Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Running Bukit Kiara with JVC Adixxion XA1 : Usage Review

I've been toying with the JVC Adixxion XA1 since the day I got it from JVC Kenwood Malaysia. I've been running with it (in hand) and attaching it on my bike helmet (motorbike) while commuting to and fro work. Never have I taken that many videos until I own this unit now. As with every new gadget (or toy, you would say), I will use it and explore every single possible thing I could do with it. 
Secured on the hydraulic
reservoir with a Velcro strap
For example, trying to mount it on my motorbike handlebar using the supplied goggle mount.

As the unit did not come with any handlebar mount, I have to make do with whatever that I have or given. A little bit of imagination will usually go a long way. 

As the unit was still new to me and I am still trying to "visualise" the viewing angle, the first 15 videos taken either were from really odd this one below.

Screen capture photo from the Full HD. If I were to extract the frame from the video, this image will be very high resolution
Agree with me that the above looked like I am on a "constant taking a corner" angle? The camera was set exactly like what you saw on the hydraulic brake reservoir. I now know that spot is a no-no (and so was the four other videos taken at that angle). I so need a handlebar mount (hoping JVC will read this)
However, today's sharing is NOT about using Adixxion on the motorbike. It was used during my run in Bukit Kiara. The day of carrying a compact camera to capture video is now over (though I will still carry it to capture still images). 
Running With Adixxion - In Your Hand
This camera is small enough to comfortably grab and hold while running. I showed this to a GoPro user and the first thing that strike him was how "natural" he can hold it without any monopod/tripod if he wants to video. It did not occur to me as I do not have a GoPro to compare against (hoping GoPro will read this, too).

As you can see from the photo on the right (taken with my Panasonic FT4), the Adixxion can be held with two fingers and one thumb against the palm and it is still stable. 

I tried a another way to hold it via my existing (available) Gorillapod which I shape to be a handle. It also provides me additional reach (read : Distance) so I capture more things into frame. 

However as the Gorillapod isn't a stiff attachment, no amount of Digital Image Stablisation would lessen the shake due to the extreme movement when running. That decision to use the Gorillapod cost me 2 videos. I then removed the pod and tested it with full hand (or fingers) grab.

Running With Adixxion - The Video Point Of View or POV
Not needed actually. 
Photo from my Panasonic FT4.
It was a case of trial and error as I try to get used to the viewing angle or "point of view" POV angle of the Adixxion. At 170degree wide, I need to remind myself that I need to hold it in a more extreme angle in order to compensate and/or prevent my head from being cut out of frame. 

It took me about 4 videos to get used to the angle. So those earlier videos will not be shown as it is not at the angle approved by me.

It was a case of missing the HIGH and LOW, literally.
Too LOW. Screen capture from the FIRST video.
Too HIGH. Screen capture from second video.
After a few more tries, I finally got the hang of it and know where to hold and aim the Adixxion for maximal effect. It improves as I applied it to different angle and consistently get the shot I wanted. Doesn't take me too long to get it right -all one need is to keep using it.
If you want to view the video in Full HD, skip to the end of this review.
The Adixxion Super Sensitive Microphone 
One thing i noticed during the first day use of the Adixxion running was how sensitive the mic was. It picks up everything including the breaking of small branches under my footsteps. Then it became even louder when I run against the wind. I was told by the JVC rep that the Adixxion mic is super sensitive as the unit, unlike the competitor does not reside in a casing that reduces the sensitivity by a notch.
Sounds legit.
With that in mind, I took a piece of sticky tape and tape over the mic. The mic was still sensitive, so I put another sticky take over it. It became more bearable for normal run and when running against the wind. 

While this may look crude, I am (almost) always function over form. :) For motorbike riding, a piece of folded tissue bits need to be used to muffle the wind noise.

