Backcountry Pilot • Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

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Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Hey guys, I know the topics of POV HD cameras come up from time to time, so I thought I'd post my review of my newly purchased HD170 by Drift Innovations.

Lots of good things to be said about this camera. Good battery life, nice picture, great settings and features, but the 3 things I LOVED are the RF remote, the wide angle rotating lens, and the nice display screen. Anyway, here's my quick 3 1/2 minute (pilot) review with some flying clips. For under $300 bucks it's a great POV camera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ORYQ0wN7mU



If you have any questions, let me know. I'll do my very best to answer them.

Cheers,
Matt
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Very cool! The remote would be a huge selling point for me. That's the one thing I don't like about the GoPro, No Remote :?

How much for that unit?
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Hi Shep.

Nice job, man! I do dig the RF remote.
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Hey Matt
How about a shot of your mount?
Thanks for the update
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

I have liked it for a while just haven't pulled the trigger, after the filter shot I have no reason not to!!
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

How do you know that when you hit the remote to start recording that it actually does? Is there an indication on the remote or is this an article of faith?
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Matt,

Great post, with nice variety of samples! Thanks.

Two questions: What are you using for a neutral density filter to eliminate the prop artifacts? And, did this have any effect on the image quality, ie: due to vibration, the camera operating at lower speed displayed more vibration??

I too would like to see your strut mount. I recently purchased one of these, but it's been too cold to spend much time rigging up mounts lately. Looking forward to a bit warmer weather to experiment some.

Thanks,

MTV
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

shortfielder wrote:Hey Matt
How about a shot of your mount?
Thanks for the update
Gary


I'll take a pic of the mount, it's pretty simple (I think pilotmall sells it for 35ish).

I also like the idea of pairing the cams to one remote if you happen to buy an extra HD170. They did a great job making this and the way it handles wind and vibrations is superb.

My only complaint is that it is kinda bulky (not really heavy) for a POV cam and I worry about the back plastic hinge door breaking after heavy use.

Hey Wup, I've had pretty good luck using the ND filters on any CMOS camera. A 3 stop seems to work pretty well, but still a little noticeable from time to time.
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Bonanza Man wrote:How do you know that when you hit the remote to start recording that it actually does? Is there an indication on the remote or is this an article of faith?


It makes a "beep" when you turn start and stop recording (which is useless while flying, but a nice feature) and it has a little LED indicator on the play button that turns red when recording and green when stopped. The ability to turn the lens makes it easy to align cam to see this light from the strut. But it never once failed me to start or stop, works 100% of the time.
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

mtv wrote:Matt,

Great post, with nice variety of samples! Thanks.

Two questions: What are you using for a neutral density filter to eliminate the prop artifacts? And, did this have any effect on the image quality, ie: due to vibration, the camera operating at lower speed displayed more vibration??

I too would like to see your strut mount. I recently purchased one of these, but it's been too cold to spend much time rigging up mounts lately. Looking forward to a bit warmer weather to experiment some.

Thanks,

MTV


Hey MTV, I'm cheap so I just bought this 3 pack, it nice cause there's plenty of it and you can cut it as needed. I have been using this setup for about a year and haven't seen any big side effects. It skews the color a tiny bit in some lighting conditions, but not really even noticeable.

http://www.amazon.com/Norman-Neutral-De ... -1-catcorr

Here's the mount I'm using, works very well. (I'll post a pic of it on the plane later.)

http://www.pilotmall.com/product/RAM-Mo ... ram-mounts
Image
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Matt
What kind of memory card does this take and how much time can you record on it?
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

mountainmatt wrote:
It makes a "beep" when you turn start and stop recording (which is useless while flying, but a nice feature) and it has a little LED indicator on the play button that turns red when recording and green when stopped. The ability to turn the lens makes it easy to align cam to see this light from the strut. But it never once failed me to start or stop, works 100% of the time.


With a low wing I wouldn't be able to see the camera. This sounds like a good deal. One place I'd like to try and mount it is on one of my main gears, next to the gear door and have it running as I select gear down.
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Great review, detailed and informative. The remote and the filter sold it for me. I'm getting one.

I see where you get the ND filters, but what attaches the filter material to the front of the lense? Where do you get the ring and does it screw on or slip on or ??
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Glidergeek wrote:Matt
What kind of memory card does this take and how much time can you record on it?
Russ


Hey Russ, it uses SD cards. I bought a 16GB card on Amazon for 25 bucks and can hold 280 minutes on 720P X 30FPS. With the use of a remote, that a lot of time. (The camera can accept up to 32GB cards though/ 560 min)
http://driftinnovation.com/hd170-action-camera/

The reason I don't use the 1080P setting is it uses up more memory and the field of view goes down to only 128 degrees (I think).

