Trying the new Cycliq Fly12 action camera. It is a light & camera combo device designed mainly for safety purposes: Being visible and capturing evidence in a crash.
From the company: "Our mission is to raise awareness for road safety. We want to make road users aware they’re being recorded in the hope that everybody provides each other additional space and respect while sharing the road. Consequently, this makes road cycling safer and more enjoyable for everyone."
I've been using their rear camera, the Fly6, for over a year and I am still very pleased with it. Until now I was using a GoPro HERO4 Session as a front camera and a Niterider Lumina 650 light.
The Fly12 is their 'just released' front facing model. I got my pre-order shipment this week and this was my first ride I recorded with it.
I was shooting in 720p 60fps. The camera also supports 1080p 30 and 45fps. The video was rendered in Final Cut Pro in a 1080p 60fps timeline without any image correction.
So far I'm pleased with the quality of the device. It feels strong and heavy. My unit weights 237g, so not something I would bring on race day but fine for training & commuting
The 400 lumens light is ok for commuting. I used the brightest intermittent flashing mode and never felt like I needed to switch to always on mode at night. I felt like the flashing mode made me more visible during both day and night time.
Video quality is good. The files recorded ended up at a bitrate of about 12,000 kbps, which is YouTube HD quality. The video in my Final Cut timeline doesn't look that much better than what you see on YT. I'd say this is about equivalent to a GoPro HERO2, which was a pretty awesome action cam. You can read license plate until about one and a half car length distance. But then in low light the image quality takes a big hit as you can see at the end of the video.
The field of view is also narrower. We cannot see my front tire even though the camera was aimed slightly down. This is something I'll have to experiment with as I find that important to have a reference point from the bike in the image.
The microphone doesn't pick up much details. I talked a few times in this video and it did not pick up my voice like the GoPro would.
Usability is the main reason to get a Fly12. Just 1 button and ride. Because it can get tedious to always re-charge the GoPro everyday and having to remember to empty the memory card once in a while. So you end up not using it on some days, which of course will be one of the day something bad happens. I'll see in the coming weeks how smooth the Fly12 operation will be and how much I get out of the advertised 10 hours battery life. The new improved audio cues are great! This is an underrated important feature; Because we operate those devices by ear most of the time. My only gripe so far is the location of the power button at the back of the device, which can be hard to reach depending on your cockpit setup.
The iPhone app connectivity works.. as well as it could I guess. It's only held back by the little dance of switch to app, find device over Bluetooth, turn on wifi, switch to wifi settings to select network, switch back to app... Error. Start over. Reboot camera. Ok now it works. I blame smartphones for this mess. But once connected, it's a pretty neat feature to get your videos on your smartphone and share them directly from there. You can even effortlessly add a nice overlay with speed and heart rate when you link your Strava account. Pretty neat.
Overall I think this is a good device. It's seamless to use and cleans up the cockpit. If it's worth the price will depend on how much you value the usability of it. Personally I dig it. Even though it's a step down in image quality from my HERO4 Session, and less lumen than my Niterider light, anything than reduces friction before getting out of the door is a big improvement.
I was riding my cyclocross Focus Mares AX bike, because CX is fun!
Locations include Brentwood, Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach and the UCLA campus.
See more on my cycling blog at http://thebikecomesfirst.tumblr.com