“Did you get that? Please tell me you got that,” – every rider who has ever ridden with an action camera in the group.
I’m not ashamed to admit it – most of the footage my cameras capture isn’t worth the bytes of data its stored in, but every once in awhile I get lucky. I have a love/hate relationship with action cameras. I love it when they capture a moment that is completely unique, usually an epic crash or clearing that jump for the first time. But I hate the complicated set ups, charging, and cameras that are hard to operate. That’s why the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2 caught my eye, it’s small, rugged, and at first glance looks really easy to use.
Jump past the break for the action.
The $299 gc-xa2 slots into JVC’s line up as an improved replacement for the gc-xa1. Without a need for an external case (unless you’re scuba diving) the Adixxion is waterproof to 5m, 2m drop proof, dust proof, and freeze proof. You also get a built in LCD screen that allows it to act as a menu screen, view finder, or playback screen. The camera can be controlled from a free app, using the built in wi-fi which allows you to see exactly what you’re filming without having to get to the camera.
The only draw back to the app is that when the camera is connected to your phone via wi-fi, you can only control it from the phone as the buttons on the camera don’t function until you disconnect. This isn’t a huge issue, but there are functions like changing settings that you can’t get to on the app which requires disconnecting and then reconnecting the app from the camera. Due to the amount of time it takes to establish a connection this can be a bit of a pain.
While the camera specs have been improved with the GC-XA2, what’s included with the camera seems to have suffered. Likely a move to cut costs, its only a bummer since the GC-XA1 included a goggle mount, and screen and lens protectors in addition to the flexible mount that is still included with the camera. Additionally, you’re still getting the battery and a USB charge and sync cable as well.
The included mount points out a dilemma with the GC-XA2. The use of 1/4-20 threaded mounts on the bottom and side of the camera open up a lot of opportunities for use on tripods, poles, etc. but getting it mounted to a number of surfaces initially proved to be a bigger challenge than expected without buying additional mounts from JVC. The included mount with the camera is excellent if you have a flat surface to mount it to. The 3M VHB adhesive holds well, and the adjustable ball and socket joint allows quite a bit of freedom with the aim.
JVC has quite a few specialty mounts available which look quite good, but if you already have a small fortune invested in GoPro camera mounts this adapter or ones similar will allow you to use them on the JVC.
Inside the waterproof access door, you’ll find the charging port, HDMI out, and SD card and battery slots. For the number of features and the screen, the Adixxion is impressively small and offers a shape that is easy to use in your hands. Which brings up an interesting bonus with the JVC, in addition to using is as a mounted action camera the GC-XA2 also works pretty well as a hand held camera. The shape makes it easy to hold while still having easy access to the shutter button. This means if you are in a situation where you can’t mount the camera but have a hand free you can still take decent footage and pictures.
Like this. Thanks to a broken arm, I haven’t been riding but I happened to bring along the GC-XA2 while I was recently down in Mexico. I had a chance to climb Noloch Mul, the tallest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan, so I simply held the camera and took it along for the climb. Don’t worry, we’ll check back in with some biking video soon (I’m back on the road bike as of this week, yes!). Wading through a sea of out of shape tourists may seem to have little to do with biking, but looking at the video you get a good idea of the amount of distortion from the super wide angle lens by the horizon. Also when you consider that I climbed the pyramid with one good arm while filming with the other, it speaks to the ease of use.
As for the stills, the GC-XA2 takes excellent pictures as long as there is ample light.
Depending on the situation, like J-Pow testing the limits of his tubulars over the barriers, not enough light with a moving subject leads to a grainy image.
Going back to the hand held option, good photos are easily taken with the right light.
Or while under water. The GC-XA2 found its way into both the pool and the ocean on this trip, passing with flying colors.
All of these pictures were shot on the maximum 16M setting, while the videos were filmed on the 1920×1080 FHD60 resolution setting. So far the Adixxion has proven to be one of the most versatile action cams we’ve tried with excellent battery life, but check back for the final review with plenty of on the bike action.
ADIXXION GC-XA2 Primary Features
- Quad-Proof Design: 5m Waterproof / 2m Shockproof / Dustproof / Freeze proof
- Built-in Wi-Fi (Streaming to USTREAM, Upload to YouTube, Streaming to PC/Smartphone, Quad View, photo transfer to smartphone)
- 1.5-inch LCD Monitor (115k)
- Improved Image Stabilizer with Gyro Sensor
- F2.4 / Super Wide Lens
- Full HD 1920×1080 60p/50p Recording
- 1280 x 720 120p/100p High Speed REC
- 8M Back-illuminated CMOS Sensor
- 8M Still Picture / 16M Still Picture by Ultra Resolution
- Simultaneous REC
- Time-Lapse REC (Video: 0.2, 1, 5, 10, 30, 60 sec)
- Time-Lapse REC (Photo: 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 sec)
- Burst Mode (Up to 15fps)
- Video Effect Function
- SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot
- Digital 5x Zoom
- White Balance (Auto & Manual) / Brightness Adjustment (Auto & Manual)
- HDMI® Terminal (mini)
- Provided Accessories: Wide Flexible Mount, Battery, USB Cable
- Free app available for Android phone/tablet, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Windows PC and Mac
Recording modes and approx. recording times on a 128GB SDXC card (not provided)