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Covering the GoPro HERO and other small Point-Of-View video cameras.


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Old December 17th, 2011, 06:50 PM   #1
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GoPro for backpacking?

I make backpacking videos and am always looking for a lighter camera to carry. Is GoPro Hero one to consider or is it too limited in its fisheye view for such a project? Many shots are panoramic and on the screen for a while. Does GoPro's mechanics encourage one to mainly shoot "trick" shots or strange angles of short length?
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Old December 17th, 2011, 08:19 PM   #2
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

It's a good additional camera for certain things like: wide close ups, panoramics, POV, moving & dangerous/risky shots. But you might be better off augmenting a traditional camcorder with a wide & teleconverter adapter. For example, the Canon XA10 or the HF G10.
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Old December 17th, 2011, 09:19 PM   #3
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

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Originally Posted by Lynne Whelden View Post
I make backpacking videos and am always looking for a lighter camera to carry. Is GoPro Hero one to consider or is it too limited in its fisheye view for such a project? Many shots are panoramic and on the screen for a while. Does GoPro's mechanics encourage one to mainly shoot "trick" shots or strange angles of short length?
Good question and one no one can answer. It depends on your expectations of a camera.
Micheal's suggestion is a good one.
I difficult things, either out in the sticks crawling around bears or in heavy crowds during news events.

I've sold my bigger cameras and the G10 is becoming my go to camera. The only real difference between the XA10 and the G10 is XLR inputs ant they rattled on the XA, so I returned it for the G10.

It's a fantastic camera but not a true backpack one IMO.

The 7D is still the love of my life and I kept it but sold my 5D MkII, Still not my ideal BP camera though.

I have 6 GoPro HD Hero's and two of the HD2's and I never go anywhere without at least one of them. They are not the perfect backpack camera either but he HD2's are getting close.

They are waterproof, small, light, very sharp image both video and still, extra batteries are light and a small solar charger will charge them.

The FOV and related distortion can be all but eliminated in the HD2's set in 1080 narrow.
A manfrotto superclamp is all you really need to carry as far as an extra support and you can do without that if you have to,

I'd say it's certainly worth you trying it. You do have to adjust YOUR habits some because of the lack of controls, but that isn't all that bad.
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Old December 20th, 2011, 10:33 PM   #4
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

For my last backpacking video (which took 7 years to complete) I shot with the venerable but old Sony HC-3. It was my first venture into the world of HD as well. But the gear (camera, extra battery, extra tapes, blue-tooth mic, tripod) weighed about 4 to 5 pounds. For long-distance hiking where I have to be responsible for carrying everything I might need for a week or longer, that 5 pounds of gear got to be a real headache. So for my next trip, even tho' I really liked the blue-tooth mic set-up (very light and easy to use), I'd like something much lighter and not tape-based.
I suppose something like the GoPro would encourage me to shoot all sorts of weird angles I might otherwise never consider.
I'll check out those other cameras you mention...
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Old December 21st, 2011, 05:05 AM   #5
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

The GoPro is like a little rock Lynne - impervious to the elements, the knocks and bumps of back-packing life. And as others have said it can be with you where 'er you be.

It does have its downsides though and if audio is important in your films (it should be) then know that the onboard mic is limited in what it can do, and is even more constrained when the camera's in it's tiny housing. Of course your films may be post dubbed, in which case this isn't much of a concern.

The GoPro controls its exposure by varying the gain and shutter speed, so won't look as fluid as your HC3 footage. But the weight and bulk saving will make you sing.

You'll need the rear screen which adds to the cost and size and battery consumption, but you'll hold in your hand an excellent still and movie camera and have an audio recorder as well.

The super-wide look can get a bit monotonous and the barrel distortion is hard to hide, but I have no complaints about the picture sharpness in air - under water things aren't too good. Of course the exposure can't be locked, so anything against the light or against the dark will be incorrectly exposed. Fine if you're falling out of an aeroplane, not so good if this is the footage you want to sell.

Might be worth looking at a far cheaper alternative:

Crocolis HD

tom.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 07:25 AM   #6
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

Thanks for those links Tom, the Crocolis HD looks like a very interesting alternative.
I'd like to see some more material shot with it.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 12:14 PM   #7
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
The GoPro is like a little rock Lynne - impervious to the elements, the knocks and bumps of back-packing life. And as others have said it can be with you where 'er you be.

It does have its downsides though and if audio is important in your films (it should be) then know that the onboard mic is limited in what it can do, and is even more constrained when the camera's in it's tiny housing. Of course your films may be post dubbed, in which case this isn't much of a concern.

The GoPro controls its exposure by varying the gain and shutter speed, so won't look as fluid as your HC3 footage. But the weight and bulk saving will make you sing.

You'll need the rear screen which adds to the cost and size and battery consumption, but you'll hold in your hand an excellent still and movie camera and have an audio recorder as well.

The super-wide look can get a bit monotonous and the barrel distortion is hard to hide, but I have no complaints about the picture sharpness in air - under water things aren't too good. Of course the exposure can't be locked, so anything against the light or against the dark will be incorrectly exposed. Fine if you're falling out of an aeroplane, not so good if this is the footage you want to sell.

