GoPro Camera

8:21 a.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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I am considering getting a GoPro Hero 3+ Silver http://www.campsaver.com/hero-3-silver?gclid=CKeljJ2zg78CFeFFMgodamEAJQ

Anyone familiar with GoPros? Specifically:

~Does it come with the protective housing featured in most pictures, or do I have to buy that separately? (I don't see this mentioned on any site I've looked at.)

~When it says "waterproof" is that with or without the housing? Would this be usable in a wet cave environment?

~Does it do well with still photos? (I only see the video features highlighted)

~I've seen guys mount these to their trekking poles. How is that done?

Currently, I'm doing all my gear review pics/videos with a cheap Nikkon camera held together with duct tape. I think it's worked pretty well. So I'm hesitant to buy something "bigger & better" for only a marginal improvement in quality.

Thanks for the input.

9:32 a.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Yes it comes with the housing.

Only waterproof with the housing. No gaskets or anything on the camera itself.

Stills are pretty good. I have the hero 3 and 2.

There are various GoPro branded mounting kits, the Chesty, head mount, helmet mount, boat mount. You can by those. There are also after market products. I have a hand held unipod for mind and like it so as I am trekking can " look Back" and talk to the camera. One of my trip reports to Calico Tanks about 3 years ago is gopro from a 2. I was on head band cam there but noticed it is a bit jarring with the steps taken. I have not put it on the pole and think it would be cumbersome unless just standing and using it for stabilization or as a boom. Quality will be improved and the uses are many once you have on. It does fish eye too and you do have fun with it.

11:12 a.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Goose,

I used a GoPro for most of the video footage I’ve posted lately. It is only waterproof when within a sealed housing (and that housing does come with the camera or at least mine did). The downside to the waterproof housing is that audio is very poor as the mic is covered up by the waterproof housing. You could absolutely use it a cave environment or even use it underwater. It does OK with still photos but does not produce them at the same resolution  / bit depth as a typical digital camera. I can post some from home later to show you. For trip reports or general web use the quality is adequate but likely less than what you already have. When I have some time I’ll show a few things I’ve done as far as mounting. They do sell a housing that allows better audio but is not waterproof. I have one but it’s been so wet around here I haven’t even bothered to take it with me lately.

If you are used to having a camera with a display, understand the GoPro does not come with an LCD display. You can either buy an add-on to an already expensive product or use your smart phone to connect via wifi to the gopro and line up your shots that way. The problem with the app that I’ve noticed is that the app will not display the video once recording starts if the frames per second setting is too high (and the default setting they call 1080P Super View is too high at 47 fps); I don’t know if this is a limitation of my phone display,  the app or both.  Using the wifi feature also seems to have significant impact on camera battery life. When I did those rafting videos I never bothered to actually verify the shots being framed but rather just “eye-balled” it and hoped for the best. I have a ton of unusable footage and even one whole trip (an early one) worth of video that was garbage.

What I’ve decided is that the GoPro is best suited for motion video with the camera mounted to a moving object like a raft or car or plane, etc…. It’s picture stabilization technology is far superior to my Nikkon Coolpics AW110. It’s also so light and small that I find it more convenient to setup for self-video on the trail. I used one of the included mounts and two cable ties to secure it to one of my hiking poles. To get a video of myself hiking I can simply jam my trekking pole in the ground, estimate the field of view and hit the button. What I find of very limited use is head or body mounted point of view video. The personal point of view is fatiguing to watch for any length time. Unless you keep a stoic pose with your head the video will be too jumpy to use for the most part. Body mounting has similar results.

These are things to consider…..

11:58 a.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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The newest GoPro has an accessory remote microphone that links with the camera via a wifi/Bluetooth radio signal, like the wireless mikes that have become so popular on the Evening News and for singers. The mike is not waterproof, though.

