Adventure Camera

The action and adventure camera market is hot, with photographers and adventurers recording their exploits on ski slopes, at the race track, on the water, or in the urban jungle. The Drift HD Ghost is a solid camera packed with features, such as 1080p video, 11 megapixel still images, and HDMI connector.

The HD Ghost has a 2″ LCD on top (other cameras have an LED readout only), through which you access the various menus and controls using the four buttons on the side of the camera. Menu navigation isn't at all intuitive. The settings and options are well-labeled once you get past the ridiculous set of icons and into the actual menu list. There's a companion app for smartphones that you can use to control the camera that's more intuitive, but it repeatedly crashed when playing back videos.

Build quality is impressive, and the HD Ghost comes with everything you need to begin your shooting adventure: a two-way remote control, goggle mount, curved and flat surface mounts, universal clip, USB cable, and a 3.5mm microphone extension. Two sealed back panels are also included. One panel is fully sealed, making the Ghost waterproof to about 9′ without requiring a housing. The other panel allows access to the USB port and mic in line. The lens rotates so you can attach the camera at any angle and the video will record in the proper orientation. Video quality is very good, until you're faced with a low-light situation. When filming around a campfire with other ambient light, the video was so noisy it was unusable.

The Drift HD Ghost is an interesting camera because its strong suit, the design, is also its Achilles heel. The lens is completely exposed, so you risk damaging it when filming anything where debris is involved. To protect the lens, you need to buy the waterproof housing. The HD Ghost is a capable camera, but it's not one I enjoyed using.

Company: Drift Innovation Ltd
Price: $399
Rating: 3
Hot:  Solid build; great daytime video quality; good audio
Not:  Menu; Micro SD card; low-light performance; exposed lens