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Oregon Scientific ATC5K Action Camera - Oregon Scientific ATC5K Action Camera

By Hugo Jobling



Our Score:


One area where Oregon Scientific can't be criticised is the number of attachment options supplied in the package. There's a round clamp for handlebar attachment, a rubber strap for wrapping around a helmet, or anything else for that matter, a Velcro strap for doing the same and a mount for using the camcorder as a desk-mounted webcam (via USB).

There is also a remote control in the box which works by infra red and sports an extensive two buttons, one for toggling recording and another for taking still shots. Unlike the camera itself, which is waterproof up to a depth of 10ft, the remote is simply splash resistant - although its usefulness is pretty limited anyway so that's no real problem.

In our limited testing, all of these attachment methods worked as they should, although fixing the camcorder to the handlebar mount was definitely the best way to get cycling footage. The helmet mount, though it worked, resulted in really poor video footage due to a combination of the constant movement and relatively low frame rate. Attached to something solid, such as a dinghy's mast should give better results.

The ATC5K comes with 32MB of inbuilt memory, which is pretty much pointless as the camcorder records to uncompressed AVI affording about 50 seconds of recording at the highest resolution. Fortunately there is an SDHC card slot - so, a 4GB card will enable a more usable maximum of two hours of video to be stored.

Another reason that anyone using the ATC5K will want to use SD cards is that although USB file transfer is supported, the camcorder uses USB 1 which is mind-bogglingly slow with any decent length of video. Once on a computer these files are more easily managed, and a quick run through Windows Movie Maker is highly recommended unless you have a really fast upload speed, assuming you have any intention of sharing said files on the Internet.

The quality of video form the ATC5K isn't exactly great, but is comparable with similar cameras. That's an especially poignant point as YouTube and Vimeo will both butcher the quality of your video anyway, as evidenced by the footage above. For those not interested in Internet video, the ATC5K also has a combined S-Video and RCA audio output, for showing off your footage on a TV.

While the video recorded by the ATC5K is just about acceptable, the audio it saves frankly isn't. At the best of times it's poor, but as soon as the camcorder is used in the way it's meant to be - that is, attached to something moving - it quickly deteriorates into a mess of noise.

Overall though, for its intended purpose the ATC5K delivers what I'll call 'good enough' results for a pretty reasonable price. You'll have to really want the ruggedness to sacrifice video quality over similarly priced options and if that's the case there isn't really an alternative, so you know what to do.


Like many rugged products, you either need a camera like the ATC5K or you don't. And if you are looking to record your exploits while mountain biking, sailing, sky diving or hang gliding, it will do a reasonable, though not outstanding job. Proper bullet cameras will cost you way more than one of these, so in that respect the ATC5K is something of a bargain. But even so, if Oregon Scientific had just improved the image quality slightly, and integrated a decent microphone, this could have been a great bit of kit for hardcore, outdoor types.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Image Quality 5
  • Features 6


October 19, 2008, 11:26 pm

Hey thanks for the review, shame the video quality isn't upto fast movement.

I have been looking for a decent bullet cam for years now, it looks like a possible HD one is still quite a while off I have been trying to find a decent review of the V.I.O. POV.1 would be great if you guys get the chance to review one.

keep up the good reviews.


October 20, 2008, 1:05 pm

Nice ride, fun to watch another type of terrain. Seems pretty flat there but I love riding between trees! And that camera seems to be fun although it'a not inexpensive.

martin 3

April 16, 2009, 8:21 pm

Difficult to assess the quality of video, as like you stated youtube butchers the quality anyway. Would have been nice to see it used on rougher terrain. If that had been the case, I would guess vibration would have caused so much image disturbance it would have rendered the footage unwatchable as it did with my Oregon ATC3K.


June 21, 2009, 11:18 pm

I wrote them

In regards to your ATC5K action camera. I must say you could not have built a worst action camera. the mounting features are not even close to being practical and rugged, I broke the handle bar bike mount on first ride. Piece of crap. the helmet mount is impossible top secure, to any helmet. I have tried it on 3 helmets. the video leaves allot to be desired. I have seen video from similar resolution, and it looks much better. I cant even tell if you provide audio, but there is a loud clicking sound on the video. the manual is lacking directions for mounting. I have major buyers remorse with your product and I demand action on your part. you are pitching a product as rugged and action camera where it fails short of both. I am going to make it my task to place reviews anywhere I can. product like yours should not be in the market for the prices you have. I wish I would have bought cheaper cameras, at least I would have saved some money from your inferior product. I am very very very disappointed. I am engineer who designs rugged for military products, and you have missed the mark on rugged by a mile. I am sending you these comments because your comment page is not accepting comments!!!

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