Flashlight gun camera review

Low-cost microSD camera’s are everywhere!

I had been looking for a small camera for about 3 months to mount to my airsoft gun.  These days, you can’t even go to the local department store’s electronic section without seeing a small video camera for under $50.  Many of these camera’s are shaped like small video cameras, point and shoot still cameras or tiny “gum-stick” devices that are literally no larger than a pack of gum.

Needed: A tactical battlefield video camera

Milsim airsoft is a sport in which the participants play airsoft games in the style of a military battle simulation.   Everyone dresses up in team camouflage, operates within set squads and attempts to achieve certain objectives on the field.

During prior airsoft battles, various team members have brought still cameras, gum-stick cameras and even full size video cameras to record the action.  With each type of camera, the user typically becomes ineffective on the battlefield and rather than being an asset, becomes a liability.  The reason for this is that the camera person must use one or both hands to hold the camera.  In the best of cases, the user has a pistol for a side-arm and can still defend themselves.  In the worst case, the person is an embedded “journalist” in need of protection.

I really wanted a video camera to take to a regional airsoft event, but I was not about to get a camera that I would have to hold in my hand.  With that in mind, I found myself in the market for a small camera to attach to my airsoft rifle.  I currently have two airsoft rifles, an Echo 1 G36K and a G&G M4 / GR16.  Both rifles have rails that are compatible with both picatinny and weaver rail mounts.
Unfortunately, all of the cameras I had looked at could not be easily attached to either of my rifles.  The small consumer cameras were actually too large to attach to a rifle and the gum-stick camera had the lens pointing out the side of the package and not from the thin, top of the package.

What I was really hoping for was a camera that I could place into a standard 1″ scope mount.  So, I began searching the net, but not really knowing what I might find.

“Spy gear” to the rescue: A video camera in a flashlight?

You might be wondering why anyone would want to put a camera into a small flashlight.   Spy gear of course!  “It’s a flashlight… It’s a camera… No, it’s both!”

In my search for a small video camera, I came across a great little device.  It’s  an 8 LED flashlight with a video camera built right into the head of the light.  The body of the flashlight is aluminum and even better… it is a 1″ diameter tube!!! In addition to being a good fit for a scope mount, the flashlight camera was only $35 and came with a free 2GB microSD memory card.

The camera reviewed here is no longer avaialble. But that’s ok, the review still provides some great ideas for mounting a POV camera to your airsoft platform. Here are some other POV style cameras that could be mounted to your airsoft rifle.

Unpacking and testing out the camera

The camera arrived intact and well packed. Here is the product package.
The back of the product package shows the specs. For the most part they are accurate, however I discovered a slight error.

The specs indicate that the camera is capable of capturing video with 640×480 resolution at 30 frames/second. After recording video with the camera, I found that it is is actually recording at 1280×960 resolution!

Upon opening the product package, I found the flashlight, a 120v USB charge adapter, a USB cable, a driver disk a lanyard and the 2GB microSD memory card.
Here are all of the items removed from the packaging.
Here is the view from the front of the flashlight.  The camera lens is in the center of the head.  There are 8 super-bright white LEDs.

As with any camera, the size of the lens determines how much light reaches the sensor.  In this case, the lens is quite small which means that the camera does not do well in very low light situations.  For daytime recording, it works great!

Here is the view from the back of the flashlight.  The memory slot, USB port and reset button are protected behind an aluminum cap which screws off for access.
There are 3 button controls for the flashlight.

The front-most button turns the LEDs on and off. When the LED flashlight is on, the button glows amber.

The middle button turns the camera on/off and, when pressed momentarily turns on an audio only record mode. When the camera device is on, the button glows red.  When the camera is charging, the button flashes red about 1 time per second.

The rear-most button controls the video camera portion of the device.  Pressing the rear button momentarily will put the camera into video record mode.  Pressing the rear button for longer will take a single digital picture.  When recording video, the button glows green.

After removing the rear access cap, you can see the mini-USB port, memory slot and the reset button.

The reset button is recessed within a small hole which requires a paper clip or push pin to access.  I used a Phillips head screw-driver to enlarge the hole in order to use a stick or a ballpoint pen to press the reset button.

The camera can accept up to a 32GB microSD flash card.  I have a 2GB and an 8GB flash card.  The camera requires approximately 1.5GB per 30 minutes of video.

This is a standard Remington 1″ scope mounting ring.  It fits perfectly on the flashlight body.  I have the flashlight mounted upside-down in the scope ring because I mount the camera on the rail below the barrel on my M4.
The camera fits perfectly when attached to the lower rail of my airsoft M4 rifle.  The field of view on the camera is quite good and provides a nice record of the game.

A great tool for any airsofter, hunter or sportsman

I have owned my camera for about 3 months. It has lived up to my every expectation and for the price, it was worth every penny. If you are looking for a gift for someone in your life that enjoys sporting, guns or just cool gadgets, this camera is definitely for them.

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