At first glance, the FishEyes underwater video camera by Nextsport looks like a gimmicky child’s toy. But in reality, this product loads impressive features into a compact, lightweight, body at a very affordable price.
Underwater live –action cameras have been a prominent fishing tool now for over ten years. In that time, these cameras progressed from simply black-and-white to full color. However, these models’ monitors were always rather bulky to carry around. The FishEyes underwater video camera makes it easy to carry, hold, and use, as it weighs a mere 1 ½ pounds.
I think what astounded me the most was the resolution on this camera. The FishEyes camera has a viewing screen at the base just above the handle, making it easy to work with. The full color screen’s resolution made it amazingly easy to see. It also had a small green LCD light, to give the viewer aid in deeper, darker depths. The camera has a 25ft long cable that unwinds just as a closed-face reel would. You simply press the button and the cable releases until you let go of the button, giving you tremendous control of the amount of cable released. To retrieve the camera, simply crank the reel as one would a fishing reel. Surprisingly, the camera did not spin like most cameras on the market while I was lowering it through the water.
That being said, we encountered a few issues while testing this product. We tested the FishEyes underwater video camera on Little Pelican Lake near Nisswa, MN. This lake is clear to 18 feet deep, meaning by most standards, a very clean, very clear water lake. While we had no problems viewing initially, we did have problems viewing the LCD screen in bright sunlight and bright overcast sun. Although the camera does have a “fish shade” to cover the screen and aid in viewing, it does very little in the conditions discussed. When we covered our heads with a jacket, the screen did however look great- Very impressive resolution and color. In our tests, we could not tell a marked difference when the underwater camera light was on or off, although the light was not needed to see during that time of day.
Another issue to consider is the matter of the accessories. The FishEyes underwater video camera comes with a multitude of attachments to further increase the usage of this product. These include a bait basket, which attaches underneath the camera, in order to attract fish; and a fishing line (hook not included) that also attaches to the camera, in an attempt to make the product into a true fishing pole. While the “chum bucket”, as it became known during testing, was a fun accessory, there is no place to store neither it, nor the line and hook. The fishing line matter is a conundrum in itself- Do I really want to pull a fish up on a cable that is a part of my underwater camera? Instead, we used FishEyes in coordination with a traditional fishing pole.
At the time of this review, there was no ice to speak of anywhere in Minnesota, and so I was unable to test this product in the manner I feel it will be best suited- ice fishing. With a steady base (ice), and a natural shade made by an ice house, I believe the FishEyes underwater video camera could easily replace one’s Aqua-Vu or Marcum underwater cameras due to the ability to fit it easily in a fishing bucket alongside other ice fishing rods. This portability and ease of retrieval make it simple to drop in a hole quickly to scan for fish visually, and just as quickly remove it and put down a line. My only concern would be how the camera might react in such frigid conditions.
While there may be a few drawbacks to the FishEyes underwater camera, there is no question this product is well worth it for the price.