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4.4 out of 5 stars55
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 April 2012
This is the camera used to help make TV shows and so when planning a recent ski trip I decided that I would buy one of these to record our skiing adventures. I chose the Motorsport version and I also purchased the 'Grab bag of mounts' for around £16 which was more cost effective than buying the action version.

The mounts take a little getting used to but once you master them you can mount the camera anywhere and in any direction. The camera itself feels like a toy but once in the waterproof case it feels much more robust. I was amazed to note that the camera and mounts are good for 200mph plus!

You will need at least a 16gb SD card which will allow you to record around an hour and a half in 1080p, which is also about the capacity of the fully charged battery. Video quality is good in 1080p but the colours and clarity are better in 720p, which is also the setting where you get 2 wide angle options, super wide and just wide. There is also a 120fps mode for shooting super slow-mo which works very well.

A couple of negative points, you do not have a viewfinder so setting up is abit hit and miss although you can purchase an LCD backpak for around £80 which is great. Also when used as a headcam mounted to a helmet you cannot see if you have pushed the record button or not and you cannot, at present stream video from the cam, both these issues will be addressed with the forth coming wireless backpak and remote due summer 2012.

If you buy this camera I would suggest you buy the following accessories: spare battery, grab bag of mounts, 2 x 16gb SD cards or larger and a decent accessory case to keep it all in untill needed.

This little cam is definately the best action cam for under £300 and has all the spares and accessory options if you ever need them. I would highly recommend this item but beware, you may end up like me, buying 2 just to get another view and as a backup.
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I bought this at this (2012) year's BVE after seeing lots of footage and talking with one of the developers and a couple of cameramen who use it. The idea was that it would help me in two main activities: tracking skiers, camera mostly mounted on a helmet or sometimes a ski; and analysing swimming technique, hand held camera in the pool. A possible third activity (but not yet) is filming in or on a friend's rally car - hence my choice of the `Motorsports kit'.

It works very well in the bright sunshine on the piste, and I set the "zoom" angle at its narrowest, 90°, where the barrel distortion is at its minimum (also available are 121° and default 170°), giving sharp and accurately coloured images even at the full 1920x1080 25fps HD. However, when the light levels fall to those of a normally lit interior (a living room for example), then the images are blurry and noisy, and often not really useable.

In a swimming pool where there was slightly more light than a domestic interior, while stills were noisy, the moving images were generally acceptable, and served their purpose for stroke analysis. If you are going to try this, please make sure that nobody objects to filming in the pool; there are all sorts of rules and regulations against filming there, and getting written permission from all concerned is vital.

This `Motorsports kit' includes a very powerful sucker mount as well as a selection of self-adhesive mounts and a variety of different brackets to help with the mounting angles. The self-adhesive mounts use very strong glue, do not expect to be able to remove it! The taller slide-in bracket is held together by three small screws, so allowing a bolt-on option.

I would recommend also using a secondary fixing such as a lanyard, just in case! I noticed on one occasion recently that the camera had begun to work loose from the clip stuck on my helmet, after inadvertently hitting the camera (undamaged, phew) on the metal-work of a ski-lift.

I miss the ability to have a ball-head adjustment to allow more varied angles relative to the mounts. If I cannot find a commercial one I'll probably resort to making one, but that will not happen at all quickly.

The life of the 1.1Ampere-hour battery supplied with the camera is not all that good, giving only about two hours of working time regardless of whether filming or not. So I have tended to switch the camera off completely if I know I'm not going to shoot another sequence immediately.

32Gig class 10 SDHC card gives me about four and a half hours of H.264 video at the highest resolution. Alas, when the camera is mounted on a ski helmet with skis rattling down a bumpy piste we might be lucky to get even five minutes of watch-able video in the end - I need a head steady in the absence of any form of optical or digital image stabiliser in the camera.

The waterproof housing is very good, and quite soundproof too, as we found out on the piste, when all we could hear in the audio was the wind noise and my goggles rattling against the helmet; speech and other wanted sounds were very quiet. Alas, in both my main applications I cannot even think about risking the use of the ventilated back, so the sound is definitely an also ran.

The battery works reasonably well down to about -10°C, but below that it was not so happy, and the bar indicator on the display showed no almost charge when it should have showed full. So here the trick is to leave the camera outside with the housing open for a while to allow it to acquire the low humidity of the coldest temperature and then seal it (to prevent condensation on the lens later); and then keep it warm inside ones clothing, only exposing it to the cold again when filming.

