It’s getting down to the wire for getting that one showstopper Christmas gift for the rider in your life. Maybe some new accessory for their machine? No, that thing is already decked out. A new jacket? Their favorite jacket is finally broken in just the way it they like it? So what the heck do you get the rider who has the perfect bike and all the gear to go with it?
An action camera is the perfect gift for all riding enthusiasts. Whether it’s to show off their latest trick or to showcase the breathtaking scenery that they ride through. Action cameras can capture all of that and more to show the rider’s unique perspective with the rest of the world.
Action cameras have traditionally been quite a bit of an investment, though. Something that only the hardcore or well off riders would have. That’s not the case anymore. As the technology streamlines and the market expands, there are now cameras that shoot HD video for sub $200. Two that really standout are the GoPro Hero4 Session and the Waspcam Tact.
GoPro Hero4 Session
When the Session camera was released earlier this year it was met with high praise in all areas, except for the price. The original price tag had the Session sitting at the same price as the much more feature rich Hero4 Silver. But after the feedback started rolling in, GoPro has now slashed the price of the Session in half and it can now be had for under $200. The Session is a powerful little action cam and it is now extremely accessible to all buyers.
What you give up compared to the Hero4 Silver is the resolution of fine details, lighting accuracy and the ability to change settings through the LCD touch screen on the Silver. What you gain is an incredibly compact camera that can be mounted inconspicuously almost anywhere. It is about 35% smaller and 40% lighter than the other Hero4 cameras. With only one button, the Session is very easy to operate and is a great option for someone who just wants to point and shoot.
The session is completely waterproof on its own up to 33 feet of water, so no need for the plastic case when it gets wet out. And because it’s a cube and the video will right itsself in any position, the mounting options are endless. If you want to set up your shots and see what the camera is seeing, the Session is WiFi and Bluetooth capable and can be hooked up to your smartphone with the free app. In the app, you can view the content and control the camera remotely.
Though the video quality does not match that of the Hero4 Silver or Black editions, the Session still holds its own in the HD camera category. It has three resolution options, being 1440p30, 1080p60 and 720p100 video. It will also take stills, burst photos, and time lapse photos at 8 MP. The dual microphone system will dynamically switch to the mic that is receiving the least amount of wind noise to capture the best possible audio.
With all things considered, the Hero4 Session is a great value as it can now be had for under $200. It’s ease of use, ease of mounting and fairly decent specs make it hard to beat for those who are just getting into recording their rides.
Waspcam may not have the marketing budget and history that GoPro has, but they have certainly become a great alternative to the powerhouse brand. The Tact camera is the latest addition to their lineup and it is impressive how many features they have packed into this camera for the price point that it is offered at. It isn’t their least expensive option, but for what you get it just might be the best deal.
Like the GoPro Session, the Waspcam Tact is a caseless camera and is waterproof down to a remarkable 98 feet. The lack of case also helps to keep down on the size, making the Tact a little less obtrusive than other options, yet not quite as small as the Session. It does, however, come with a 1.5” LCD viewing screen on the back of the camera to make setting up shots, live viewing and menu filtering much easier. The functions and menu settings can be selected by using the 6 buttons located alongside the viewing screen.
The Tact camera is not going to shoot the cinema quality video that is boasted from the GoPro Hero4 Black and Silver or even from Waspcam’s own Gideon camera. But it will still shoot great HD video with settings of 1080p30, 720p60fps, WVGA 60fps and VGA 120fps. The Tact has an auto looping function allowing you to record in 2, 5 or 10 minute segments. Once all of the space on the memory card is full, the camera will begin overriding older footage. This is great for riders who want to have their whole ride recorded in case of an incident. For still photos, you can choose from 12, 8, and 5 MP resolutions.
One way Waspcam sets themselves apart from others is by offering wireless remotes for many of their cameras. The Tact comes with an easy to use, two-button wrist remote that allows you to control the camera from up to 15 feet away. For even better remote operation and live viewing, the camera can be operated through Waspcam’s smartphone app by using WiFi. To aid the camera in low light conditions, there are two built-in LED safety lights that can be turned to steady-on or flashing.
If functions, ease of use and price are what you’re looking for, the Waspcam Tact will not disappoint. If you want to shoot cinema quality videos, you’re going to have to spend a little more. The Tact is a great action camera for someone who is just getting into recording their adventures or for the value conscious.
With the time to shop winding down, an action camera is a gift that anyone would be more than happy to receive. The GoPro Hero4 Session and the Waspcam Tact are two options that will deliver on performance and features and they won’t totally break the bank.