Effective immediately, BRP Can-Am is offering the new CGX2 ActionCam from Cyclops Gear for use on all Spyders, Sea-Doos, Ski-Doos and Can-Am ATVs. I have had one for several weeks now, and having tried it in a multitude of different situations, would like to offer my opinions, and show you a few test videos.
First of all, let me say that I have used at least four of the latest “action camera” setups this year, including the Garmin VIRB and the GoPro Hero 4. Obviously, the Hero 4 is by far the most popular among powersports enthusiasts, and is currently considered by most to be the “gold standard” by which all other action cameras are judged. And that being the case, I feel fairly confident in saying that the CGX2 at minimum matches the Hero 4 in every performance category, exceeds it in one or two, and then completely blows the Hero out of the water when it comes to price and included options.
But let’s start with the basics:
The CGX2 is a full-feature camcorder with a 160-degree wide-angle lens. In my testing (when not employing the zoom feature) it was the first action cam I’ve used that records wide-angle without any of the “fish-eye” distortion at the edges of the frame. The video resolution can be set for anything from 480p to 4K UltraHD, including standard high-def of 720p or 1080p, at frame rates from 25fps to a whopping 240fps for very fast action shots. Or, you can set it to take time-lapse photos at a specified interval and then stitch them together for ultra slow-motion effects. Personally, I find the best setting to be 1080p at 60fps, which gives me wide-frame full HD video fast enough for almost any situation.
The still photo function can be set to 5, 7, 10 or 12MP, and stills can be captured while the video is recording, without interruption. Photos can also be set to “burst” mode, or to capture time-lapse, or even to operate by built-in motion-detection.
Truth is, I could spend several pages listing all the things the CGX2 is capable of, but you can always go online and look up all the specs for yourselves. So let’s get to the really important stuff, like what’s special or different about this camera, and what it costs.
So for starters, at $299.00 the CGX2 costs $100 less than a GoPro Hero 4 and almost any other comparable actioncam. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. Included in that $299 is a wireless, waterproof remote control that can be strapped to your handlebar or worn like a wristwatch, six different mix-and-match mounts that can be combined for almost any configuration you might like, a 32GB Class 10 MicroSD memory card, and a waterproof diving case. Depending on the model of GoPro you buy, those things are going to set you back an additional $270 to $350, making the Cyclops Gear CGX2 actioncam about $350 less expensive, while offering all the same features, and more.
In actual use I have been fairly impressed with the CGX2. I have used it with a variety of mounts, both on my Spyder and in my car, on bumpy roads and smooth, in sunlight and at night. Though both the exposure and white balance can be manually adjusted, I have found that leaving them in auto-adjust mode works quite well, even when I rode directly into the rising sun or on dark back roads at night. If I have one slight nit-pick it is that the image stabilization is not quite perfect. By that I mean that when mounted on the dash of the Spyder and riding over rough roads, there is a noticeable amount of vibration in the resulting video. In all fairness, this is a worst-case scenario and I have not found any other camera (short of a $5,000 professional setup) that doesn’t have the same shortcoming. The good news though, is that with almost any video-editing software you can smooth out about 80% of the vibration. Even the free ‘Movie Maker” program that comes with Windows computers can easily perform this function.
One of my major concerns with actioncams has always been battery life, finding as I have in real-life that most go dead after only an hour or so of use, so I was encouraged to read that the CGX2 was supposed to go two full hours on a charge. In my testing that worked out to an actual average of right around 90 minutes, but that was still nearly 50% better than my other cameras.
The CGX2 has WiFi that can be accessed and controlled by your smartphone or tablet, a two-inch full-color viewscreen, a waterproof RC wireless remote system, HDMI direct output and a built-in speaker and microphone. As far as I’m concerned, this isn’t just a “good buy,” it’s the best buy I’ve ever seen in an actioncam.