Donations

You can help fund Techmoan with a donation

Click to visit Patreon.com/Techmoan  

SEARCH BOX: Searches this website

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE for COMPANIES

Techmoan never approaches anyone           to ask for review samples.

 


    

Articles by Category

 


Techmoan Merchandise at TeeSpring

Merch


Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
« 1st July Random Update | Main | The Video Message Machine »
Tuesday
Jun212011

The ACT20 Action Camera

My review of this camera was negatively coloured by the fact that I couldn't edit or convert the footage using my Mac.  I edit all my Youtube videos using iMovie on my Mac and not being able to properly utilise the original footage from this camera meant that I couldn't do an accurate video review.

There is definitely something non-standard about the .avi files created by this camera - however after I posted this video review, I tried editing the footage on my PC in a trial version of Power Director 9 and it worked without a hitch. 

So unfortunately this camera is still not ideal for me - but if you use a PC as your main machine, this camera might possibly be just what you are looking for.

To me, the main headline feature of this camera is the fact that it can record for 3 hours on one charge. The HD808 can only manage about 45 mins and then often stops recording after only a handful of minutes (for reasons that I really can't determine). If I ride my motorcycle to work it's a 2 hour round-trip, so for the moment I'll be using the ACT20 as an incident camera - attached to my helmet. I'll set it to loop-record continuously (in 20 min segments) and I'll only pull the footage off the camera if I need to use it for some kind of evidence.

I think when I make my next video review when my new action camera arrives from Dealextreme, I'll give the ACT20 a bit more screen time to redress any disservice that I may have done to it in this video.

UPDATE: I've decided to add a brief clip below of some car footage with the original soundtrack intact so that you can get an idea about the camera's sound quality. I've also noticed that this camera drops a heck of a lot of frames. From my examinations, some seconds of video only consist of 21 individual frames with the other 9 frames being made up of duplicates. So if you notice the video stuttering or think that the motion seems unnatural, this is the reason.

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (61)

Hi Techmoan, I've been following your reviews of cheap 720p cameras with interest. It appears so far that no device seems to do everything. Also, the prices seem to be climbing into the level of the the GoPros (which now retails for about 115 GBP/US$180).

This unit has me interested. It's apparently called the Poseidon.

It checks off a lot of boxes, plus it has a wireless remote trigger, which would alleviate your issues with inadvertently brushing the button. Plus, for me, I would be able to mount the camera anywhere on my car and still trigger it only when I see something interesting.

It also has more than one button and an LCD display, which would be helpful in settings. If the video quality holds up to the 808 #11, this seems to be the one to get. It also mentions a 120 degree FOV! Doesn't mention h.264 however.

Hope you may get a chance to test that one. Looking forward to your new vids!

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClive C.

Just wanted to say a huge thanks for all these reviews. Very informative, thorough and interesting.

My reason for looking into these cameras is for airsoft, so I need one that functions pretty well in the dark, and has a decent FPS rate due to the fast movement.

Is there anything you would recommend?

Thanks, keep up the vids!

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve H

Interesting vid and I have to say that having a 720p fob, ContourHD and Kodak Playsport HD there's no competition especially when you need 60fps - ESSENTIAL for action cams. The the two latter cameras are still the best option cost-wise. The Kodak benefits from being truly waterproof (to 3m) and has EIS digital stabilisation. I think its worth paying £90...

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames

@Steve H. I haven't come across anything suitable for you yet...although the next one I'm getting is supposed to do night vision..but I have my doubts. For fast moving subjects you really need 60fps. These cheap ones all seem to be 30fps. Bear in mind though that most editing packages only output 30 fps video.

June 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@James...I think you may be right. Most of these cheap cameras are a bit of a false economy.

June 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@James My issue with the mainstream units (outside of the Contour and GoPro) is the form factor. I want something tiny and light I can pretty much mount anywhere. 720p (60fps would be nice), 3 hour battery, h264, and image stabilization. That's all I really want. I don't even want a display.

And cheap of course :P

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClive C.

@ Clive C - Yes I've had my eye on the Poseidon, but like you, think when prices edge near £100, I might as well pay the extra for a GoPro 960., also the Poseidon is .avi again, unfortunately. When my next camera arrives - I think it will be pretty much the same at the Poseidon, minus the remote and LCD. It has a 120 degree lens and claims to be waterproof. I've already got a bad feeling about it - I'm expecting more jerky frame dropping due to the mjpeg .avi encoding. It appears that whatever chips/compression these chaps are using in the Chinese 720p HD cameras, just isn't up to the job. So however the next one turns out - it's going to be my last action camera review for a good while - until technology catches up a bit. I'll only try out another camera when I can get it for less than £50 and it does h.264. - and possibly only 60fps.

June 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I have the same problem - Ideally I'm after a smallish keyring cam like the #11 but can be mounted on anything easily, with a 2/3 hour battery life, ideal for Airsoft (mounted to helmet or glasses) and far more robust than the #11 (I'm on my third as they keep packing up)

Happy to have nightvision with it and more of a bullit-form factor/size.

Please let our demands be met soon.... :D

June 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJezworld

Hi there,

maybe the 120 degree view angle can be created using an replacement for the plexiglass lens cover. If that was a lens, it may able to take footage in 120degree angle. Its worth trying? Maybe the seller sels these things also?

i'm looking forward to the review of the next camera!

@clive c, have you already got experience with that camera? It seems to be more suatable for the job i need it for.

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRutger

Rutger, no. At that price, I thought it was a tad expensive to try untested technology. I might as well go with a Go Pro 960. If I hear otherwise, I may reconsider.

