Toolbox: Sports Video Gear
Going for hands-free shots
There's no time to fumble with a camera when scaling steep mountains or cycling through deep canyons. With action sports attracting more devotees every year, the gear for capturing these athletic feats on camera is becoming more affordable. Of course, choosing the right sports video camera depends on the kind of action you're into and what kind of video quality you're looking for. Most helmet cams now are about 1.5 inches wide, up to six inches long and weigh less than a pound. So capturing your mad dash down a black diamond trail is as simple as strapping the camera on your helmet and hitting record.
There's no shortage of sports video cameras on the market today, but most of them are fairly similar in style. Picture a small, lipstick-shaped body, with wires for connecting to a video-recording device such as a camcorder, plus an external battery pack, although more manufacturers are moving toward integrated systems that eliminate most of the wire hassle. Durability, how the camera is mounted and extras like built-in microphones are additional features to consider when looking for a sports video camera. Here are a few products that got our attention.
Water-Resistant Armband Cam
The slim, light Samsung SC-X210L sports camcorder offers MP3 playback, 1 GB of built-in flash memory that records up to 34 minutes of high-quality MPEG4 video, and a rugged, compact body that fits into pockets or other gear. The water-resistant, hands-free camera unit comes with an armband for easy attachment and has a built-in microphone. Samsung also added its electronic image stabilizer to help minimize blur.
The SC-X210L records video at 640 x 480 resolution, has a two-inch LCD and takes additional video footage or stills with an SD or a MMC memory card. It also doubles as an MP3 player, voice recorder and data storage device. The camera measures 2.3x3.7x1.2 inches and weighs 5.3 ounces. List Price: $599.