Following on from previous camera reviews comes this review on the ATC9k HD Action Camera from Oregon Scientific.
- HD Quality Recording; 720p 30fps/60fps (1280 x 720), 1080p 30fps (1920 x 1080)
- 5 Megapixel Camera
- Different Scene Modes; Photo & Video
- One-Press Record
- Built-in G-sensor (measures acceleration)
- Laser Pointer (indicates direction)
- Status LED
- FOV:130 degree
- 1.5” TFT Display
- Minimum 1.5 hours Battery Life
- Various Mounts included
- 20m Waterproof
- Compatible with Window 7, Vista, XP, Apple Mac
- Dimensions: approx. L100 x W44 x H55 (mm)
- Power Source: USB connection rechargeable battery for ATC9K (supports an external charger but not included); 1 x CR2032 button cell for remote control
Oregon Scientific has given their competitors something to think about following the introduction of the ACT9K. It incorporates a 5 megapixel HD CMOS sensor, LCD video playback, and allows users to customize various shooting parameters using the menu.
The camera is waterproof to a depth of 20 meters, which is unlikely to be used for scuba-diving but it does give the user a high-level of confidence that the ATC9K can be used in extreme weather conditions. The ATC9k isn’t just a bike action camera, it can of course be used for sportsmen of any action sport. In fact, a quick spin around YouTube reveals plenty of water based sports using this camera.
The ATC9k records video onto a MicroSD Card, which isn’t included, and stores video files in an H264 format, which is probably better known to you as MPEG-4 or MP4, ie. the normal video format you will be used to.
Its list of features is very similar to those of the GoPro HD Cycle Helmet Camera (£299.99) and the Drift HD170 Stealth Action Camera (£199.99) but at £249.99 it sits right inbetween the two on price.
Included with the ATC9k Camera
These are the items that come with the camera. Perhaps surprisingly, Oregon even include an HDMI cable to enable you to connect your fab footage direct to your TV.
- HD Camera
- Carrying Bag
- Software CD – Viewing video on PC, and uploading them to the Internet
- IR wireless Remote Control
- Rechargeable Battery
- Silicon Strap
- Velcro Strap
- Helmet Grip
- Handlebar Mount
- Base Mount & Tripod Mount
- USB Cable
- HDMI Cable
- Misc Parts
- Sensor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Full HD, 1/3.2” CMOS
- Lens Type: Fixed Focus (3m – ~)
- Aperture: F/N=3.2
- Supports MicroSD & SDHC, Class 6 Cards, Max 32GB
- Max recording bit rate: 12Mbit/s
- Movie Settings:
- 1080p (1920 x 1080) @ 30 Frames Per Second (fps) – 1GB Memory = 9 minutes of recording
- 720p (1280 x 720) @ 60 fps – 1GB Memory = 10 minutes of recording
- 720p (1280 x 720) @ 30 fps – 1GB Memory = 15 minutes of recording
- WVGA (800 x 480) @ 60 fps – 1GB Memory = 15 minutes of recording
- Based on using a 32GB Memory Card, recording time available:
- 1080p @ 30fps: 4hrs 48min
- 720p @ 60fps: 5hrs 20min
- 720p @ 30fps: 8 hours
- WVGA/60fps: 8 hours
- 1.5”, 320 x 240 Resolution, Color LCD Monitor
- Images stored in H264 format
- Rechargeable 1050 mAH Lithium Battery
- Shock Resistant up to 1.2m
- Weight: 170g, 6.0 oz including battery
The ATC9k is slightly larger than the ContourHD, and weighs just six ounces or 170g if you prefer. It has a 130 degree field of view (FOV), which when compared to the human eye (95°) is perfectly capable of capturing wide angle shots. You can buy cameras with a wider FOV, upto 170° for example, but one thing to watch is the image degradation around the edges. In our view, 130° is plenty enough, as anything much beyond the naked eye doesn’t seem too natural.
The ATC9k is easy to operate, there are two buttons on top, one to activate recording and one to take a picture. When shooting video, the camera has a green LED at the front to indicate standby mode, and a red LED to indicate when the camera is recording – simples!
The ATC9k uses a tiny MicroSD Card for storing video footage and still images. Quite surprisingly, and very welcomed, is the fact that Oregon Scientific include an HDMI cable. You can connect the camera to your computer using the USB cable (included) to download video. Alternatively, you can take the MicroSD Card out of the camera and plug it directly into your computer using an adapter, if you have one as this isn’t included.
I guess the design of the ATC9K is going to be a Marmite™ moment, ie. you’ll love it or hate it. Personally, I like it, but then I’ve owned a yellow car in the past!
The camera comes with a lens cap and a LCD cover, which a lot of other manufacturers do not offer. As you’d expect for this price (£249.99), the ATC9k is packed with features. One such feature is LCD Display, which you can use to verify the effects of your settings before you start shooting, which the ContourHD, GoProHD and other action cameras do not offer. Other key features include;
- GPS Module: The ATC9k camera supports a GPS module accessory, which allows the user to map their route during recording, and to measure their speed and elevation changes. This can be seen by using the included ATC9K software.
- G-Force Sensor: The G-sensor measures the G forces and acceleration during your recording