Korean dashboard camera company Pittasoft has released its first adventure camera, the Blackvue Sport SC500. It’s a hands-free video camera that can be used indoors, outdoors and even underwater.
Inside the box, you’ll find the camera, detachable, 2-inch LCD screen, a 1 050mAh hour battery, micro USB charging cable, frame mount, square mount, round mount that fits a tripod, adhesive tape, mount screw, rubber lens cover and a quick-start guide.
The mountable accessories let you attach the camera to a dashboard, helmet, bike or even a remote-controlled toy and, if you purchase the waterproof case, you can use it underwater, apparently up to 50m.
The unit itself is compact and weighs just 72g on it own. Once the battery is inserted, cover mount put on and LCD screen connected, it weighs a still very manageable 124g. The 55mmx44,2mmx37mm SC500 has a 157 degree wide-angle lens.
The front of the camera has four LED indicators that show you what mode you’re in — video, photo, high-speed shooting or Wi-Fi. To one side is the power button, which also doubles up as a navigation key in settings. Beneath this is the microphone. To the other side, and underneath a flap, is a mini HDMI port, micro USB charging port and a slot for a microSD card. The cover flap comes off completely and is quite small, and so easy to lose. The camera doesn’t have built-in storage and does not come with a microSD card, but cards of up to 32GB can be used.
It was slightly tricky trying to figure out how all the mounts fitted together and the instruction manual wasn’t much help. To use the mount, firstly cover the camera with the frame mount and then decide which mount you need — the square one if you want to put it on a dashboard or the round if you want to attach it to a tripod. Use the mount screw to attach both parts.
Inside the Blackvue Sport is a high-end Sony Exmor CMOS 12-megapixel sensor with auto-exposure and white balance. The sensor is capable of letting in more light and reducing noise, which means better quality images. It is capable of shooting full 1080p HD video at 60fps, and high speed shooting at a stunning 120fps in 720p.
High-speed shooting has only two options: 720p at 120fps and 480p at 240fps. Video formats are either MP4 or H.264 and stills are saved as JPG. Stills can be taken at 12-megapixel resolution all the way down to 0,3 megapixels using 16:9, 4:3 and 3:2 aspect ratios.
Shooting video is fun, provided you have the right subject. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to shoot footage from any adventure sport, but we tested it across various situations such as on the road, at a coffee house while a drink was blended and, of course, following a pet around the garden. The following video was shot at 120fps at 720p and uploaded to YouTube:
The 12-megapixel Sony sensor is more than capable enough to ensure that the SC500 can double as a point-and-shoot camera. The following is a sample of a wide-angle photo taken on the road:
The built-in Wi-Fi mode is used to connect to an Android or iOS device, via an app available in the Play Store or the App Store. We managed to connect to the camera’s Wi-Fi, but the dedicated app refused to load, crashing immediately upon launch. We suspect it may be an operating system compatibility issue.
When it works, the app gives you access to your images and videos and lets you edit from your smartphone or tablet. You can trim videos, add background music, change colours, crop or rotate images, resize photos and access the settings menu. If the app works for you, you don’t need to load content onto a PC before sharing it. The old fashioned option is to access your content via a Windows or Mac through a USB connection.
The 1 050mAh battery provides about two hours of shooting in full 1080p. The detachable LCD screen can be removed to save battery life by shooting without it. Just make sure your settings are configured correctly before attempting this.
Overall, the Blackvue Sport SC500 is a great little device that’s compact and easy to travel with as there is no bulk. If you’re into action or adventure sport, it is worth considering as an alternative to the GoPro line of action cameras.
The SC500 is expected to go on sale in South Africa this year. It’s expected to cost in the region of US$200. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media