The GoPro camera is a light, compact and robust onboard digital camera designed specifically to capture extreme sports. Its compact design allow you to place it where regular camcorder would not fit, and its robust waterproof case should save it from your intrepid stunts, even in the rain or snow. Read our complete GoPro review, including onboard sample footage, after the jump.
You certainly wondered before how you could capture those exciting moment spent on the track or simply chasing your friend on the highway. What is the best on board car camera out there for simple guys like us?
GoPro camera is trying to bring an answer to that question. Building a robust, compact but affordable ($180 USD) onboard camera to car and motorcycle enthusiasts. About the affordable part. Keep in mind that most bullet camera systems that professional use are running in the thousand of dollars. They usually also require a complex setup with multiple piece of hardware (digital video recorder, power source, bullet camera, mounts, ect...).
Do we really need all this? ...no
Before the GoPro. if you wanted to keep things simple and cheap you only had two options: camcorder or digital camera. Both of those systems have the advantage to be compact but they are not meant to be mounted on cars or motorcycles so you also have to find a special mounting device and for the most cautious some kind of case to keep your camcorder out of the rain.
Lots of features in a small package
GoPro camera is offering a solution to all the "Do it yourself" kits out there. For $175 you can buy a package that will come with everything you need to record your on board videos right away.
The mounts and case are making this package a steal
Not only you get strong mountS, but you also get a very nice adjustable suction mount and a waterproof case. One remark about the mounts though. Once on the suction mount, the camera cannot be position at a 180 degree angle. Meaning for exemple that you cannot stick the camera on the passenger window and shoot toward the driver.
The camera looks and works like a regular digital camera. It can take still shots at 3Mega Pixels and record video in 512x384 pixels. For long trip there is a smart feature allowing you to take pictures automatically every 5 seconds, for up to 2hours or 1400 pictures. Not that it matter that much for cars, but the camera case is also waterproof up to 100’. At least there will be no problem taking videos under heavy rain.
GoPro in its waterproof case
The video and pictures are transfered directly into the removable memory card (SD type). So it is a breeze to transfer them to your PC via a card reader or USB adpater. GoPro also provide a USB cable to connect the camera to your PC. The same cable allows you to connect the camera direclty to your TV set via one RCA video and one RCA audio plug.
But the best things is the size and weight (4 oz.) of the GoPro Camera. This super light weight allow the device to record ’shake free’ videos, which is nearly impossible to do with a camcorder and a single mount. If you want video as steady as the GoPro using a regular camcorder you will certainly have to use multiple mounts or a tiny bullet cameras.
The only thing we were worried about the GoPro was the lack of an LCD screen on the back to aim properly the camera, but the camera got a pretty wide angle and the viewfinder did the job just fine.
No LCD in the back
See our bumper video around the block.
the Go Pro camera review is very positive. We have been especially impressed by how steady were all the shot we took with the GoPro. There is nothing better you can buy at this price that will bring you that kind of footage. Your $200 will be well spent especially when you think about all what is in the box. With this kit no more need to build your own mount out of toothbrush holder and ziploc bag for waterproofing!
Even though the camera resolution is perfect to upload your stunts on youtube or make your first onboard videos. You will certainly want to invest in some more expensive equipment down the road. Either to mount a regular camcorder or even go really pro with bullet camera and DVR.
But GoPro camera is definitely the way to go for on board video first timers.