Last August, we did a side-by-side video comparison of Drift Innovation's HD-170 actioncam, and the ever-popular GoPro HERO HD. While we liked the HD-170's image quality, LCD screen, ease of use and swiveling lens, we noted that it lacked the HERO's replaceable lens, and that it was considerably longer (although narrower) than the GoPro camera. Well, with its new compact Drift HD, Drift Innovation has addressed both of those shortcomings.
Like the larger HD-170, the Drift HD has a swiveling 170-degree lens. This allows users to mount the camera at whatever angle works best, then straighten out the shot simply by twisting the lens. It also has the HD-170's color LCD screen, wireless start/stop remote control, manual iris option, and 1080p resolution. Both cameras also have an external mic input, although the Drift HD now features a standard 2.5 mm port. The HD-170, on the other hand, has a rather obscure input that requires the back door of the housing to be left open when running a mic.
At a length of 104 mm (4.1 inches), the Drift HD is 29 mm (1.14 inches) shorter than its predecessor. It's also 18 grams (0.6 oz) lighter, weighing in at 120 grams (4.23 oz). This puts it at 47 grams (1.7 oz) less than the GoPro, although it should be noted that the HERO does include a watertight housing - the Drift cameras are merely splashproof.
As mentioned, the Drift HD also has a replaceable lens. Given how likely that lens is to be marred by branches, rocks or whatnot, this is definitely a good feature. Why replace the whole camera if the scratched-up lens is its only problem?
The camera can also take 9-megapixel stills, is compatible with PCs and Macs, and supports microSD memory cards up to 32 GB. It's powered by an included rechargeable 1110mAh li-ion battery, and as is the case with most major actioncams, a variety of mounts can be purchased.
The Drift HD will be available as of August 31st, for US$369.
The video below provides some more details, and shows what kind of footage the camera is capable of capturing.