Who doesn’t like to record their ride when the sun is shining, the skies are blue and you’ve got that happy feeling on your motorcycle taking in the stunning views on bendy roads. If not for publishing it then for your own record to watch them in those long winter days when the bikes are parked in the garage and we are missing the thrill of the ride.
I have been using the Insta360 R camera for nearly 18 months and whilst I’m not a wizz at video editing I do like the way it captures the scenery and gives you the option to choose the view of the camera after the footage has been recorded. The downside of this is that everything seems so far away. Watching YouTube vloggers with their forward facing cameras I did wonder if they are onto a better thing. I do have a forward facing camera on my Insta360, too but I haven’t really used it.
So I figured doing a side by side comparison would be an interesting exercise. But let’s go back to the Drift Innovations Ghost XL Camera first.This is an action camera that comes with a variety of mounts to use on a helmet or on different parts of your bike, an external microphone with waterproof connector and a USB charging cable.
As I am the type to just switch things on and start using them rather than reading the user manual I was struggling to see the screen on the back of the camera as I was scrolling through the options. With glasses perched on my nose I realised each setting shows up in a different screen colour to make it easier to tell at a glance whether the camera is recording or not and in what setting it is on.
Finally giving up and opening the user manual I realised there is an app to download to your phone from where you can control the camera. It is very intuitive, super easy to use and it offers remote control of the camera which means you can mount it anywhere without worrying about accessing the buttons.
At first I wasn’t sure about the look and design of the camera, being used to Insta which is very Go-Pro like in the looks department. I mounted both cameras to my bike and went for a ride. Insta360, due to its design, sticks out like a sore thumb and is very obvious whilst I had to look twice on several occasions to really notice Ghost XL. It is actually genius in its design and it is almost invisible at first sight regardless of what position I mounted it in.
The lens rotates 300 degrees which means no matter how you mount the camera, it will always capture the footage the ‘right way up’. The great thing about the phone app is that you can see a live view of what the camera is looking at and you can set it all before riding off, knowing the footage will be recorded as you want it to.
It does seem to struggle with low lighting conditions as you can see on the video. The beginning is filmed on a brighter day and the footage looks good but the very end is filmed on a gloomy, overcast day which means the footage is quite dark. The lens opening is quite small so you are to expect this and worth taking into the account when purchasing such cameras.
I have recorded footage in different resolutions and to be honest, not being an expert, I couldn’t really tell much of the difference on the screen between them.
The adjustment of the field of view, on the other hand, is a great option to give you flexibility on how much you want to include in the frame. The options are 90°, 115° and 140°.
The manufacturer claims the battery lasts 9 hours of recording time at 1080p which is very impressive. I haven’t used it for long enough to test this claim.
Knowing that your camera won’t die if it rains is a great comfort, especially living in Wales. Personally, I don’t record anything in rain as the water drops settle on the camera lens and distort the image and I see no point in it unless you are using it as a dash cam. It is great to know that you don’t have to panic and pull over to pack the camera away if you get caught in the rain.
All in all, a great robust camera that is super easy to use and produces good quality footage. At half the price of the Ghost 4K version I think it is a great value action camera but if you have the budget, I’d go for the better lens option.
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