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On 7/18/07 I finally had a chance to do a side by side re-test of Xtreme Recalls latest cam with the corrected firmware - below are the results!
The first thing I want to mention about this company is that they relish the feedback and are constantly trying to raise the bar in the world of micro-cams. A lot of companies get a product going and say "good enough". Not Xtreme Recall, they are continually seeking to produce the best system.
This unit has the generation 3 wire harness on it. This is Xtreme Recall's solution that will allow the use of either the common 3.5mm plug or Sony's proprietary 10 pin camcorder input plug. This is a great feature because if you are like me, you have your old favorite camcorders, but someday you know you'll buy a newer version. They also have a Gen 4 wire harness available that has a single cable from the camcorder area, then splits into the Cam, mic and LANC lines for a cleaner setup. I used the Gen 4 on their waterproof system, more on that later.
Their wire harnesses are very well thought out: On the Gen 3 the camera has a pigtail with connector (all the connectors are waterproof) that then goes to the "splitter" part of the harness. This is nice because you can add an extension cord on the CAM if you wish, like I did on my "rudder cam" for my kayak.
The splitter has the microphone attached, which is also waterproof. Then there is the 3.5mm and 10 pin Sony a/v plugs for your camcorder and lastly the power input for the cam. Having the mic on it's own line is nice so you can position it wherever you wish. HERE is the configuration.
Xtreme Recall sent me a prototype of an option they have developed. If you happen to use a Sony camcorder that uses the NP series batteries (like the HC32 - a great little cam) you can get a battery with a power output pigtail to plug into the power input plug of the CAM thereby eliminating the need for a second battery.
OK, now the CAM. This review is on their Sony chipped 3rd generation 580 line camera.
Here are the published specs of the 580 unit:
**Update 7/18/07: This is a re-test of this cam. It has the corrected/latest firmware and the white balance issues appear to be solved.
This is an excellent system. It is currently my favorite system and one I would definitely recommend it if you are in the market for a good quality system.
VIDEO: The Xtreme Recall CAM gives excellent resolution, white balance and very good color. Clarity (image sharpness) is very good. The only time I felt the Xtreme Recall might improve upon things is that cam tends to swing further through the saturation scale, most times the color being more saturated than the Viosport (which I prefer) but occasionally in rapid dark to light changes the color saturation was slightly much and the sky (clouds) seemed just a bit washed out.
An interesting thing you can see in the videos is that in conditions with a large amount of contrast, the Xtreme Recall cam seems to pick up much more detail in the shadows than the Viosport. In the cloudy/overcast conditions, the Xtreme Recall system gives better all around color and detail. I can pick out some of the yellow flowers in the star thistle in the XR, but hardly noticeable in the VS.
AUDIO: The Xtreme Recall's mic works great, no worries there, I would only recommend a "wind mitt" to cut down on wind noise - as is with all mic's. Just for comparison, the Viosport's mic is hardly worth the manufacturing cost in it's "stream lined" wire harness. I did a quick audio test to shown you the difference between the Xtreme Recall and Viosport systems.
IN THE SHORTS:
Great system - highly recommended.
WHAT I WOULD CHANGE:
Maybe work on stabilizing the color saturation a bit, that's about it!