Having spent time producing motorcycle video with many action cameras – but in particular the Drift Innovation Ghost S and the GoPro Hero 4 and following our recent experiences in Snowdonia, filming advanced motorcycle skills, we have are very encouraged by the unveiling of the Drift Innovation Ghost 4K.
Putting the GoPro Hero 4 alongside the Drift Ghost S, once again reveals that whilst at times we have been happier with some GoPro footage, on the whole, the Drift Ghost S is the better motorcycle action camera. Read below for an insight of our previous experiences with Drift motorcycle action cameras (especially the Drift Ghost) and why the new Drift Ghost 4K ticks all the boxes as our ultimate ‘on-board’ biker action camera.
Drift Ghost 4K - specification summary
Drift Ghost 4K – video resolution, ratio and frame rate
4K (4096 X 2160 – 17:1) at 24, 25 FPS
4K UHD (3840 X 2160 – 16:9) at 24, 25, 30 FPS
2.7K (2704 X 1520 – 16:9) at 24, 25, 30, 60 FPS
1080P (1920 X 1080 – 16:9) at 24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, 120 FPS
720P (1280 X 720 – 16:9) at 25, 30, 48, 50, 60, 100, 120, 200, 240 FPS
WVGA (848 X 480 – 16:9) at 25, 30, 100, 120, 200, 240 FPS
.MP4 (H.264 video codec)
Drift Ghost is the best motorcycle action camera
In respect to the Ghost’s build quality, robustness, out-of-the-box mounting options, aerodynamic shape and rotating toughened lens – it is a clear winner at VideoBiker. Time and time again, we found challenging shots easier to capture with the Ghost S and preferred the simplicity of the fixing options. At one point, we all but destroyed one of our Hero 4’s whilst attempting to capture a close-up of the front wheel whilst riding in torrential rain. The shot required action camera footage from the underside of a BMW S 1000 RR. To our cost, limitations with the GoPro mounting system resulted in a destroyed camera case and significant camera damage.
Repeating the same sequence with the Ghost S, reminded us of the value of an action camera with superior aerodynamic properties and a smaller form size relative to how far it protrudes from its mounting plate. Without crash testing these two action cameras, it’s difficult to quantify or compare which is stronger, but our experience is that the Drift Ghost S is a clear winner and this is well supported in many reviews that ‘market’ this camera as the best choice for motorcycle riders and motorcycle vloggers.
No 4K option with the Drift Ghost S
On the plus side for the GoPro Hero 4, we were impressed with some after-market camera mounting options. Some excellent action camera footage was captured using a simple wrist mounting strap, along with a second GoPro that was secured to our rider’s waist, using an after-market belt mount in combination with an adjustable GoPro mounting system. That said, with the purchase of additional after-market Ghost S mounting systems, we concluded that the Ghost S would likely win again owing to its rotating lens feature.
Whilst the Ghost S has no 4K options versus the GoPro Hero4, which can record 4K at 30 frames per second and 2.7K at 60 frames per second, of greater significance are the differences at 1080p, with the GoPro being capable of 120 frames per second versus just 60 frames per second with the Drift Ghost S. This was the topic of several conversations and our over-riding frustration with the Ghost S. Certainly better suited overall as a motorcycle action camera, but limited on resolution and frame rate. Therefore, the long anticipated UK launch of the Drift Ghost 4K is very welcome and we are delighted that this superb action camera is now finally on sale
Improved frame rate at 1080p with the Ghost 4K
The 4K version of their Ghost action camera not only boasts full 17:1 4K (4096 x 2160) at 25 frames per second, but also 16:9 UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 30 frames per second and impressing us the most – 120 frames per second at 16:9 1080p (1920 x 1080). Correspondingly, the frame rate at 720p has also doubled to an impressive 240 frames per second.
This higher frame rate vastly improves the potential production value, resulting in significant improvements in motorcycle footage where a moving ‘subject’ is effectively traversing the screen at speed. One common issue that we have experienced with both ‘following’ action camera footage and ‘on-board’ footage is a ‘blocking’ effect. This has generally not been the case with the GoPro Hero at 120 frames per second and we therefore expect the same or better lift in production value with the new Ghost 4K. Disc ‘write speed’ is also an important consideration, even at 1080p, where write speeds of 10Mb per second might suffice, yet in reality are insufficient. There are significant improvements, combining video micro SD cards at write speeds that exceed 30MB per second, with the superior frame rates of the Ghost 4K.
Superior slow motion with Drift Ghost 4K
Another significant advantage at 120 frames per second is as the typical go-to for sports action related slow motion filming, with significant motorcycle training advantages, allowing us to better isolate the fine details of advanced motorcycle riding skills, by slowing the action down at least four-fold. The launch of the Drift Innovation Ghost 4K (motorcycle) action camera pushes our use of the GoPro lower down our daily kit list and that’s even with the launch of the Hero5!
All-new Drift Ghost 4K
Most significant is the new modular design which sees the old screen replaced with ‘modular options’, allowing users to effectively customise certain aspects of the cameras functionality.
Out-of-the-box, the Drift 4K includes a generic panel for the modular side dock, with customisation only possible with the purchase of additional modules and Ghost 4K accessories. This allows users to extend battery life, add 4G connectivity and attach an optional LCD viewfinder. Correspondingly, the old side screen has been replaced with a smaller colour dot matrix LCD screen that is positioned at the rear of the 4K version, eliminating the previous rear hatch, which has been relocated to the underside of the camera.
Also added is automatic image stabilisation, aided by a gyroscope to smoothly predict and stabilise movement. This adds further to the quality of motorcycle action camera footage, whilst saving valuable time in post-production.
Wind noise has always been an issue with the Ghost S, so the addition of dual microphones to the front and rear, offers some benefits in reducing wind noise, especially the forward movement sensor that auto controls the front microphone. With regards to external microphone, there is no 3.5mm input jack, but instead the Ghost 4K utilises a USB adaptor for external audio input.
Improved camera sensor, Nand Flash & DDR RAM
There are some subtle reductions with field of view, plus an improved focal length. The Ghost 4K is significantly smaller in size (43 x 82 x 31.40 mm), with a corresponding reduction in weight (120g). There are significant enhancements to the Ghost 4K’s internal memory, with Nand Flash increasing from 256MB to 4Gb and SDRAM increasing from 2GB DDR2 to 8GB DDR3L.
There are also significant improvements to the camera sensor, with the Sony sensor IMX117CQT 1/2.3 CMOS – a newly developed next generation sensor that features improved low-light performance, a better dynamic range and is affiliated with a number of other top-end 4K action cameras. Interestingly, the Ghost 4K also features auto low-light functionality.
Further improvements include dash-cam, cinematic and other modes; video tagging; on the fly editing with ‘stitch’ mode, along with improvements to WiFi, Bluetooth and live streaming options at 300Kbps, 800Kbps and 1.5Mbps!
Best motorcycle action camera
All-in-all, a major upgrade to Innovation Drift’s award winning Ghost action camera, with a phenomenal range of enhancements that further reinforce the Ghost (and now Ghost 4K) as the essential and best motorcycle action camera and at VideoBiker we are highly encouraged by Drift Innovations UK launch of the Drift Ghost 4K and the improved video production value offered by this outstanding 4K motorcycle action camera.
Review of Drift Ghost 4K
Drift Innovation - action cameras of choice at VideoBiker
Award winning Drift Innovation leads the field in motorcycle action sports technology. They are official supplier to the MCE British Superbikes and continue to constantly innovate and push the boudaries. Drift Innovation motorcycle action cameras are the action camera of choice for VideoBiker.