Product Type: GoPro digital camcorders
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The Camera that can boldly go where no camera has been before
Digital Gopro Hd Surf Hero Wide
Member Name: chrisheels
Digital Gopro Hd Surf Hero Wide
Date: 05/10/12, updated on 05/10/12 (24 review reads)
Advantages: Amazing veratility
Disadvantages: Steams up easily, requires a lot of accessories
The camera is extremely small consisting of a smallblock measuring 42mm x 60mm x 30mm weighing practically nothing. The intention is that this camera is suppplied as the 'bare bones' able to take pictures and store them. By using the various polycarbonate cases and accessories available you can convert it into a camera suitable for going 60m underwater, splashing in the waves, crashing in the snow, skydiving, getting dusty in motorcross or being suitable for pretty much anywhere else you can dream up to use it.
The camera is capable of capturing 170º wide angle 1080p video and 11 megapixel photos at a rate of 10 photos per second. These setting can be adjusted to allow more to fit onto the memory card by using lower resolutions. The 170º is quite a wide angle meaning that a lot of area fits into the picture and as the lens is curved a fisheye effect is everpresent. I like this effect but it's not ideal for taking sensible portrait pictures.
A Memory card is not included and I have added a 32Gb card to my setup which allows over an hour (they claim 4) of HD recording. In fact the battery tends to die before the memory card is full.
The battery is rechargable via USB and charges to full fairly quickly (I haven't timed it but roughly a couple of hours seems to do the job)
The camera only has 2 buttons which are used to scroll through the menu and to take a picture or start/stop recording. The menu is minimal and just gives options to change between taking a picture, series of rapid pictures or video. It is displayed on the LCD panel on the front of the camera and using two buttons can be scrolled through and selected. The additonal LCD 'backpak' adds the ability to view pictures and replay video recordings.
The picture quality is superb. This is why the GoPro is used for many professional surf films these days. I would definitley advise getting the anti-fog inserts as without them it does seem to steam up quickly and ruin pictures quite quickly.
I use the HD video function and then cut stills out of the video which are of good enough quality for printing out in 6x4 photo size. For larger it is probably best to use the picture function.
Floaty Backdoor - a foam mount that keeps your camera floating if dropped in the sea
Surboard Mounts - sticky mounts for attatching the camera to the front of your board. These mounts are VERY sticky and hard to remove once positioned, so don't go using them on a hire board.
I intend to review some of the accessories seperatley, but for information these are a few of the add ons available:
Scuba Casing (Flat lens for better pictures underwater)
Head mount (like one used for a head torch)
LCD 'bakpak' (add on so that you can see what you are recording)
Anti condensation inserts
Various handle bar and helmet mounts
Wireless 'bakpak' (allows control via a remote)
3D case (note that you need two cameras to take video in 3D)
Backscatter make a perfect red filter for scuba diving which makes underwater pictures more colourful. red is the first colour to be lost as you descend, so the filter adds it back in. A must have for scuba pictures. There are other brands available but the backscatter filter flips on and off, which the others don't, making it better for recording in and out of the water during the same dive.
The camera is available on it's own or in a range of packages aimed at surf, motorsport and outdoor use. Each off the three packages contains a range of the accessories. I bought the surf edition which included surfboard mounts and a floaty backdoor.
The three packages sell for around £299 although I managed to find a deal online and got the surf edition for £200 (nearly a third off). Comparing with other underwater cameras suitable for suba diving this is actually very good value as before discovering this I was looking at a £200 camera with a £400 scuba case.
In summary this is an amaxing camera for use in extreme environments. The only downside is that you need to get a lot of expensive accessories to use it in different situations.
Summary: Amazing camera for professional quality in extreme environments
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