That might be about to change with the availability of the Adixxion. This is a tiny, rather boxy but fully featured action camera which claims to be "quad proof", meaning water and shockproof, dustproof and freeze proof.
So, yes, you can take it on your Arctic travels....
Let's stay closer to home for a quick look.
I am enamoured by the JVC Adixxion for a number of reasons: the form factor is excellent, much more streamlined than the GoPro and almost as good as the ION Air Wi-Fi camera reviewed last.
A bit of aerodynamics is kind of important for us as we like to mount cameras on the outside of aeroplanes. That is typically also a hard place to monitor your footage when you going between 2-300 km an hour so I appreciate not only the built in tiny screen but the Wi-Fi possibilities that makes it possible to communicate with my Samsung Galaxy phone.
A must in today's action camera is Wi-Fi. And probably the best reason for this feature is that you can start and stop recording via your smartphone and see what you are currently looking at. The LCD screen on the unit helps to set the right angle and direction of view but it is brilliant if you can see that on your phone when the camera is mounted in a remote position.
The WiVideo app is a general bit of software that this JVC camera uses and it is quite sufficient if it worked perfectly. The first issue we had was that the software did not detect the camera. We discovered that instead of a secure hotspot on your phone you should make it open. The other issue we have is that it doesn't stream the live footage to your phone. I tried different types of resolutions, but even VGA would not stream at all. All you see is the initial picture of what the camera is aiming at and you can start and stop the recording from the app. You can also view the recorded footage but it takes a long time for the video to stream. It's no wonder that this app is rated very poorly in the community. We hope to see an upgrade soon!
We already mentioned that this camera is waterproof up to about 5 m. That's enough for snorkelling but not really for diving which requires a special housing, similar to the GoPro.
The Photo mode generates 5MP stills but the interesting thing is that shots can be taken at intervals of 1 or 5 secs, making for some cool time-lapse sequences.
Another useful feature is the Digital Image Stabilization, which minimises camera shake, and the all important rolling shutter cancellation that corrects the image skewing that can occur with CMOS image sensors. That means I don't have to worry about the propellers flying off the engine!
In contrast to the ION Air camera we reviewed earlier, the JVC unit comes with limited mounting options: one for your goggles and a flexible mount. A plus point is that the unit has two tripod mounting positions, one on the bottom and one on the side but a weak point is that they literally are a weak point, made from moulded plastic rather than metal.
For mounting this unit on the tail of my plane I had to cobble together bits and pieces from other cameras as well as the flexible mount from this one. For extra security I use a cable tie whenever I mount a camera on the outside of an aircraft.
I went for a quick fly the other day and you'll find the result below.
You will see that mounting a camera in the tail right in the slipstream of the propeller is not a good idea. The buffeting of the air, distorts the picture and looking at it for a long time makes you queasy!
The picture quality is reasonable good and, coming from JVC, which is noted for its high quality cameras, they know how to do it right. After all, they are in competition here with the likes of GoPro which has increased its quality drastically over the years.
I noticed too that the placement of the microphone, right on top of the unit, causes a lot of wind noise. You can try putting some tape across the hole to muffle the noise a bit. You can see that, when I start the engine, it kicks up a lot of gravel from the tarmac in front of the hangar! Good thing I left the lens protector on, even though it's not meant to stay on for filming as it degrades the quality....
Another comment on the quality of the video: the camera they sent me from America was in NTSC default mode which was automatically converted to PAL in CyberLink PowerDirector but with a loss of quality of course. Subsequently I changed the TV mode to PAL on the menu system.
Over time we will put some more videos on this review but, since this action camera from JVC has been out for some time already, you will find plenty of videos on the Internet.
There is lots to like about this little camera. Outstanding is the form factor and the plethora of features. It is simple to operate, which is kind of important in an action camera, and the fact that it uses a standard SD card can also be considered advantageous. The downside is that no card is supplied.
Other minus points are the somewhat weak mobile application and the limited mounted options supplied with the unit. Points of improvement also extend to relocating or modifying the microphone's excessive wind noise and further upgrading of the lens quality in the next model. And we would not mind getting an increase in battery endurance at the same time. Expect about an hour at most and you'll be safe...
Potentially, JVC can turn this into a top-of-the-line product with this form factor and feature set.
Currently the JVC GC-X1 Adixxion camera officially sells for $349.95 but better deals can be had online.
ADIXXION GC-XA1 Primary Features
• Quad-Proof Design: 5m Waterproof / 2m Shockproof / Dustproof / Freeze proof
• Built-in Wi-Fi (smartphone linking, streaming and remote control functions)
• 5M CMOS Sensor
• Super Wide Lens
• 1.5-inch LCD Monitor
• 5x Digital Zoom
• Digital Image Stabilizer (DIS)
• Full HD 1920×1080 30p Recording
• 5 Megapixel Stills
• SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot
• Time-Lapse REC
• White Balance (Auto & Manual) / Exposure (Auto)
• HDMI® Terminal (mini)
• USB Cable provided
• Wi-Video PC Software provided
Recording modes and approx. recording times for each media
Mode FHD HD960 HD60 HD30 WVGA
Resolution/fps 1920×1080/30p 1280×960/30p 1280×720/60p 1280×720/30p 848×480/30p
Bit rate 15Mbps VBR 8.9Mbps VBR 13Mbps VBR 6.7Mbps VBR 3.0Mbps VBR
SDXC/SDHC Card Full HD Recording:
64GB 9hr 30min
32GB 4hr 50min
16GB 2hr 20min
• Goggle Mount: Attaches to goggle strap with supplied screws.
• Flexible Mount: Adheres to flat or curved surface with supplied 3M double-sided tape.
• Lens Protector x2
• LCD Protection Film
• USB Cable
• Rechargeable Battery
• Roll Bar Mount MT-RB001: Fits pipes from 21mm to 40mm (7/8″ – 1-5/8″) in diameter.
• Handle Bar Mount MT-HB001: Fits pipes from 21mm to 30mm (7/8″ – 1-3/16″) in diameter.
• AC Adapter AC-V17UL / AC-V10L: Charges ADIXXION battery from outlet.
• Float Strap WA-FL001: To help the camera float while in water.
• Goggle Mount MT-GM001 (same as supplied with camera)
• Flexible Mount MT-FM001 (same as supplied with camera)
• Lens Protector GL-LP001 (same as supplied with camera)
• Battery BN-VH105 (same as supplied with camera)