Product Review: GoPro – Big Video, Small Camera

| August 4, 2011 | 6 Comments

My first experience with a GoPro was in Colorado during a 5-day ski-trip. I wasn’t using one of them while skiing but rather I came across an amazing GoPro commercial while bed ridden for 3 days battling the flu. Apparently, most of it was filmed using a GoPro and I simply couldn’t believe that this tiny little camera was generating these videos with amazing clarity and vivid colors! The wide-angle lens really added to the overall effect too. I enjoyed the commercial so much that I went on YouTube only to discover an array of awesome videos filmed using a GoPro camera.

It was time to get my hands on one. I knew we carried them but I never looked into buying one assuming it was an expensive product and probably one that may be complicated to use. Once I checked into it, I discovered that not only was it affordable at $299 for the full helmet cam package, it was easy to use. In fact, I was disappointed with myself for not looking into it earlier for all my past year’s paddling trips and work related events.

Finally, I got my hands on one and it did not disappoint with resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 at 30 FPS and video clarity that put all other more expensive videos cameras I have used to shame. Best of all, it was so easy to use. As a paddler, I also liked that it came with a waterproof case rated at up to 180ft. It didn’t get wet when I took it out for a first test run on a stand up paddleboard so I gave it a quick under water test in a pool and was pleased with the results.

I like that the camera battery automatically begins to charge when downloading videos to my computer but be prepared, you get about 2.5 hours recording time when fully charged. If you plan to go an overnight paddling trip, consider taking some backup batteries.

Sound quality was good but I just wish it would do a better job when utilizing the waterproof cover. I didn’t realize this was an issue until after I had already filmed several clips. I also wish it had a built in preview screen. Unfortunately you have to download the video clip to preview them. The good news is they do offer an affordable LCD BacPac camera attachment, which provides instant previews, playback and visual control of your camera settings.

I give this product 4 stars out of 5 stars mainly because of the lack of a built in preview screen but overall, for the price, features and quality, I highly recommend this the GoPro camera and look forward to putting it to good use on my next paddling trip.

Here is another great sample video by GoPro featuring a white water kayaking competition. Do you have a GoPro? Tell us how you use it by commenting below!


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Comments (6)

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  1. I don’t think the lack of a standard view monitor should be considered a negative. Like mentioned, there is one available as an option for those people who need it so others that don’t need it are paying more for something they don’t need. Honestly, unless you are doing a lot of experimental mounting in the field you can (and should) run tests at home on your mounting solution and see how it frames the video. Another benefit of this is that the camera is much smaller with the LCD screen mounted to it.

    With the waterproof cover on, the built in microphone is useless. I now use the other “water resistant” cover for my shoots. Since replacement parts are more or less affordable, its worth the added risk. The waterproof cover is always with me though, just in case I think the situation will require it.

    I think the biggest issue with the GoPro HD is once you get the footage into a post production environment. I work with Final Cut Pro and the first thing I have to do is convert the video format of all the footage. There is usually a lot of footage so the conversion process can take the better part of a day. Sort of silly since even the majority of consumer camcorder will export their video in a usable format. I guess if you are not editing your work this isn’t a big deal big it is for people like me.

    I should qualify that I have only done one GoPro project so far: – but overall I am really happy with the camera and plan to make many more videos with it.

  2. Dink Murphey says:

    My first clip from the GoPro Hero. As Roland, very surprised at the quality of this little camera. The wide angle is superb.

    This is a little clip from a launch near Grayton Beach, FL, outside of Destin.

    The “June Grass” was very thick but the water clears up out past the 2nd bar.


  3. Roland says:

    TRB, good points on the LCD. I can see where as time goes on, I know my camera position but as a first time user with no time to do some off the water test runs at home, it would have been nice to have the preview screen. I do plan to order the adapter this week though! Thanks for sharing your project, very cool!

  4. Roland says:

    Dink, were you trying to post a link? I don’t think it came through.

  5. Keith says:

    Hey TexasRiverBum,

    What conversion software do you use to prepare the GoPro video for Final Cut Pro editing?

  6. Keith,

    Sorry for the late reply. I use MPEG Streamclip, its really the best solution out there. Be sure to run multiple conversions simultaneously, go for as many as your processors can handle.

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