As my friend extracted himself from beneath his twisted mountain bike, dust yet to settle, he popped up and screamed, “Did you get that?” He was of course referring to the camera perched atop my head. In our media driven landscape it seems our experiences are only validated by our digital witnesses. If an event isn’t captured on an SD card, it didn’t happen. Point of view photography in the form of still images and high definition video has allowed us to share our experiences in ways we could have never imagined just a few short years ago. Within the realm of POV cameras, few rival the sophistication and ease of use of the HD Ghost from Drift Innovation.
New to the market in 2013, the Drift HD Ghost is setting new standards in POV technology. Never before have so many features been packaged in such a small unit. I have had the rare opportunity to use the Ghost over the span of several weeks and could not be more impressed.
The key features to the Ghost include a vibrant built-in 2” LCD display protected beneath durable Corning® Gorilla® glass. The replaceable seven element lens provides supreme optical clarity and can be rotated 300? for perfect shot set-up. The texturized camera body is secure in hand and waterproof to 9 feet without any additional housing. A two-way remote gives the user recording feedback via two LED lights which illuminate in four different colors depending on the status. Four buttons at the top of the camera body toggle through the very intuitive and easy to navigate menu settings and the removable battery can hold a charge for up to three hours ensuring you never miss the shot. The entire camera is a masterpiece of design ingenuity.
For the action videographer, there is one feature that truly sets the Ghost apart. One of the challenges with recording action video is making sure you record only what you want, when you want. The Ghost features video loop-tagging. In tagging mode, the camera is constantly recording, but not saving any of the video being captured. A quick press of the remote saves video for a chosen duration, up to five minutes before and after the remote was pressed. With video tagging, there’s no need to sift through hours of video during the editing process just to find the few frames you want.
In all reality, few of us frequently want to capture the moving action of a scene. In an age of social media and email, we prefer to share still images. The Ghost’s 10x digital zoom, self timer, and remote control ensure you never miss the shot you want, all at an impressive 11 MP. The Photo Burst mode can capture up to five frames per second and the time lapse mode gives a fresh new twist to sunsets, snowstorms, and anything else your imagination dares to make your muse.
As if that isn’t enough to occupy the time of an avid photophile, the Ghost can communicate to your smartphone via the WiFi enabled Drift App for iOS. (Android App coming soon.) The Drift App allows users to view playback, adjust settings, and aids in shot set-up. For my testing, the Drift App proved an excellent tool that made using the camera easier than expected.
From a user’s standpoint I found the HD Ghost to be a nearly perfect camera. One challenge with point of view cameras is getting them mounted to catch your actual point of view. The GoPro cameras I’ve used in the past stood off my helmet by six inches like the proverbial “birdie” everyone is supposed to watch. The HD Ghost is sleek, low profile, and unobtrusive. The adhesive and clamp mounts are simple to use and adjusted for quick and secure positioning. All in all, it is a fantastic camera. So, the next time your buddy crashes his mountain bike in front of you, can say without pause, “Ya, I got that.”