Wednesday, August 22, 2012

GoPro HD Hero 2 Review

As part of the preparations for our Length of Spain cycle ride next month I have been readying the necessary tech! And of course part of the necessary tech these days is a HD camera to grab all those precious memories of the epic ride - which will probably include me arriving totally exhausted and sweaty at the top of each and every one of the many huge climbs on route!

Almost the standard choice for all action film makers these days, including the pros seems to be the GoPro HD Hero. Having previously had the first version which was great, I chose the HD Hero 2 and got hold of this last week, with a great deal and no fuss from Madison in the UK.

And although I am still a bit of a novice with it, as you may gather from the below video, I have given it some hammer in a variety of fun situations in my 1st week of ownership. It’s been cycling of course, jet skiing, underwater and in with wild animals (OK Guinea Pigs and I suppose ‘wild’ is not perfectly correct as they are my daughters pets but ‘in with pets’ sounded a little dull!).

How’s it performed? Superbly! As I stated I am still trying out different settings, mounts and backs to get it right, but in just one week it’s captured some great moments, like the pod of dolphins swimming in the bow wave of the jet ski, the huge sunfish and my cycling.

Sample GoPro HD Hero2 Video

NB - Ensure you use the 'cog' icon to view in HD!

Please bear in mind I’ve had the camera for just a week and I have got it wrong in several places on this video – for example on the push bike the helmet mount was not strapped down tight enough so it rattles a little, on the jet ski I should have turned off the jetski engine when filming under water to reduce the bubbles and noise, etc! I'm living and learning and not doing the camera full justice jet!

So the GoPro HD Hero2 is just an action video camera?

Well no not really! It really is an amazing action camera, but don’t discount it as simply an action camera. Its small size, large variety of mounts of offer, and its go anywhere ability and waterproof casings make it a superb camera for the average family holiday, by and in the pool, etc.

As you can see from the sample video in this blog within a week I have had it cycling, in the guinea pigs cage, up in the scenic mountain villages, out on a jet ski and filming the kids in the pool.

So the GoPro HD Hero2 is just a great all round video camera?

Well no not really! Although it really is a great all round video camera, don’t forget it’s also an 11 megapixel stills camera too. And it has a great feature here as well. The 'burst' mode captures 10 shots in a second, which takes some great images which really capture the moment. An example is included at the end of the sample video, capturing the exact moment the swimmer cuts into the pool after a backwards dive. But to be fair it’s the video which is its key feature, any compact camera will beat it with features like zoom, etc. But for action images its great fun!

And given the full HD image capture quality (up to 1920 x 1080), and its high speed (up to 120 frames per second!) you can pause the video (stop the action) and still get great still images! For example stop the film at 37 seconds what do you now see?, and stop again at 1:17 you can clearly make out the speed of the jetski!

Why is the HD Hero2 better than the original HD Hero?

I won't go into loads of techy details here, its a bit boring and you can read them on many other pure tech and camera websites, buts here's a quick 'whats better with the HD Hero2 over the version 1 HD Hero'. Video and image quality have both been dramatically improved (they were pretty damn good in the previous version too!). Its even easier to set up with a new LCD screen on the front showing your settings. Multiple flashing red LED's (top, front and rear) now show you when its 'filming'. etc, etc!

So would we recommend the GoPro HD Hero2?

Of course – we are only a week in but I am so looking forward to taking it along on the Length of Spain bike ride, skiing this winter, motorcycling, etc.

I guess it was pretty well summed up by a stranger I met the other day – “Ah I see you have the GoPro, I bought a cheaper equivalent earlier this year. I wish I had bought the GoPro!”.

Or to quote my daughters “yolo” – You Only Live Once! Gadgets like these are, in my view, a superb investment, allowing you to enjoy and share all the great moments in your life, for life.

The full range of GoPro products can be purchased from Madison's UK official GoPro estore.

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