GoPro HD Video Camera Review
My birthday present for my 40th this year was a GoPro HD helmet camera – A small, HD video camera in a rugged, waterproof (to 60m) housing.
On paper it doesn’t look like anything too special. Compared to most modern tech-toys and other video cameras it has very few features. Other than recording in HD quality or a variety of other resolutions (5 in all) and being able to record either video, single photos, triple shot sequences of photos or time-lapse photos, the settings are minimal. It doesn’t have a viewfinder or LCD screen to see what you are recording or even to review your footage.
The GoPro HD did come with a charged battery though and lots of connection options for helmets, including adhesive bases for curved and flat surfaces, a head-torch style elasticated head strap, a strap for vented helmets and I also had a handlebar mount (bought separately). There are plenty of other moutnign options available too. The camera takes SD cards (not supplied) so I popped a 16GB card into mine.
The lack of options and settings is in fact one of the features of the camera. What it lacks for here, it makes up for with ease of use, size and ruggedness. The last thing you want to be doing whilst bombing down some rocky rooty, muddy, slimey singletrack or launching into a forward loop on a windsurfer is thinking about the setting on your camera or trying to adjust the point of view on it. The idea is tto set it up, start it recording and get on with whatever it is you’re doing. The lack of options and screen make this possible and provide few distractions.
The wide angle view captures the scene beautifully without the need to fiddle to make sure you’re getting things in shot. Focusing seems perfect with a large depth of field and exposure has so far proved perfect, even when going from bright sunlight into dark forests where it adjusts quickly and accurately.
I’ve yet to try it out fully but my initial tests at the weekend were simply a matter of attaching it to myself or my bike, switching it on and getting on with it. The results are great, good quality, HD video footage of my exploits, just what I wanted. Here’s the video I shot with it – I know I’ve already posted it, but here it is again.
I can’t think of much else that I’d need from it yet, although a little eyelet on the housing that would allow me to attach a piece of rope or something to a secondary attachment point would be nice when using it attached to a helmet with nothing but an adhesive pad. GoPro seem pretty confident of the ability of the adhesive pad to hold the camera on, but if it fails then you’d lose the camera. If I could also tie it to my helmet or person I’d probably feel a little more confident of not losing it.
Look out for more videos coming soon, and maybe even some time-lapse videos as that feature sounds like fun.