The first week of June an action camera came up on Woot! which peaked my interest. I’ve been considering picking up a used GoPro at some point to use for baptisms and other footage which could be hazardous to my phone or DSLR. So, when this deal came to my attention, I decided it would make a good father’s day present. Lucky for me, my wife agreed.
The camera on Woot! is described as an “iPM 4K 12 Mega Pixel Ultra HD Action Cameras with WiFi & Waterproof Case.” This is a camera which seems to be sold under various names over the internet While the Woot! has ended, I found what looks like the same camera on Amazon. This is $10 more than what I paid, but it also comes with a case. I’ll have to eventually track down the actual manufacturer so I can find firmware updates and such.
I’ve captured some footage with the camera, though I want to get it out doing “actioning” things before I bother uploading a video. I can say the footage is actually quite nice-looking, and I’m only shooting at 1080p 60fps to conserve storage space. Capturing footage was a blast. The package comes with a number of different mounts and adjustable straps. I actually mounted the cameras to my wrist a recorded as I walked around. It was surprisingly stable. Tomorrow I’ll see if I can take a bike ride before the thunderstorms hit and capture some video for a review 1.
The camera’s controls are straight-forward, but it takes a bit to become accustomed to which button does what in the menus. About the only annoyance I had was needing to cycle through several modes before reaching the settings option. It needs to be more readily accessible. One thing I love is the camera’s built in wifi. When the camera is in any one of it’s shooting modes its “down” button activates the camera’s built in wifi connection, and from there both Android and iOS devices can use an app to live-view the camera’s field of vision, begin and end captures, and download captured footage and stills. It’s well-designed. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be an option for connecting directly to a laptop – my MacBook won’t even acquire an ip address from the camera’s hot spot.
One thing users must be prepared for, however, is “fish-eye” effect the camera’s wide-angle lens has on captured material. Stills can be easily corrected in Lightroom using a lens correction profile 2. Video, however, is more difficult. Final Cut Pro X has some fisheye correction filters built into the application, but their ability is rather limited. This sent me searching for plugins which better corrected the distortion. Eventually I landed on FCPeffects Action Cam Essentials filters, which do a terrific job. The normal price of the filter is $49, but the code for “this week” 3 gives 50% of the normal price. At $24, this plugin is a steal – I don’t mind paying for commercial plugins which fulfill an actual need in my workflow. As nice as these are, however, I’m not sure what people who are using lower-end consumer editors can do to fix distortion issues. Most of the solutions out there are for the industry leading “GoPro” line footage shot with my camera won’t necessarily be compatible. The distortion isn’t a deal-breaker, but it is something to keep in mine when purchasing a device like this 4.
If you’re considering purchasing an action camera to take on your adventures 5, but don’t want to invest in a GoPro right away, this seems like good option.
- I’ll also probably attach it to my mower this morning. I’m living the adventure! ↩
- While the camera is not automatically identified, I found the basic “Hero” profile under the GoPro settings had the best results. ↩
- I have a feeling “this week” is really “all the time,” but I don’t care. ↩
- If you like the fish eye effect, then this doesn’t matter. It’s not my favorite. ↩
- Like walking calmly around the neighborhood as you take pictures. Me, I’m a thrill-seeker. ↩