiFi link to an iPhone or Android phone. Camera <-> iPhone <-> Internet

Mount: Helmet, Headband, Bike, Surfboard, etc
Resolution: 1080p
Weight: 122 gram
Lens: Wide-angle, Rotating
Price: $250
Recording Time: 2 hours
iPhone/Android: Spring 2011

Mount: Helmet, Headband, Chest mount, Bike etc
Resolution: 1080p, H.264, .mp4 files
Weight: 94 gram
Lens: Wide-angle
Price: $250
Recording Time: 2.5 hours

Mount: Helmet, Headband, Bike etc
Resolution: 1080p, H.264, .mov files
Weight: 138 gram
Lens: Wide-angle, Rotating
Price: $280
Recording Time: 2.5 hours

Mount: Earpiece
Resolution: 480p
Weight: 28 gram
Price: $200
Recording Time: 1 hours
Internet: from iPhone/Android via BlueTooth v2.1
iPhone/Android: Apps available

Mount: SunGlass
Resolution: 1080p
Recording Time: 3 hours
Internet: from iPhone/Android via WiFi 802.11n or BlueTooth v2.1
Sample Video