Home > Reviews > ATC Chameleon

ATC Chameleon

3 Stars
ATC Chameleon

In April, my wife approached me about doing a mud race. For those who aren’t familiar with a mud race, it’s basically a 5K with roughly 20 obstacles throughout the course, most of them ending with the participant getting soaked, in mud, from head to toe. There are mud pits you have to run through, and there are mud pits you have to army-crawl through.

I had never attempted to run a 5K, let alone one full of basic training-like obstacles. Actually, I haven’t ran consistently (actually that should read “ran at all”) in the last 8 years. But against my better judgement, I decided to do it. Why not? “It will be a fun experience” I told myself.

Back in March, my wife had completed her first 5K/mud race, and I was there along the entire course with my camera documenting her and her team’s triumphs and joy as each obstacle was overcame. But with the race we were about to embark upon, the camera man (me) was going to be getting down and dirty, leaving us picture-less.

Luckily, I was presented with the opportunity to review the ATC Chameleon, a dual-lens action camera made by Oregon Scientific. The camera can be mounted to your body, allowing you to capture 340-degree video of your current activity.

PROS

  • Adjustable video layout
  • Survived getting wet without the waterproof case
  • Battery life
  • Durable
  • Video quality

CONS

  • Not sold on the split-screen layout for video
  • Lens flare
  • No way to view where each lens is pointed to ensure proper alignment

ATC Chameleon

For my run, I decided to attach the camera to my bicycle helmet using one of the included mounts and adhesive patches. The mounting process took less than 5-minutes and actually created a very strong bond between the mount and my helmet. So strong, in fact, it went through a lot of water and few direct hits to the camera from overhanging rocks, but the mount stayed in place. There were no cracks, dents or scratches on the camera either, after all was said and done. It’s very durable. I should point out, the camera without the waterproof case is only splash proof — if you’re going to be using it for water-based activities, you’ll need to spring for the extra protection.

ATC Chameleon

The Chameleon shoots video in 720p per lens, giving you good quality video (complete with audio) for your excursion. Video is recorded to a microSD card (not included) and will work with a card 32 GB or smaller.

ATC Chameleon

Both lenses can be independently positioned, without having to move the mount. Unlike similar products, such as the GoPro line, there’s no way to view the camera’s feed in real time with the Chameleon. What I had to do to get it lined up properly was attach the camera to my helmet, record a few seconds, take the memory card out, import the video to my computer, watch it and then make adjustments; repeating the process 4-5 times before I had it lined up how I wanted. In the end, though, I didn’t tighten down the arm on the mount quite enough, and just as the race was starting the camera moved, ruining the time I took to line it up. With no easy way to quickly correct the issue, I had to make a guess and go with it. As a result, the back camera records my back and my feet moving as I go through the race, instead of recording my teammates behind me as I originally intended. Having a quick method to access the camera feed to ensure everything is in frame would be a big boost to this camera.

ATC Chameleon

At first, the idea of having two lenses capture nearly everything going on around you sounds like the perfect way to record an event, especially a race. The people in front of and behind you won’t be left out, even when your point-of-view is constantly changing. But that’s just on the surface, and perhaps for shorter events, like bungie jumping or jumping out of plane, it works great. For a long event, like a 5K, it’s not ideal. You’re running, the frame is bouncing all over the place, and not just in one place on the screen but in two different spots. See, the Chameleon records in split-screen mode, either side-by-side or one on top of the other. This setting can easily be changed by using a switch on the camera before you begin recording. In the end, however, there’s no way to split up the two different video feeds. I assume this is something that can be added through a software update, but I’m not certain. It would be nice to at least give users this option, and let them edit the different views into the final product.

When the race was completed, I spent a few hours editing the video, and was happy with the end result, at least on one side of the screen. With the back camera having been moved too much to really film anything of importance, this is a prime example where the option to edit out one camera from the end result would be ideal.

You can purchase the ATC Chameleon for $199 direct from Oregon Scientific, or through Amazon.com for a discounted price of $149.95.

*Review sample provided by Oregon Scientific 

  1. Goolash
    May 15th, 2016 at 11:29 | #1

    Have you tried Fraps to screen-capture video from the included software?

  2. Walker
    March 23rd, 2015 at 14:54 | #2

    You don’t have to take eh SD card out to view the video. Just plug the micro USB cable into the camera and into your computer, open the “atc chameleon” program, and load it directly from the camera. do you know of any way to open and edit the film? The few programs i try just crash from the 2 cameras? Thanks

  3. March 20th, 2015 at 11:15 | #3

    have not tried it but I bought one a week ago for 40.00
    will be taking it on vacation in a month with me .Your right it would be nice to be able to edit out one camera

  1. No trackbacks yet.