Customer Reviews: Drift HD170 HD Action Video Camera with 4X Digital Zoom
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on October 21, 2010
I did a lot of research before buying the Drift HD170. Having used a friend's GoPro, I'm familiar with point-of-view cameras. After using both, I don't know why anyone would buy a GoPro, unless they were using it to dive or for other watersports where the camera is underwater a lot. The Drift HD170 is splashproof, dustproof, weatherproof, and dunkproof which is more than enough for my activities. The Drift has a remote for turning the camera on and off. With the GoPro, we were always taking our helmets on and off to start or stop recording. More often than not, we'd just let the camera run, which meant hours of editing footage. When you turn the camera on or off with the remote, there is an audible beep. I wish they'd make the beep a little louder or the remote had an indicator to tell when the camera was on or off. But having researched all the POV cameras, there isn't anybody that offers that - even the $2000 POV model from Sony. The Drift camera also has an LCD screen, which is an absolute must-have. Without the LCD screen, you have no idea whether your camera is lined up properly. You can also confirm you got the shot without having to download video to your computer. The best thing about this camera is the crystal clear video. I normally shoot in 720p because I like the full 170 degree field of view. The files sizes are more manageable to edit and upload in 720p, but 1080p is an option for television-quality video. All-in-all, I'm really happy with this camera and for the money, nothing beats it.
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on September 28, 2010
Tell me where you can find any mini-HD camera in this price range that is that much better than this product, and I'll get it. However, I dont see any that much better. Just look at the options, functions and accessories that all come in the box versus similar cameras. Ive had it for 2weeks and have used it on my road bike helmet, handle bars, and regular hand held outdoor activities/sports events.

Pros: Color LCD screen, remote control, mounting accessories, protective/non slip outer, lens rotation, 1080/720 HD quality, exposure settings, rca/usb connections, zoom capable at 720
Cons: Could be lighter/smaller (but not a deal breaker), nite shot helps(low lux) but not great, sensitive/unstable picture taking (but dont need it for that)

Battery lasts about 4hrs. No complaints on stabilization (no stabilization function) since everything is shot at wide angle. Highly recommended for Action Sports/Outdoors enthusiasts whos needs video on the move. You will need to go up 5x the price to get anything better than the Drift HD170.
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on August 7, 2010
I feel this is best helmet cam with reasonable price (actually it is a good price).
I use 1080 but the resolution seems not clear as other HD camcorder but this is best quality available in Helmet Cam. I think if you want anything better you are looking are over $1000.

The LCD display and remote are excellent features and also it can do time elapsed photo graphy too. Also you can expand battery capacity to 1700mAh which I happend to have it. It has enough room to accomodate the fat battery.

Yes it has fish eye effect in all resolution 720 or 1080. It is because the helmet cams uses wide angle lenses, I prefer wide angle lens because it can capture wide area. As a helmet cam, you can really tell what you are capturing so I rather have wider angle to capture more areas.

The mount options in the package are also well made and useful.

It does not come with CD with editing software. The recommenation is use VLC which is OK with me. VLC works fine

Only a down side is the size. The size is little big as helmet cam but acceptable considering all the advantages it comes with.

It also do not have image stablization so certan footage can give you motion sickness but again I have not seem a helmet cam with image stablization. so this is something you would live with.

So I would say it is best in its class, if size is little smaller and has image it would have been perfect. --- I know I am asking too much

I definitly recommend this product
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on November 19, 2010
I've never written a review for anything on Amazon before. But when I got this camera, I was so impressed, I had to write about it. Last year, I'd borrowed a buddy's GoPro helmet cam for a few rides snowboarding through the terrain park. We watched the footage at his apartment, shared it online and on facebook and it was awesome! So I started researching helmet cams. There really aren't that many out there. It seems like GoPro, Contour and Drift are the major players.

I decided on the Drift HD170 because it has a view screen. The problem with GoPro is you can't tell if the camera is on or if it is lined up to get the right shot. With the Drift camera, you can preview your video clip on the screen. The Drift also has a remote, so you can turn the camera on and off without taking your helmet off. This not only is convenient but really cuts down on the editing because clips are shorter and a lot less to work through.