I have several generations of GoPro, though not the latest, greatest 3 Silver or Black. I kind of gave it up when I found that my videos are nowhere as exciting as the skiers and snowboarders doing flips and zooming at high speed through the trees and jumping cliffs. My bicycling videos have ended up being just "hours" of boring scenes of cruising down the roads, even though I was going down La Honda through the tight turns at 40-60mph (per my GPS tracker) and it felt really exciting at the time. Pedalling the bike uphill or hiking along the trail is even more boring. Dunno what the "pro" GoPro users are doing to make their videos so much more thrilling. I even used the newest of my GoPros while driving at high speed up one of the local mountain roads - the result was about as exciting as driving on the freeway during rush hour, even though my passenger was holding on tight with her harness tightened down solidly.

The underwater shots down in Baja were great, though - all the colorful fish around the reef look good.

12:06 p.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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To build excitement you have to do a lot of editing and movie making...but it can be done....Bills that sounds exciting even without the video!

12:46 p.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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I totally agree with Bill, I find most of the POV hiking video’s I made just boring. But it worked like a champ with the rafting stuff.

The stationary videos are far easier to look at. I’m going to post a couple reports soon with a collection of stationary videos that I’ll edit down for digestibility.

Bill I have the latest and greatest model that came with a remote but I must of totally missed it if the remote has a mic built-in. I’ll have to check when I get home.

4:07 p.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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The article I read indicated the wireless mike is a new accessory. So maybe not on the market yet. The GoPro website shows only a cable for attaching one of the mikes with a 3.5 mm plug.

6:55 p.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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I'm getting ready to buy a Go Pro myself, thanks for the discussion guys!

Also, does the Go Pro have the standard size threaded hole for mounting it on a tripod?

7:39 p.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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 "It’s picture stabilization technology is far superior to my Nikkon Coolpics AW110."
The best part of that is that the GoPro does it without having ANY image stabilisation built in...

The reason why the image looks somewhat stabilised is because of its very wide lens. The wider the lens the less you notice movement, the longer the lens the more it becomes obvious. (think binoculars)

Now that VERY wide lens is a bonus for action shots but maybe not that good for some when used as a still camera for general use however providing you have good lighting with you, the small size,waterproof housing and very wide lens can and does work very well for caving . 

There are several You Tube caving videos shot with GoPro cameras.

8:41 p.m. on June 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Bearing in mind that my only camera experience previous to playing with this gopro is with standardized point and shoot cameras I can share this so far:

The manual that came with my gopro shows the default resolution for camera mode as 12MP wide.

As an example here is a Gopro pic taken by mistake (was trying to take a video but had inadvertently switched to still shot / camera mode) on my Big South Fork trip:


GOPR0077.jpg

Observing the properties of image files (in Windows 7) and comparing them I see that my gopro pictures are listed as 4000 pixels by 3000 pixels, resolution of 72 dpi and bit depth of 24, while the default pictures from my Nikkon Coolpix are  4608 pixels by 3456 pixels, resolution of 300 dpi, and bit depth of 24.

This image was taken with the Nikkon a couple hours after the previous gopro example :


DSCN3883.jpg

As mentioned, I guess it's all about having the right tool for a particular job; the gopro has only three buttons (one is dedicated to wifi) and most every setting or feature is interfaced by manipulating some sequence of two of those buttons. I don't find that aspect very user friendly. But for just turning it on and off and starting /stopping the video the two buttons work easily enough.

Here is an example of the trekking pole mounting I improvised for fixed shots while hiking and also shows the water proof case that came with it:


DSCN4394.jpg

Edit, I just saw Francos post. Well that is fascinating, I didn't know that. I assumed there was some digital mechanism that produced that result. Neato.

 

6:14 a.m. on June 19, 2014 (EDT)
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Bill S said:

..I have several generations of GoPro, though not the latest, greatest 3 Silver or Black. I kind of gave it up when I found that my videos are.. ..about as exciting as driving on the freeway during rush hour...

