Thursday, December 19, 2013

JVC Adixxion XA2 Review

JVC has launched an upgraded version of their compact action camera in October and I managed to get my hand on one of them just recently. The new version is named XA2, which precede XA1. I've written about XA1 a while back in August, 2013. You can read them here.
The XA1 has been used almost daily on my commuting to and fro work and has helped as a last defence of evidence if I get into an accident with motorists that drives recklessly. It has served well in races i entered as the size is really just nice in the palm to snap photos and light enough to bring along, even on fast races.
2XU Compression run. XA1 in hand taking photo of photographer!
The Camera compared to XA1
The only tell tale signs that the XA2 is different from XA2 is the red wording, the lens bezel and the multi coated (looked like) lens. Otherwise, the units looked exactly the same from 4-other angles. 
Bulkier box
Here is a side by side comparison of the XA1 (right) and XA2 (left), physically.
XA2 with red "Adixxion" and "Full HD".
XA2 with black bezel. Not obvious in this pic is the coating on the lens
Here is an updated pic taken this morning on the "coating"
See the hint of blue, which is reflection of the floro light in office
Additional HDMI wording on XA2. The XA1 has HDMI out as well
If not because of the wear on XA1, they will be hard to tell apart
Same layout. No surprises for previous owner. No relearning needed.
Same battery code. With the XA2 now having SKMM sticker.
The price of XA2 is RM999.00, which was what XA1 was sold at previously. I am informed by JVC Kenwood Malaysia that the price of XA1 has since dropped to RM799 with the introduction of XA2.

Technical Specs

  • New 1080/60p Full HD recording
  • New 8MP Back Illuminated CMOS for higher resolution and better low light performance
  • Improved Super-Wide Lens with expanded viewing angle
  • New F2.4 lens for better low light performance
  • Quad Proof-No extra case required
  • Waterproof to a depth of five meters (16.4 feet)
  • Shockproof to withstand a fall from 2 meters (6.5 feet)
  • Dustproof
  • Freezeproof
  • Built-in 1.5" LCD Monitor
  • Improved 112,000 Pixel LCD Resolution
  • New LCD Auto Brightness
  • New LCD Auto Off
  • Improved Built-In Wi-Fi for faster connection
  • New Adixxion Synch iOS & Android Apps for smart phone linking w/ video monitoring, remote control and easy app based setup of most popular functions (Also available for Windows PC & Apple)
  • New Quad View makes it possible to monitor up to four Adixxion cameras at once
  • USTREAM Video Streaming
  • Easy upload to You Tube and other services
  • Improved Gyro Sensor Digital Image Stabilizer
  • 5X Digital Zoom
  • Improved 16 Megapixel Ultra Resolution Digital Stills
  • New High Speed Burst Photos
  • New Simultaneous Rec of Video & Photos
  • New Time Lapse Still
  • Improved High Quality 128 kbps Audio
  • New 720/120p High Speed recording with 4X slow motion
Easy Operation & Convenience
  • New Video Effects
  • On-Screen GUI menu system
  • Time-Lapse Recording
  • White Balance (Auto & Manual)
  • USB Battery Charging
  • Improved Battery life (2h5m with 720/30p recording)
  • HDMI Output (mini)
  • USB Terminal (For computer connection & battery charging)
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot
  • Dual ¼”, 20-thread tripod mounts (one on bottom, one on side)
A complete comparison between the XA1 and XA2 (and it is easy to see why you should just XA2 and use the XA1 as a second camera)
click to enlarge
Here is the unboxing video done and captured under soft light condition (my living room with PLC lighting). It is in fact, captured by XA1 and this is in FullHD representative of how it will be like at night. 

The only thing i found disappointing is the bundled mounting accessories not include the goggle mount, lens protector and LCD protector that came with XA1. Perhaps it's the confidence by JVC that the lens do not need protection (it's glass, not plastic, so unless you intentionally scratch it...) and the LCD doesn't get as beaten up despite daily usage since August. 

The XA2 came with a multi-direction mount. Perhaps, learning from XA1, not everyone appreciate the goggle mount, maybe? Personally, I do not need any mount as I usually hold the camera in my hand and if need arises, I will use the multi-direction mount to my helmet for the "bird eye view" of my cycling (road and mountain biking) activities. I still have the goggle mount from the XA1, which can be used with the XA2. 

The Adixxion (both XA1 and XA2) comes with 2-tripod mounting option, which is literally what is needed for this camera. This meant you do not need to buy specific fittings and can use literally any 1/4 screw to mount this camera. You can DIY a few mount if you are imaginative (and creative) enough. I am already planning a few like making my own chest mount.

What's really new?
To start with, the ability of XA2 to take better photos is finally here. The XA2 now comes with 8mp worth of resolution as opposed to 5mp. It has an ultra high resolution for photo at 16mp, which is even way higher than my Nikon D3 (at 12mp). The XA2 takes better wide-angle photo, though the distortion is still there, but the coverage is way better.
XA1. Using the pillar on the left as benchmark starting line to see where the far right end would cover. Take note of the JVC pouch at bottom and my arm(lower right corner. Notice the white balance to be biased to "yellowish" and the noise level.
XA2. Using the pillar on the left as benchmark starting line to see where the far right end would cover. Now you see the JVC pouch at bottom and my arm could be seen more. Notice the white balance to be biased to "whitish" and the noise level.
Bear in mind that the image above has been compressed (using irfanview) to make the size smaller, and thus, doesn't show the real 8mp photo. This is the file's exif for verification. Somehow blogger further compress the photo as it uploads it.
The f2.4 capability and the rear-lighting CMOS lens sensor helped with tricky lighting. How does it perform in broad daylight? Here are a few samples from my morning ride to work

The above are from the Video+Photo function where the camera will record video AND at every 5 seconds interval, capture ONE photo. Resolution original is at 2mp with file size about 1mb (1920x1080 resolution).
Photo wise, no doubt the XA2 is better than XA1, and perhaps some other competitors as well. Anyone care to compare this against the other action camera, spec wise?

Video wise the 50fps (set at PAL. If you need 60fps, set the TV system to NTSC) serves it's purpose really well. Super sharp and great color. Another thing worthy to note is the image stabilisation now include a build in GYROSCOPE which improves the video and stabilisation many folds. Would you believe this is from a moving motorbike mounted on the handlebar where vibration is at it's worse? Take note of my windshield on the immediate right and you will see the vibration in relation to the bike's movement. You will see how the image stabilisation was put to work. 

Other feature (yet) to be explored is the time lapse for photos (not just video) which has more option of time capturing and the burst mode, which will be super useful for those action shots. It has a high-speed recording which meant it can bump up the frame per second (fps) from 60 to 120 - capturing slow motion up to 4x slower. It will be tested and reported in this blog. Meanwhile, if you are interested to know more, please don't hesitate to drop me a comment. Also, If you are interested to get a unit, ask me how. I can get it at a discount (small, better than nothing) if you are interested ;-)

This unit of JVC Adixxion XA2 is courtesy from JVC Kenwood Malaysia. It is priced at RM999.00 and can be viewed or purchased from major electrical shops.  


  1. Any confirmation on the improved battery life?

    1. YES and the indicator has been pretty accurate as well. With more option to take the videos, the battery life is longer. Now i have problem and need to bring along additional SD card to record. I ran out of space during the Xterra Teaser MTB. 3:45 and the battery still has 10 to 15% recording on 760p 30fps!