Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Testing the Intova Sport HD

There are a number of small compact sports camera out in the market these days. Contour, Swann Freestyle HD, and the GoPro just to name a few. So far it would appear GoPro has dominated the market for mini sport camera. Every diver appear to own or have a friend that owns one. As good as the GoPro is, it too has drawbacks.

One of the hidden drawback about the GoPro is the cost. It starts out very affordable pricing point of $299.99 for the GoPro Hero2. The older model I believe is about $100 less. But here's the problem... They don't have a dive package right now so everything has to be purchased by component and you end up with a lot of extra parts. As a diver, you should purchase the dive and the LCD backpack. There's also the issue of not having many options to tether the GoPro. The GoPro wrist strap is not compatible with the dive housing without extra work. True there are many third party that provide GoPro parts but they are more expensive than the products
put out by GoPro. By the time you are done, the camera now cost around $430! That's not very cheap. Mountings to a camera tray has not been very stable.

Intova has now enter this market as well. I have not seen this camera widely available in stores yet but I was lucky enough to get one and play with it for this blog. The Intova sport package comes ready for divers with a flat lens for the price of $199.99 to $209.99 (depending on where you buy it at). It comes ready immediately out of the box! Convenience is a HUGE bonus. It even has a built in camera mount so it can be attached to a tray with not extra parts!!! I think these factors are strong incentives for buying a Sport HD. They made this camera with divers in mind first unlike the other cameras in the market.

What I did not like were the buttons. Intova made them stiff so it was sometimes difficult to depress. I hope they will lighten the springs for future models. It's nice having a full consol of buttons to navigate through the software interface. Both the software and the camera were designed to look and feel more like a point and shoot camera but in a tiny body. Also the camera is positively buoyant, so it will float to the surface if you lose it. Unfortunately it is small so you will probably not find it.

I tested the camera at Treasure Island in Laguna area. The site didn't have a lot of life for me to shoot or film that day. Visibility was pretty good and it was sunny so the area was fairly well lit. I didn't mount this to a tray and just used the camera and using the strap they provided I tether it to my wrist. Since it was built like a full camera, they do provide for some software to adjust the pictures before taking them. So you ask, how was the quality of the pictures and the videos? See for yourself! All items here were unedited and taken straight off the camera.

This was the only video I took that day on the dive. You can find the rest of the pictures taken that day on the following link: http://on.fb.me/ti120617 and as you can see, the quality is sharp and clear. Not a bad camera for the price!

Written by: Wayne Lu, Aug 22, 2012

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