Playback using the HDMI is very good, and we were able to review the day's work on the big TV in the ski chalet in the evening. There was no problem powering it via the USB while in playback, but it only seemed to want to charge the battery when switched off. I'm using a cheap USB plug-top PSU that can supply 1Amp.

The menu system is very basic, but sufficient, once you are familiar with it. It does not help that the manual supplied with the camera is written in tiny print, and even worse, some of the most helpful features are black print on dark grey - in the poor light of the chalet interior I needed to borrow some strong reading glasses.

Verdict?
It is another useful tool in the photographer's box. Neither the image quality nor the H.264 coding even begin to compare with the HD AVI video from my Pentax K5; but then there is no way I would even dare to think about skiing with the big and heavy K5 stuck on my helmet!

The GoPro HD Hero2 system scores heavily on convenience, lightness, simplicity, durability, and most of all the ease and flexibility of use. I am glad I bought it, and even bearing in mind its extreme limitations I think it well deserves four stars - it only loses a star because of the inadequate low-light performance.

Addendum 27th March 2012

We've been using an earlier version (ie not on Az) of Avid to edit the H.264 footage, and it all works nicely. But H.264 really requires a quadcore computer and a decent graphics card to have reasonable response speeds. The Sony software I tried to begin with (came with my CX115) is a non-starter - way, way too slow.

Addendum 20th February 2013

I've updated the firmware in the camera. This was done using the Cineform software supplied by GoPro free on their website. My camera had version 8-12-58, and now after the update it is 8-12-222. I had some problems with persuading the camera to complete the update, but GoPro Support were very helpful and gave me a manual work-around.

The main difference immediately apparent is the addition of the Protune option which allows 35Mb/s recording compared with the standard 15Mb/s and turns off some of the sharpening and edge enhancement features, but allows more of the fine detail and subtle shading to be recorded, which is ideal if you intend to be doing some Post-production manipulation of the video. There are some good Youtube videos illustrating this; search for 'GoPro Protune'. Note that recording time on the SD card is reduced accordingly, and also 35Mb/s probably needs a Class 10 SDHC card, but you can still squeeze almost two hours of 1080p25 onto a 32GB.

Be Warned: updating will wipe anything that was previously on the SDHC card fitted in the camera, also all your preferred settings in the camera will be lost.

Addendum. 18th March 2013

I've been using it in both modes on a recent ski trip (-19C in Arc2000 to -30C up on Aguille Rouge) and noticed that sometimes the cold caused it to drop out of record after a second. But it kept going after the next ask each time. I was also giving it a warmth boost inside my ski-suit every now and then when we stopped.

Also, don't mix Protune and non-Protune recordings on the same SD card because we found later on playback the camera confused the numbers and it would lock solid, needing the battery to be removed for a reset. All the files are there however. The Protune image quality is much better, especially because the AK is toned down to a much more sensible level. Note that the Protune option does not allow the 90 degree (narrowest) field of view.
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55 comments|35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 March 2012
It just seems to be the camera that can do everything normal cameras don't!

Hours of time lapse, yep, and it does it well.

Under water, yep, and does it well.

Audio on the outside of cars, yep, and does it pretty well!

Hang it off you while gorge walking, does that ok too.

Put it on a long piece of string and do some funky spinning video, yep.

All those things you wouldn't dream of doing with most other cameras, but the HD Hero 2 does them all and in a really reasonable quality considering the price and size etc!
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on 27 February 2012
I bought the GoPro for use on trackdays, car and bike, and I have been hugely impressed so far.

The camera needs 10 minutes effort initially setting the default parameters (recording quality, if you want it to start recording as soon as you turn it on etc, is the camera mounted upside down etc) and then it works perfectly, and so simply.

Great footage, it copes with varying light conditions pretty well though it can be a little thrown when shooting into direct sunlight - to be honest though, all cameras would struggle here.

The sound quality is excellent, automatically filtering out wind noise - even with the roof down at speeds of 100mph on track.

A magnificent camera, very much recommended.

My suggestions for anyone else buying these for trackday use:
- Use the 720-30 setting rather than the full HD resolution, it seems the perfect balance to me between quality and huge file sizes
- The motorsports package does not include a tripod mount, but these are not expensive to buy as an accessory.

Great product, and if anyone wants to see what it does in the hands of a normal user (i.e. me) with no fancy editing, take a look here - [...]

Martin
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on 29 February 2012
Have used this a few times now and it has worked well every time! i'm using it with a sandisk 32gb extreme sd card and it works perfectly.

The supplied mounts are all nice, especially the suction cup mount which gives you infinite camera angle possibilities.

