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      TechBits: Action cam roundup (12.18.13)

      Many{}people looking for an action camera look no further than GoPro, because they simply don't know there re other cameras of that type. {}GoPro is definitely the best known- but it may not be the best camera for every person.

      The Tech Guy got to try out a few different cameras, and has a rundown of a five different models. {}They're listed in alphabetical order by manufacturer.

      GoPro Hero 3 Black {}This is the top of the crop from the best known action cam manufacturer. {}The Hero 3 Black has video modes ranging from 240 frames per second in WVGA all the way up to 15 fps in 4k (the emerging hi-def standard that's not yet in wide use.) {}It has adjustable field of view, in case you don't want wide-angle with pronounced fisheye. {}Some features are not the most user-friendly for average users. {}(For instance, doing a time lapse shoot produces a series of JPG files that must be stitched together in the included software. {}Other cameras output time lapses as video files.)

      • Storage: microSD
      • Waterproof: with case (included)
      • LCD screen: add-on (not included)
      • Connectors: USB mini, micro HDMI
      • Removable battery: yes
      • Mount system: proprietary
      • Smart phone app control: yes (also has included remote control)
      • Price: $399.99
      JVC Adixxion GC-XA1 {}At less than half the price of the Hero 3 Black, the Adixxion is designed to be used by average consumers, not video pros. {}The menus and controls are designed to be user-friendly- but that doesn't mean it's short on features. {}It has a wide variety of video modes, including live streaming through the included software. {}The Adixxion is 'quad proof' out of the box: {}It's waterproof, shock proof, dust proof, and frost proof. {}(The Tech Guy has dropped it into water and onto concrete from a height of 6 feet, and it did fine.) {}The JVC Adixxion is a good, solid camera for people who don't want to pay a top-line price for a very good camera.

      • Storage: SDHC/SDXC
      • Waterproof: yes (to 5 meters)
      • LCD screen: yes
      • Connector: USB mini, mini HDMI
      • Removable battery: yes
      • Mount system: 1/4-20 (standard tripod screw, bottom and side mounts)
      • Smart phone app control: yes
      • Price: $155.98 (Amazon)
      Liquid Image Ego {}At $200 less than the GoPro Hero 3 Black, the Ego delivers outstanding video quality ion a small package. {}The biggest drawback is the tiny display, and the lack of a method for adding an LCD screen. {}The optimal way to sight in and control this camera is with a companion app on a smart phone. {}Video modes are more limited than the GoPro and JVC models, but they should be adequate for most uses. {}The Ego is water resistant, but not waterproof.
      • Storage: MicroSD
      • Waterproof: with case (not included)
      • LCD screen: no
      • Connector: USB micro, micro HDMI
      • Removable battery: no
      • Mount system: 1/4-20 (standard tripod screw)
      • Smart phone app control: yes
      • Price: $199.99
      Polaroid XS100 {}At less than $200, this is a very solid camera. {}One standout feature is the G-sensor auto rotation system. {}If the camera is mounted sideways or even upside down, it can detect its orientation, and adjust shooting so the image is right-side up. {}The camera also gives vibration feedback to confirm actions like the start of recording- because sometimes visual confirmation isn't easy. {}It has a sleek, aerodynamic design- but it does not have an LCD screen or a smart phone app for setting a shot. {}(The wide angle lens makes it easier to get a good shot even if you can't see the output from the sensor.) {}The frame rate is adjustable at 720p, so you can do fast or slow motion shots.
      • Storage: MicroSD
      • Waterproof: yes (to 10 meters)
      • LCD screen: no
      • Connector: USB micro
      • Removable battery: no
      • Mount system: 1/4-20 (standard tripod screw)
      • Smart phone app control: no
      • Price: $159.00 (Amazon)

      Vivitar 785HD {}This camera is the bottom-rung price wise, and on features. {}It also has the worst video quality of any in the group. {}But for a very inexpensive camera, it has an LCD touch screen to help sight in your shots and set your recording modes. {}That's just about the only outstanding feature for this one. {}However, this would be a good camera for just trying out action cams to get a feel for how they work. {}It would also be an OK camera if you need one you wouldn't mind losing in a high-risk environment- for instance, whitewater rafting, where something that falls into the river is gone for good. {}Just don't expect great video quality.

      • Storage: MicroSD
      • Waterproof: with case (included)
      • LCD screen: yes (touch screen)
      • Connector: USB mini
      • Removable battery: no
      • Mount system:{}1/4-20 (standard tripod screw)
      • Smart phone app control: no
      • Price: $63.59 (Amazon)
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