First Impressions of the REVL Arc Action Camera

I’ve been wanting this camera for years. I convinced several friends to back it on Indiegogo. I’ve been super excited to get my hands on the Arc for a long long time.

What is the REVL Arc?

According to REVL, the Arc is “Stabilization you can mount anywhere.
Revl Arc has a gimbal integrated into the rear of the camera which keeps it level to the horizon. The Arc also has electronic image stabilization which reduces bumps and camera shake.”

It’s a killer concept and in a perfect world it’s the GoPro you always wanted. It truly has the potential to change the face of action cams.

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The REVL Arc Action Camera

 

REVL Arc is Not What You Think –

“You should do 1080p60+EIS”

CEO and CoFounder of REVL, Eric Sanchez Curti

I’m ashamed to say that I fell for the marketing hype and I work for marketing divisions for a living. Shame on me. I got wrapped up in the hype of an awesome promo video and didn’t really know what I was getting into. Now that I’ve read the comments from REVL and really looked at the promo video, it’s glaringly obvious that the REVL stuff is HD.

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Yep, the CEO and CoFounder of REVL, Eric Sanchez Curti, said “You should do 1080p60+EIS” Cool. Just one thing, that’s not 4K.

 

What is the Arc Really? IMHO

Before someone at REVL decides to slay me for my opinion, that’s all this is – my opinion. I think what we have here isn’t a GoPro killer. It’s a slightly better mousetrap but it isn’t what you want it to be. I desperately wanted a GoPro killer. I thought the people behind REVL wanted that too. Their company narrative certainly made me feel that way. I was ready to create some killer stuff with this camera and it’s basically a slightly better GoPro.

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It’s staring at me, it knows I’m disappointed. Sorry little buddy.

The REVL Arc is basically a 1 axis gimbal (horizon) that relies on Electronic Image Stabilization or EIS. Sound familiar? That’s because most cameras on the market today have some form of EIS. It’s not magic. There’s a tradeoff. In order for the REVL to make use of the EIS, you have to drop your resolution from 4K to HD. Why? The EIS makes use of the additional real estate in the 4K frame to provide a smoother HD frame. Not a huge deal, unless what you thought you were purchasing was a 4K Action camera with a gimbal. That’s my issue. I want a smooth 4K action cam, not a stabilized HD frame. I can run EIS at 1080 on my GoPro. I wanted 4K. In theory they aren’t wrong. It IS a 4K Action Camera. PERIOD. It DOES have a Gimbal. PERIOD. It DOES have EIS. PERIOD. The issue is that the REVL website says:

Revl Arc has a gimbal integrated into the rear of the camera which keeps it level to the horizon. The Arc also has electronic image stabilization which reduces bumps and camera shake.

Notice what they did there? At no point do they mention that you have to cut your frame size in half in order to make use of the EIS. So yes, you can shoot 4K with the REVL and you’ll get quasi-stabilish video with the built in horizon gimbal. What you won’t get are those kickass camera moves that the CEO and his partner do all over the promo videos. If you want to pull those off, you need to use the camera with the gimbal + EIS in HD. That’s cool except my clients want 4K. Not uprezzed 4K.

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The REVL FB is a tad misleading.

I had big hopes for this little camera.
I had big hopes for this little camera. I still do.

 

Yeah. It Has an App.

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The good thing about the app is that it makes upgrading the firmware ridiculously easy. It’s cool to be able to view the camera feed from the app and make all the setting changes you like. The bad thing about the app is that we were only able to connect to it 5/6 times out of 10 on 2 separate iPhones. It’s buggy, but that’s fixable.

 

REVL Customer Service Doesn’t / Can’t Read.

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Umm what? That’s not what we asked for. Thanks?

There’s nothing I hate more than being treated like garbage by a company. I get it, this is a relatively new camera company and they are growing fast. I’d love to have their problems. One serious issue is that their customer service is either incredibly overloaded or the corporate culture at REVL is that the customer doesn’t matter. Either way, I’m pissed at being treated this way, especially when almost dropping a grand on new unverifiable tech.