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClive C.

Nice looking camera
After 20 minutes does it write a new file? and if so does it lose 2 seconds of footage like the d011?
thanks
Kevin

September 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Cornish

I've discovered that cheap SD cards lie about their "class" rating. Sandisk and Kingston appear to be honest, so I would recommend people stick with those.

October 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Civil

I've been playing around with video editors. I use Ubuntu Linux 11.10 as the operating system (free) and Open Shot Video Editor as the free software application available in Linux. Open Shot Video Editor is the equivalent of Final Cut for Mac OS X from reviews that I have read. Anyway, the AVI test file exports & converts quite nicely to mp4 or mpeg for both the video & audio aspects of the test files I've piddled around with. A 65.9 MB AVI compresses to 28.9 MB for the mp4 format and is indicated as You Tube HD 720p resolution & H.264, The You Tube mpeg file is 22.3 MB, 640x480. Playback of each on my computer is virtually indiscernible for the audio portion amongst the 3 files and the video obviously would have differences in terms of resolution reductions. I am using a 28" Hannspree 1080p television as a monitor. Seems that the camera is geared more towards Windows than OS X ? But I've found with the exception of the firmware flashing software utility, the camera is very Linux friendly for moving files off the camera, doing basic video editing and converting the file to other formats that other cameras are using. Hope this helps others.

October 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJimbo99

hi
i been looking in to bying a action cam to use while playing paintball inndoors and outdors
and i found a act20 with 120 degree lens is this bether then the 60 degree lens
(realy great rewives)

bjørn

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbjørn

@Bjørn. Yes get the 120° lens if you can.

December 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Good morning,
I'm not able to update the firmware on mine, as I do?

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

Hi Mat,

Can't afford to spring for the two action cameras you mentioned recently, so I've gone for an ACT20. I'd like to have 16GB total storage to make best use of the great battery life but am concerned about the frame-lag issue you found with the 16GB card. Was this definitely to do with the capacity of the card? Or could it have been down to something else like the unbrandedness? I'll definitely go for a class 10, but I'm not sure whether it's 2x8GB or 1x16GB storage for me.

Excellent, excellent site by the way,
Alex.

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

@Alex. If I were you I'd try the 16GB card as long as it's a decent make and not a fake you should be fine. I can't be sure what the problem was with mine - without retesting all over again with my various cards in different situations (not my idea of fun).

February 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi, I bought the wide angle model, does a 32gb SDHC memory card fits on it? Or only SD will?

March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOlivier

@Oliver any card of 8GB and over is SDHC (HC=high capacity). I'm not sure what the maximum size card that the ACT20 takes is. Some cameras are a bit picky about 32GB.

March 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi, I'm updating the ACT20 for a friend. I've updated the firmware as your inttrusctions, all works fine, thanks. But the date and time is still a year or so old and I cannot find a way to update this. Any Ideas please.

thanks
Steve

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Miles

I just bought the Poseidon and I am having a difficult time editing. Microsoft movie maker wont even play the videos. And the free video editing program i downloaded will play them but i cant edit or convert. Same for Roxio. Any suggestions?

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

Hello. Thanks for the reviews. One question though. With the flash like shape of the Act20, do you ever get videos that are not level? I'm planning on attaching this to my RC Helicopters. Thanks.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllan

I just rec'd one of these cameras, which i bought after seeing your review. I have managed to get it working, but I cant get to the stttings to cyclerecord, timestamp no etc. When I open file named SETUP.INI, all that is there is goobledegook. I'm in my 60's and not good with 'puters. Can you please help me with set-up?

May 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTeddyS

TeddyS. If you just click on the setup.ini file it will probably open up the wrong viewing program. Try right clicking and choosing to 'open with' notepad or wordpad instead.

May 3, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi, I just got hold of the ACT20 with 120 deg angle lens from eBay for USD72.00 (minus car kit & charger). Still figuring out the time setting which refused to work despite configuring many times.

Besides that, the camera is simply a delight to have for my cycling sport since it is light, inexpensive and functional (durability?!).

Hope to share the results after the weekend road rides with everyone.

Cheers,
Pat

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCyclist_sg

You can watch my test clip on Youtube link below. However I experienced some issue where the cam recorder power down itself after one clip strange but cannot understand why...

Finally got the time stamp working properly though. :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y17suqtL2vs&list=UUWG437OYnXYybAPJrK45pfw&index=1&feature=plcp

May 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCyclist_sg

hello. i have this cam ACT20 (ebay, $73, some month ago).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ACT20-Waterproof-Video-Camera-Motorcycle-Bike-Cam-120?item=220886866949&cmd=ViewItem&_trksid=p5197.m7&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D3%26po%3DLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D8612701464929695501
But it is work bad. I have problem: only recording 20 mins at a time then stopping and turn off. I have also card class 10 16Gb. Also i try card 32Gb. If I stop recording less than 15-20min, then files wrote on flash and i can see them.
i download your firmware, run, and I see "connect device - 0", can select firmware file, but button "SETUP" is not active. Why program dont see camera?

May 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkucha

Hi,
I use the ACT20 with 120degree and did record in CycleRecord and nonCycleRecord mode on a 8GB Sandisk Class 10 card. In both modes I got 4 avi files (3 files with 1,96 GB 20min plus 1 file with 366 MB 3:36min). The max battery time is about 3,5 hours which would theoretical fill a 32 GB card. Did anybody test such a size on the cam, as 16 GB is stated as maximum in the documentation.
Cheers,
Ukr

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterUKr

@Technoan The poseidon is now £67 in the uk shipped will you do a review of it?

May 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCasper

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>