Face it:

Go-pro is just the latest innovation in home movies.  The results from the vast majority of us will bore most guest viewers to tears; often even the shooter as well, as Bill was honest enough to confess.  I think my friends could care less about my exploits; otherwise they would have joined me on my trip.  Most images - even the stills - fail to capture what the mind's eye sees. 

Nowadays I record relatively few stills over the period of a week long trip.  Being really selective boosts the "keeper" ratio, but more importantly limiting time spent experiencing life through the viewfinder improves my enjoyment of the event.  In fact recent research bears out folks who obsess with recording their occasions do not have as good memory of the event, and seem to enjoy the experience less than those who just live the moment sans recording devices.

Ed

9:37 a.m. on June 19, 2014 (EDT)
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Ed,

The first several years that I started my intense solo trips I did not bring any electronics other than my headlamp. It never even occurred to me to take pictures. It was actually Trailspace trip reports that captured my attention and made me aware of the blogosphere for outdoor folks. I don’t discount the research concerning memories but I exert little to no effort with my point and shoot camera and absolutely zero worry about it. Sometimes I don’t even stop moving as I snap photos. I am a true point and shoot practitioner and always wind up deleting far more photos than I keep.

But I’ve really enjoyed sharing my trip reports; I find putting them together almost cathartic. I’m passionate about this activity /lifestyle and enjoying doing it, thinking about it and to a lesser extent talking about it. When I stop enjoying the effort of putting together trip reports I’ll stop posting them for sure. And of course no one has to read them or look at pictures if they don’t want to.

I’ve also found a lot of value in terms of research for trips I might want to take or even picked up navigational data from those who are willing to share their experiences.

This does make me think of the new agony induced by the digital age. Used to be, friends or relatives might put you in a captive situation with their photo albums but now you are in danger of them wanting to scroll through hundreds of photos at their computer desk with you. lol

11:14 a.m. on June 19, 2014 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

.... limiting time spent experiencing life through the viewfinder improves my enjoyment of the event.  In fact recent research bears out folks who obsess with recording their occasions do not have as good memory of the event, and seem to enjoy the experience less than those who just live the moment sans recording devices.

Ed

 That's an important point, Ed. In my youth, Barbara and I raced bicycles, with both of us being nationally ranked. After we stopped racing ourselves, I continued going to races and doing a lot of photographing, though stills, not video. At a certain point, I realized that I was spending almost all my time looking through the viewfinder, clicking away, trying for good composition. I would get home and go through the images and discover that I had captured some of the top racers, but had never seen them during the race itself. The "excitement" had become the contest of getting lots of well-composed photos, not the thrill of the race. I then realized that I had gone through this before when I was the yearbook photographer for my high school annual - I had spent all my time and effort at the football and basketball games getting the "perfect photos" at the "decisive moment" and often not noticing who the players were or even realizing whether "my team" had won or lost. Too often, getting the perfect photo overshadows the activity.

But I do have some great photos of certain famous and certain infamous bike racers, even though I am not sure which race or even where it was. I do know that some were taken during the Tour de France, but not when.

11:09 a.m. on June 21, 2014 (EDT)
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A Company called Sena makes a bluetooth adapter for the Gopro allowing you to use a bluetooth headset to add commentary to your videos as you go.http://www.sena.com/product/cameras/bluetoothaudiopackforgopro/

As mentioned, I guess it's all about having the right tool for a particular job; the gopro has only three buttons (one is dedicated to wifi) and most every setting or feature is interfaced by manipulating some sequence of two of those buttons. I don't find that aspect very user friendly. But for just turning it on and off and starting /stopping the video the two buttons work easily enough.

The Gopro 3+ can use the gopro app on a smart phone to adjust all the settings on the camera very easy to use.

12:13 a.m. on July 9, 2014 (EDT)
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This is all very interesting.  I've been contemplating whether a GoPro would be useful on my hiking & backpacking trips to augment the still photos I take with a DSLR, with video clips, especially at times when I might not want to stop, de-pack, and set up the DSLR on a tripod.  But I wondered if such movie clips would just seem boring, failing to capture the feeling of actually being there. 

