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The new X170 from Drift Innovations: A rugged all-in-one bike-cam with a small screen. Could this be it, could this be the perfect extreme sports video camera?
The X170 from Drift Innovations is so called because of its 170 degree wide angle lens. The screen lets you line up your shot - a brilliant feature for a bike-cam - and you can watch your video masterpiece there and then without hooking up to a computer.
The camera is an inch longer than a Garmin GPS and can be fitted to helmets and handlebars with the included straps and mounts. Or, screw off the shoe and you’ll find a standard tripod thread.
Noticed the black dot yet? It’s caused by the curvature of the ultra wide angle lens. There’s nothing you can do about it but will only appear when you’re shooting into the sun. The company told me in an email: “This was a compromise we had to make to get the 170 degree wide angle lens.”
The X170 can shoot 5 megapixel stills or hi-res video at 720 by 480 pixel quality, 30 frames per second.
There’s some onboard memory but fit a 16 GB SD card for grabbing your footage.
The dead easy screen menu lets you toggle tons of stuff, like recording to AVI or MP4, or auto switching off the screen after you’ve lined up your shot. The X170’s screen is a boon, of course, but it’s a battery hog. Power is supplied by two AA batteries.
The lens rotates so you can fit the camera to any plane and still line up the shot correctly.
The X170 can be started and stopped with the included wireless remote control, dead useful for when you strap the camera to your helmet or when you’re in stealth mode, ten metres from your bike.
The camera’s auto exposure control is very good, switching quickly between contrasty scenes. The 170 degree lens is nearly but not quite a fisheye lens and there’s some barrel distortion of vertical objects.
In use, the X170 has been childs’ play to operate. The controls and menu are intuitive, the screen is a dream and - black dot aside - the video quality is top-notch. The X170 costs a touch under £200 and is available from ActionCameras.co.uk.