I came home from my day job on Thursday where I was greeted by my wife, my dog and a freshly arrived package from GoPro. I was elated to say the least, especially since I had a ride planned for Friday.
I had ordered the GoPro Helmet HERO Wide. This package basically consists of a wide-angle lens camera and accessories necessary to mount the camera onto just about any type of helmet. I broke into the package separating the clear display box from the cardboard box holding all of the accessories.
The camera is surprisingly small. Of course, this is what you want to have in a camera that is designed to be mounted on your helmet, wrist, dashboard or just about anywhere else that you can think of sticking it. As of this write-up, GoPro has two wide-angle camera packages available. This one (the Helmet HERO Wide) and the Motorsports HERO Wide which has mounting accessories geared towards, you guessed it, motorsports. You can also buy the different types of mounting hardware separately. For example, you could buy the Motorsports HERO and still get the helmet mounting kit.
It is encased in plastic shell that is waterproof to 100 feet. On top of the case, there’s a quick release clip that is used to hold the case tightly sealed. One flick of the thumb, and the case is open, allowing access to the camera. I worked the case open and closed several times reveling at the tightness of the seal and the strength of the clasp. I can’t wait to give it a shot in the pool.
The front of the camera has an LED screen that provides information such as what mode the camera is set. You can set it so that when you press the shutter button, it will record video, a single photo, or a three photo burst. You can also set it to to automatically take a photo every 2 seconds or 5 seconds once the shutter button is pressed. Of course, as with any camera, you can use a 10 second self timer just in case you want to be in the shot as well. Also on the front of the camera is the on/off button that doubles as a select button when cycling through the different settings. Finally, there is a small red light (appears white when off, just above and left of the HERO logo) that indicates when it is recording video or taking pictures.
The battery compartment is on the rear of the camera and houses two AAA batteries. The photo should give you another idea of size and scale. The rear battery cover has a suggestion for Lithium battery usage and discourages the use of alkaline batteries. Since all I had available at the time were alkaline, and I really wanted to give the camera a whirl, I decided to take my chances and use them anyhow. The suggestion for the use of Lithium batteries should be followed, as they will work better for life duration and lower temperatures. Alkaline batteries tend to drop in voltage with colder temps. Seeing as winter is upon us, I will definately be picking up a box of Lithium batteries. Furthermore, it is not recommended to use NiMH batteries as they tend to fail under high vibration.
On the edge of the camera is the location for inserting the SD storage card (card not included). This picture also gives another great example of the camera’s size since you can relate it to the size of the SD card. The maximum size suggested is a 2.0 GB card. Larger cards, such as SDHC cards, are not supported as of this write-up. A single 2.0 GB card can hold up to 56 minutes of 512 x 384 resolution video recorded at 30 fps. Since I just happen to have a 4 GB SDHC card, I will be giving it a shot just to see if it will work or not. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes in Part 2.
The lens on this model is a wide-angle lens that can 170 degrees and a fixed f/stop of 2.8.
The accessory kit that came with the camera included a helmet strap, several stick-on mounts (complete with an extra double-sided sticky pad), head strap (should you want to wear it sans-helmet), cable for viewing/downloading and several brackets for changing the angle/location of the camera
In addition to the camera itself, I ordered the Ride HERO kit which comes with several varied length brackets and one bracket for mounting the camera to the handbars, seatpost, or just about any other kind of bar.
I’d have to say that I am extremely impressed with the quality of construction, the quality of pics and video from this camera. Everything is well-made whether it’s the camera, mounts, or other accessories. The video quality is excellent, especially for a camera that stores video onto an SD card.
In Part 2 of this post, I’ll also throw is in some pictures of different mounting options on my bike along with more video. I’ll even take some photos so you can see photo quality.