Wearable Action Cameras

Wearable action cameras shoot video and photos from a first person point of view (POV). These personal cameras take videos that let others experience life (usually sports) through your “eyes.” Perhaps you’ve seen the exciting videos of snowboarders flipping through a half pipe or a paraglider soaring above beautiful landscapes. Still, these cameras can be fun for us mere mortals who want to share other experiences whether its hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, or riding a roller coaster, touring a new town, or playing in a soccer game.

About Action Cameras

The idea behind wearable action cameras is that you can put them on, start them up and forget about them. Some models can be mounted on a helmet or on bike handlebars, others have holders that strap to your chest or wrist, or on the dashboard of your car to video tape as you drive a lovely road.

When wearing an action camera, you want to participate in the action rather than fuss with a camera. There are minimal buttons and controls on these cameras. Instead many POV cameras have a WiFi feature to connect to a smartphone. The smartphone app is used to control the camera remotely or adjust settings. Some apps can be used as a viewfinder for still shots only. Other apps include a live-view mode to see what the camera is videoing and can be used to remotely control the camera

Most models of action cameras can shoot both HD video—720p and/or 1080p—and still photos. The still camera can shoot 12 megapixel or 16 megapixel photos so you can enlarge your favorite photos of your experience. Exposure and focus is set automatically. Single still shots require pressing a button on the camera for each photo. A continuous shooting mode will shoot one still photo after another. This can be more convenient because you simply press the button to start shooting still photos and press it again when you want to stop. The continuous mode is great for capturing several shots of fast action–a trick skier, biker, or racer as they speed by.

 Popular Action Cameras to Consider

The GoPro cameras are some of the most popular action cameras. GoPros can be mounted to a helmet or strapped to your body. There are WiFi models and models with a handheld remote. GoPro offers an optional LCD touchscreen viewfinder, that can be attached to the Hero camera models, for the times you want to use it like a regular point-and-shoot camera. The waterproof Polaroid XS100 camera has a tube-shaped body that is shockproof and uses WiFi to connect to a smartphone app for a live-view option. Sony makes the “POV Action Cam” and will be releasing a splashproof model in 2014. If you don’t want to shoot your own activities, consider getting the Action Cam Pet Pack that can be attached to your active dog’s back.

An Action Camera Built Into Goggles

A few years back, Liquid Image introduced a diver’s mask with a built-in waterproof action camera. Along with swim goggles, the company also offers camera-equipped ski goggles. I had a chance to try them recently and got hooked on the fun and ease of using an action camera.

The Liquid Image Apex HD snow goggles are stylish and comfortable. The Apex was only slightly heavier than regular ski goggles but otherwise felt (and looked) the same. The battery and camera fit into the sides of non-slip neoprene goggle strap. The camera lens is at brow level near the top of the goggles. Although I was wearing bulky ski gloves, it was easy to switch between HD video and camera modes and start the video or take photos. While cross-country skiing, I shot lovely still photos in the woods. Video and continuous shots were easy to start before I got into the action.

It takes a few tries to get a good video as you learn not to look around a lot and to keep your head still, but the result is a fun video to share, and some excellent photos. Action cameras make it easy to always be ready for a photo or video. For a full review of the Liquid Image Apex HD goggles check out my website at www.simpletechguru.com.

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