Drift Innovation's Compass Camera

July 29, 2016

Shooting video on your bike tour always sounds like a lot of fun, but when you start adding up the cost of an action camera, plus the accessories, and then consider the time it takes to edit down large high-resolution video files; the reality of your life as a cinematographer sets in and you realize why people get paid good money to make films.

If you want to catch some moments on video, but don’t want to deal with a big start-up cost, you’re in luck! There are tons of low cost action cameras coming out, and while they don’t offer the cinema quality resolution you might find in a GoPro camera, they can still be a lot of fun and this summer I’ve been playing around with the Compass action camera by Drift Innovation.

At $129, you get the 1080 resolution Compass camera, mounting clip, USB charging cable, and a lanyard. It comes with 2GB of built-in memory, and if you want more, you can add up to a 32GB microSD card. It not only shoots decent video with a 78-degree field of view, you can also capture 8MP photos and do some time lapse photography.

This is intended as a lifestyle camera and doesn’t come with an attachment that will mount it to your handlebars. Instead, the mounting clip is better suited for clipping to a shirt pocket, or maybe a pannier. I found that mounting the camera to the bike gives you some really bumpy video, as there doesn’t seem to be much for image stabilization. I’d recommend mounting it to your body when riding. All and all, it’s probably best suited for capturing video off the bike.

One cool feature that I really like is the free Drift Life app, which compliments the camera. It allows you to operate the camera functions remotely, use your phone’s screen as a viewfinder, and broadcast live video with a WiFi connection. You also get up to 10GB of free cloud storage for your photos and video.

While the lack of bike mounting options makes this less than perfect for bicycle touring, this is a really fun camera to play around with off the bike, and is hard to beat for price.

Photos courtesy of Drift Innovation

TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears once each month, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and offering advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.


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