Replay XD1080 / XD720 HD POV Action Cameras
Smallest Profile and Most Robust Design of Any POV Action Cam on the Market
By Jeff Foster | March 07, 2014
The Replay XD HD cams are a truly unique design, with a low-profile and they're built like a tank. Made with hard-anodized aluminum cases that are water resistant without the need for an external housing for most applications, these lightweight POV action cams have the versatility and durability that even the most popular competitors can only dream of.
Replay XD1080 / XD720 HD Cameras
I first learned about the Replay XD cameras at last year's NAB Expo when my friend and colleague (and co-presenter of the POV Mini-Cam workshop) Douglas Spotted Eagle shared them with the crowd. Their form factor was amazing and so was some of the sample footage he shared, so I was intrigued. I was in contact with them for several months and they got a review kit with some of everything they make - both the XD1080 and XD720 cameras and all the accessories to try out; all in a nicely-designed foam-insert case. At first glance, touch and feel, this form factor is one to fall in love with. This is truly a sexy little production cam.
Not only is the build quality of their cameras remarkable, but the design and build of all their accessories are brilliant. And what these cameras may lack in features their competitors products, such as WiFi, menu screens and a dozen different frame rates and photo option, the Replay XD cams are made for serious production. Several racing teams and Motorsports events have chosen the Replay XD cams for their ultra-light profile and durability, mounting options and the ability to provide live streaming 1080 HD video through built-in HDMI to a video transmitter in the car or to an HD recorder.
It's no doubt that the Replay XD team is serious about their ties with Motorsports - they're drawing on years of racing experience.
Replay XD was designed by a group of racing professionals with over 50 years of experience in the high performance racing industry. The development team forever revolutionized Action Cameras, creating the smallest, lightest, ultra-rugged, and most versatile cameras. Replay XD Action Cameras endure and capture never before seen video from human and machine in the most extreme environments on Earth. We create the finest Action Cameras on the Planet. - ReplayXD.com
As of Feb, 2014 they were just selected as the Official Action Camera of the US Formula 100 Championship, and they have a long list of others listed on their website.
Replay XD1080 Camera
About the size of a mini Maglight (3.6" length, 1" dia), the Replay XD1080 is full-featured and rugged. Weighing only 3oz. it has a milled aluminum body and Mil-Spec hard-anodized for durability. Both the front bezel and the rear cap are threaded with double o-ring gaskets to make it weather/water resistant for the most severe conditions. *Note the image above is shown with the optional 37mm filter adapter installed.
The two external buttons on the camera body are simple access to power and recording, with a vidration feedback indicating a response to your action even in a loud environment (link at the racetrack). Blue and Red colored LEDs show you visually what mode it's in.
The back cap unscrews revealing the program setting buttons and LEDs, charge port and HDMI port and microSD card slot. The program settings are listed on the inside of the rear cap for quick reference, but once you've set it, it remains in that program until you change it again. Even powering it off and on again doesn't reset it so you can depend on repeatability time and time again.
Modes and options as listed:
- Audio: Int/Ext Mic
- Mode: 1080p, 960p, 720p
- 5MP Photo (3, 5, 15, 30 sec intervals)
- FPS: 30 (1080p/960p/720p), 60 (720p)
- Rec, Stop, Play, Skip Forward, Skip Reverse, Clip File, Live Video Out
Natural 135º FOV low-distortion f3.1 lens:
Unlike most competing POV action cams, the Replay XD1080 has a more natural FOV without the fisheye lens effect. This comparison image below is from their website:
Replay XD720 Camera
Even more compact and lighter than the XD1080, the XD720 is only 3.2" in length and less than an inch in diameter and weighs only 2oz (about the size of a roll of quarters). This little POV cam can be mounted just about anywhere and will deliver either 30 or 60 fps and is equally as durable as the XD1080 because it's made from the same materials.
The Replay XD720 has the same power/rec button configuration as the XD1080 on the outside and also features the vibration feedback system when the buttons are activated. Under the rear cap however are only a couple of switches for simplicity sake - a frame rate (30/60fps) and internal/external mic switch. The microSD slot is in the same positiong as well.
360º Mounting Options
There are several well-engineered mounting options for the Replay XD cameras - two different sized mounts for the XD1080 and XD720, but the bases are the same for both.
Not only can you mount the Replay XD cams in various positions and angles like you might most any POV cam, but since it's cylindrical shape fits snugly inside the various mounts, it can also be rotated 360º so you be sure that you're capturing just the angle you want - or are perfectly level, even when mounted on non-level surfaces like car hood, decks and door panels.
The HelmLock Mount features a swivel/tilt base that gives spherical adjustments that locks down with a thumb knurl. This allows a great deal of adjustment so you can leave the adhesive Snap Tray VHB Bases in place and still have 360º movement. I've left two different bases attached on my FJ for 6 months now and they're still solid.
Mounting Stiffness and Unmatched Durability:
My friend and colleague, Douglas Spotted Eagle is a videographer/producer and spends a lot of time jumping out of perfectly good airplanes. He offered this side-by-side comparison test two different scenarios and stock mounts with both the GoPro and the Replay XD in the video below. Rigid build quality and lower profile of the Replay XD provides greater stability in the shot. Pretty impressive, to say the least!
And I sure wouldn't take product testing to quite this extreme, but Douglas also decided to have a little fun on a dare. "So tough you could drive a car over it!" - and that he did... with a little added kick. Watch the results in the video below:
Durability test: Replay XD1080 vs 2012 Dodge Challenger (don't try this with a GoPro!)
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