POV Action Cam Shootout – Which Camera Is The Best?

Cameras Video

The cameras featured in this POV shootout are the Contour+2, the GoPro Hero3 Black, the JVC Adixxion, the Sony Action Cam, the Replay XD1080, and the Drift Ghost HD – the top six POV cameras in terms of features, specs and performance. For testing, I built a really stupid, but effective helmet rig that can accommodate all six cameras. That way I could shoot the exact same shot with all the cameras at the same time. In the video below, you’ll see all six videos running next to each other along with a little bit of analysis from me. Please pause and compare wherever you see fit. The more you look, the more you’ll notice the differences.

POV Action Camera Shootout Video Comparison

(View in 1080p and full screen for best results)

If you want to take a closer look, all the full HD videos are available on the next page. Although each of the cameras has multiple resolution and frame rate settings, to keep this test simple, establish a baseline, and keep the emphasis on video quality, all the clips were shot at 1920 x 1080 (full HD) at 30 frames per second at the widest lens setting offered, with no image stabilization (the JVC and Sony have built-in image stabilization). No adjustments or corrections of any kind were made while editing. The goal here was to provide sample video on as equal a platform as possible so you could judge the quality for yourself. I did my best to make sure all the cameras were pointed in the same direction, but there is some variation. You’ll also notice some angle-of-view differences – most notably, the Replay’s 135° lens; the Contour, which has a 125° angle-of-view in full HD; and the JVC, which I’m honestly not sure about. It’s supposed to have a 170° lens but that obviously isn’t the case.

About the author: John Shafer

John Shafer, a.k.a. Photo-John, is a respected photography expert and adventure photographer. He’s been an Mtbr member and contributor since 1999 and you can find his writing and photography across the Web, in mountain bike magazines and on his own Web site, Photo-John.net. John loves big mountains, rocky singletrack, low-visibility powder days, 6-inch trail bikes, coffee and tacos. Look for him pushing his bike uphill, carrying an inappropriate amount of camera gear in an overloaded backpack.

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  • DrSmile says:

    Thanks for the awesome review! What a great test setup! You convinced me to spend the extra cash on the GoPro!

  • Billy_B says:

    Interesting review. It looks almost like the Sony and GoPro have the same sensor with regard to color and exposure performance. The GoPro does have a great picture and an awesome collection of mounts but when a POV camera is put to that actual task of being a POV camera for a cyclist, skater or skier it can’t be ignored that the GoPro is possibly the most awkward of the bunch. It’s either way up on top of your helmet amplifying any head movement with the added weight or or mounted like a miner’s light dangling over your forehead. In that position is tends to swing the helmet around when looking quickly to either side. The camera position adds inertia to the movement and it continues after you stop your head. I can see how the GoPro dominates with image quality but selling tons of mounts doesn’t make it any less awkward. The Sony and the Contour seem to have balanced form-factor and performance most effectively.

  • ACP says:

    Where’s the Midland Radio offering? How does it compare?

  • 2mc says:

    A crucial element missing in this review is the total record times in both HD and SD formats. Sure one can have the best sharpest video but if it only does so for 1hr or so then its no good for me. I like to be able to be on a 3-4hr+ ride and have it completely recorded and do my edit to shorten it for better viewing later

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