Fly 6 Tail-Light & HD CameraIt’s not exactly super lightweight 124 grams, however consider the weight covers the rear light and a safety camera in one it’s not exactly heavy either. Once mounted onto a carbon seat post the size and style can leave it feeling a little retro, however the size does leave a large surface area for safety lighting, which is great for commutes and early morning/evening training rides. It also come with a full range of mounts that would accommodate most set ups.
Sound and picture qualityI took it on a few time trials to get some race footage of the odd club member inevitably catching me, and whilst the sound of my own struggling along the course was enough to make me realise the footage was best left unpublished, the visual and audio quality itself was pretty clear and relatively strong, unlike many other devices in the market that claim to be HD.
The picture is somewhat obscured with the rotating red light that operates around the camera lens, acting as an almost strobe effect over the film; you certainly won’t be piecing together your touring footage for an entry at the next Cannes film festival, but you will have a fairly decent account of roads travelled and traffic that you share the road with along your journey.
Playing your filesWhilst each file is cleverly capped at a manageable size of 15mins per segment, with the footage looping over old once your memory card (starting at 1gb) fills, my clunky Windows Vista had real trouble downloading the footage, taking a great deal of time to move the files onto my local hard drive.
The file itself was then not recognized, so I downloaded a standard converter program recommended on their manual. Once the program was downloaded and installed, converting even just one file took a great deal of time. The breadth of the troubles was all no doubt down to my machine, however your computer specification does need to be a consideration for this type of device. Even the most tech savvy will struggle if your machine is not up to the task.
More modern machines, like my work Mac desktop and Macbook air, come ready equipped and able to play the films – failing that I realized that YouTube converts the files for you when you upload. So your best bet is uploading your footage direct to YouTube as a private file for viewing, saving you converting the files locally, letting YouTube manage this for you online.
WaterproofnessI did use the Fly 6 many times with no issues for a good few months, in light rain, and shine, day and night rides, all giving clear accounts of the road behind - however on my birthday ride the weather typically was pretty awful for long periods at a time, and really pushed the device to the limit after a relentless soaking.
We had a good few hours of solid rain – and I mean torrential down pours that meant the camera got a good soaking not just from above, but below too. I had mudguards but with the rain bouncing high from the flooded ground beneath the wheels made the guards of little significance.
Whilst the rain no doubt heavily tested the Fly-6 it still continued to work through out all conditions, scoring maximum points on durability… this is until I tried to download the footage.
Water damage at downloadI no doubt should have waited before impatiently downloading files the same day. It’s possible water penetrated the device and the act of trying to connect it to my machine fried the internal components. This should not have been the case, but is not surprising.
In hindsight I’d have left the device in some rice to dry off before putting power into it, as is the recommended advice for any electrical that may be at risk of water damage.
I tried multiple adapters, and laptops, but the device was no longer readable, however the data was still retrievable from the card. Upon further testing it no longer records footage, although was recording right up until the end of the ride, before I tried to download. The light does still work.
Battery, 5hrs+The quoted battery charge lifespan is very impressive when compared to many cameras or lights, and the great thing about this device is when you turn it on it indicates how strong the battery life is in clear sharp beeps – I wish all lights did this, it’s very useful. The only gripe I have on battery is that it’s USB charge, meaning if you’re touring you’d need a battery charge pack. This is very common now days however, and you’d struggle to find much else on the market.
In summaryI enjoyed using this, it’s a shame it now only functions as a light; it’s a handy safety gadget for the every day commute, and can be a nice way of gathering nostalgic footage of a tour without doubling up on weight or charge points.
I would say if I was to choose, I’d opt for a camera at the front of the bike rather than from behind, which is obviously not an option with this camera, but with such a range of front facing cameras on the market available this choice would make an excellent addition to any front facing go-pro or similar, whilst also offering a very substantial back light with an impressive battery life.
It’s worth noting however you cannot have the camera on without the light – to my knowledge.
I always take two lights out on dark roads if possible, as a precautionary measure, as I have had so many issues (especially with USB powered lights) in the past. I wouldn’t encourage any less with this one, however it’s important to note that the light itself has proved incredibly durable, which is more than I can say for many others without the additional camera at the same price.