2010 WGI AC5X Action Camera Review - August 30, 2010

2010 WGI AC5X

2010WGI AC5X action camera with 8 count IR illumination Review

Over the years we have had several of these cameras and some were big and heavy and some were small and light. All suffered from the same problems and that was that most users wanted to capture moments early morning and at dusk when the prime time for hunting was happening. This is the time where the available light is weak and all previously cameras lacked the ability to see under those conditions. Early this year I was discussing the new 2010 lineup with the WGI people and I heard about this camera coming out so we managed to get one. The fact that it had the IR array on the front to add light for those darker conditions was the reason we wanted to test this cam.

Just like all the rest of this year WGI cameras tested the box had most of the data and the booklet has no specifications. Starting off with a full battery and card this device weighs about 4 oz.. It is about three and a half inches long and a inch and a half wide. The height is about two and a quarter inches. From behind you see the access door for battery slot and micro SD card slot plus the USB port. This access door is a little tricky to open and the hinge side is at the bottom of the camera once you slide it down and swing it out. There is a very small indicator next to the door that is used while charging the battery by hooking it up to a USB cable. It changes to green once the battery is fully topped off. There is a small unmarked port also in the area of the indicator that is under a rubber plug but I have yet to know its purpose unless it is maybe a microphone port or possibly a external battery hookup. The documentation has this port hidden someplace but I could not find it. Up along the side is the LCD and the three control switches one of which is the on/off/ program enter button. The other two are the plus minus to scroll through the options. The front of the camera is a inch and a quarter glass lens covet and the array with the camera lens centered in the middle. With the IR array this camera could be hooked to the Uway ExtendIR if you needed to reach on out further at night.

The resolution rating is 5 MP jpeg and 848X480 MOV or 720i HD video with selectable sound. It has 64 MB of on board memory and will take up to a 32 GB micro SD card. There is a lithium cell on the main board to maintain programming during battery changes. Power is supplied by a rechargeable (included) and its duty cycle is rated at four weeks.

The programming is easy for someone familiar with different cameras but is a little tricky so keep the instructions near during this process. Once you get the hang of it it moves through the functions easy.

The weight and fit and feel should be a big plus for anyone needing to buy one of these. I dont think I would purposely take it out in a rain storm to see what happens. From the way the rubber door fits I would think it would be rain resistant but no where near water proof. If I were to use this in the field and had to set in the stand for extended periods of time when there is a possibility of a shower I would carry a small zip lock bag to slip over it to aid in keeping the moisture off it if the rain started. I tested the trigger time and early morning when my arthritis was keeping my index finger rather stiff it was very slow but seemed to work better in the afternoon once things got loosened up.

09-03-2010 Update: One thing I need to say is I suggested to use a bag during damp weather. This device comes with a water proof clear enclosure for under water use. This could be also used during a storm. We are set up and have done some video work and things look very good. The first stage was all day video and we will do evening dark/low light tests this evening. Having played with several of these action cameras I will say that all seemed to do well during the day for ATV trips and day hunting or ski footage. They fall apart as soon as the light gets a little dim. First was a series of tests and zoom examples along with audio. This is a sophisticated little camera that has a barrel full of options and we are trying to show just what you could expect not only with good sunlight but we will progress on into the evening with examples of how well things look under those conditions also. The extreme sharpness is very hard to get even though these are rated in the HD category but we feel that it has closed a gap that all the other action cameras has not been able to and that is on into the darkness. This being such a small device has certainly taxed our ability to present a logical review sequence of those features. This probably represents about five times more effort than a standard scouting camera because of all tests being non standard and for us having to adapt our present system to try to match those capabilities. In my book, I am quite pleased with the results so far and we are just getting started. Please view the samples closely to see if this camera has a place in the stand with you this fall. Much more samples to come, because I think we will probably have this with one of us this season plus more tests this evening.

09-06-2010 update: A battery of night shots in all the different zoom levels pretty well covers the capability of this camera. The zoom may be of value to some but for our use the straight use without zoom seems to do the best for us. We can always zoom later after the pictures are loaded to our computer. This little camera has now shown us that it can very well illuminate out past 40 feet and that is close to many a bow hunters range also. There is a whole bunch of things that could be done like night fishing using the hat mount and those who do that predator calling thing, it could also find some favor in that area also. The potential is very much up to the user and just how to adapt this camera to each adventure. I will say that these good people have opened the door so wide that the competition will have a couple years of catching up to do just to begin to match the capabilities of having the night capture capabilities of such a camera.

01-23-2011 update: Hunting season is now over here in Georgia and we did not get a chance to use this little camera in a hunting situation. From our experience in using this type of technology, we pointed out that the main issue (from a hunting standpoint) was a difficulty in low light situations when you are most likely to see target animals. WGI has solved this issue by providing an array of LEDs to illuminate the target area. This camera has one upped the competition. We are now closing this review.

Photo Samples
note: click thumbnails to download the originals

(Zoom = None)

(Zoom = 2X)

(Zoom = 3X)

(Zoom = 4X)





Audio Test

Click here to listen to the audio test

In this test I start at 3 feet and work my way to 50 feet.

Video Samples
Note: The video samples are much too large in their native codec for downloading. I recompressed them in HD 720p using Windows Media codecs and they are somewhat smaller in size and easier to download but the video and sound quality is the same.

(HD [1280x720] Zoom = None)

(HD [1280x720] Zoom = 2x)

(HD [1280x720] Zoom = 3x)

(HD [1280x720] Zoom = 4x)

(WVGA [848x480] Zoom = None)

(WVGA [848x480] Zoom = 2x)

(WVGA [848x480] Zoom = 3x)

(WVGA [848x480] Zoom = 4x)


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