Tuesday, July 5, 2011

GoPro HD Hero Sport Camera Review

I was browsing through a magazine during lunch when I saw an ad for GoPro HD Sports Camera.  My current waterproof camera died last winter.  I put it at the bottom of the pool in about 2.5 feet of water and took some video, which didn't really work well since it was just bobbing at the bottom.  The next day it died.  Then resurrected about two months later.  It sucks.

I decided I needed something with a full blown waterproof case.  This looked like it was it.

I took it swimming yesterday at Pineview.  It takes great video, and I like the fisheye lens which increases the viewable area.  But it distorts the picture so its difficult to get a real perspective of distance.  It comes with several different mounts.

Pros:

  • It is affordable.  I paid less than $200 for it.
  • It comes with different mounts.
  • You can buy additional accessories, or basic accessories as needed right on the website.
  • It is waterproof up to 160 feet!
  • The picture/video quality is great.  But it isn't good for pictures where you want to get a picture of you and your friends off in the distance. 
  • Just plug it into your computer's USB and it reads like an external drive. 
  • Internal battery can be recharged via USB.  But for extended trips, this can be a con.  Can't just insert super duty AA's or anything.  
Cons:
  • It doesn't float.  It sinks.  Wouldn't want to drop this in a lake!
  • It doesn't have a swivel mount.  It would be really cool to have a mount that allows the viewable angle to be moved right from the mount, on a swivel or something.
  • The menu UI is very cryptic.  Will need to reference the manual several times in order to memorize the abbreviated options.
  • Geared more for video.  Just want to snap one pic?  Doesn't really allow that.  You configure it to take a pic every 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds.  Not just take one.  I guess you could configure it to take a pic every 60 seconds, and then turn it off after taking the first one.
There is no viewfinder (unless you pay for an additional accessory), to reference when taking video.  Because of the fisheye lens, if you're pointed in the general direction, you're most likely in the shot.  However, you can't review anything.  This is definitely a sports cam.  Not good for normal pictures, and there is no flash.  So nighttime shots aren't an option. 

But at least I don't have to worry about it dying in the water, and generally being a piece of crap.  Here's video of me swimming with it using the head mount.  I wanted to get it on the kayak, but forgot the camera's right attachment to connect it to the mount I had already permanently glued to the kayak.  Next time.  
From Swimming

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