Cheap ac­tion cam a no-no

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - ARMAND ATKINS •

THESE days, if you hope to get a spon­sor to fund your car rac­ing habit, you need to post beau­ti­fully edited clips to dis­play your car con­trol skills in slo-mo to your so­cial me­dia fans. But you can’t post just any old clip.

Top Gear has set the stan­dard, chang­ing the an­gle or shot every second. To match this, you will need at least two ac­tion cams in a car.

But the go-to ac­tion cam, the GoPro, is not ex­actly cheap, so imag­ine my joy walk­ing through Game and spot­ting an ac­tion cam for only R599 in­clud­ing all the ca­bles, cov­er­ings and mounts you could pos­si­bly hope for as an ad­ven­ture seeker and car en­thu­si­ast.

This was the Volkano Ex­cite HD Ac­tion Cam. On pa­per, its specs looked like Arnold’s pecs — HD 720P video recorder, wide an­gle lens, dig­i­tal zoom, touch screen dis­play, un­der­wa­ter func­tion, a 1,2 megapixel still cam­era and a 12-month guar­an­tee. In prac­tice, it turns out the Volkano Ex­cite is more of the for­mer and less of the lat­ter. It glitches and an old Black­berry takes bet­ter pics than the 1,2 MP still cam­era.

The wa­ter­proof cas­ing at least func­tioned as ad­ver­tised, not let­ting in a drop, be it from a muddy pud­dle for that low an­gle shot or at 30 me­tres un­der­wa­ter. The touch screen is also bet­ter than ex­pected at this price and the but­ton sys­tem is well thought out. Even the bat­tery life is fair, I’ll give it that.

But it all falls flat with the lens, which does not col­lect enough light, ren­der­ing all your shots gloomy and un­us­able. To add in­sult to in­jury, my model also added a line dis­tor­tion in all my video clips, so even though this cam­era pack­age is on sale for only R399, it is not worth buy­ing.

See­ing that GoPros still go for sacks of dough, rather save your cash, I’ll next tell you about af­ford­able cam­eras from MiView Dig­i­tal and Geco that will serve you bet­ter on the road to so­cial me­dia fame.


The less-than-im­pres­sive Volkano Ex­cite HD Ac­tion Cam.

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