So my new toy has arrived as much as I would like either a Garmin Virb Ultra 30 or a Gopro Hero 5 Black, I simply can’t afford one (if someone wants to send me one to review and keep… 😉 ) or justify it for my needs so what else is there that tracks your position and shoots good video?
Previously I have used a GoPro Hero Session 4, however I have not found it the most reliable device to get and keep running, I just wanted something simple that I can put in the cockpit access it via my phone to position it and start recording. Looking around the Tomtom Bandit at £138.00 (from Amazon at the time of writing) seems like a good compromise, it has a good battery life of over 2 hours at 1080P 30 FPS including the GPS. So more on an impulse than anything else I ordered one!
It’s a nice camera and well designed, it feels well-made, it is a little heavier than a GoPro, bigger too! It comes with an adaptor to allow it to mount onto a GoPro mount. My first issue with it was setting up an account first before you can setup an account you need to have connected the camera, then it would not allow me to this via my iPhone, I eventually overcame it by downloading the Beta desktop Tomtom studio which allowed me to create an account, what a painful start!
Next issue was no one sells an ND8 Filter for it (I should have checked this before ordering it) I managed to make one out of a plastic ND8 filter I had purchased previously and held it in position with some large shrink wrap. ND8 filter is needed when shooting through the prop, well unless TomTom add as setting for this but no other manufacturer has, #MissedOpportunity!
No one makes a lens cap for it! A kind person on the Tomtom forum told me to buy a 34mm push cap and it will fit, one is now on order.
So on to videoing I recorded some footage at 2.7K 30FPS, 4K 14 FPS, 1080P 60 FPS and 1080P 30 FPS.
2.7K was great quality. (I didn’t like these gauges and switched to the strip ones in the next video.
4K was sunning detail while on the ground but struggled to keep up in flight (sorry I did not up load this one).
1080P 60FPS, surprisingly disappointing it showed up a lot of vibration and made the video unwatchable for me, I may try this again when/if I get a gimbal for it (sorry I did not up load this one).
1080P 30FPS, this seems to be the best compromise all round good quality video, good Battery life and did not eat up the Micro SD card.
Next how to get the data overlay on the video, TomTom’s gauges aren’t great and are not configurable to show height in feet distance in Km and speed in Knots, which is a real shame as it edits very quickly in TomTom’s app both on the phone and on my old Laptop.
So over to DashWare (now owned but GoPro), this allows for loads of different gauges and layout and works with the TomTom camera if you export the GPS data first (right click on the file in TomTom’s Windows app) but the problem with DashWare is the rendering time 1hr 4mins for a 6 min video ouch!
Overall if you are happy to make your own ND8 filter (it was not difficult) and prepared to wait while DashWare renders the video you end up with great videos from a very competitively priced camera. and over all a better experience than the one I have with my GoPro Hero 4 Session
Now if only TomTom were to add the strip gauges for aviation within their app they would be on to a winner for us pilots.