Drift HD170 point of view camera – videos- Lee Lau
One of the newer entries in the High-definition video point of view wearable camera game; Drift Innovation’s HD170 camera has the best quality video of any camera presently in the market. Although the stock included mounts are not as flexible as one might want for biking this review suggests a simple accessory purchase option to give you more POV choices. This article is meant to be read in conjunction with Brian Mullin’s article and will discuss useability of the Drift HD 170 for shooting video
The Drift HD’s features are already thoroughly described in Brian Mullin’s definitive article. My review is intended to complement Brian’s article but with an emphasis on shooting video.
1. Form factor; It’s tempting to compare this to the ContourHD since they are both bullet style cams. The DriftHD is larger than a ContourHD (133mm long vs 95mm long)and slightly heavier (138g vs. 123g). Suffice it to say that you won’t look very stealth with this thing on your head or strapped to bike.
2. Video recording modes; Full HD; 1920×1080 (“1080p”), 1280×720 (“720p”)(both at 30 frames per second) and 720x 400 SD. The Drift HD’s footage is easy to handle despite footage being recorded at a 12 Mbps bitrate. The DriftHD offering lacks a 960p mode and 60fps mode in HD (60fps mode is recording in the standard definition WVGA mode)
3. LCD Screen for playback & viewing; At first I thought this was a bit of a gimmick since I was so used to working blind with POV cameras that I would be able to guesstimate viewing angles quite easily. However, I’ve now seen the light and find the LCD screen incredibly useful from a videographer’s perspective since now one can take and immediately inspect footage.
4. Menus written in “plain english” and field-configurable; The quick-start guide and the copious documentation on Drift’s website are nice touches but let’s face it, most users either don’t read documentation or, if they read it, they don’t understand it. The menus on the DriftHD camera can be accessed by a few simple buttons and read via the LCD screen. Key functions are readily accessible & can be configured in the field. If the light changes, you can change exposure settings on the fly.
Listed below are some other features I thought were useful but not noteable (along with short comments)
- Rotating lens – Rotates 300 degrees (allows you to position the camera in various positions yet take video).
- Remote control (wearable on the wrist, allows you turn the camera recording on/off from about a 10m range)
- Lithium Ion battery (rechargeable, I found my charge to only last about an hour and a half in warm temperatures and sometimes a little more than an hour in colder temperatures)
- External microphone (sound recording was acceptable. Not as bad as some other POV cameras but not up to the level of dedicated video cameras)
- Zoom function (didn’t use this function much in the POV setting as zoomed-in POV footage in almost any situation was too jerky and poor quality)
- SD cards – max of 32GB
- Water-resistant (as opposed to water-proof (fairly rugged and rubberized coating held up under light rains)
Drift HD170 with helmet and universal mount