In the realm of action cameras few have been able to compete with GoPro. Companies like Contour and Wasp have been doing a great job providing more affordable, slightly lower quality options for the amateur videographer/action hero, but they just don’t have the recognition or aftermarket support to become industry standards.
The problem with industry standards is this: most industry standards are a popularity contest. There is no denying that GoPro is the most popular brand of action camera, but is it the best bang for your buck?
Enter, the Wasp GIDEON, a Canadian company’s answer to that question. The GIDEON boasts HD 1080p video at 60fps and HD 720p at 120fps. That’s comparable to the premier Go-Pro for 30 per cent less! It sure looks good on paper.
I was fortunate enough to get one to test. I hopped on a plane and headed west to BC where I had a chance to hit the trails (once with my face). For a side-by-side comparison, my riding buddy Dave was sporting the GoPro Silver, another rider (Josh) had the Wasp 9600 and I the Wasp GIDEON.
Since the lens is situated in the middle of the camera body, I found I had more mounting choices. When using helmet cams, I find cameras with lenses on either side may result in too much helmet in your shot depending on which side you choose to mount it. I like to have options, and the GIDEON works well for that.
I was limited in mounting equipment; I ended up fixing the self-adhesive mount to the top of my helmet. Adjusting the camera was a cinch. While the other two fiddled with their iPhones and apps to get their lenses aligned, I pressed a couple buttons on my flashy Wasp remote wrist watch (that comes standard with the GIDEON model) to view my camera angle, reach up, tilt the camera slightly down and hit record.
The LCD screen on the watch was a little difficult to see in the daylight and it only previewed for a few seconds but a cupped hand over the screen and another touch of a button did the trick. I was ready to go.
Once we were moving I didn’t think much about the camera on my head. I was a little concerned about the size and weight of the camera at first, since it has a little bigger profile than most action cams, but it wasn’t a problem.
After 20 minutes of jumps, banks, gnarly hill climbs and a lady who thought she was on a walking trail, we arrived back at the truck where we indulged in the customary exaggeration of our skills that nobody recorded or saw.
I downloaded all the footage from all three cameras onto the computer expecting to see the Go-Pro Silver’s quality immediately stand out; other than its slightly wider angle lens, it didn’t.
The first thing I noticed was the GIDEON’s colour reproduction. The trees were as green as I remembered and the rocks my face knew all to well were the same grey. The video quality was great. Straight lines were smooth, there was no obvious image compression and there was only a small amount of motion blur.
The battery life was fantastic as well. I started the trail on 70 per cent battery, recorded for the entire 20 minute ride and still had over 60 per cent remaining to record a ten minute go-kart race the next day which returned once again, great video.
Wasp has delivered an action camera to the market that shoots good-looking HD 1080 at 60 fps video and a flashy remote view wristwatch for 30 per cent less than other comparable action cams. It’s designed right here in Canada and on top of that, it looks cool and the cash you save can go towards one of the affordable mounting kits Wasp provides.
I will most certainly be using the Wasp GIDEON in future projects.
The Gideon camera retails for $339.99 CDN (includes GIDEON camera, LVD Wireless Wrist Remote, and various mounts & accessories). More info available here.
WASPcam 9900/9901 review – Rob Harris
I tried out the slightly lower spec 9900/9901 model (snappy name), which can record in 1080p30, 960p30 and 720p60 in 5-Megapixel photo quality. Though my video camera knowledge is next to naught, here’s what I found out from a newbie’s perspective.
The 9900/9901 also comes with a wristwatch control but sans the screen, with just options to start/stop the video and take a still shot. By mounting this on the bars of the F800GSA long-termer and the camera on my helmet, I could (in theory) operate the camera remotely without having to stop.
The trouble is there is no indication on the watch as to whether record is on or off, so you have to tilt up a mirror to see the unit on your camera and look for the little red flashing light on the front (not doable on the go!). The camera does beep when turned on but you can only hear that when you are stopped.
WASPcam also state that the camera can be hooked up to your iPhone though I never tried this option.
Also, the camera seems to ‘power off’ when not used for a while which requires you to manually hit the switch on the camera before the wrist watch control will work, rather defeating the point of the wrist control.
The waterproof case works pretty well but is prone to some condensation, which of course happens in the middle of the lens bubble and is only noticeable when you take a close look at the camera and then of course all the footage beforehand is not usable. Sigh.
Since I’m not a video expert, I cannot attest to the quality of the final video, but as Ezekiel stated, it looks perfectly usable and though the sound was a little rudimentary (with loud bangs every time I brushed under a branch), the video was great.
Here’s a sample I took for the Fundy Adventure Rally (the chatting is to my pal behind me on intercoms):
The 9900/9901 camera and wrist control retail for $269.99* . More info here.
*may be less, it was hard to find any retail pricing (sorry)
Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.