Point-of-view camera makers iON and GoPro hawked new devices at the International CES, in the wake of explosive growth in the market in recent years.
To see coverage of iON's and GoPro's newest cameras, watch a video on YouTube.
IDC estimated that nearly 1.8 million POV cameras were shipped worldwide in 2012, up almost 60 percent year on year. A slowdown in projected growth rates, though, isn't stopping the camera makers from having a strong presence at CES.
iON, which is new to the market since it shipped its first device only some six months ago, debuted three new POV cameras at CES. The iON Adventure keeps the company's barrel form factor but moves the position of the lens. It makes it easier to wear and mount and can even be remotely managed using a smartphone or tablet. That means you can pull clips right from the camera and share them across social networks or delete them to make space. The Adventure also has a loop record mode that allows for endless recording. It costs US$350 and will be out in March.
POV cameras typically have similar characteristics. They're all relatively small and light, which allows them to be mounted just about anywhere. Some of them are waterproof, while others require a special case for water use. Many of them record to SD or microSD cards and have battery life of about two hours or more. Most can record video at at least 720p. They have wide-angle lenses, usually 170 degrees, which makes aiming the camera quite forgiving. Many of them don't have an included LCD screen so videographers are usually thankful for the wide shot. Both GoPro and iON have smartphone and tablet applications that let users monitor the cameras' shots and enable footage sharing.
Part of the growth of POV cameras can be attributed to the decline of pocket cameras, like models now discontinued from Cisco and Kodak. Despite very capable smartphones, the POV market is expected to experience double-digit growth, with IDC predicting that manufacturers will ship 3.2 million units in 2016.
"You'll still have your phone for reactive capture," said Kash Shaikh, GoPro's director of global communications and social marketing. He explained that GoPro's cameras are designed for proactive capture, when you know you're going to be doing something you want to document.
All around its booth, GoPro played videos that were shot on its cameras. In one, a surfer mounted a GoPro to the edge of his surfboard and captured himself surfing pipelines. In another video a kayaker recorded himself dropping off a waterfall in slow motion.
The company's newest models launched in November and include its high-end GoPro Hero 3 Black, which can shoot 4K footage at 15 frames per second for stunning time lapses. It can also record 720p footage at 120 frames per second for super-slow-motion shots.