By Terry Sovil from the November 2014 Edition
The sale of simple point and shoot cameras has almost “dried up.” You won’t find much under $150.00 USD on the market anymore. The reason? More sophisticated cell phones with cameras built-in are available. There are some fine photos and videos made with phone cameras. But what if you want something more robust? What if you want an ‘action’ camera that can get wet or take a fall? The market has these options too, many are priced at very reasonable rates.
While there are many camera manufactures out there, I want to focus on just two brands with comparisons to a third. These are GoPro, Intova and SeaLife. My company sells dive equipment and these manufacturers make equipment that can be used for SCUBA and snorkel but they also make great ‘action’ cameras. They will take some abuse and can get soaked down. But are small and have great features to capture that fishing trip, boat excursion, standup paddle boarding, kayaking or simply pool side photos of the family.
GoPro, Inc. has become a common name. Every big retailer seems to be selling them. Formerly Woodman Labs, Inc. they are an American corporation that develops, manufactures and markets high definition personal cameras, often used in extreme action video photography. Formed in 2002, the company is based in San Mateo, California.
Intova, founded in 1995 in Hawaii, was a new division in a company with roots in the photo industry back to 1982. Their mission is to deliver products with great value, high quality, low cost and unique feature sets. With Hawaii’s tall mountains and 11 of the worlds 13 climatic zones, it is a sportsman’s paradise. Their gear is created by sportspeople for sportspeople. International in scope, Intova has created a new standard in affordable Sports Photography. They produce high quality, full featured cameras with rugged waterproof housings at unmatched price points.
SeaLife has been making cameras for over 25 years. They developed their first camera in 1993. This was a new breed of camera making it easier to get good digital underwater photos. In 2000 they created a camera system that revolutionized the world of underwater photography. Their lower end systems compare well to Intova and GoPro.
For an easy comparison example between the three brands let’s first focus on GoPro. The GoPro cameras are sold without an LED display. You can buy one as an add on, but that is at extra cost. When you plug it into the rear of the camera it draws significant battery power to run. You also need a different “port” to protect the tiny camera from water and abuse. Many of the features that are standard in the SeaLife or Intova products are add on’s in the GoPro area. Don’t get me wrong. The GoPro is a good unit and definitely has a big following! It’s just that much of the same functionality, or better, can be had at less cost!
SeaLife is introducing the new Micro HD and Micro HD+. This is the first permanently sealed underwater camera! It is flood proof with no doors or openings. It has 16GB of memory, high capacity internal battery and no memory card, battery or maintenance to worry you. It also has three wide “piano key” controls, 1080p HD video, built-in 140 degree fisheye lens, good to 200 feet / 60 meters underwater. You can shoot video at 1080p at 30 frames per second or 720p at 60 frames per second and take still photos while recording full HD video. The fisheye lens lets you get close.
Intova is introducing the new Edge X! This is setting a new standard in high quality point of view cameras. It offers 1080p High Def video up to 60 frames per second with a 160 degree wide angle lens. Built in WiFi allows the user to operate and see what is on the viewfinder remotely on a laptop, tablet, or smart phone and also to enable wireless file transfer. EDGE X supports Micro SD card up to 64 GB (Class 10 required for 1080P HD video). Waterproof to 200 feet, the housing includes buttons for full camera control in any environment. EDGE X’s high quality LCD screen acts as both a viewfinder and playback monitor. To save battery life, the LCD can be turned off when not in active use. Shoot still pictures at 5, 8, 10 and 12 MP. It also offers digital Zoom at 60x, 16x, 10x or 4x, something the GoPro cannot do.
Intova also has a versatile Sport 10K camera. This is an affordable solution to Sports photography. The compact housing is waterproof to 140 feet / 40 meters and features a shock absorbent liner, double O-ring design and full function control buttons. The camera alone is waterproof to 10 feet / 3 meters and features great video and photo performance. Two AAA batteries provide easy power solutions anywhere in the world. Memory is via Micro SD card up to 32GB for hundreds of photos and/or hours of video content. The standard tripod mount is compatible with all Intova mount systems for an easy solution to Sports Photography / Videography. The camera can be removed from the protective housing and used as a stand-alone. Or it can be placed in the housing and used in the water. Looking for a simple, versatile Action Camera? Look no farther than the Intova Sport 10K.
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Terry is a founding partner and scuba instructor for Aquatic Sports and Adventures (Deportes y Aventuras Acuáticas) in Manzanillo. A PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) Master Instructor in his 36th year as a PADI Professional. He also holds 15 Specialty Instructor Course ratings. Terry held a US Coast Guard 50-Ton Masters (Captain’s) License. In his past corporate life, he worked in computers from 1973 to 2005 from a computer operator to a project manager for companies including GE Capital Fleet Services and Target. From 2005 to 2008, he developed and oversaw delivery of training to Target’s Loss Prevention (Asset Protection) employees on the West Coast, USA. He led a network of 80+ instructors, evaluated training, performed needs assessments and gathered feedback on the delivery of training, conducted training in Crisis Leadership and Non-Violent Crisis Intervention to Target executives. Independently, he has taught hundreds of hours of skills-based training in American Red Cross CPR, First Aid, SCUBA and sailing and managed a staff of Project Managers at LogicBay in the production of multi-media training and web sites in a fast-paced environment of artists, instructional designers, writers and developers, creating a variety of interactive training and support products for Fortune 1000 companies.
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