$12 Video Camera?

Can you make POV sports video with a $12 camera? 
By chance I came across these cheap helmet/sports cameras on ebay and basically thought why not give it a try. 
For the price, my expectations were low.  In fact it makes me scratch my head and wonder about the future of the local manufacturing industry that someone can actually make, AND deliver to my door, a video camera for $12 at all. 

What’s it like? Well the video quality is average, about what I was expecting and to be fair, quite OK for my purposes considering the price.  I wasn’t expecting high quality video, and its better than in the clips here, because they are compressed down to about 10x the original file size.
It shoots at 30fps, but don’t be expecting too much.

However… out of the box the field of view was very narrow.  This seriously compromised the quality of any video shot on the bike, in that it was both very sensitive to alignment and movement.  In fact this basically made the on board footage useless, with lots of movement/shake and video of the sky/ground.

So, what do you do when video from your $12 camera is compromised by a very narrow field of view? Well you get back on ebay and buy a $10 wide angle lens and glue it on.  Although all this probably sounds pretty dodgy, now the big problem with the camera is overcome and the resulting video is much improved.  The camera now captures a wide enough image that the alignment is not so critical and camera movement has less impact.

180° Fish Eye lense (middle) for phone cameras
My Camera with wide angle lense and 3M dual Loc added
These two images are taken from the same camera mounting position.
Top - standard camaera image, Bottom - with wide angle lense added.  You can imagine which one makes for more interesting viewing

The best thing about this camera is that its small and light, so you can mount it pretty much anywhere. I’ve attached some 3M dual lock, and a have a corresponding strip on my helmet, and small strips in 5 or so spots on the bike.  Too easy. 

The screen caps below show some the images captured from some of the different mounting positions.  The best ones are with the camera mounted on the bike itself. The images are more stable and having a potion of the bike in the image that remains as a stable point of reference in the image seems to provide a more watchable video.

The other good spot is on the seatpost facing back, with someone riding behind.  In fact, having other riders in the image is probably the single biggest factor in making the video 'interesting' to watch.

Front of seat tube

Rear of Seat tube



Bottom of forks facking back

Top of forks facking back

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helmet camera
mini sports camera
mountain bike video

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