Swann Freestyle HD
Beautiful video; small; lightweight; removable LCD screen
Limiting waterproof case; battery life
If you’re mulling over which camera to buy to show off your extreme sports exploits, Swann has made your choice harder with its Freestyle HD. This small video and still camera is waterproof up to 20m, which makes it perfect for use in the surf and other watersports, or for underwater photography.
The Freestyle HD records MPEG-4 video at 30 frames per second with a 3x digital zoom and captures jpeg photos at 8 megapixels. Users can watch real-time video playback on a 1.5in LCD detachable screen or in HD through the HDMI port.
The underwater quality was fantastic when used in a swimming pool; the vision was crystal-clear and adjusting to changing light was almost flawless.
The camera cannot be turned on
or off when in the waterproof housing, and the removable LCD screen cannot be attached while the camera is in the case, but you are able to start and stop video capture and take snapshots while the case is sealed.
The Freestyle HD has a battery life of 2.5 hours according to Swann, and that appeared correct from our usage, but the camera takes between three- and-a-half and four hours to charge, which can seem like a long time when you want to get out and about.
A remote control allows you to take photos or video from a range of 2m, but with the waterproof case attached the length is reduced.
The Freestyle HD comes with a micro USB cable, a TV-out AV cable and an HDMI port for external viewing and file transfer.
The camera’s on-board memory only allows for 17 seconds of 1080p video to be recorded, so you’ll have to buy a micro SD card (up to 32GB).
The camera comes with a variety of sturdy adhesive mounts suitable for helmets, dashboards or flat surfaces.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
At $299 the Freestyle HD is not a reflex buy, but for its potential it is appropriately priced. This camera was a pleasure to play with and its uses are apparent. Sadly we didn’t have the option to visit the snow or the beach but we can tell this camera would shine in these environments. If you have a use for it, don’t look twice.