There’s a lot to be said for having a camera that you can take with you no matter where you’re heading, but even our cell phones can’t go everywhere. Of course, if you’re going somewhere your phone won’t survive, there’s a pretty high probability you’ll want to come back with photographic evidence! That’s where action cameras come in—a tool I would recommend (from personal experience) as a part of every photographer’s kit bag.
2019’s been an interesting year for the category. Read on for the scoop on the latest rough & rugged shooters at Mike’s Camera, including a really radical new take-everywhere option from Canon guaranteed to make a great holiday gift for active adults and teens alike.
First up, we have a major update to GoPro’s bellwether Hero line. Last September’s release of the GoPro Hero7 series paired few physical changes with major internal changes, but this update does the opposite. The first body redesign in several years, the Hero8 not only forgoes the need for an underwater housing to be waterproof up to 33′, as did the Hero5/6/7 cameras, but also the need for a frame to access the myriad mount options available for GoPros. The little “fingers” that mate with the mounts fold up conveniently into the base of the camera. Neat! Other changes to the body:
- Fixed lens glass is tougher and slimmer than on the Hero7 but will require an adapter to use filters
- Front-facing mic with improved algorithms and better wind suppression
- 10% lighter-weight than the Hero7 Black (with frame) and significantly smaller
The internals will look familiar, though the software’s received a boost too.
- 4K60p video now maxes out at a 100mbps bitrate, up from 78mbps
- 1080p live-streaming, up from 720p
- 12 MP stills, still
- HyperSmooth 2.0 improves the excellent digital stabilization system introduced with the Hero7: general performance boost, works in all resolution/framerate settings, adds in-app horizon leveling and “boost mode” that crops more than the normal 10% for more stability
- TimeWarp 2.0 upgrades the other flagship feature from the Hero7: now you can adjust the rate of your time-lapse up or down with a tap or let it automatically adjust based on movement
- 4 “digital lenses” let you dial in your desired field of view
- Live Burst uses a continuous 1.5 second buffer to capture 3 seconds of image data before and after the shutter press—choose the best frame for that most gnarly of pics or save the whole trick as a 3 second video
- Improved HDR performance to minimize the occasional ghost effect
Complementing the Hero8 are a series of “Mods”—more than a mount, these add-ons change the functionality of the camera!
- Media Mod: a frame made for vloggers, the Media Mod adds a shotgun microphone, two cold shoes, and an I/O interface featuring a 3.5mm audio jack, HDMI out, and USB-C port.
- Display Mod: a fold-down 1.9″ front-facing screen for perfect self-framing every time. Attaches to the Media Mod.
- Light Mod: a small but powerful LED which attaches to the Media Mod or any GoPro mount.
Come on down to the store and check one out in person, or click here to order now! Click the sample images, below, to view full-res.
DJI Osmo Action
Released earlier this year, the Osmo Action is drone-manufacturer DJI’s first foray into the territory of flightless, rugged cameras. In many ways, it’s very similar to the GoPro Hero8—4K60p at 100mbps, 12 MP still images, form factor, slow-mo, time-lapse, temperature-resistant to -10°C—but there are a few key differences. Most noteworthy? 3 additional feet of waterproof-ness (36′ for the Osmo Action) and a full-color front screen for framing perfect selfies. It’s a great price, too. Click here to snag one now.
Canon IVY REC
Our third featured camera, released only this month, is a truly different creature. You may remember a few experimental cameras Canon teased at conventions earlier this year; of those, one potential design went to crowdfunding for its final level of support. The CLIQ and CLIQ+ showed us that the IVY name encompasses more than just printers, and the REC exemplifies their developing commitment to providing good old-fashioned fun, not just running the race to the highest specs.
The IVY REC is is a casual and clippable point-and-shoot camera with a fixed wide angle lens, equivalent to 25mm or thereabouts. It’s small enough and light enough—only 3.17 oz—to be always there, never noticeable, and since the REC is shockproof from 6.6′ and waterproof down to 6.6′, it really can go anywhere. Shooting stills at 13 MP and video at 1080p up to 60 fps, it’s a great way to get handy pics of everything at pretty decent quality without fumbling for a camera app or lugging a larger camera around.
The only on-camera controls are the shutter button and mode dial, and rather than using a screen, the clip functions as a very rudimentary tunnel viewfinder. Of course, the well-featured Canon Mini Cam app will let you preview/transfer photos and change a few settings when you need a little more control.
The IVY REC will be available later this month, in three colors (Riptide, Avocado, and Dragonfruit). Interchangeable magnetic faceplates will also be available. This one’s sure to fly off the shelves as the holiday season approaches, so beat the pack and click here to buy one now!