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GoPro HD Hero Camera - Proving Grounds

HD video quality in the palm of your hand.

Feb 23, 2010

Key Features

»Small, rugged and durable packaging allows mounting on virtually anyting.
»Full 1080p, 30fps and 720p, 30fps and 60fps HD video formats.
»170-degree ultra-wide angle in 720p or 960p mode, and 127-degree wide angle in 1080p mode.
»Lithium-ion battery lasts for 2.5 hours of constant recording.
»Shockproof and waterproof up to 180 feet (60m).

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Description
Improving on the highly successful GoPro Hero Cameras, the new GoPro HD cameras provide all the same benefits as the old units but with stunning HD video capabilities-available in 1080p, 960p and 720p. Other improvements include the ability to automatically take 5mp photos at 2-, 5-, 10-, 30- and 60-second intervals, great for creating time-lapse footage. The HD Hero's audio quality has also been improved tremendously, providing superior playback compared to the previous generation. A litium-ion battery replaces the old AAA battery configuration and lasts for a solid 2.5 hours of constant recording. It comes with all the necessary mounting hardware, including a sturdy suction cup mount and three-way pivoting arm, making it possible to be mounted in areas where no standard camera could ever be placed.

Results
Having used the standard GoPro Hero camera in the past, it was an excellent product, but its shortcomings were very apparent in the lack of video and audio quality. The new GoPro Hero HD Camera improves on all that, and then some. While attending the Super Lap Battle finals at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, we were able to scrounge some track time in hopes of shooting some video footage to see what the new HD Hero was capable of. The results were nothing short of spectacular.

You can watch the video we took at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ldCOyIgRfE.

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Notice the diverse camera angles that we were able to achieve with the supplied mounts. The camera was even attached to the front of a helmet, which provided some unique footage of the driver's eyes. We also used the photo mode to create our opening time-lapse sequence. The sky is the limit when it comes to how you want to use the camera and where it can be mounted.

We also had a chance to test the camera's shock resistance when, due to poor mounting on the roof, we had it fly off around a corner at 80 mph. Despite some scratches to the outer housing, the camera itself was unharmed and we were shooting more video moments later. The only complaint we have was that there is no viewfinder to help set up the shot, but with the packaging size we can't imagine how it could be done. A small external monitor setup would be a great solution, and according to GoPro's website, this feature seems to be coming soon.

All in all, the GoPro HD Camera is by far the most practical and affordable solution (less than $300) for shooting your own track-day videos. It's easy to use and mount, the battery lasts a full day and the footage looks like it came from a high-end camera.

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Sources

GoPro
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
http://www.gopro.com

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