Oregon Scientific ATC9K HD Action Camera
Tough enough to follow you anywhere.
Opening up the box of goodies, it’s clear Oregon have made an effort to ensure you can indeed attach this camera to what ever action you intend to record. From the outset, as it’s waterproof, I had decided to give it a thorough dunking for the video review.
Pulling into the deserted beach car park before first light, I tightly secured the silicon strap to hold the camera firmly to my surf board for some dawnie footage at my local break.
With the record light glowing as I set out into the dark, the horizon beginning to lighten behind me I managed a few shots of some small sets heading in my direction. Paddling into the first wave of the day, I left it a bit late and sat up on the board to let the break run by. To my horror, the board surfaced from the white wash to reveal, well, nothing. The camera was gone. Disbelief was then followed by immediate repeated diving.
With eyes desperately trying to find focus in the murky depths I hoped to locate a red light blinking back at me from the darkness. Out of breath, I surfaced into a set, took one on the head and dived on another breath trying to methodically hold my ground against the surf. Heading straight for the sea bed, my board tomb-stoned in the surf abruptly pulling me away. Several more dives and it was no use. I was certain the undertow had the oregon tumbling out to sea never to be seen again and I’d totally lost my bearings.
I spent nine hours in the surf that weekend, my only hope being a mention of my misfortune on the local surf report site should another surfer stumble upon it.
A night and two days later in the depths, a receding tide unveiled the camera to a fellow surfer who had read of my predicament in the mornings surf report. To my delight, by Monday night I was reviewing the footage.
For the stars the camera lost due to the over-optimistic strap mount, it regained for being tough enough to spend a few days hammered by surf. The camera was in full working order (once I flushed the sand out of the buttons) and ready for a second attempt.
The camera never captured my diving in close proximity, it was too busy bobbing on the surface. Over an hour of film showed its journey into shore and back out again. My mistake was assuming it sank, like past cameras I’ve reviewed. Likely due to the fact I didn’t have the GPS module inserted, creating a decent air pocket for its flotation.
A little added duct tape, and as you can see from the video it did the trick. For future developments though, it’s only fair to mention a couple of notable flaws: With the record light on the lens screen, you can get some flares and reflections on your footage while splashing about in low light. It also means you need to put your mug in frame should you wish to check it’s recording when the LCD automatically turns off. The mount is great for easy rotation, but depending where you wish to attach it to your curved board there is no vertical way to tilt the unit other than your own ingenious methods.
Now for all the good stuff. HD1080p recording, with 60fps at 720p for nice and smooth slow motion. 5mp stills with a continuous shooting option of up to 5 in sequence. Full of effects like sepia and black and white, you can also opt to take the exposure up or down a couple notches depending on conditions. It’s waterproof to a depth of 20m/60ft and shock resistant, as genuinely proved. It takes a micro SD up to 32G which is an approximate 10 minutes of video per gigabyte. The LCD screen gives you full control as well as a laser pointer to ensure you get the shots you want.
The scientific bit: the unique selling point to this particular action camera is it’s ability to measure the force of gravity during acceleration, deceleration and hang time with its built-in G-sensor by way of a pseudo-sphere graph. For the hardcore action sport enthusiast you can track your speed and distance with a GPS module (sold separately) that will map all your movements onto Google Maps and Google Earth.
Among all the pros and cons, its the saving grace for me is the LCD. With many POV cameras opting for the shoot and hope method saving on size and weight, the Oregon does well to maintain a relatively small profile with the added bonus of reviewing footage on the go as well as letting you compose your shots visually. Despite the ingenuity required for guaranteeing a solid mount and position on a surfboard in particular, it is packed full of features that all come together to create great high definition videos whatever your action sport of choice. A great camera for any sport at a competitive price.