GoPro Point Of View or Sony Action Cam…There’s no shortage of competition
So what’s the deal with the GoPro? The market has seen a flood of cameras of this style over the past few years, with varying degrees of success. We’ve been kitted out since 2003 with everything from backpacks full of cables and VHS to badly crafted boxes that couldn’t take the impacts. The Contour seemed like a serious option five years ago, with a form and solidity that looked like it was made for business. We had some good and bad results, of which low-light was often a source of frustration. But at least manufacturers were beginning to take this “niche” market a little more seriously. Now with the closure of Contour the ever increasing technology gap between good and exceptional seems to have taken another leap.
But even back then there were others picking up speed, and whilst the Techies were in the lab banging electronics against brick walls the Marketing department was steaming ahead on a mission of it’s own. And the main users of this type of product had their kind of mission; to show life in it’s most exhilarating form. When the HD Hero 3 hit the mainstream market in 2012 the world sat up and took notice, but in another dimension people like us had praying for this kind of revolution for over fifteen years. Luckily for us, people with enough determination and passion to know when something “felt right” were on the case.
In only a few short years GoPro have changed the world of ‘point of view’ (POV) filming. More of a social movement than a humble camera, the marriage of pocket-sized professional power with bullet-proof design and ease of use has won over people from all walks of life.
Whether we realize it or not we’ve maybe all seen some of the amazing footage that has been filmed through the lens of a GoPro; from the sports world to the natural world, from cockpits of formula one to difficult to access animal habitats, these products have revolutionized the way we view the world; close-up, at speed, underwater, and even on the edge of space.
Professionals have adopted them directly in their line of work, and back in suburbia this camera has also been a huge hit for Joe Public. Allowing people to film, photograph and share some amazing events by bolting, taping, and screwing this incredibly versatile equipment in places where most sane people would hesitate to put something that cost this sort of well-earned cash.
Staying ahead of the game
The shape and form of the different products on the market lends a preference to different disciplines, but what it comes down to for us is…when your in the thick of it, the adrenalin’s pumping, the conditions are often tough, (you’ve got helmets, gloves, ropes, etc, you’re underwater…wherever you may be) you just want to be able to see what the camera is telling you, and you want to be able to press the button and go. You’ll always have people that tell you that one camera or another has better sensitivity, less image deformation, or something else. Maybe they are right, but for us the quality of the GoPro images speak for themselves. If you’ve got some issues with yours keep an eye out as we’re adding articles on quick fixes and best practice, as it’s no mystery that even the best technology has it’s bugs.
The question here is one of of usability.
When you read all the GoPro reviews on the camera websites and the retailers jargon, mostly they’re all talking about the specification; the mega-pixels, the aspherical lens, the 2x something. The spec speaks for itself, most of these people didn’t even take it outside the office. You want to get some interesting information, it’s user forums, and action sports magazines.
We will still discuss the camera spec, but it’s purely so that you can make a comparison between the different models and decide where your money is well spent. In reality the camera is just the start of the whole process, and the end result is a film; that can be more difficult. We’ll discuss that elsewhere, as there are different styles and different methods.
Hero 3 and HD Hero 2 packs
Hero 2: Still floating around
And Look out for cheap Hero 3 Blacks, because it’s already became “OLD” news!
There was a time when you had a choice of several “packs” with different mounting systems to suit your needs. Now the only variation from the standard kit is the “GoPro Hero 3: Black Edition – Surf”. But the distributors still have some of these “old” editions in stock, so hunting for both the Hero 3 and the HD Hero 2 may get you a deal with some extra fittings and fixtures. Whilst you’ll be missing the Wi-Fi with the Hero 2, if that doesn’t bother you and your main use is out in the open air providing well lit environments, then the older packs may provide the bargain you’re looking for.
All the packs come with the slide-in plates in some shape or form, so consider what the options could be to evolve from the base pack depending on your usage.
The now discontinued GoPro HD Hero 2 “Outdoor Pack” had a few elastic straps, but quite frankly these sorts of things are easy to come by and looking around your house and garage you’ll find old rucksacks, deck chairs straps, bum bags or suspender belts that offer a range of options with the only investment needed being a needle and cotton.
The GoPro Hero Surf Editions have wider, more solid looking adhesive bases, and they added a few extra arms to rotate and extend the arrangement. So if you rock in the waves and that’s your only bag, it’s the one for you. However, once you step off your board it could be ‘game over’, in the short-term obviously because you’ll soon find another way of fixing it.
The original GoPro Hero “Motorsports Pack2” offered the most functionality. With both flat and curved bases, several knuckled joints, and a suction cup to bang it on any smooth clean surface, we seem to have been on a winner with this one. Whether it was stuck to the obligatory helmet, suctioned to the inside of the car windscreen to catch the lunacy during a road trip, or simply slapped on the kitchen window to get some evidence of what the neighbors cat has been up to in your flower bed, this kit gave you the most options to cut, carve, screw, rotate, incline and exchange between different carriers.
These items have now moved to the GoPro “Mounting Accessories” section, and the suction cup is a great option to keep in mind. Slap it on any smooth surface, or if it’s not smooth the extra-wide base allows you to tape it down on your skate for example; a good use for this can be as a “dolly” for a gliding shot next to a moving target.
GoPro Hero SD HERO: Battered, but still running
ORIGINAL: Strap it anywhere!
The GoPro Hero range of cameras has been going for a few years now and during that time we’ve experienced a range of POV cameras from various manufacturers. Our original GoPro Hero has stood the test of time, and we’re quite proud to be able to show you some video evidence here. That tells you that it is pretty bullet proof and despite a lot of dirt and many bruises (yes we have smashed several mounting systems), the camera and case itself is still doing the job it was designed to do…and that’s got to be comforting news if your thinking of investing.
The quality still holds up well, as it was always a leader of the era it was created in. The balance of colors and background has always been in line, and often superior to comparable equipment from the competition. Ours have been fixed in places that have left them open to abuse, such as directly behind the front wheel of a mountain bike, as seen here, or being clipped to a snowboard binding, and have survived dust, high and low temperatures, filthy water, rocks, and tree branches among other hazards.