The Tachyon Inc. design engineer, putting the finishing touches on the Tachyon XC 2010 model, gazed with his practiced eye at the detailed 3D model on his screen. What final element could he add that would signal, "Here is a design engineer with an eye for detail, someone who puts care into his work, someone who wants to leave his mark." With a twiddle of his mouse, he added six stainless 1.5mm hex screws, where two probably would have been sufficient to hold down the shiny trim piece.
But, lo, his fancy design work was undone by the orangutan-like assemblers, who did chuck up a 1.5mm bit into a hammer drill, and scabulate the clean hexagonal holes into sloppy, misshapen, odd-numbered polygons. (This is how it arrived. When hex heads are on display like this, they should be pristine.)
I ziptied the side mount to my helmet, and went out for a test ride. Here's the cam on the helmet. (A test ride video with the camera mounted on the handlebar is here. )
My first impressions of the camera were good. I spliced together some of the test shots, and put the video at the bottom of this post. The review that convinced me to buy this one is here, on the Helmet Cam Review blog. The reviewer covered the points I was looking for in a helmet cam, with the Tachyon XC coming out on the top of my criteria. The reviewer there goes into much more detail than I will here. I'll just mention a few points that came out during my test ride.
I like the buttons. They are just hard enough to press so that you get a positive result, with no accidental presses or activation due to vibrations or bumps. My only criticism is the dual rising tone is used to indicate both "record START" and "record STOP". Using the same pair of tones to indicate ON and OFF makes it impossible to know, when the camera is attached to your helmet, if you are starting it or stopping it. All you know for sure is that you successfully toggled it from one state to the other. When you are out bouncing around on the trail, with wind and lots of other noise, it is easy to miss the sound, and then you are stuck with taking off your helmet to check if the green light or red light is on.
Today I rode in a light rain. The camera is waterproof, and was completely dry inside when I opened it after the ride. The waterproofing makes the audio quality very low. But, they explain that on the web site where I bought it. I left the audio on the sample video I posted so that you can hear what it does catch. Two things that you can hear relatively well are the sound of my bell, and the ducks quacking (although I wish it were a little more sensitive to quacks. Oh well).
The FAQ on the Tachyon site cautions against using rechargeable batteries in the camera. Which is absurd. I understand the caution of the engineers, and that rechargeable batteries come in different sizes and different quality control, and also appreciate the care that went into designing a battery carrier that is exactly snug enough that it doesn't jiggle around and is secure in a camera that's going to be subject to a hard life. I get it. And I love what they did. But I'm not going to burn a set of alkalines or lithiums for every hour or two of video I shoot. I'm just not going to. So I grabbed my favorite rechargeable AA batteries for use in cameras, the Rayovac Hybrids, threw caution to the the wind, and stuck them into the camera. They did not jam, and performed flawlessly. And when I was done, and flicked the little red catch that releases the battery carrier from the camera, it popped out without effort.
Ah, the forbidden fruit of rechargeable batteries, now depleted, exiting the camera successfully.
Here's the video. As I mentioned, the audio I left raw, as it was recorded, to give a sense of what it picks up. Overall, I'm very happy with this camera so far. Note: I paid for this product myself, and did not receive any payment or other incentives for writing this. Coming up soon, some mountain biking footage. Get up. Go ride.