Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon review: Fun but flawed dual-camera action cam

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Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon Action Camera

(Part #: ATC-HHB)
See all prices
3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon action cam puts two cameras in one splash-proof body, allowing you to capture two different angles simultaneously for one video. It's simple to use. A tripod mount is included, so you can use it with more than the small selection of available mounts.

The Bad The Chameleon does nothing else other than create videos with two different camera angles, and only creates split-screen movies. Video quality is merely OK, lacking detail and quite gelatinous.

The Bottom Line The dual-camera Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon is a good idea, but the execution and the overall feature set are lacking.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Image quality 5.0

The concept of the Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon is certainly a good one.

Creating a compelling action cam video is easier -- not necessary, but easier -- when you have two cameras shooting a subject from two different angles. That, of course, requires buying two cameras and possibly mounts or other accessories for those cameras. And then you'll need some basic video-editing skills to combine what's captured, especially if you want to throw both camera views in the video at the same time.

The Chameleon, however, puts two cameras in one body. Each camera can be rotated 180 degrees -- one horizontally, one vertically -- and has a fish-eye lens covering a 110-degree angle of view. Mount the camera, position the lenses to your liking, and record. When you're done, you have both camera angles combined into one MP4 file. No editing required.

However, that's all it does. If you want to do time-lapse videos, take pictures, shoot high-speed clips for slow-motion movies, or even just capture the video from a single camera, this is not for you. But, that simplicity will certainly be a selling point for some.

The splash-proof plastic body weighs only 4.4 ounces and measures 4.8 inches long by 1.7 inches wide by 1.9 inches high. A door on the side covers a Micro-USB port (for charging and transferring videos), a microSDHC card slot, status button for battery life and storage, and a switch for choosing between having the video from the two cameras appear stacked vertically or side by side.

Outside of that, there is only one control for the camera: a big Record switch on top. Slide it forward and after a few seconds the camera turns on and starts recording, giving off a couple beeps and turning the record light from yellow to red.

The battery is built in, capable of recording up to 2 hours of continuous video on a single charge. Basically, all you need to do is pop in a microSD card (cards up to 32GB are supported, but not included), charge it up, and you're ready to go.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Bundled with the camera are a vented helmet mount and a tripod mount. A clip attached to the bottom of the camera slides into the mounts. Although Oregon Scientific only has a handful of mounts designed for the Chameleon, the tripod mount means you can use mounts from other manufacturers. Also, if you need the Chameleon to be waterproof, there's a housing that's good down to 200 feet (I misspoke in the video shown at the top of this review).

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