I recently went to Australia and then on to New Zealand. Before I went I needed to buy a new camera. I have wanted a sports camera for a while that is designed to record all sorts of extreme sports. On a limited budget I couldn’t afford a GoPro, so settled on the Intova Sport HD instead. I’m very pleased I did. Here is my review of it.
I won’t go in to detail of the specification here, there is no point me listing it all. Check out any retailers websites of it and you will find all the information. What was key for me is that it is waterproof to 200ft, has a wide angle lens, and can record in 1080p high definition so I could watch it back in good quality on a HDTV. They are the main features that are really important!
It is quite small and sits fairly nicely in the hand. It would be nice if it was a bit thinner but given the protective casing on I understand why it is quite chunky. The design is simple with the screen and buttons on the back all nicely arranged.
The buttons on the Intova Sport HD do have to be pressed quite hard. I used it when snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef (which was immense!) and did struggle at times to use the buttons to change settings. For a while I thought I was taking photos, when I was actually stop starting videos. Very annoying! The glare from the sunshine also made it difficult to see the screen to see the setting I was on. I found the best thing to do was to plan ahead, and when I was on the boat I would choose either photos or video and stick with that media type for that swimming session.
Here are a few photographs which I have taken myself.
Here is one I took from a small beach in Sydney. Looking at the Harbour bridge. It gives a good idea of the wide angle lens and the colours the camera can capture in a normal setting.
Here is an underwater one. On the Great Barrier Reef. This is a Black Tip Reef Shark which I saw at the last minute and managed to take a great photo. The water wasn’t the clearest that day (it was a bit overcast and windy) and the shark wasn’t really close to me so I was surprised how good this picture came out as I didn’t expect it to come out at all, but given how well the shark can be seen I’m delighted with it!
And here is one of some of the corals too. When diving down close it could get really good quality crisp photos of the corals.
Because of what the camera is designed for you will not be surpised that is suffers poorly in low light. When things get dark it is useless. I also found the 1080p would struggle when the camera was being used in more jerky situations, like running with it. The playback of the video was not good, it would freeze for a few seconds and then start up again. Fortunately I found this out in early testing so it didn’t cost me when I was out there. My solution was to keep it in 720p mode and I suffered no such problems. I don’t know if I just have a bought a bit of a dud camera or it affects all of them like this.
This is the main reason I bought it, photos are great, but I love videos more. I captured hours and hours of footage. In fact, I recommend you put in a large memory card because it will be worth it. I have amazing videos from the Blue Mountains, Great Barrier Reef and in the Daintree Rainforest, and that’s before I even got to New Zealand! Here is a quick short video I uploaded to YouTube to give you an idea. I don’t have the software or time to cut and chop a video of loads of different places I used it, but this should give you a nice idea of what it is like underwater. Click on the ‘720p’ option to see the best quality.
Hopefully this review of the Intova Sport HD underwater camera has given you a good idea of what it is like. I am delighted I bought it. Would I rather have a GoPro? Yes perhaps. But I think the value for money of the Intova is very good and I think it was a brilliant decision to get it. The photos and videos that are now possible that were previously out of my reach are brilliant!
If you aren’t bothered about ‘action shots’ or underwater photos then I would certainly stick with a regular camera. But if you do like extreme sports or sea swimming and snorkelling I would happily recommend one of these to you.
Chris. Chief editor focusing on the tech category. Experienced writer working for the site since 2007. Nicknamed 'the highlighter' for his love of highlighting in every color imaginable!