Bonanza Man wrote:
With a low wing I wouldn't be able to see the camera. This sounds like a good deal. One place I'd like to try and mount it is on one of my main gears, next to the gear door and have it running as I select gear down.


That's a great idea, it would be fun to watch. You could also just turn it on and go do a pattern lap as well (the remote doesn't have an on/off switch, just start/stop).
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Ridge Runner wrote:Great review, detailed and informative. The remote and the filter sold it for me. I'm getting one.

I see where you get the ND filters, but what attaches the filter material to the front of the lense? Where do you get the ring and does it screw on or slip on or ??


Thanks RR. The filter thing is up to us to figure out. Currently there is no easy solution to the problem except to use "red neck" technology (something I pride myself in occasionally). It shouldn't be too hard to come up with something. ;)
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

The ContourHD I believe (correct me emflys) has a little thread-on transparent cap that you can remove, insert a ND filter and screw back on over the lens. For any other camera I think you'd have to redneck it like Matt said.
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Matt;

Great review.

I was looking at the HD170 spec sheet and a video on operating the camera where I saw you can set the f stop or whatever the digital equivalent is. What happens if you choose a higher f stop rather than using the ND filter? Seems that would restrict the light and without having to McGiver the ND filter.

TD
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Good review! I also use the same cam and have the same perspective on it. I also have a gopro and this thign weighs about the same but it is definitely bigger, and the battery lasts longer. two things that may help with some of the questions:

1)the remote-two separate buttons..one on/one off. if you cant see the cam..hit the start button twice-doesn't do anything if
already on..same with turning it off. That way you decrease even more the likeliness of missing your shot. Matt and I both agreed the remote works up to about 20ft away.

2) the filter deal...look up ragecams. they have a lens kit protective cover that goes over the front. You can put filters right into that, and they even offer filter options (UV, etc). They said the cover can be altered for rotating the lense as well. Would also protect the actual lense from FOD. They also offer a slew of other add-ons (covers, batteries, etc.)
http://compare.ebay.com/like/380257467041?ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&rvr_id=212608015316&crlp=1_263602_304662&UA=WXS%3F&GUID=4eed61fb12e0a0aa1542ce02fee713d9&itemid=380257467041&ff4=263602_304662

3) also I think its cool to note that the mount is a normal camera tripod mount so the possibilities are endless (unless you have no imagination :wink: ) They also include helmet mounts and a bicycle bar mount. I have used the cam on my ski/boarding helmet and it also works great for that too!
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

TomD wrote:Matt;

Great review.

I was looking at the HD170 spec sheet and a video on operating the camera where I saw you can set the f stop or whatever the digital equivalent is. What happens if you choose a higher f stop rather than using the ND filter? Seems that would restrict the light and without having to McGiver the ND filter.

TD


Tom,

You're probably thinking of the exposure setting which is -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, this camera does not have an F stop setting (but I see F stop settings are getting more popular and come on cameras such as the Canon G12). The exposure helps in lighting conditions and for a POV cam, this one does "ok". I don't think the exp settings acts like a F stop setting (???), but it's something I'll play around with.

FLYNAKD wrote:Good review! I also use the same cam and have the same perspective on it. I also have a gopro and this thign weighs about the same but it is definitely bigger, and the battery lasts longer. two things that may help with some of the questions:

1)the remote-two separate buttons..one on/one off. if you cant see the cam..hit the start button twice-doesn't do anything if
already on..same with turning it off. That way you decrease even more the likeliness of missing your shot. Matt and I both agreed the remote works up to about 20ft away.

2) the filter deal...look up ragecams. they have a lens kit protective cover that goes over the front. You can put filters right into that, and they even offer filter options (UV, etc). They said the cover can be altered for rotating the lense as well. Would also protect the actual lense from FOD. They also offer a slew of other add-ons (covers, batteries, etc.)
http://compare.ebay.com/like/380257467041?ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&rvr_id=212608015316&crlp=1_263602_304662&UA=WXS%3F&GUID=4eed61fb12e0a0aa1542ce02fee713d9&itemid=380257467041&ff4=263602_304662

3) also I think its cool to note that the mount is a normal camera tripod mount so the possibilities are endless (unless you have no imagination :wink: ) They also include helmet mounts and a bicycle bar mount. I have used the cam on my ski/boarding helmet and it also works great for that too!


Great points, now get back to work. :mrgreen:
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Re: Drift HD170 Camera - My review from a pilots perspective

Matt: Thanks,I guess........now I have to buy one #-o
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