JVC seems to have got everything right with the Adixxion. This rugged unit takes all the best features of the highly competitive action camera market and packs them all into one small, user-friendly package.
The small, sleek and unobtrusive camera looks and feels like it means business, and we didn’t even need to read the manual before strapping it to a bike and heading out to capture some footage. The camera body itself has standard 1/4”-20 tripod threads on both the bottom and side, so mounting is fast and easy with no extra housings or accessories required.
- Highs: Durable against knocks and the elements, lightest in its class, easy to mount, easy to compose shots
- Lows: Battery life is short, image quality isn't quite as good as that of a GoPro
Operation is simple: mount up, hit the power button, compose your shot on the built-in monitor and start recording.
From a price perspective, the Adixxion compares closely to the Drift HD Ghost or the GoPro Hero 3+. All three of these cameras do a lot of the same stuff: maximum resolution of 1080p at 60fps, remote Wi-Fi operation with iOS and Andriod, time lapse, burst mode, continuous loop recording, USB connectivity and charging, HDMI output and hi-res still capture. The spec sheets vary slightly but the bells and whistles broadly similar.
So what makes the Adixxion stand out from the crowd? Well, without getting into too much of a shootout situation, here are some basic comparisons.
Weight and size: It is smaller and lighter than both of its competitors. It is similar in height and thickness to the Drift but shorter in length by 3cm and at 134 grams it is noticeably (30g) lighter. The GoPro, set up in its waterproof casing and with a 1/4”-20 tripod adapter is bulky, non-aerodynamic, conspicuous and weighs 228g.
Once you've factored in the GoPro's casing and adaptor, the JVC Addixxion represents a remarkably compact alternative
Preview/review monitor: The Adixxion’s is smaller than that of the Drift, but is more than adequate for composing shots and reviewing footage. The GoPro doesn’t come with a monitor but an optional add-on is available.
Mounting: Both GoPro and Drift require proprietary mounting systems. The Adixxion has 1/4”-20 tripod mounts on the bottom and left side and can be used quickly and easily with a raft of standard camera components. We had fun working out new and different places to mount it. The small forward-facing body is perfect for tucking the camera into tight spots and getting new and creative angles, but if inventing your own mounting systems doesn’t appeal to you, JVC offers a comprehensive and predictable range of optional mounting accessories, just like the other manufacturers.
The Addixxion has handy side- and bottom-positioned tripod mounting options
Battling the elements: With no additional housing the Adixxion is waterproof to a depth of 5 metres (16ft+), dustproof, shockproof from a height of two metres (6.5ft) and we can attest after using it at almost 0ºF (-25ºC) that it will run happily in very low temperatures.
Battery run time: We were able to get about 50min of continuous shooting at 720p at 30fps. (We charged the battery, set the camera to run until it died, then checked the length of the clip.) Different shooting resolutions produced different run times but the 720p at 30fps seemed to be the benchmark test that is most common.
JVC App: Simple, concise and functional: users can view and control cameras, shoot stills, adjust some settings, upload to services such as YouTube and monitor up to four cameras at the same time. This last feature seems to be a first – most other camera apps need to be logged out of one camera to log in to another.
Other features that bear a mention are digital image stabilisation, 16 megapixel still images, f2.4 aperture lens and back-lit CMOS sensor for improved low-light shooting, 5x digital zoom (we’d be really impressed if it was an optical zoom), built-in video effects and a choice of auto or manual white balance.
Finally there’s the question of image quality. All three of the cameras mentioned shoot full 1080p at a maximum of 60fps, but which has the best overall image? The test for this is pretty simple. We mounted the Adixxion and a GoPro Hero3 side by side on a bike, set them at the same resolutions and went for a spin. Then we opened the raw (MP4) footage in QuickTime and ran them side by side. This is a highly interpretive topic, but we think this is where the GoPro still has a slight edge: its footage is marginally better, with small advantages in image clarity, colour rendition and saturation. But after importing both sets of footage into editing software we were able to make them look pretty much identical.
The Adixxion GC-XA2 packs a lot of punch into a small package. With features and specifications that equal and sometimes surpass the competition in its price range, this tough, compact camera can take a lot of serious abuse. We used our test unit quite a bit in cold, wet conditions – including part of a nasty season of cyclocross – and it performed flawlessly.