Stylish Flytecam action camera is attractive in more ways than one
posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 2:09 PM EDT
With more manufacturers than ever making action cameras, it's a great time for point-of-view photography. There's one thing uniting the overwhelming majority of action cams on the market, though: by and large, they're clunky and unattractive-looking, especially when wrapped in their waterproof housings. A new entry to the action camera market promises an altogether more attractive alternative -- and not just in the visual sense. The Flytecam body is also extremely attractive to the neodymium magnet that holds it in its Flytemount camera mount.
According to the just-launched Flytecam website, the new camera was designed from the get-go as a social camera, and the company sees the unusually-designed magnetic mount itself as a social feature, making it quick and easy to remove your camera from its low-profile mount, and pass it to a friend. The ability to quickly pass the camera between people isn't the full extent of the Flytecam's social design, however. It also features built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity, and a custom app will let you crop, trim, and filter your video, as well as adding special effects, before sharing it online. (No word yet on which operating systems and/or hardware are compatible with this app, though.)
The magnetic Flytemount is also intended as a safety feature, letting the camera easily break away from your helmet -- or whatever else you've mounted it to -- in the event of an accident, and hopefully preventing injury to both camera and videographer in the process. As an added bonus, Flytecam-maker Flyte Tech notes that the magnetic mount -- which holds the camera steady with rubber teeth that interface with teeth on the camera body -- also serves to reduce transmission of vibrations from mount to camera. If you prefer a more conventional attachment, Flyte Tech notes that the Flytecam can also be locked down to the Flytemount, or attached to standard camera mounts.
The Flytecam's body isn't just stylish, either. It's shockproof, thanks to a rugged high-impact ABS plastic structure overlaid with soft-touch rubber. And thanks to built-in weather seals, it's dustproof and can be used underwater at depths up to three meters, without a camera housing. (It isn't clear if a housing will also be offered, to provide for greater depths.) Unfortunately, the built-in water and impact proofing shows up in the Flytecam's size. At 3.5 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches (90 x 55 x 22mm), it's almost double the size of an unprotected GoPro Hero3, and a third larger than Sony's Action Cam HDR-AS15, both of which also include Wi-Fi connectivity. Camera weight hadn't been disclosed at press time, although Flyte Tech promises it will be "really light".
On the front of the body is a wide angle lens with 120-degree field of view. To match the impact resistance of the body, the lens' cover glass is crafted from sapphire glass. That's the same material used to protect barcode scanners in supermarket checkouts, and other places where scratches and wear are an issue. It's 99.9% optically pure, and offers better scratch and shatter resistance than the much-hyped Corning Gorilla Glass. (According to Flyte Tech, it's around three times stronger.) There's an anti-reflective coating on the lens, as well.
The Flytecam is said to be capable of shooting Full HD (1080p; 1,920 x 1080 pixels) high-definition video, and of shooting at either 30 or 60 frames-per-second video if the resolution is dropped to 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels). Frame rate for the 1080p mode isn't stated, but is likely 30p. For audio capture, the Flytecam features a built-in multi-directional microphone.
The Flytecam offers a claimed three hours of battery life when recording, and stores its videos on Micro SD cards, with a maximum capacity of 32GB. Four colors will be available: white, green, blue, and pink.
No information on pricing and availability has been disclosed yet -- as the first product of a small six-person company formed by a group of friends from university, Flyte Tech's schedule is likely somewhat fluid -- but according to Gizmodo, preorders are slated to start soon. Although it lags market leader GoPro's flagship Hero3 camera in many respects, it looks interesting in its own right. (And not just for the stylish body -- which is a good thing, because while attractive is good, we can't remember hearing anybody bemoaning their inability to find a suitably stylish action cam.)