Might be worth looking at a far cheaper alternative:

Crocolis HD

tom.
I'm looking hard at the Crocolis Tom. I'm trying to decide if I really need another POV. I'd have probably have already ordered it if Amazon wasn't so much higher than the site you gave.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

How does the Crocolis record? Build-in memory or is there a slot for SD cards?
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 01:57 AM   #9
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

Hi Lynne

It has 64M memory built in which is really only good for a few stills!! Yes, it accepts SDHC cards to 32GB!

I still like my GoPro as I can change POV angles...at 1080 the Croc is fixed at 142 degrees which means you are always super wide angle whereas the GoPro allows POV to be changed from Extreme (170) to (fairly)Normal around 90 degrees.

The Croc is way cheaper of course but I haven't seen any comparisons with quality??? The GoPro records at 12 mbps ...dunno what this one records at..the specs just say 5megapixel sensor???

Chris
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 03:29 AM   #10
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

Don Lynne and Chris - it's as if you haven't read the Extreme Cam's spec or watched the very good test on YouTube. It's fitted with a 5mp sensor (same as the GoPro1) and has an integral rear screen (unlike the GoPro). There's no built-in memory but like Chris says you can feed it cheap SDHC cards, Replacement batteries are ridiculously cheap, 4.99 at 7dayshop, delivered. 3.7v 1800mAh.

5mp stills turn out to be 2592x1944, and 2592x1944=5.03 Meg, so that's the size of the sensor. 1080p/25 is 7.83 mbps Chris, and 720p/25 is 5.62 mbps.

1080p is available at 25 and 29.97Hz, at 29.97 it delivers a 1920 image, at 25Hz the image is 1440 wide. In the 29.97Hz case, the delivered content resolution limits at 1268x810. The image is formed from a central cropped section of the sensor, 1920x1080, so the resolution can't ever get much better than this, same as in the Sony A1/HC3 Lynne.

720p mode is from a larger part of the sensor, 2560x1440, exactly twice 1280x720, so you'd expect to get decent resolution, In this mode.In 720p it sees 172 degrees wide, in 1080p it's a more restrained 142 degrees (still pretty wide - same as a 15mm lens on a crop-sensor DSLR or 24 mm on full frame).

I like it. At a third the price of the GoPro and sharp under water it's a steal. But as I say, the audio is disappointing.

tom.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 06:20 PM   #11
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

Hi Tom

Great info thanks! I was looking at the specs locally here and they specify 64mb internal memory and SDHC cards up to 32GB. However more often that not our "specs" are translated from the Chinese ones so they are quite oftem inaccurate!!

As you say a LOT cheaper than a Go Pro !! Here the GP is $399 + $129 for a back...the Croc here is a mere $167.00 complete!!!

Chris
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 06:33 AM   #12
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

Well I took my new little 'waterproof' Chinese Ebay Extreme camera to the pool this morning and got some ace shots of the swimming team. I had on my big fins which allow me to keep up as I skim along the bottom at about 2m down, holding the cam in two hands, while the swimmers fly along the surface. Only auto exposure of course, so the pool's skylight sometimes silhouetted the swimmer. Used 720p for the widest angle, as of course under water you lose a lot of that.

Much nicer to use than the GoPro because the Extreme cam has a decent rear screen and you can instantly see if you're recording or not. But best of all the footage is super-sharp under water. The Blu-ray I shot on the GoPro certainly isn't sharp - underwater it's not even SD quality.

I showed the pool attendant the tiny cam who said, 'Fine, go ahead' which was gracious of him. I showed him some clips on its tiny 1" screen later and even the audio sounded ok.

And I'm pleased to report that it's really water-tight as against - er - splashproof. .I thought about applying a tiny dab of special underwater housing grease to the rear door seal but then thought better of it; best I test it as it comes and as you guys will be using it.

tom.
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Old December 25th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #13
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

How does the Crocolis HD compare in size & weight versus the GoPro? I was going to fly my GoPro HD2 on my AR.Drone but it turns out that the camera mount is now unobtainable. If I am going to have to fabricate my own mount If the Crocolis HD is smaller &/or lighter it could be interesting not to say at 1/3 price I would be happier to risk it crashing out of the sky.
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Old December 25th, 2011, 03:15 PM   #14
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

The GoPro is smaller and probably lighter, but the Extreme cam is only 196g complete with battery and card so no big deal I'd have thought. The GoPro gets bigger if you include the LCD screen and the bigger housing to accommodate same. The GoPro has an f/2.8 lens as against the Extreme's f/3.6, so the former is better in low light. Not a problem you'd face flying. They both top out at 400 ISO.

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Old December 25th, 2011, 07:04 PM   #15
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Re: GoPro for backpacking?

Hi Nigel

That's a shame!! I would assume that one needs a bottom mount so you are not filming the propellers??? Keep us up to date on developments ...A bottom mounted GroPro is what I want as well but you have to mount it under the AR Drone so it keeps the Drone's own bottom camera FOV clear which makes for balance issues cos it's off centre. One also needs to worry about landing as a bottom mounted camera will be the first thing that makes contact with Mother Earth unless you devise some sort of landing legs!!

Chris
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