ATC Mini Helmet Camera Review

ATC Mini Helmet Camera mounted on the helmet

In my adventures in trying to dress up as Lala from the Teletubbies I’ve found the ATC Mini Helmet Camera to be an irreplaceable accessory.

Teletubby impersonations aside, what does the ATC Mini Helmet Camera by Oregon Scientific offer cyclists?

  • High quality HD video (sample video included at the end of the post)
  • A wide range of mounting options (again see video!)
  • Competitive price point at £119 (read on for 20% exclusive discount for LC readers!)
  • Easy to use (just 3 buttons and a great mounting design)
  • Waterproof up to 20 metres!

High quality HD video

In tests with the ATC Mini helmet camera for cyclists, I’ve found the video quality to be excellent. The camera doesn’t suffer from curved recording edges, you can see licence plates and there haven’t been any issues where the recording has been too dark. Although, it’s not quite the level of the more expensive HD Hero helmet camera, it should be enough for most uses.

However, there is a downside to this high quality of video. For every one minute of video you are looking at around a 100mb file. On a 25 minute commute, you’d therefore have 2.5 gigs of data. You can buy 32GB Micro SD cards which costs around £30 and that should prevent you from running out of juice. The battery lasts for approximately 1.5 hours.

There is one further consideration. If you’ve got an older laptop then it may struggle to edit the HD video. You’ll find that converting the video to MP4 format will dramatically reduce the file size while maintaining the quality.

Wide Range of mounting options

ATC Mini helmet camera mounting options

The ATC Mini Helmet Camera has an excellent range of mounting options. Especially, when coupled with the ATC Mini Handlebar Mount. Thanks to the low weight of the unit it shouldn’t be a problem to place it on the helmet. I found the helmet mount provides the most clear angle for bike rides.

What really stood in my review of the ATC Mini is that you can make some excellent micro adjustments to get the recording angle just right. This is thanks to the design of the mount. Out of all the helmet cameras I’ve tested, I’ve found the mounting system in the ATC Mini the most useful.

Despite the lack of an LCD monitor it wasn’t too hard to guess where the camera was pointed. I found that from the first ride my guesses were pretty accurate.

(The video at the end of this post demonstrates the benefit of multiple mounting angles)

Easy to use

The ATC Mini helmet camera is designed to make life simple:

  • To upload video you just plug it in to your computer without needing any additional software.
  • There are just three buttons on the unit (On/Off, Camera, Video) all of them easy to press even with gloves
  • Mounting is quick and painless (just don’t forget to tighten the screw that holds the camera in place!)

Waterproof

With water resistance of up to 20 metres you’ll have to seek out a pretty deep pothole to be in any difficulty. It’s great that this is something included straight out of the box with the ATC Mini, rather than having to invest in additional accessories.

Video Review

Review of the ATC Mini Helmet Camera

Overall, there’s a lot to love about the Oregon Scientific ATC Mini. Waterproof, competitively priced, high quality video and excellent mounting. Any let downs? 1.5 hour battery life may not offer enough juice for all purposes and when mounted to your helmet you do look a little silly!

Oregon Scientific have given London Cyclist readers a generous 20% off the ATC Mini Helmet Camera until the end of February 2012. Simply visit the Oregon Scientific Website and use the code “LONCYCLE” to get 20% off!

We give the ATC Mini 4.5 starts out of 5
ATC Mini Helmet Camera Review

This entry level helmet camera by ATC provides impressive video quality and a very well designed mounting system. The only thing that prevent us giving it 5 stars was the battery life of 1.5 hours which won’t be enough for everyone.
Written by: London Cyclist
Oregon Scientific ATC Mini
Date published: 02/02/2012
4.5 / 5 stars

 

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9 Responses to ATC Mini Helmet Camera Review

  1. John Somers 02/02/2012 at 6:19 pm #

    I did look at one of these wee beasties but eventually went for the Contour HD1080P helmet camera in the end looking at the size, video quality, battery life etc but the final clinching argument was the price reduction from Amazon when it dropped to £129.99 – it was a no brainer!!

