Monday, August 1, 2011

Gear Review: Go Pro HD Hero Camera

Okay, so these things are everywhere these days, from the helmets of X-games contestants to the skis of yuppie snow bunnies.  It seems as though I may be one of the last people in the US to get one; but just in case, I thought I'd put a quick review out there for anyone who is mulling over a Go Pro purchase.

The Product:  The HD Hero Camera claims to be "the world’s highest performance wearable 1080p HD video and still photo camera."  It mounts to any number of places (helmets, bikes, boards, tripods, chest-straps, etc.) and shoots HD still, stop action, timed photos and video.  It is waterproof to 180ft and protected from impact by a polycarbonate housing.

What I've seen it do:
-Stayed mounted to the nose of a paddleboard bashed on the shelly beaches of the Outter Banks.
-Blown over by a helicopter.
-Thrown from a moving boat and sank to the ocean floor.  (Note - it doesn't float.)
-Dropped while snowboarding down a mountain in Utah.

Things that aren't great about it:
-The off-the-shelf camera is designed for wide-angle pictures.  So if you're more than a couple of feet away from your subject - it's not great for shooting portraits.
-The original camera has no rear view-finder.  You can purchase an attachable, low quality LCD screen, but it adds extra weight, fragility, and cost to the camera.  And unless you opt for the bonus screen, you have no idea if you "got the shot" until you get home.

What it puts out:

One would be hard pressed to find another camera that can give you the types of shots that this camera can, in the enviroments where this camera can go.  At right around $250, I obviously think it's money well spent.  Bottom line - these cameras are amazing, and the pics/videos they give you are only limited by your creativity and guts.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with GoPro or any portion of it's company/companies.  The camera used for this review was purchased by me at standard retail value.  I have not been provided with any additional merchandise or discounts from GoPro at the time of this review, though I have entered their daily giveaway more times than I can count.  The image and video examples are all from my own recording - the examples shown on the GoPro website are much cooler.)   

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