The mini cam market is exploding with all kinds of makes and models available so you can save your stunts for posterity.
If you're planning on investing on one of these very cool pieces of kit then take a look at this review of the KL508 - written especially for us by avid ski fan Nick Nicklin.
Mini Cam Review – KL 508
Wanting to save and show my exploits on snow, I decided to investigate the numerous mini cam units on the market. After much internet searching I settled on the KL-508. This came as a Snow Kit from a UK seller, though the unit is made in China. The cost was £169.99.
So what do you get for your money?
Mine came with a leather belt case, a belt / pocket clip and a helmet mount.
The unit is available with bracket mounting for mountain biking or motorcycling, so you can use it all year round.
Other options are spare batteries, car charger, extension lead etc. Mine came with three batteries, which are more than enough to cope with filming all day; one fully charged spare and same in the camera will keep you going without a problem.
The camera itself is about as big as a lipstick, and the recorder / VCR player the size of a cigarette packet. Also included was a mains battery charger, leads for connection to a TV monitor, a USB lead for downloading to PC or laptop and a very neat trigger button on a lead, to start and stop recording..
The camera is mounted here simply using a velcro dot on the helmet, with the camera in the velcro and elastic mount supplied. I tried the trigger button with the 1.5 metre wire running from the unit, down my jacket sleeve into my ski glove. This worked, but I got lots of instances of the camera switching on and off when I didn’t want it to. I decided therefore to mount the button on the other side of my helmet, so now it was easily controlled by a single press of the button.
The VCR recorder / player has a 2.5” TFT LCD colour screen with a resolution of 920 x 240 pixels. There are 4 recording modes offering different resolution and frame rates: 720 x 528 @ 25 frames per second, 720 x 480 @ 30 FPS, 640 x 480 @ 30 FPS, 320 x 240 @ 30 FPS
Options chosen would depend on resolution required and speed of action, but both contribute to how quickly you fill up your SD memory card (not supplied).
Recording can also be activated from a button on the VCR unit, or by motion activation. A really neat feature is the vibration felt when the unit starts or stops recording – one buzz when starting, two when stopping. So even with the VCR tucked deep within your jacket pocket, you can tell what is going on.
The unit has on board memory of 256 MB, expandable through an SD card up to 32 GB. The inbuilt microphone works well, picking up commentary easily, as well as the sound of hard pressed edges on ice. There is a still picture option, in case you left your camera in the chalet, and when not in use the unit powers down to save on battery life. Moving images are AVI (MPEG4) files, and the unit comes with programme called Blaze Video Magic which offers limited file conversion options and ability to play back. I opted to buy a separate software suite which gave more intuitive editing and splicing effects.
There is a review of the camera on YouTube which shows the components quite well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th6kyld02jc
I have included a YouTubeclip from Serre Chevalier last season in flat light, to show a worst case scenario. Even then, the colour is well saturated, and shows sound quality.
Happy holidays for 2012, let’s hope it’s a good one!