Go Pro HD Hero Video Camera Review

Screen shot 2011 05 08 at 8.41.15 PM Go Pro HD Hero Video Camera Review

It’s official.  I’m addicted.

When I first heard of the Go Pro Camera, i though it was a cool idea, but never though much else about it. 

Then I watched some other people’s actual videos and realized the obsession, and ironically, its all right there in the name…..Go Pro.

Everyone wants to Go Pro and everyone wants to be sponsored…I mean that’s the main reason I started this site, because i needed to find a way to make sponsors give me free stuff, in my case being able to expose their products and brands to enough people where it made sense to them.  The same with these cameras, even if you are not pro and you don’t ahve a huge film crew following you around, now you can look like it.

Check out one of my early edits surfing at Torrey Pines Beach in San Diego (HD – so watch full screen and put on 720p)

What is the Go Pro HD Hero Camera-

So What is it in a nutshell?  It’s a bombproof POV (Point of View) camera.  It comes with a waterproof case suitable for surfing, diving, skydiving..etc  It comes with everything you see below, the camera, case and everything you need to connect it, charge it and so on.  I purchased the HD Helmet Hero package (approx $299) and as you can see there are a variety of mounts that it comes with for your helmets.  From there I purchased the surf add on kit for $20 and got setup to roll on the board as well.

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Now I won’t bore you with all the technical specifications of the Go-pro, you can get that easily enough off their website, I am just going to tell you about my experience with it and what I have learned so far and like/dislike.

To preface, I have used the Go-Pro on both a helmet Cam while skiing and also on my surfboard from an adhesive mount.  One of our writes Josh Lang has been using the Go PRo for much longer than myself and haas also made use of a pole mount for skiing which takes some pretty phenomenal shots.

  1. Ease of Use-
    It is pretty intuitive to use.  Just read the directions once and your good.  If you don’t read the directions like i did not then you will of course bumble around for a bit so sit down take 10 minutes and just read them before anything else and it will all make sense.

  2. Memory Cards-
    The Go Pro does not come with a memory card, so that is something you will have to buy.  This camera also shoots HD video so you will want a decent memory card, probably not just te cheapest one you can find, although that will work just the video might not be the best quality.   I am not a technical person so, get the specs from someone who is.  I use a SD Extreme 4 gb and that works for about a whole day of skiing or a several hour surf session at 720p shooting.
  3. Surfing With The Go Pro-
    The first time you take it out in water you are a bit nervous.  Nervous it will fall off, nervous it will leak…all the normal thoughts.  It works great however and is actually really simple to operate even if the water is cold and your wearing gloves as we were a few days when the water was in the 50’s.  We live on the west coast so found out that surfing in the mornings give you better light than the afternoon, but both work. 

    Finding the angle right for your board is a bit of a trick, for my placement it was as high up as it could go basically.  Be sure to crank it down with a screwdriver and not just your hand becuase even though it may feel tight, when all that pressure of a wave comes down it it, it will move so pull out the Phillips and crank it down hard.

  4. Skiing With The Go Pro
    Great video going forward and great video from the pole cam.  If you want it on your helmet and pointed back at you, i would recommend an extra extender or two or else you will pretty much just see your goggles and you background. 

    Other than that it works solid, but beware that no moisture is inside the case before you close it because you will be going from hot to cold and if there is anything inside at all even a tiny amount you will get condensation and it will ruin your shots, happened to us one day. 

  5. Sound
    The waterproof case is great, but as you can imagine there is basically no sound and anything that does come through is pretty muffled, so if you want sound, then use the case with the slits in the back, but be careful as your camera is mildly exposed, so just use caution.   

  6. Charging
    The charge on this camera is actually pretty good, seemed to last easily through a solid day of skiing or a long surf session, but not 2 full days of skiing or two full surf sessions, so it is pretty much a charge every day situation.  But that said you are most likely going to be dumping your memory card anyways so just charge it at the same time, no biggie.

  7. Video Quality
    The video will actually shock you the first time you watch it full screen, its full on HD.  I typically shoot in 720p because that is a bit higher than the 1080p and you can barely tell a difference but it does have that capability.  The fish-eye lens is actually a great lens for this type of camera as it provides a much wider viewing than a traditional lens, especially at close distances. 

  8. Shooting Stills
    I found it much easier to grab the picture you want out of the actual video than trying to use picture mode.  Although i feel like picture mode takes a bit higher quality photos, if your shooting on 60 frames per second or even 30 frames per second, you are bound to be able to find at least one spot in your run or wave or whatever that you look cool.  Case and point is below and all of these photos we extracted directly form the video.
    [nggallery id=36]

Check out some of Josh’s footage from the back country in Utah

 

So this is the part of my review where I tell you whether or not I think you should buy it and that depends.

If you are looking for what I consider the best POV camera available on the market today, then yes buy the Go Pro HD.  Its easy to use, failry cheap and pretty much bombproof.  Perfect for surfers , bikers, boarders and generally folks to tend to beat up their gear.

I have really enjoyed shooting with it so far and am looking forward to refining my skills and take it to more remote locations…Hawaii Surf to follow…

Do you use a POV camera or have any thoughts on the GO PRO?  Let us hear you in the comments below.

Filed under Extreme Sport, Gear Reviews, Ski/Board, Surf, Technology · Tagged with

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A former Inc. 100 corporate finance manager turned Adventure Capitalist, Mat now travels the world in search of warm water, big waves and powder snow. A firm believer in one's ability to change their reality, only several years ago, Mat found himself burnt out in the business world at a young age. Although successful, he remained unsatisfied. He left his... Read More

has written 70 articles

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