I've been looking at, and reviewing, a bunch of motorcycle helmet cameras so I can get
some high quality footage from my bike. I wanted a motorcycle helmet camera that
was light, good quality, has a remote microphone input, and a variety of
My pick of the bunch is the Drift Innovation HD170 Stealth wireless HD helmet cam.
I ended up taking delivery of the newly released Drift HD camera. If you think I was disappointed with it at first, imagine my annoyance when I
watched a video created using the new GoPro Hero 2 HD camera with out-of-the-box settings.
Drift should be embarrassed for releasing this camera to the market. The old
HD170 Stealth even has better picture quality. My advice is, if you are thinking
about a sports camera for your helmet, surfboard or car, get a GoPro Hero 2.
Drift, you're FIRED!!
Anyway, back to my original article about the HD170 Stealth.
There are a number of reasons for my choice. For starters, the unit is quite
small and light, but packs in a lot of features - even a small LCD screen for
video playback and settings icons.
The Drift HD170 also has a wireless remote control with a large record and stop
button which can be easily mounted to your handlebars, or by a band to your
In a nutshell, the Drift Innovation HD170 is a full 1080p HD camera for creating
crystal clear footage. It has a playback screen for lining up shots and the
ability to play back the footage right on the spot.
As previously mentioned, it also has a remote control to enable you to film what
you want to record, and not the boring stuff in between. It has easy-to-use
mounts so you can use it whenever you want and mount it anywhere your
imagination allows you - so not JUST on your motorcycle helmet. The shape of the
camera and the mounts it comes with make it the easiest camera on the market to
The Drift also has a rotating lens so you can mount the camera at any angle and
any position, a zoom function so you can get even closer to the action, an
external microphone jack so no more listening to wind noise or having to overlay
a music track to cover up the racket, and finally a night mode so you can record
in darker and duskier conditions.
But wait - there's more! Not only does if take video footage, it can take photos
too - just put it in the photo burst mode and you can take pictures every few
seconds for as long as your memory card lasts.
There are many accessories that come with the Drift HD170 too, such as:
HD170 Action Camera
Industrial strength Velcro adhesive pad
Component Cable for HD playback on TV
USB Cable for downloading to a computer
Quick Guide to get started
Drift Innovation do what a lot of companies do these days and supply their
full manual online - which is a good thing - you can get a much more detailed
look at the video camera by
downloading it before
The above video was shot with a Drift HD170 Stealth HD Camera by Steve, riding
along US Route 27 outside of Miami, Florida. His bike, a Harley-Davidson Street
Glide with a 103 inch motor, Woods TW-555 cams, Jackpot Pro touring Mufflers,
Fuel Moto 2-1-2 Headpipe, and a PowerVision Tuner, reaches about 110 MPH (177
KPH) in the video.
25 / 30 / 50 / 60fps in 720p or 25 / 30fps in 1080p
Video format: 16:9
Lens Rotation: 300°
Recording Angles: 127° in 1080p, 170° in 720p & WVGA
White balance: Auto
Exposure: Auto / Manual (advanced users)
Zoom: Digital x4 (in 720p/30/60fps & WVGA mode)
Remote range: 10 ft. range
Inputs: Optional External Microphone
AV Output: HDTV out (cable included)
Battery: 1110mAh rechargeable lithium-ion/ Optional 1700 mAh Li-ion
Power-Save option saves batteries by powering down the screen
Built-in memory: 32 MB
SD memory capacity: Supports memory cards up to 32 GB
Photo resolution: 5 Megapixel
LCD screen: 1.5? colour TFT
Lens focal range: 0.5m to infinity
Dimensions: Camera - 133 (L) x 50 (D) x 33 (W) mm / Remote Control 52
(L) x 40 (W) x 13 (D) mm
Power: Camera - DC 3.7V / Remote control: DC 3C, 1x CR2032 battery
RF: Receiver (Camera): 433.92MHz ISM band / Transmitter (Remote):
433.92MHz ISM band
Weight: Camera - 138g / Remote control - 19g
Operating Systems: Compatible with Windows 7, XP & Vista; Mac OS 10.2
More information about the Drift HD170 Stealth helmet camera
The Drift HD170 supports SD cards from all leading brands, but we recommend
class 4 cards for video. The unit is also compatible with SDHC cards. It can
support SD cards with a capacity of up to 32GB.
The remote control uses radio frequency (RF) to communicate directly with the
camera unit. The remote is RF based, rather than infrared (IR), as used in other
helmet cameras. As a result, you do not need to point the remote at the camera.
As long as the remote is in range of the camera, it will pick up the remote
control signal, and it has a range of 5 metres.
The HD170 lithium battery is designed to be charged inside the camera. When a
power source - a wall plug (not supplied) or USB cable - is connected to the
back of the camera, the camera will immediately power up. While the camera is
powered up the battery is not charging. The unit must be powered down by holding
the select (on/off) button. The screen should power down, and LED on the select
button should turn to blue. The camera will then be charging.
The Drift HD170 has a specifically selected a 170° lens to provide users
with the really quirky wide angle that was prominent in the early days of helmet
cameras, particularly in skateboarding. The effect is less pronounced on objects
in the distance and more pronounced on objects close to the camera lens. If you
prefer a tighter angle, you can use the camera's zoom function, or shoot in
The camera is designed to be splash-proof, dust-proof, weatherproof, and
dunk-proof but NOT designed to be underwater for sustained periods of time. For
most users this level of waterproofing is more than adequate. For those users
who would like to use the camera in water sports or for scuba/snorkelling, an
aftermarket waterproof pouch available that may be suitable for the Drift range.
Helmet Camera Costs
The main camera unit and accessories costs $299.00, but I recommend the purchase
of an external microphone (about $35), a 16 GIG SD card (about $55), and a
silicone boot to prevent foreign particles from entering the camera when the
remote mic is being used (about $29). So all up, ready to go, a touch over
A good reason to use an external microphone is most apparent in the following
video - great footage, but the wind noise is excruciating:
If action footage from your motorcycle, car, BMX bike or whatever is what you
want, I recommend the Drift Innovation HD170 Stealth.
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