What is this? Here we have an Oregon Scientific Action Cam 3K (ATC3K). The excitingly named ATC3K is a small battery powered video camera that is both compact and waterproof. Relevant specs: 640×480, 30 frames per second, 4GB max storage (SDHC), 120 minutes of video at highest quality setting.
What else? The camera comes with a multitude of mounts including a small tripod, helmet mount, and handlebar mount. The camera includes a USB connection as well as analog video out.
What do I think of it? The ATC3K seems well built and looks like it can take some abuse. All of the features have worked as advertised and most of the controls are fairly intuitive. The included mounts are nice and, as you’ll soon see, mount the camera quite securely. While I didn’t push the limits of durability, the camera held up just fine to mud spray and a being knocked around on a mountain bike.
How is the video and audio quality? The video recorded in the highest resolution setting is pretty good, but compression is visible in some conditions. Low light recording is not the best, but the camera performs well in bright settings. Audio capture is okay, but is susceptible to noise transmitted through the mounts. The camera is quite stable in rough conditions, probably the result of relative light weight and secure mounting hardware. Overall, the video and audio quality is nice for the cameras intended use.
What else? Connectivity with OS X works well and the camera can be accessed directly via Finder or videos can transferred using iPhoto. Transfer speeds are pretty slow and the camera will use battery power during the transfer, so a card reader is advisable. According to the included documentation, the camera can function as a webcam on some Windows systems; this feature is not supported in OS X or 64-bit Vista.
What about a demonstration? Instead of describing the video quality I’ll just show you. This video was taken with the ATC3K in 640×480 30 frames per second with the included handlebar mount as well as hand held; the audio was added from another source in editing. The video was recorded by Eric and myself, edited by Eric using iMovie HD, and further processed by YouTube just for you:
Final thoughts? This is a nice, durable camera that works very well for recording in potentially hazardous environments such as those encountered on a mountain bike or where children or infants are present. I’m sure this camera will see a lot more use than my MiniDV camcorder and should revive my dormant YouTube channel.