The price of the Drift HD170 was similar to the GoPro HD helmet cam and it offers so many extra features and video quality is awesome. Now all my buddies want a Drift HD170. Amazon has a great price and shipping but one of my friends found the camera plus all the accessories on I wish I'd known about that because it would be great to have all the accessories, and Amazon doesn't carry them.

I have shot some great video on my dirt bike already and can't can't wait for snow to shoot some vids in the terrain park, pipe, and freeride.

Great camera!
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on December 28, 2010
There are plenty of video samples out there for this camera showing video quality. Try My application is primarily mounted between the seats of a Honda S2000 for documenting autocross (racing).

I bought this camera mainly due to a number features which have worked out very well.

* built in 1/4 threaded tripod mount (my primary mount)
* LCD with intuitive menus (I can't remember multi-level cryptic settings interfaces)
* start/stop RF remote control (once camera is mounted and I am seat belted in place I cannot reach the camera)
* remote mic capability (with lots of wind noise while racing the remote mic provides alternate methods to get good audio)
* zoom (720p only) (although it is a digital zoom I can still frame the shot and get good quality)

I have two things to point out that are "annoyances." I would buy the camera again knowing these two things.

* In video mode the zoom resets after stopping a video clip. In camera mode it works as you would expect and stays at your setting between shots. I reported this to Drift Innovation as a "request" or "nice to have feature" and they responded quickly with acknowledgement and indication that a future firmware (software) upgrade will include a zoom that does not reset.
* The volume level of the beeps is not very loud, especially the beep for stopping a video clip. The camera is about two feet from my head back about a foot and I wear a full face helmet which may have something to do with this. It may have to do with the tone frequency (lower) for the stop tone, maybe my ears cannot hear this tone very well. I have not yet reported anything to Drift Innovation on this.

The other cameras considered at time of purchase.

* GoPro HD Hero
* Contour HD
* Oregon Scientific HD (ATC9K)

One feature that is missing from the Drift HD170 is 60 fps in 720p mode. All of the other cameras have this. Maybe they can release a firmware update to enable this if the hardware is capable. I'll have to contact Drift Innovation for this one as well.
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on November 12, 2010
This is a cam that has some very nice features, and at the same time, some real annoyances for me.

Things I love: Video quality. Mini-LCD. Adjustable lens for mounting at any angle. Ability to display output directly to TV.

Things I like: Remote control (works ok, but range is limited in my application - I might be getting other RF interference); Ability to take stills including time lapse; Lots of mounting options.

Things I find annoying: Too big. It weighs nothing, so I suspect there is a lot of air inside that case. Too wide angle. Standard battery only good for 2.5 hours for me and it takes at least that long to charge. Component video cable instead of HDMI. Component is a pain in a##! Video file format is something a little strange. It is .mov, but won't play directly on iPad, and seems to play slow on Windows version of QuickTime. I would prefer standard motion-jpeg. Menu system, while simple, behaves rather unintuitively.

Things that are broken: Camera playback gets very slow once you have a moderate amount of video or stills on camera (firmware version 1.3). It becomes unusable until you delete most of them. Manufacturer acknowledges issue and will supposedly deliver a fix.

Update with iOS 4.2 for iPad: seems to load most videos without conversion now.
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on December 15, 2010
I was reluctant to write a review of the Drift HD170 POV Video camera since its hard to say more than the other reviewers who have commented on the product. I agree with all of them when they say its well built, extremely versatile and with very good video, but most of all for me its biggest attribute is its ease of setup and use.

Having the LED screen, even one so small it looks like it belongs on a cell phone, combined with straightforward menus and essentially one button record, this camera is beyond simple. If that does not seem like a big deal, believe me it is. I have found you get the right video the first time, and you never have to think about how to do something - That lets you concentrate on what the real reason you got the camera, to get good video. The idea of the rotating lens is brilliant - it allows you to mount the camera for easy access to the screen and buttons and still get excellent video.

