How to Choose FPV or POV Video Camera for Practical Shooting Sports
In shooting sports, everything moves so fast that you might be developing bad habits that is very difficult to notice if you don't record videos for review afterwards. When recording videos during a competition or practice session using a point-and-shoot camera, you'll be able to evaluate your footwork, transition, and how effective your program is for that particular course of fire. But from the same recorded video, it is difficult to evaluate the finer details like sight alignment, double tapping, or target transition. You can only achieve this using a FPV or POV video recorder.
First-Person View or FPV, which is also known as First-Person Point Of View (POV) means the ability to see from the visual perspective of the person doing the action instead of like watching the person from a particular location. In practical shooting, just like any other sports, it is very important to be able to review your performance in order to identify areas you can improve your skills. It also reveals the errors you've made so you can take necessary actions to correct them next time.
Now, there are several FPV or POV video camera available in the market that is designed for action sports. The most popular is the GoPro camera. I think GoPro is a great product with professional video quality but in my opinion it is not the best video camera if you want to capture the FPV or the true POV in shooting sports. First of all, it is a little bit bulky and not lightweight. I'm not comfortable running around with a heavy video camera mounted on my forehead. And no matter where you mount the GoPro camera, you won't get a good POV shot of your sight alignment. You will get a top down kinda view so you can't see how your sights align when you shoot, as well as when doing reload. How fast you transition from target to target, reloading, sight alignment, and tapping are some of the most important skills to master when competing in practical shooting sports, if you aspire to be among the best out there.
The best FPV or POV video camera you can get is one with camera installed in shooting glasses itself. This is the closest thing to seeing what the shooter (you)sees in every stage of the course of fire. Even the cap-mounted video camera won't be able to give you true POV perspective.
So what are the things to look for when shopping for a first-person POV video camera?
The first thing is the resolution of the video recording. It should be capable of recording 1080p HD videos at 30fps. With a faster refresh rate of 60fps, then 720p HD should be adequately decent quality. Don't settle for anything less than these specification.
The next thing to consider is comfort. Wearing shooting glasses with POV video camera is definitely more comfortable than wearing forehead mounted video camera like GoPro. But still, the glasses needs to be comfortable, lightweight, and ergonomically designed to fit your face.
Battery life is very important especially when competing in long courses or one of those competitions that last for several days. Compact gadgets are usually more energy efficient so you can enjoy longer recording time without having the need to recharge it from time to time.
Ease of use with simple control buttons. The more buttons the gadget have, the more complicated it is to operate. A simple record and stop button can make your life easier during a competition because it's one less thing to think about.
Don't forget your eyes. You are not wearing the POV shooting glasses solely for the purpose of recording the action but most importantly, to protect your eyes from ricochet especially when shooting steels. Make sure the lens has ANSI safety rating that meet the standard eye protection for shooting sports. Usually, manufacturers offer different lenses depending on how you intend to use them. Interchangeable or removable lenses is also a great advantage for shooters who wears prescription glasses. To me, I'd like to have the flexibility to change lens when it's too bright or gloomy days.
It's also important to be stylish. You don't wanna go out there and shoot looking like a nerd that just got out of college. Pick a POV shooting glasses with a stylish frame so that you can compete with style. You'll look good on your videos and it adds to your confidence too.
Price can be a deal breaker. GoPro video cameras are definitely more expensive than POV video cameras so that's another great advantage right there. You can get a decent POV shooting glasses for under $200 in Amazon.
Some other things to look for are the following:
Lens angle - how wide can the camera capture? At least 150 degrees is recommended.
Storage capacity - this equates to recording time. Having expandable memory like SD card is very convenient.
Video stabilization capability - this is very important in order to capture a great quality video.
Video format - stay away from proprietary video format because it's a pain to playback.
Still photo capability - not that importance but nice to have.
Connectivity - as long as it you can connect it to your computer regardless if it is Windows or Mac, then that's fine.
If you are really serious about improving your practical shooting skills, then you need to get yourself a great POV video recorder. Not only will it help you bring your skills to the next level, it's also a lot of fun to watch and upload in social media.
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