Lets face it, at 40+ years of age (closer to 50 than to 30) my hardcore extreme action sport days are far behind me. That doesn’t mean I am an old stick in the mud, I still like to get out be active and I have even been known try new things. But now my adventure come in the form of travel, going to new and familiar places and experiencing what those places have to offer. I have always documented my trips with pictures but pictures just don’t tell the whole story so I was looking for a versatile small video camera to do so. The IronX DXG 5G9V HD camcorder by DXG may fit my needs.
There are other, better known camcorders of this type on the market today, and the DXG IronX DXG 5G9V HD camcorder (hence forth known as the IronX) is a relative newcomer to the “action camcorder market. If you are not familiar with this type of camera, they have become very big with the action sports crowd – everything from skydiving to snorkeling, zip lines to skateboard, and all manners of sports in between. What makes these cameras so appealing is the size and the accessories available. In order to get a more comprehensive feel for the IronX, I will be doing this review in three parts. This first part will deal with the basics of the camera and some videos and pictures. The other two will have longer edited videos shot on some adventures I have planned.
The IronX comes with the following:
- Li-ion battery
- User manual
- MicroUSB cable
- HDMI cable
- AC adapter
- Waterproof case
- Vented housing backdoor
- Waterproof housing backdoor
- T Tip adapter
- Flat adhesive socket
- Curved adhesive socket
- Lens cap
- Secure tether
- Velcro strap
- Swivel T Tip
- RF wrist strap remote control
- Anti-fog inserts
The camera itself has the following features:
- Action sports camcorder
- Full HD 1080p30fps, 720p60fps, H.264 video clip
- 170 deg wide angle lens
- Time lapse, burst, self timer
- MicroSD card, SDHC Class 6-compatible
- 5MP photos
- Lithium-ion rechargeable battery, USB charging
- WLAN 802.11 b/g/n
- HDMI interface
- External microphone in
- 2.4G RF remote control wrist strap
- IRONX app ,supported on both iPhone (iOS) & Android smart phones
- Supported by waterproof case IPX8, 60meter
I also received the following additional items to use with the IronX:
- Diving case
- Chest mount
- Ball head T Tip with suction cup
- Swivel camera tip with suction cup
- Vented head mount
You will notice that the one thing that is not included with the IronX is a microSD card, (I received a 4GB one, but it is not included with the basic package), so you will need to have one before you will be able to shoot any video or pictures.
My first order of business after unpacking and putting in the battery was to charge the IronX up. A nice thing about the packaging is that it includes an AC adapter to allow you to charge your camera with a USB port or via wall outlet.
After charging up the IronX, I powered it on and went through a basic set up, time, date, etc. The screen is a blue OLED screen and is fairly easy to read. The quick start guide included with the IronX is easy to understand and use, so it made basic set up easy. Setting up to use the smartphone app and the wrist strap remote was a little more involved, and I will get to that later. Besides the OLED screen, there is also a shutter button, a power/mode button, and a power status LED on the top of the IronX. The shutter button and the power/mode button are used for changing the settings on the IronX.
The front of the IronX has the lens, speaker, and a power/status/battery LED. The LED will be solid or blinking red or green depending on what is happening with the IronX at the time.
The bottom of the IronX has a microphone and a power/status LED.
The right side of the IronX has a microUSB-in charging port and a microphone-in jack.
The left side of the IronX has a slot for a microSD card and a HDMI-out port.
So, lets talk about basics of the IronX for shooting videos and picture. The IronX has the ability to shoot video in three formats: 16:9 full HD video in 720p (1280 x 720, 60 fps), 1080p (1920 x 1080, 30 fps) and 4:3 Widest HD video in 960p (1280 x 960, 30 fps). And it shoots 5MP photos in wide-angle or ultra wide-angle. The IronX also has the ability to shoot 10-picture burst shots and time lapse photos. For my testing in this first part of the review, I shot most of the video in 1080p 30fps and in camera mode at ultra wide-angle. All of the settings will be noted in the video descriptions. As you see from the pictures, there are a lot of features built into a small package.
Shooting video and pictures can be accomplished in three ways. First, you can manually press the shutter button on the IronX. Second, you can use the wrist remote which has two buttons on it, one for photos and one to shoot video. Third, you can download the app for your smartphone. Using the manual options is pretty straightforward with pressing the shutter button and shoot. This method is good for static shooting when you may not be in the picture. The wrist remote is the method that I liked to use the most. It is best suited when you are actually shooting action videos, especially when you have the IronX mounted to a helmet or some kind of board (skate, snow, wake, paddle come to mind). The wrist remote is easy and convenient to use. The smartphone app is where I had some issues. The app works fine, but the setup instructions were lacking in the included documentation, so I had to go to the IronX website to actually find out how to set up and sync the camera with my iPhone. This app is nice to use when you want to get a sense of what you are shooting in real-time.
Towards the end of this post and in the subsequent posts you will see several videos I shot while using the IronX. Although, the basic package comes with several nice accessories, I found for my initial shoots I used just a couple of items. The main items used were: the waterproof case with the waterproof housing backdoor, the swivel tip, and the flat adhesive socket. The main reason for using the waterproof case is because it was the only way to attache the IronX to any of the other accessories. That brings me to maybe the only issue I have with the basic package: the only practical way to shoot pictures or videos is with the waterproof housing on. While I love the fact that DXG included all of these great accessories, I wish there was a way to attach the IronX camera itself straight to a tripod. I have ordered the optional Camera Holder and Standard Tripod Adapter, but a simple way to attach the IronX to a tripod would have been a real plus in my book.
While I am on the topic of the accessories I used, I did have a crack appear on the Water Proof case. This concerned me because I don’t think that I abused the case while using it. I posted a picture of the crack in the case to a private message on the IronX Action Cam Facebook page to show them what happened, and they promptly contacted me to send out a replacement.
The next section here has a series of videos and pictures I shot using the IronX. Please understand, I am new to video editing, and I am still getting the hang of shooting and editing the videos and pictures, so please be patient with me. As noted in the title, this is the first of a three-part review; in parts two and three I hope to have improved my editing skills.
Whats the bottom line so far? If you are an action junkie looking to shoot videos and action-shot pictures, I don’t think you can go wrong with the IronX Action Cam. The price $249.99, and the accessories package seem to be on par or better than its main competitor. With all the included and available accessories, there is probably no situation you could not use the IronX in.
Yes, I am still enjoying using it. Now here’s going to be the ultimate question I will have to explore in one of my future post in this series: does the IronX shoot better videos and pictures than my current smartphone (iPhone 5 if you are wondering)?