Review: Drift HD Ghost POV Camera

Cameras Pro Reviews

An incredible amount of technology, features and software crammed into an easy to use 11MP video camera, with a superb remote control, a long lived battery and useful LCD screen.

The Drift Innovations HD Ghost is a rugged outdoor sports video camera, that is easy to use, has a long battery life, and includes a 11 megapixel sensor, built-in Wi-Fi, and two-way remote with indicator lights, and a unique video tag/loop recording function. It has an excellent usage and form factor, combining loud indicator beeps for mode changes, the remote, an intuitive menu system, a fully rotatable lens and a useful LCD screen. Interfacing to the camera can be done through the LCD’s menu system or an app on a mobile device which communicates via Wi-Fi. It records in a vast array of high-definition video resolutions, frame rates, and viewing angles, making for an incredibly versatile camera, and has proven itself to take videos and photos with great clarity and realistic colors.

Drift Innovations HD Ghost
The HD Ghost is a POV (point of view) high-definition sports camera, which uses an 11MP CMOS sensor that can record video footage in 1080p, 960p, 720p and SD formats, and photos in several modes, including still, timelapse and photoburst. It uses a seven element lens design, with a 170º viewing angle and a 10x digital zoom. It records data onto a microSD card up to 32GB in size, and is powered with an internal rechargeable Li-Ion battery (swappable) that gives around three hours of recording time. The camera has a built-in Wi-Fi to wirelessly converse with iOS and Android based mobile devices, and using the Drift App you can align the camera viewpoint, change settings, and view and delete and download recorded footage. It has ports for a mini USB for computer connection and recharging, a mini HDMI for live streaming to a TV or other source, and an external microphone for higher-quality audio recording. The oblong camera is comprised of plastic and fiberglass materials, and has a 2-inch LCD viewing screen which utilizes tough Gorilla Glass for protection, and has four rubberized operational buttons, a fully rotatable lens, and is impact and shock resistance, and waterproof to 3 meters. It can be operated by its buttons, the two-way RF remote or the mobile App. The camera attaches to an assortment of mounts, including a goggle, flat and curved surface, and optional handlebar, using their proprietary universal clip system, which attaches to the camera via a quarter inch universal camera adapter. The letterbox shaped camera measures 4.1″ x 2″ x 1.3″, weighs 5.9 ounces (167g) and the kit retails for $399.

The kit comes in a nice closeable plastic carrying case, and includes the HD Ghost camera with its universal clip, a waterproof and easy-access rear hatch, a two way remote with a wrist strap, flat surface and curved surface and goggle mounts, an instruction guide, a USB cable, a rechargeable 3.7V 1700mAh Li-Ion battery and 3.5mm microphone cable.

Video Resolutions
The HD Ghost can shoot in High Definition, in three video resolutions and multiple frame rates, which are all recorded at 11MP. It can shoot in widescreen 1080p at 30 or 25 fps (frames per second), full frame 960p at 50, 48, 30 or 25 fps, widescreen 720p at 60,50, 30 or 25 fps, and SD at 120, 100, 60, 50, 30 or 25 fps. The faster frame rates of the 960p, 720p and SD modes allow for slow motion playback, which is pretty interesting to watch, and in addition; it gives normal viewing a smoother and more fluid stream. Engaging the Tag/Loop feature in video mode captures a rolling window of video into memory, but only saves it to the card when tagged. Each of the video resolutions is captured at different bit rates, which entails varying recording times and storage requirements, meaning greater resources are needed for the higher usage formats. The resolution settings are done within the camera’s menu system, which is managed by its four buttons or a mobile device. In fact, any of the programmable features and settings can be done through the menus, allowing for the field changes as required. The camera records in different viewing angles or FOV (field of view), including an ultra wide 170º, a wide 127º, and a narrow 90º FOV, and each of them is unique to specific video resolutions. The 1080p has three FOVs, 170º, 127º and 90º, while the 960p , 720p and SD only use 170º. It uses the H.264 video codec, AAC audio compression, and a .mp4 or .mov file type (selectable).

The HD Ghost can shoot 11, 8 and 5 megapixel still photos in either manual or automatic mode. In the manual mode, it can shoot a single photo, while in the automatic mode, it can do photoburst or timelapse. In photoburst, it can do a burst duration of 1, 2 or 3 seconds, with 5 or 10 shots per second during each burst. In timelapse, it takes a photo every X number of seconds, where X is .5, 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 30 or 60-second intervals.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • Vic says:

    How did you put the camera with the strap (on top of the helmet?

  • Aaron says:

    The real question is if you would pick this over a GoPro Hero 3

    -Aaron who recently watched leadville race

  • Patrick says:

    So you make a review for a camera and don’t include a video… The majority of the people are going to use this for video not pictures. The reviews on this site are mind bogglingly bad sometimes.

  • Bob says:

    Good info. Any plans for a review of Sony’s Action Cam HDR-AS10? Very interested to see how it compares to the models listed in this review.

  • Joe says:

    Hey Patches, maybe you should actually read the whole article before making mind bogglingly stupid comments. There’s a video on page 4…

  • Sadoldsamurai says:

    Yep, nice review..but like many others I have a go pro-which like it or not is the current ‘benchmark’..What would be useful is a simultaneous filming video. I’ve seen one comparing GoPro2 and a later GoPro3..its and ad and so I suspect the GoPro3 may have been slightly ‘enhanced’..
    cynical aren’t I 🙁

    • Brian Mullin says:

      GoPro does have a large editing staff of professional videographers, so there internal footage looks pretty good. We’ll have some comparison video out shortly, but it will only be all the new cameras against each other. GoPro HERO3, Contour+2, Drift HD Ghost, Replay XD1080, JVC, Sony. I personally try and only upload raw footage (no editing) from the camera, as it gives the best idea of what the camera outputs.

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