The INNOVV C5 is a WiFi, Full HD, Remote Lens, Motorcycle Camera System.
Compass Expeditions was asked to test and review the INNOVV C5 Camera system on a couple of bikes in our motorcycle tour fleet. We sent one to our crew in South America and fitted the others two to our lead rider bike, a BMW R1200 GS and my own BMW F800 GS.
Our first impressions of the system were that the components were quality built for durability, compactness and simplicity. The system is comprised of a lens unit, controller unit and wiring harness. The lens and controller are housed in very solid, dust and water resistant, aluminum cases and the whole system looks like it will put up with a lot of abuse.
The C5 is a bit different to other cameras that you might be thinking of mounting on your bike as it is fitted to the bike in a semi permanent manner. You actually wire the setup into the bike with the supplied wiring harness. It is not a complex procedure, simply connect to the positive and negative terminals on the bikes battery and a third wire that is connected to a switched power source circuit that is live when the bikes ignition is on. For the two BMW’s that was easy, as the headlight is always on when the bike is going. We simply scraped away some insulation from the wire heading to the lights and soldered the third wire to it, sealed it up and we were done.
This setup means that the C5 starts filming as soon as the bike is started and will keep filming until it is switched off.
This makes the C5 more of a “Dashcam” than an action camera system like a Go Pro or other similar cameras that can be removed from a mount and placed any place on the bike for multiple camera angles.
Conceivably, since the lead to the C5’s lens is 1.8m long, you could have multiple mounts on the bike and reposition the camera around the bike also but this would involve more effort than other systems, so once installed onto the bracket that holds my headlight protector that is where it stayed.
The good thing about the C5 system is that it is discrete, the lens unit is small enough to hide under the headlight or inside an air intake of a bikes fairing and be very unobtrusive. The controller unit can be conveniently stashed under the seat where it is hidden but easily accessed to remove the Micro SD card when required.
One of the key features of the INNOVV C5 is the smartphone app that once connected to the camera, via WiFi, can be used to switch from video, still photo or time-lapse options, view live recording, access files for playback as well as change many other settings for the camera.
In testing, I had my phone in a clear pocket on top of a handlebar bag that also holds my regular camera and power cables etc. when I am out bush on the F800 GS. This let me change to still mode and fire off a shot when idling at a lookout or when I wanted to capture the action happening in front of the bike.
In practice though the app is a little bit glitchy and needed to be restarted and the WiFi re-connected too often for it to be really convenient.
I imagine that updates to the app will fix this issue and it will then be a real positive for the product.
However, when I stopped fooling around with the app and just let the C5 do its job, I found that the camera would just record everything into 15-minute files. With a 64MB Micro SD card it captured a couple of days riding before filling the card. Once the card is full it will continue to record and write over the earlier files in the manner of a regular dashcam.
You can download the files to your phones memory via the app but being large Mpeg files this can take a while, drain your phones power and fill it’s memory quickly so I found it much easier to remove the Micro SD card each day or two and copy the files onto a computer.
Here is the other difference between the C5 and an action camera. Since the C5 is recording all of the time you end up with a whole heap of single point of view footage that needs to be sorted and edited to find the good bits and compile a watchable video, if that is the aim of mounting the camera in the first place.
Now, down to the important stuff, how does the footage look?
In short, it looks great.
The C5 captures HD 1080p video at 30 fps or 720p at 60fps (for slow motion capture). The lens has a very respectable F3.6 aperture and captures a wide angle of view (Diagonal 145°/ horizontal 120° / vertical angle 100°).
There are action cameras on the market that capture at a much higher quality but in practical use, if you are not intending to use your footage for professional production then the C5 will produce very usable and manageable video files to allow you to show the world what you and your bike have been up to.
If you keep the lens clean of dust and dead bugs then footage from the C5 is sharp and clear, edge-to-edge, with only a little wide-angle distortion. There can be a bit of a stepped exposure adjustment when moving from extremely bright conditions into shade or the reverse but this is pretty par for course in a camera at this price point.
So to sum up, the INNOVV C5 is a great dashcam for recording your rides. As an action camera it has it’s limitations but would be great as a second camera for another point of view if you are getting serious about making videos and are using two cameras.
At under $200 the INNOVV C5 is extremely good value for such a high quality product as well.
For Further information visit the INNOVV website at www.innovv.com