It’s easy to get caught up in marketing hype for any product. In cycling, the action cam market is probably second only to carbon wheels for the ratio of claims to real world results, so I’m a bit of a sceptic and I simply won’t recommend anything until I’ve put it to the test.
I like to get the best quality footage I possibly can when filming on a bike, and because it’s a core part of my job, money isn’t the prime concern. If a camera looks promising I’ll buy one and put it through it’s paces. That’s fine if you’re using a piece of equipment for professional purposes (I also do consulting for a TV production company, you should see their equipment), but what if you’re looking for something affordable that still does a good job?
Usually I dismiss budget cameras out of hand, but the specs for the Olfi one.five looked really enticing. I’ve been on the lookout for a good camera at a more accessible price point, enabling more people to record rides for FulGaz. I ordered one because I liked the specs, and even more, I liked the fact that Olfi is a small company rather than a faceless corporation. Subsequent conversations with Olfi reinforced how good it is to be able to talk to the people who developed the product rather than get no response at all, or confused nonsense from a help desk that can’t answer non-standard questions.
I won’t go into extensive reviews of settings, full lists of features and accessories, “unboxing” or anything else that’s not specific to the needs of filming on a bike. You can find that all over the internet already. Instead, let’s dive in and have a look at the camera and see what it can do.
The results speak for themselves. The image stabilisation is excellent, it’s small, light and easy to use. Battery life isn’t spectacular, but the Olfi is brilliant with external power supplies and happily runs for many hours on one of those battery packs people you can use to charge your phone.
The downside? There has to be a compromise somewhere and despite the fact that the the Olfi one.five uses the class leading Sony Exmor-R CMOS sensor, the small sensor means it’s not quite as crisp as the top GoPros and if you look closely you’ll see far les detail in the shadows than you would on a GoPro or a Sony. If you adjust the exposure to fix that, the sky get’s washed out. I’m confident I’ll find ways to improve this by tweaking the settings further, but really, for the money, nothing I’ve seen comes close.
In summary, it’s more than good enough for creating FulGaz footage. I’m already using it myself and sending it to people to record rides.
- Is it good enough to record rides for FulGaz? Yes
- Is it the best Action Cam I’ve tested? No.
- Is it the best value for money I’ve seen? Yes, by an almost ridiculous margin.