Sport Cam Madness - Samsung SC-X210L - General Usage and Extreme Testing

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Sport Cam Madness - Samsung SC-X210L
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General Usage and Extreme Testing

Download: SC-X210L In Action - "WooHoo" 

General Usage:

The SC-X210L is very simple to use.  The controls on the main camera are well-placed and work very well.  For people with larger hands, they may be a little difficult to navigate due to the size of the camera itself. . . it's very small.  The picture quality is very good and the LCD screen is very bright and easily viewable even in daylight.  I've had several people over the years comment on how good Samsung's Digital Image Stabilization is, and I've got to agree.  When you pan quickly across a scene and stop quickly, there is a little bit of lag on the LCD screen as it processes the image for stability.  This is very key when using the external camera.

External Usage:

The external camera is rubber armored and is deemed "weather proof".  Basically, don't stick this in a pool, but it should stand up to some dampness.  The camera mounts to a rubber base that can be attached to almost anything using an included adjustable elastic strap.  I was able to mount this camera on a side mirror of my dad's GM Tracker as well as mount it to the roof rack.  The roof rack mount was not ideal, and the camera shifted a bit during recording.  If I'd taken more time on mounting the camera it would have been much better.

The camera can be turned on and off as well as start and stop recording by using a single button on the external camera cable.  This way you can place the main camera in a safe place and still start and stop your recording.  There is a large button and good indicator LEDs on the button so that you know what state the camera is in.  No LED = off, Blue LED = on, Red LED = recording.

Other Thoughts:

The camera does not do very well in low light conditions.  The picture gets grainy and color quality is quite poor at this point.  During broad daylight or in a well-lit house, this camera does very well however, and produces a better picture that my Sony Mini-DV cam.  One beef I have with the SC-X210L is how it handles really bright light.  In the video I've included below, the sun appears as a black ball.  I'm not sure why the camera displays the sun that way.  Other camera's I've used don't do that.  One thing I do like about the camera in general is the ruggedness of it.  I wiped the camera off of the tracker at 20MPH on a tree during testing and it didn't even have a mark.  Both the external camera and main camera unit appear quite "weather proof" as you'll see in part in the video.  I took the main camera into a lake to record some water polo action on a 30 Hour Famine event and it got a little wet.   By a little wet, I mean really wet.  I popped the battery out and dried the unit off with a towel and it still works perfectly.  Sweet.


BCCHardware - "WooHoo" Video
 

If you do nothing else with this review but download the video above, that's all I really ask.  The video is 7.69MB and WMV format so it should play for most of you just fine.  Download it and notice the image stabilization.  Also keep in mind that this was shot as the sun was setting here in Alberta so the color quality is not 100%.  It is better during broad daylight, but I only had one opportunity to take out the tracker for a little fun.  Enjoy.  I sure as heck did!  ;-)

Conclusion:

I had more fun and shot more video with this camera than I thought I ever would.  For general camcorder purposes, it does a great job - providing you've got decent light.  What separates this camera from the thousands out there is not it's general usage.  It's all about rugged usage.  Strap this sucker on your helmet or on your motocross bike or your boat for Pete's sake and have some fun with it.  At the end of the day you can browse your files, listen to some tunes, record commentary, and even take a picture or two.  If I had a supply of these cameras to sell, I could have sold about 6 of them to friends and other people who saw it in use.  It's wicked cool.

Pros:

  • Very small camera.
  • Good video quality.
  • Very weather proof.
  • Excellent Image Stabilization.
  • External Camera is very tough.
  • Features - MP3, Voice Recorder, Camera, etc.
  • Price ~ $600 around the web.

Cons:

  • Battery life is not that great.

Overall, I would highly recommend this camera to anyone who wants to rip it up and get their best moves on tape.  The price is very good as well, the only thing is you will likely want to spend a bit of money and grab a 2GB flash card at the very least.  This will give you a total of over an hour and a half at maximum resolution at maximum quality.  These cards are now less than $90CDN if you shop around.

I'd like to thank Samsung Canada for letting us take and use their camcorder for a month.  This was one of the most fun reviews I've pulled for a while.

If you have any comments, questions or feedback regarding this review, please feel free to post it at the comments link.  You will have to register to post, but registration is free fast and easy.