Monday, January 6, 2014

BlackVue Sport SC500 Review: New Action Camera on the Block!






The BlackVue Sport SC500 is a new action camera from developer Pittasoft. This powerful action cam takes aim at GoPro with an impressive set of specification, better price point, and excellent video quality.
Read on for the full review, photos, videos and more!


Features:
Following are the solid specifications provided for the BlackVue Sport SC500:


Camera Pixels 12 MP
Angle of View 157°
Weight 72g (LCD : 22g)
Size W55mm x L36.7mm x H44.2mm
Sensor SONY Exmor CMOS Sensor
Hardware interface Storage microSD
USB 2.0 Recharging/File Transfer
Buttons Power/Mode, Wi-Fi, Shutter/Choice
LCD 2.0 inch
Battery Capacity 3.7V, 1050mAh
Running time 1080p 60/30fps : 2 hours @ 15Mbps
Charging USB to computer or optional power
Video Format MP4
Resolution/FPS 1080p 60/30fps
720p 120/60/30fps
480p 240/60/30fps
Time-lapse recording 1, 5, 30, 60, 300, 600 second intervals
Photo Format JPEG
Image Size 0.3M, 7.2M, 8.5M, 12M
High Speed Shooting Resolution/FPS 720p 120fps
480p 240fps
Wi-Fi Built-in
Audio Microphone Built-in
Format 128kHz, AAC
Software App Android, iOS support
Options Battery charging External Battery Charger
Waterproofing Degree IP68
Housing Depth Rate 50m / 164ft
Frontcase(basic)
Backdoor(for LCD)
Operating Temperature 0~40°C

In short, it offers wide-angle view comparable to GoPro, detailed photos, is a little on the heavier side once the viewfinder backpack is attached, has an excellent battery life (turn off LCD and WiFi for best battery life), shoots in 60 fps at 1080p (basically the new standard for action cameras), offers neat time-lapse photo recording in various intervals, can do high speed/very fast 120fps to 240fps for lower resolution videos, and offers Android and iOS app support! I didn't use the apps since I don't care to fiddle with my iOS device while out fishing, but it's a great way to setup remote shots, and more, all on your existing smartphone or tablet.

Design:
The BlackVue Sport SC500 uses the "box" form, similar to GoPro and IronX. The other popular shape is the cylinder, which the Sony action camera, Midland XTC, Contour, and several others utilize. Both have their pros and cons. The BlackVue Sport SC500 has an optional LCD viewfinder and playback tool that attaches to the back, similar to the GoPro Bacpac. It works very nicely and helps address the common complain I hear about so many other action cameras, "I don't know what I'm filming!" The microSD slot, HDMI, and USB slots are all one side, covered by a flimsy rubber cover, would prefer a better protective cover in future models. It's easy to tell what mode you are using the BlackVue in through the front LEDs for Video, Photos, High Speed, Wifi. On/Off and WiFi are on the side of the camera, with recording button ontop. It's a very practical layout, although the multiple buttons can take some getting to used, especially when used with the waterproof case.

 
Accessories:
I received the waterproof flat lenses case with my camera, perfect for fishing and snorkeling shots. Fortunately, the flat lenses doesn't interfere with photos or narrow the field of vision. Also in the box is an excellent flat mount with screw hole on bottom (compatible with many other mounts), and several small mount selections, plus the LCD viewer (awesome). See the full section here.
My favorite part of the accessories is the attachment compatibility! They smartly designed all mount clips to utilize the same GoPro locking frame, thus allow you to use the loads of GoPro aftermarket and OEM parts (eBay!) with the BlackVue Sport SC500. Furthermore, they offer a little round mount that can screw on to most tripods and other popular camera accessories! Great job, Pittasoft! Definitely was happy to find out how many of my GoPro accessories would also work with this camera!

Performance
I'm not going to dwell on the many technical specs and offer a deep analysis of the color depth, fluidity, etc. I'll save that for the excellent reviews posted on many dedicated camera sites. Instead, I'll keep it simple. The quality of footage available from the BlackVue Sport SC500 was excellent. It's the best I've seen in the numerous action cameras I've used. It's right up there with the GoPro 3 in terms of detail, smoothness, and quality. The 60 FPS 1080p is nice and fluid, helping get rid of the nasty wobbles that plaque so many action camera videos. Photos look excellent as well, with the wide-angle lenses capturing in everything! Take a look at the following videos and pics for more examples (bear in mind some loss of quality does occur when editing and uploading to YouTube):

Sample
Videos:
Photos:



Complaints:
The Blackvue is a little on the heavier size. Furthermore, the waterproof case only comes with a back door designed for the LCD view screen-if you don't add the view screen, the main camera will be loose in the case. I did notice a few software hiccups-occasionally noticed device freezing up when transferring files to my PC (using an external card reader solved that).

Summary
I have tried out many different action cameras. I love versatile, tough, waterproof cameras that allow anglers to record their adventures with ease. The BlackVue Sport SC500 by Pittasoft is one heck of an action camera; definitely a high-end model with a price significantly lower than the latest GoPro Black 3+ edition ($300 vs $400). So far, it is the best action camera I've had the privilege of reviewing and using for HuntingTheRiverKing. Tight lines!

2 comments:

  1. Keep these camera reviews coming. I bought a camera from a local electronics retailer that was a total disappointment. It claimed 5 meg pics, but only had a 1.3 meg chip. The camera just added the extra dots in between to make the file bigger :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The BlackVue Sport SC500 is a new action camera from developer Pittasoft. This powerful action cam takes aim at GoPro with an impressive ... iactioncamera.blogspot.de

    ReplyDelete

Be nice.