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-   -   Oregon Scientific's New ATC5K Action Cam (

Private Idaho Oct 8, 2008 10:44 AM

Waterproof down to 10 feet; Webcam functionality and shock-resistant.

JamesWilson Oct 8, 2008 11:31 AM

Their last offerings were horrible--- large and bulky, the ATC 1K only shot at 15fps and 320x240 with heavy compression artifacting and limited to 1GB. I hope OS has listened to it's users instead of "taking the money and run" once the sale is made.

I have not seen them advertising the 5K in the US, but they are being pre-ordered and sold in Europe at about 145 pounds (about $255). The earlier models were around $100-$150 IIRC.

At least they added a screen for aiming and playback, and a remote control. It's still pretty large for an all-in-one. The GoPro Motorsports Hero is 1/4 the size, and shot much better AVI video than the old 2K and 3K (but no screen, limited to 2GB, etc.), and is waterproof to 100'.

I'd still prefer a waterproof bullet cam and separate DVR, the thing is too clunky.

(I'm new here, but this type of product is "my industry")

sgspirit Oct 8, 2008 11:20 PM

I have the previous two helmet cam efforts by Oregon Scientific. The first one suffered from low resolution, lousy picture quality, and using 4-AAA batteries. The second one was even bulkier, it dropped the still shot mode and had a useless microhone, but had improved resolution and was waterproof. Both of them suffer from extremely inconvenient button controls with inadequate audio/beep feedback, painfully slow reactions to the buttons, cmos swimming image artifacts, cheap sensor contrast problems, lousy auto white balance, and too narrow a field of view.

A cam being used as these were intended need clear, instant tactile and audio feedback from the controls. I was forever having to take my helmet off to see what mode they were in. And you can't always stop to adjust them, or ride a bike for 4 seconds one-handed while the other hand reaches up over your head to hold a button down.

A cam being used as these were intended will be shooting precisely in conditions where the inherent charactersistics of cmos sensors will be the most problematic. Same with the width of the field of view. Using a cheapo sensor and processor unit just to keep the price down a few dollars helped make these things unusable.

So they gather dust, a waste of money. This latest version will be even heavier and bulker. What good is a screen in the situations where you'd want to use a helmet cam? Even on a handlebar mount, who's going to be able to look at it while filming? The screen is useful only for reviewing footage, so it should be a separate, plug-in module. Or just an a/v-out port. Since Oregon Scientific says nothing about using an improved sensor or video processing unit, or better controls, or faster response times, I have to assume they're just as bad on this new cam.

Looks to me this will be most useful as an underwater cam, as long as you can keep the subject matter in the focus zone. Oh, and don't try to hold it underwater while you're standing, because you won't be able to see the screen from above.

"Won't get burned again."

I'm curious to know your role in digital cameras or helmet cams, James.

JamesWilson Oct 9, 2008 12:10 PM

sgspirit wrote:

I'm curious to know your role in digital cameras or helmet cams, James.
I agree 100% with your findings on the OC, as well as most of their other users :)

I am a product designer/engineer that has worked on main projects for (among others) ChaseCam and Cam-FX as a consultant.

Right now I am working on another project to build a bullet-cam-based High Definition portable DVR. See the "If you could build your own camcorder" thread, and as you have used other products intended for certain uses, voice your opinions and desires!

Private Idaho Oct 9, 2008 4:10 PM

Archos offers the following:

Not sure how good it is.

Private Idaho Oct 10, 2008 9:36 AM

Then there's the "VholdR" model here:

sgspirit Oct 11, 2008 12:24 PM

The VholdR sounds like it's well designed. The laser point/level feature is a great idea. Not so impressed with the use of a cmos sensor, but it looks like they've programmed it to lessen other video artifacts. Still a bit heavy for side mounting on a helmet. It would pull the helmet crooked.

I'm impressed that they actually considered that someone might want to use the cam while wearing gloves. (Duh on most other helmet cam designers.) And designed a simple, non-ambiguous action to it.

Not cheap, but not much more than what I wasted on the two Oregon Scientific helmet cams.

Private Idaho Oct 14, 2008 11:47 AM

Another interesting model:

JamesWilson Oct 14, 2008 9:47 PM

The POV1 is a good setup, but is limited to 2GB, has an external mic that is inline with the bullet cam cable, and is oddly-shaped. But it is a good 720x480 shot at 4Mbs AVI for what it is. Digital CMOS camera as well has good characteristics.
I have a sample video from a motorcycle here--
They were $900 a few months back, and have now dropped to $680 for the setup.

There are many more like this, like ChaseCam's PDR100 MPEG-2 recorder 8Mbs (compact flash, lots of features but has heavy interlace and pulldown issues, and is pricey at over $1K). I worked on that project in '06-'07 and it is great for it's intended applications, but IMO is overpriced and fails to meet a High-Definition oriented market. They do have an internal accellerometer that allows to overlay live G-force measurements and is easily calibrated. A screenshot from my Subaru in May 2007--

I also workedon this project as well, the Cam-FX DVR. MPEG4 AVI Xvid 640x480 4Mbs SD-card memory, much smaller and lighter and has an LCD screen that the ChaseCam setup does not, and is nearly half the price. Smaller bullet camera as well.

Working on a High Definition version for bullet cam users as well, maybe a Spring 2009 release if funding goes correctly.

This industry is fun, lots of guys absolutely DESTROY small digicams and it's nice to see that tougher models like these can make it work for car/motorcycle racing, albeit now with lower video resolution. Hope to change that soon.

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