The little touches such as the wrist mounted remote control and the standard camera 1/4" tripod mount to allow RAM and mounts just show that someone was thinking when they designed this camera. Having used a few Camcorders with LANC remotes and Bullets cams in the past, I can say this night and day - those were a pain, this is a pleasure. Even compared to the Go-pro HD I used, this is so much better throughout in the areas I mentioned.

Video recording is why you buy a POV camera, and on this one it's great quality, and using it on my MacBook Pro is so easy, it plays natively and perfectly and the picture quality including stability is as good as my 4x as expensive camcorder/bullet cam setup

I really like having the ability to add an external mike - that was something I always missed on other cameras - and I am ordering one today - hopefully it will be as good as the camera.

After spending a lot of time researching and finally buying this one - I am very happy with it and I would highly recommend it to anyone....

But of course there are a couple things they could do better:

The Battery situation is not ideal. Having a removable rechargeable battery is probably good for the environment, but I am never in an area where its easy to charge it and I hate waiting 2 hrs, so I had to buy a couple high capacity extras rather than carrying some Lithium AA batteries like some of other cameras use - I can buy them anywhere and carry a bunch to shoot all day. Worse than that is the fact there is a no charger included or available? you have to charge the batteries in the camera and you have to do it over USB... So for me to charge up my main and spares, I have to spend the whole day with this camera plugged into my computer and remember to switch batteries every few hours.
You can buy a USB charger, but you still have to plug it into the camera using the camera as the charger and you also have to use cable that was included with the camera.

I should mention you can plug the cable into cigarette lighter USB ADAPTER if you are using the camera in a car or an off road car like I am, but that requires the back of the camera being left open, and you purchasing a "bootie" to go over the back of the camera (that is required for using the ext mike also). I can live with that, but it adds all total another $100 or so to the cost of the camera - its just inconvenient and expensive.

Beyond that, its a matter of taste as to whether you love or hate very wide 170 degree lens on the camera, I happen to like it and buy the explanation their website of why they went with that wide angle. You should compare their videos to other POV cameras with less degrees such as 140 vs 170.

Sure there are a few design imperfections, but overall, You can't go wrong with the HD170, it is by far the best POV out today.
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on September 27, 2010
The Camera records in HD quality very clearly and has a small LCD screen to preview what you shoot or your recorded movies has video out but the only problem is the camera has to be off to charge apart from that everything is excellent.
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on March 14, 2014
I actually mounted this with velcro on my shotgun under the barrel in front of the shell tube and it totally withstands the recoil and noise. I did use some foam padding.
Pros: hardy, durable, easy to download directly to the PC. You can look at the screen and see how your image is being recorded and rotate the lens to make it record right side up. Microphone works great and accurately.
Cons: the remote doesn't give positive feedback and a couple times I thought it was on but it wasn't so I missed some footage. The battery life is not good especially in HD. Im a neophyte at editing and ths requires a relatively good editing suite to do anythign fancyw ith the video and sound. It is a fish eye and has some of that effect. The lens doesnt come with an integrated protection filter which I really need. Scrolling through the setup and use is not real intuitive.
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on September 28, 2013
I picked this camera up instead of a GoPro because my buddy's grandma bought him one and since we were both going on a motorcycle trip together, I thought it would make more sense that we both had the same camera. Boy was I disappointed!

Firstly, the size is huge! It's about 2 or 3 Snickers bars stacked together. Due to it's awkward shape, it makes mounting it quite a nuisance as well. Unlike the GoPro, there are not as many aftermarket parts and a community to support this product, which is worth noting.

The camera itself, however, is not too shabby. The images were clear and HD as advertised. We chewed through memory cards, but the picture was great. Microphone was useless due to mounting it on our heads for the ride. Ended up picking up the Drift DMIC External Mic, but it was all but useless since it required the back hatch of the camera case to be open, negating its water-resistant property.

All in all, it'll get the job done, but I regret not buying the smaller and similarly priced GoPro.
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