Adixxion Battery Life
The rated battery life is 70minutes on constant recording at Full 1080p HD mode. I find it not to run too far away from actual usage. My first use were recording slightly longer than 70minutes perhaps due to the start-stop recording. 8gb of memory card were almost used up (7.5gb) for that period of recording.
Setting the Adixxion to recording no more than 5minutes each time, the battery lasted about 80minutes with about 50minutes of real recording. I did not switch off the unit but let the LCD play in the background (ready to record mode). 

The plus point I can think off with Adixxion over GoPro is that the battery change will be less cumbersome as it is as easy as just flipping open the back cover. With GoPro, there is a need to remove the housing, which may (or may not, depending on the proficiency of the user) to drop the casing or camera while replacing the battery. 

Of course as with anything that claim to be "proof", it is often best to be careful when opening the lid (as you can see, the sticker that is moisture sensitive has turned pink as when I received this unit. This usually is enough to void warranty).
Rough and Tough
I've managed to put this unit to test 3 (out of 4) of the "proof" design. The unit withstand aggressive use in the sea. Was fully buried in (beach) sand and were dropped from the top of the head (about 173cm) to sand/gravel. It survived all instances. I am hesitant to drop it on hard ground though, and if that ever happened, it is really accident and not on purpose. Happy to report that the unit is still working as normal - except the lense protector is a bit scratched when I buried in the sand. Small issue as that was what the lense protector supposed to do!
Seawater in PD - PASS.
Other Thoughts
After almost a week of using the Adixxion:
1. I've noticed that the unit turns warm to the touch if left to record more than 30minutes continuously (used as in-car camera). This could be the LCD being switched on all the time OR the unit being exposed to the sun near the dashboard. This does not effect the performance of the camera.
Immersing in water to wash away salt water
2. Using the unit as an in-car camera allows you to have the power stayed plugged in for endless (or as long as you drive) function. There is the endless recording where it will keep recording and over-write any recorded tracks. This way, the unit is highly usable as a "black box" for driving. Suggested to use the flexible tripod mount and stick it to the dashboard or right behind your rear-view mirror. Only limitation is the mini-USB cable is not long enough. You may have to get an aftermarket cable to keep the unit charged all time.

3. I am yet to fully utilise this to it's full potential. Not tried the WiFi connectivity yet and that will be on the next to do with Adixxion.
The Video Sample
Here is the Full HD (1080p in 30FPS). Produced using Windows Movie Maker and where appropriate, the video were sped up or slowed down to test the Full HD recordings. So remember to switch it to FULL HD playback in Youtube.
More to come with this Adixxion.
Hope you enjoyed the video. For more videos, please subscribe to my YouTube channel!


  1. Not as good as a gopro though is it. My mates gopro made an in-transit exit from his ducati down the pit straight as 250kph onto hard tarmac. It amazingly survived fully functional (with exit footage), although the polycarbonate case was damaged.

    GoPro sent him a replacement for free!

    Add on waterproof to 60m, 1hr 10 batt life and loads of mounting options and, well.... what can i say.. I know where my money would go.

    1. Wow! 250kmh and survived (and a free replacement, that's customer service).

      the 60m waterproof is with a dive casing. Adixxion also has a a 1hour 10mins batt life and loads of mounting option (though I am given only two that comes with the camera). :)

  2. Nice post. Great Read. Though i notice that there are'nt many trails in Malaysia. Do you know any other trails beside those most visited ones (kiara FRIM etc.).

    Would love to run trail but too far away from where I'm at.

    Thanks and keep writing.

    1. Thank you anon.

      Other trails in Klang Valley would be at Ulu Kelang, Janda Baik, Batu Dam. :)

      Where you based?

    2. near kajang/pjaya? ..

    3. PCP or Putrajaya Challenge Park is a good place to start. Controlled environment and provide good coverage.

  3. Hi,
    nice review! Are you using the JVC with the lens cap on? I think I've read that it is only to protect the lens but not to use to record video because it degrade the quality. What is your opinion about it?

    Thank you

  4. Hi Mattia! Yes, You are right, especially if the cap has been scratched. Nowadays i go without. Confident enough to leave it "open".