    Still playing with it and trialling on local journeys – but impressed so far, just one bugbear at the moment and that is trying to reduce the wind noise but I’ll get there in the end!

    • Andreas 03/02/2012 at 9:34 am #

      Nice – sounds like you got yourself a bit of a bargain at that price! Let me know if you find a good way to reduce the wind noise – didn’t think there would be a way to be honest (Aside from attaching a boom mike in front!)

  2. Har Davids 03/02/2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Nice gadget, but I would prefer to see vast improvements in cycle-infrastructure. Easy for me to say, as I live in Holland and we don’t feel the need to gear up for a ride, like some people elsewhere have to do. Last time I was in London I was hoping to scout the city by bike, as that’s the best way to do it, but I chickened out. It’s either being on high alert all the time, or a very short period of time to enjoy the ride and then off in an ambulance. I’ve been checking and it seems that in large parts of the UK cyclists are seen as problems, and not as the solution for mobility in urban areas.

    • tim gummer 03/02/2012 at 12:58 pm #

      From time to time I think that a headcam would be kind of fun.

      But then I remember that:

      A: I’d have to wear a helmet, a practice that inclines drivers to risk compensate and drive closer to me (if you believe University of Bath study, and I do respect science), turns off would-be people on bikes because it projects cycling as more dangerous than it actually is, and only for geeks, and therefore reducing the only real driver of cycling riding safety – numbers of people on bikes, is uncomfortable, potentially adds to injury via torsional effects, encourages me also to risk- compensate, and places the burden of safety on riders rather than drivers and the state to provide infrastructure… and.. Oh where was I? Yes..

      B: that the whole helmet cam thing seems to only add fuel to the fire of ‘cycliste’ vs ‘motoriste’. All of the headcam videos I’ve seen are, without exception negative and showing how terrible people in cars are and what victims people on bicycles are. It’s one of those areas where I’m afraid, no matter how aggrieved we feel, being ‘right’ just doesn’t help.

      Helmet cam footage of stupid drivers may make us feel morally superior, but it’s not helping our cause. IN fact it may be having the opposite effect.

      Sometimes, we do have to draw attention to the tragic waste of lives that a car centric culture leaves in it’s wake, but setting out on every journey trying to trap hapless drivers is just not helping.

      Neither is, i’m afraid to say, portraying cycling as something requiring the endless consumption of new jazzy pieces of kit, as this blog seems obsessed with – amongst its other more laudable foci.

      Only pointing to successful, positive cycling cultures, further afield – all too often outside the english speaking world, learning from their successes, positioning cycling as a normal, aspirational, fun, safe activity, which it is (if we just forget the clobber and competitiveness), will get more people on bikes and build a safe and more enjoyable environment for being on two wheels.

      So yes, I tend to think think Har has a point here.

      • tim gummer 03/02/2012 at 1:09 pm #

        I will add, should have acknowledged the non helmet fixing options of this particular model. However, my comments re the negative content and of, and use of headcam footage rest.

      • Andreas 03/02/2012 at 3:02 pm #

        A fair argument Tim. If you are not the helmet wearing type then yep – the effectiveness of a “helmet camera” is definitely reduced and I agree that at times, it feels like it is serving as little more than just adding fuel into the fire of the cyclist v motorist. (Something which clearly doesn’t need any further encouragement). In other ways however it brings a graphical representation of the problem – making it more “media friendly”. For some it takes a video to realise that in an battle between a car and a bicycle, the car will always win.

  3. London2wheeler 04/02/2012 at 4:40 pm #

    you call that Mini……..? those are massive. i wonder how heavy they are?

    • Andreas 05/02/2012 at 7:35 pm #

      120g! Doesn’t feel very heavy on the helmet – barely noticeable. But the size is quite big!

  4. Rob Skinner 05/02/2012 at 9:02 pm #

    Intriguing. I’ve taken a few video shorts using a handheld camcorder when leisure cycling on quiet roads. I’ve long wanted a safer and more practical option. I can see that ATC Mini would be good for commuters, but not for someone wanting to capture something of a spectacular holiday. (Battery life, size of file.)

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