We purchased a set of REVL Arcs and were promised an early February delivery. FEB came and went, we have many many shoots coming up and I can’t rely on vaporware. I need an actual camera in my hands. We wrote REVL and asked for one of our REVL cameras to be cancelled and refunded. That way we can purchase something else if the REVL doesn’t arrive. They never responded to our email. What we DID receive – a random text message saying our entire order had been cancelled. Umm not OK. When asked why they did this, they refused to respond. At this point, I’m out 2 cameras and have 20+ day trips coming up. As of this post, REVL has not responded to why they obliterated my order without question.

Now I’m out 2 REVL cameras and don’t have any way of getting one in time for my shoots. So I reached out to my friends to see if they received their Arcs. EVERY SINGLE ONE tried to get me to buy the Arc off of them almost immediately. They couldn’t wait to unload them. So I did. I bought a REVL from a friend. Simply because REVL was too busy to care. I really wanted this camera, despite how we were being treated. I was forced to purchase a used Arc just to be able to test it.

There’s literally nothing available in the Revl Arc ecosystem. Lose your mount or battery and you’re screwed. However, there is one thing available in the Revl store:

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Either they made a bunch of kite mounts and nobody wants them or their own personal interests are catered to first in their company. I don’t recall this being called a kite kam. It’s an action cam. Either way, not happy with REVL’s lack of priorities. If this is a personal playpen for a group of bored kite surfers then just say so. For the rest of us this camera isn’t ready for primetime.
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There’s nothing more annoying than being forced to use the camera as it’s own battery charger. Huge pet peeve for me. I have no options with the Revl Arc. This is what it is. At least for now. 

Final Thoughts

I’m really not impressed. Overall it’s maybe 25-30% better than a GoPro. I mean if you’re looking for a camera system that’s impossible to get additional batteries for and you’d much prefer to deal with a corporation that’s always yelling “WHAT SETTINGS ARE YOU USING??” then yes, buy the Arc. Seriously, they should change the name of their tech support team to @WhatEffingSettingsAreYouUsing? If I were you, I’d wait and see what the Arc becomes. The REVL Arc has potential of being amazing, it’s just far from that right now. It’s just not ready. They are careful to show you very specific clips in very specific instances. I’d like to see what this thing becomes in 2019. As of right now, this is one of the worst camera systems that I have ever had to deal with. Everything is frustrating and annoying. From the lack of support of their own ecosystem to basically having to decipher marketing speak to truly understand what this thing is.

I would have respected REVL more had they announced the release of the “World’s Greatest HD Action Cam” At least that would be more truthful. Having to spend a few hours to realize that the REVL is NOT a 4K Smooth Action Cam is a real bummer.

I much prefer to support a company that has a culture I believe in. I really HATE how we were treated by REVL. That being said, I’ll still give this thing another shot. I’ll put it through the tests that I do for all my gear and I’ll tell you if I love it or hate it, regardless of being treated like crap. I plan on testing this thing more this week and posting my tests for you to judge. And YES REVL, I’m at your latest effing firmware and I’m running at 1080P60+EIS. FFS.

Sean Mullen is a Travel Filmmaker, Vlogger, VFX Artist, Brand Ambassador and the CEO & Lead Designer of Rampant Design, Inc. He is a 3 Time Emmy Award Winner and former Walt Disney World Monorail Pilot. Sean is married to the AMAZING Stef IRL.

2 thoughts on “First Impressions of the REVL Arc Action Camera

  • I agree completely with your synopsis. I had very high hopes for this camera but have been let down since the day it arrived. There have been app updates but they still don’t resolve the connection issues. I’ve sent numerous emails to customer support since early April and have yet to receive a single response. I agree that future app and firmware updates may resolve the issues but I have a persistent sound like grains of sand coming from the gimbal that makes playback annoying to the point I decided to purchase a GoPro Hero 6 as my primary camera. This product was rushed to market and hopefully they can concentrate on customer service instead of avoiding the issues that plague this product. So far, it has been a complete failure. I would not recommend it to anyone. Lastly, I do have the latest firmware and app updates to May 20. If there wasn’t a non return policy it would have gone back on day one.

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