Pivothead's entry into the small market of sunglasses with built-in video cameras threatens to knock much of the competition into a cocked hat this April, thanks to its ability to capture 1080p video. The glasses additionally include an 8 MP stills camera, a 44.1 kHz microphone, gyroscopic image stabilization and continuous auto-focus.
H.264/MPEG-4 video can be shot at 30 fps in either 720p or 1080p, though there is the option of a 720p-only 60 fps mode. The gyroscopic image stabilization and continuous-auto focus kick in when "Active Mode" is selected. It's not precisely clear how they affect the camera's settings, but "Spectator Mode" and "Social Mode" are also among the settings. "Black & White Mode" is also a mystery, though I have my own theories as to what that might entail.
The camera is switched on with a button on the underside of the left temple arm. With the push of a button on the top of the arm, the camera begins shooting in default 30-fps 1080p video. Modes can be changed on the go by holding down buttons, with feedback given by colored LEDs on the inner side of the left temple arm. Getting to grips with changing modes while out on the piste may take a little practice. When connected to a computer USB port, the camera's myriad settings can be set with the Glasses Manager software that comes included.
There's are features here to pique the interest of photographers. The stills camera employs a Sony CMOS sensor, optimized for capturing high speed images at good quality. CMOS sensors are used in both the iPhone 4 and 4S, though Engadget suggests the sensor in the Pivothead glasses may be a more recent 4S-beater. Stills can be captured in 3, 5 or 8 MP resolutions and there are burst modes to take three, five, 10 or 16 stills in rapid succession. A variety of time-lapse options take either individual stills or bursts at 1, 8, 30 and 60-second intervals.
The glasses themselves have lenses that filter out unwanted frequencies at both the infrared and ultraviolet ends of the spectrum, and apparently include anti-scratch, anti-reflection and hydrophobic coatings.
Of the options we've looked at in the past, the Xonix video sunglasses are looking a little decrepit, while neither the ZionEyez nor the LadyGaga-esque Polaroid GL20 sunglasses have yet made it to market. Pivothead is recommending that the glasses retail at $349. It sounds as if the company is working deals with retailers at this very moment for an April release.