Review by Reg Kittrelle
[This GoPro HERO Motorcycle Helmet Camera Review was originally published in the April 2010 issue of American Rider magazine]
At about the size of a couple of matchboxes, the GoPro Hero video camera is just what you need when a nonrider asks, “What’s it like to ride a motorcycle?” If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a Hero video is a whole library’s worth, and will make that nonrider almost feel as if they’re on the motorcycle.
I’ve tried a couple of onboard video cameras, but neither had satisfied me with regard to ease of use and video quality. Not so with the Hero. Using it is as simple as pressing a button, and the video quality, all things considered, is very good.
The Hero kit comes with the camera, a waterproof enclosure, several different mounts, and necessary cables to play the result back through your computer or TV set. The unit is powered by a Lithium-ion battery, which is recharged through a USB connection to your computer. Optional car and wall chargers are also available.
Video storage is via SD card with capacity up to 32GB. I have been using 2GB and 8GB cards, which give about 11 minutes and 90 minutes of video, respectively. A fully charged battery gives me about two hours’ worth of filming time.
The camera itself fits into its clear, waterproof polycarbonate case to which the various mounts are attached. This case is unique in that it features a wide-angle, 170-degree lens that fits over the camera’s standard lens. By the way, at f2.8 the camera’s lens is fairly fast, giving good low-light resolution.
The default resolution is 1,280 x 960 pixels at 30 frames per second. Several other settings are also included, most all of which are HD (high definition). Video output is MP4 format.
In addition to videos, the Hero also takes 5MP still photographs. Other features include a self-timer, and spot- and center-weighted focus settings.
I mounted the Hero in several different locations on my motorcycle. The most dramatic video was taken with the camera attached to the engine guard. Mounted on the handlebar, the wide-angle lens was able to capture both highway lanes and a good portion of the dash area. One thing I do suggest is that you tether the camera to your motorcycle. The mounts are strong and work well, but a short leash from the camera to something solid will assure you don’t lose it in the unlikely event that a mount fractures.
The more you use the Hero, the more creative you become. Overall, I was very impressed with the quality of construction, ease of operation, and both the video and still output.
– Very durable and easy to use
– Camera mounts available for most any application
– Be your own YouTube hero
– MSRP $299.99 (Price can vary, and several different kits are available)
CONTACT: www.goprocamera.com, 415-738-2480