The EpiCam action camera is super-affordable. It will go hiking and swimming with you. But it’ll turn your world bendy at the edges
What: ENRG EpiCam action camera
At a glance: 170-degree lens angle, WiFi, 2in LCD, 4K video
Best buy: Rs 7,999 on amazon.in
USP: Budget action camera, ultra-wide lens
The age of the dedicated camera is almost over. The amateur smartphone photographer has steadily abandoned the point-and-shoot, and the DSLR. It must take a lot to convince this consumer to invest in a dedicated camera. And GoPro, the leader of the action camera pack, has also seen a steep decline in sales.
Into that market comes the ENRG EpiCam, a cute, compact action camera that promises to do everything the GoPro does, at half the price.
WHAT’S GOOD: Action cameras largely look the same: black, or silver, like fat matchboxes. The EpiCam makes things a bit more interesting by opting for a bright yellow. It’s light, but sturdy, as are all the little casings and mounts. The whole thing comes in a tiffin-sized box.
As promised, the device has a super-wide lens (170 ultra-wide). So there’s nothing the frame will leave out. Not even your fingers if you place it anywhere close to the lens. It has its flip sides (we’ll get to that), but the idea is right. When bungee jumping, or scuba diving, you want to capture as much of the view as possible.
The video output (see sample below), especially in natural light, is acceptable (but far from 4K clarity) for a camera this small.
WHAT’S NOT: Operating the device is a bit of a learning curve: a power button doubles up as the mode changer, and the shutter release doubles up as a ‘select’. Which means, you’ll end up shutting the camera a few times while trying to go from video to stills. At first, this can be really frustrating.
The problem with the ultra-wide lens is that it makes the edges bend, so your images go more fisheye than wide. You’ll notice this less in videos, but it does happen. In stills, the warp is so pronounced, it can make your perfectly normal door look like the one at Bag End (The Hobbit).
The deal-breaker, however, is the quality of stills. It is so flat and grainy, it reminds you of the bad days of VGA cameras.
VERDICT: If you only want a budget action camera that’ll produce decent videos for Facebook or Instagram, consider it. For anything more serious, look elsewhere.
The writer tweets as @saritray2001