The camera itself is very easy to use, one click usage every time, easy peasy :)

The only thing I'm missing is the lcd bacpac, as when I'm on a trackday it is difficult to tell whether the camera angle i'm using is any good or not. So i'm gunna be raiding my piggy bank very soon!

Buy This Camera! :D
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on 25 June 2012
I bought this for both snow boarding and also to take video from cars too.

I have been very dissapointed with the video quality in anything other than bright sunlight.

Also the battery / camera is faulty and I have just been informed by the customer service dept ( only US based too - thumbs down ) that I have invalidated my warranty as I cannot guarantee it has been used with ONLY Go Pro charging kit.

So guys and gals if you have ever used a generic USB charging cable then you have no warranty on your battery and more and possibly the camera and I have the email to prove this.

Very very sneaky of them and I am not impressed. I would NOT recommend buying from them as the moment something goes wrong you will regret it.

Pitiful behaviour from what is supposed to be the worlds toughest little camera. Apart from it cries for its mum if you don't use their magic leads.

Rubbish.
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on 15 January 2012
Fantastic camera...
Right now I just use it for a few times, but I have no doubts of it...
I'm waiting for the Wi-Fi BacPac(tm) and the Wi-Fi Kit Combo...
Those accessories will improve the way to how control your camera.
Right now it's a little bit hard to do it when you are in your motorbike wearing gloves and all the stuff that you he wear on such situation...
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on 31 May 2012
I was genuinely surprised buy the size of this camera. I got the impression that it was actually larger than it is, so, to my delight, I've got a less bulky piece of kit. I think I'll stress what others have before me: lighting conditions quite strongly dictate the image/video quality. Outside, in overcast conditions, the quality's actually very good, but this thing thrives best in glorious sunshine (a rare occurrence in the West Midlands, believe me). From on my motorbike to my guitar, this thing enables me to get some pretty funky shots; the wide angle lens, coupled with the ability to stick it to multiple surfaces in increasingly creative places is what singles this camera out as a single package which delivers many opportunities. Poor lighting conditions aren't this camera's best friend, although, I'd imagine, tolerable if such conditions are simply out of the reach of other cameras.

The suction cup is brilliant, although I do fear that the joints in the boom arm thing that connects the cup to the camera aren't designed to be (too) frequently altered, as they do seem to have worn very slightly. Still a great item, and, despite needing a mostly flat, smooth surface free from imperfections etc, it is quite forgiving; I've attached mine to my guitar with the cup hanging slightly off the edge and it's remained solid. (Whether I would trust anything other than the optimal surface in more high speed applications is another matter.) I would, indeed, secure the GoPro by tying it to something by the mounting if I were to attach it to a vehicle, simply for my own peace of mind; I trust that this is far from necessary, but it's a risk I'd rather not take.

I chose to supplement this device with a 32GB class 10 SD card; I tried it with a supposedly lower-end class 4 and I had no issues (before corrupting my parents' card by switching it backwards and forwards between my camera and theirs - yikes) and I had no issues. However, with both cards photos do need a second or so to record the information.

A brilliant little camera, suitable to places with reasonable lighting conditions and all sorts of extreme/different applications. I use this as a creative device as well as a means of documenting my exploits and, I have to say, it does it all well.
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on 6 March 2013
The image quality is very good, considering the size of the thing, and it is really versatile. Honestly, I don't see the point in getting a more expensive Hero 3 Black unless you really intend to use it professionally or you need some specific feature that the Hero 2 doesn't have. I find myself shooting in 720p 60fps most of the time, and the file size is already huge, so the bigger resolutions can be really cumbersome to handle.

The motorsports pack comes with very useful mounts, but I find myself wanting to get more accessories so I can use the GoPro in a greater variety of situations. In that aspect GoPro has done a fantastic job of creating a very complete range of accessories, albeit expensive ones, and if you get the tripod mount a whole new world of possibilities opens up.

The biggest con for me is the battery life, which is not brilliant (at most you get 2h of recording out of it). So, replacement batteries are a must have.

Final note just to say I crashed my motorcycle while I had the camera on (helmet mount). The camera survived and the bike didn't. Just needed to get a bag of new mounts and a replacement housing. That says a lot for the camera's sturdiness. Didn't get to record the crash though!...
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on 13 July 2014
I have had the camera for two years, it has never worked properly, as a club racer i only use the camera on the race car a few times a year. i set the camera to record and it randomly turns off, great no footage again, go pro told me to update, done, change sd, done, change battery, done. still stops. this weekend pitted with a professional team, they had a bucket of go pros, 1,2&3 that they do not use any more.
so dissapointed i have no footage for the last two seasons, yet when i test the camera in my road car it always works perfectly
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