VIO POV 1.5 Review – Initial Impresssion

by Brian Mullin on March 25, 2009


I received the new VIO POV 1.5 video camera last week and have gotten it out for a couple of rides. The unit comes in a very nice case that holds the camera head, and it’s attached cable, the recording unit, a wireless remote control, and a whole slew of extra’s. I really liked having the case to carry everything around, especially since it is not a one unit camera.


The small camera head has an attached video cable, in contrast to the POV 1.0 which had a detachable cable. The microphone for the camera is the small tab about midway along the cable.


The POV 1.5 has a new mounting system called the star mount. I used a stick-on Velcro to adhere to the top of my helmet. For some reason, the star mounts clamp’s diameter was not small enough to hold the camera tightly, so I had to add a couple of small pieces of foam to keep everything taunt.


The recorder unit has a small video screen, a LED indicator light, and has 7 buttons for various setup and video functions. Running through the setup is really easy, and changing any of the parameters was intuitive. Watching an already recorded video was as simple as using your remote control on a home video system. It was really nice to be able to see what you actually recorded or get a view of what the camera is seeing.


On the bottom of the recorder unit, there is a compartment for 4 AA batteries. I really liked the easy open method for the battery compartment, just spread the wings open and then pull the lid off.


On one end of the recorder is the compartment for the SD card, an AV out, a microphone in and a mini USB out. Opening the compartment is a pain in the butt. First you unscrew the cover’s screw, and then you have to pry open the compartment cover. It is hard to find a tool or implement that fits, and also one that does not mar the plastic as you pry it open. My fingernails are short and I do not carry coins with me, so I just sort of found it annoying. In addition, the SD card sits a bit to close to the upper wall of the compartment, and it is hard to grab the card to pull it out. I use a SD card reader, since they are extremely fast to download data from, so I am always pulling the SD cards from my video camera’s.


The wireless remote control is a very nice accessory, which I wore on my left wrist for my current testing. You can start and stop the video, and tag sections you might want to remember when viewing later. The micro Velcro of the remote wrist band liked to stick to stuff, so after one ride I could not find it until I looked at my gloves, and it was stuck on their fabric!


The system is easy to hook up. I had left all the settings as defaults the first couple of rides, so I didn’t change any of the setups, and I had already put the star mount system on my helmet.

I attached the video head to the star mount, clamped it on, then attached the video cable to the recorder, removed the lens cover, turned the recorder on, put my helmet on my head and then adjusted the camera’s horizontal view by twisting the camera head body. This turned out to be something I learned by trail and error the first couple of outings, how to get the angle proper. I ended up using my hand held out horizontally in the lens view to get something to calibrate from, since a lot of terrain can be skewed to be used for calibration. The camera head has a small white line on it to orient the lens properly, but it still needed a bit of micro adjustment to get it aligned properly.


Then I put the recorder unit in my pack, left enough cable out so that it would not bind nor be too sloppy. Then when I was ready to start the ride I would click on the record button on my wrist remote, and away I went. The video cable was not noticeable when I was banging down tough trails, but I could feel the heft of the additional weight in the pack. The is not a light camera. I carry a lot of stuff with me anyway, so I am sure I will get used to the weight.

Weight (as I tested):
Remote control 28g
Camera head w/cable 147.3g
Recorder w/ rechargeable batteries and 8GB SD card 346g
Star mount 25.5g

Total: 546.8g or 1.2lbs

(batteries 116.2g)
(8GB SD card 2.4g)

Note: the batteries that came with the camera 94.5g vs rechargeable 116.2g

Therefore, how does the video look? Where you really notice the resolution is in the details. Rock outcroppings, tree’s and the trail footprint is much more vivid and the clarity of objects is very clear. This can also cause things to look wild when you are flying along on a trail. The camera did have an occasional fit going in and out of extremely bright light and when dropping into deep shadows with the distant background was still bright it got very dark and murky.

On my last ride, I increased the resolution to the maximum of 720×480, the following video contains highlights from that ride.

VIO POV 1.5 from Brian Mullin on Vimeo.

The following video is side by side shots of the VIO POV 1.5 against the GoPro Hero, the POV is helmet mounted and the Hero is handlebar mounted, so there is a slight difference in that regard.

v————-VIO POV 1.5————-v v————-GoPro HERO—————-v

POV 1.5 vs GoPro Hero from Brian Mullin on Vimeo.

VIO url: http://www.vio-pov.com/

Company Fodder:

DESCRIPTION

The POV.1.5 is a fully integrated point-of-view (POV) video system that’s waterproof, dustproof, and shock-resistant. The system includes a mountable camera head, built-in video recorder, wireless remote and software for managing your point-of-view videos.

$ 649.95

Includes:

  • POV.1.5 recorder with LCD display
  • Wide Angle camera head 110 degrees
  • LVDS Cable
  • POV Manager software
  • Wireless Remote Control
  • 4GB SDHC Card
  • USB cable
  • Analog A/V cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • 4 AA batteries
  • Carrying Case
  • Double-Hook and Loop Mount
  • Star Mount

Features:

  • High-quality wearable video camera records with 720 x 480 resolution at 30fps
  • Ergonomic user interface design enables single-handed operation and hands-free video capture
  • Modular mounting system provides camera stability while attached to helmets or other high impact gear
  • Components are shock-resistant, water-resistant and dustproof for use in the most hazardous environments

Video:
Frame rates: 30fps, 25fps, 24fps, 15fps
Resolutions: 720×480, 720×400, 640×480, 360×240
Formats: MPEG4 AVI (DivX Codec) digital, NTSC/PAL analog
Exposure control: Automatic exposure control and white balance Imaging Hardware:
Sensor: Advanced CMOS sensor with electronic global shutter
Dynamic range: 75dB to 110dB
Sensitivity: 5 lux color sensor (Sub 0.1 lux monochrome sensor)
Processor: 32 Bit MIPS processor, 12 Bit image Optics:
Sensitivity: F/#2.0, Relative Illumination @full field 90%
Effective focal length: 2.97mm
Field of View: 110 degrees Audio:
Mic type: omnidirectional cable-mounted, -40dB sensitivity at 1kHz
Resolution: 16-bit half duplex
Sampling rate: 32kHz
SNR: 80dB
Speaker: Monaural 8ohm mylar, 0.7W Max Input/Output:
Recording capacity: Includes 4GB SD card, 8GB SD card capability
I/O Ports: SD card slot, USB 2.0 high speed (Mini -B), Mic-In, NTSC/PAL Analog TV/Audio Out

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