I guess from the comments here, it seems like this might not be a good option until such time (hahaha) as I get into the more "thrilling" sports described by The OGBO.  There's no point creating videos if nobody will want to watch them.  Well, maybe I would :-).

I have watched a presumably head-mounted or body-mounted time-lapse sequences by hikers ... for example there are some posted by JMT hikers.  While interesting to me (they did give me a sense of being there) I doubt many others would watch them.  As Patman described, they're really jumpy.  I watched because I wanted to see if I could recognize where they were on the trail :) and found it interesting to "follow along" to see where I'd been myself.

 

 

8:29 a.m. on July 9, 2014 (EDT)
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At this time, I think I'm going to stay with my cheap digital camera. It does the job I'm looking for, and I'm afraid the GoPro would just end up being another gadget I don't get my money's worth from.

10:33 a.m. on July 9, 2014 (EDT)
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Goose, you could always just win one instead of buying one.

Everyday GoPro gives away a complete GoPro package. 

I'm sure there are thousands upon thousands of entries every day, but if you're online everyday anyways, it may be worth taking 20 seconds and filling out the entry form each day. Good luck. 

http://gopro.com/daily-giveaway

1:08 p.m. on July 9, 2014 (EDT)
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I'm going to post this in a trip report later but here is a video I threw together last night and has one scene that is my first underwater use of the Gopro at about 1:20:

 

1:56 p.m. on July 9, 2014 (EDT)
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Dox said:

A Company called Sena makes a bluetooth adapter for the Gopro allowing you to use a bluetooth headset to add commentary to your videos as you go.http://www.sena.com/product/cameras/bluetoothaudiopackforgopro/

As mentioned, I guess it's all about having the right tool for a particular job; the gopro has only three buttons (one is dedicated to wifi) and most every setting or feature is interfaced by manipulating some sequence of two of those buttons. I don't find that aspect very user friendly. But for just turning it on and off and starting /stopping the video the two buttons work easily enough.

The Gopro 3+ can use the gopro app on a smart phone to adjust all the settings on the camera very easy to use.

 FWIW, on my Hero3+ the wifi option makes a big hit on the battery of the gorpo and my smart phone. I was not able to get through a weekend trip with one fully charged battery in each device. The other gotcha is that the wifi doesn't seem to have auto time-out and turn itself off. Once you enable it, it keeps sucking power until you turn it off.

12:30 a.m. on July 10, 2014 (EDT)
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Patman, that's actually way better than I thought it would be based on the various comments.  It's not silky smooth, but it's not all that jump, even when you had it clipped on while you were walking.  And it wasn't boring at all, rather gave a sense of what it was like to be there.

I did LOL when you approached the snake, it surfaced to get a look at you, then zipped away :).

8:28 a.m. on July 10, 2014 (EDT)
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Patman, that is one great video!

I'll never understand Tipi's 90lb pack, though! ;)

11:49 a.m. on July 22, 2014 (EDT)
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I've been using the Hero 3 Silver for my backpacking vids for a while.  For the most part, it works great.  The audio has much to be desired, but I tend to include music while editing so it's not a big deal.  YouTube has a fairly extensive library of royalty-free audio.

It can be hard to keep vids interesting, but you can mix it up with some shooting of yourself, the trail, trail features, etc.

You can check out my channel here.  All of the recent backpacking vids have been shot with the GoPro.  The gear review vids are shot with an iPhone 5.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoeABQsQUd32yFYQveNDFUQ 

10:30 a.m. on August 10, 2014 (EDT)
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I bought a waterproof, freezeproof, drop proof, dust proof digital camera with 1080p resolution for $100. Almost all digital cameras have small threaded holes on the bottom for a tripod. I found a bolt that would fit that hole and rigged it up onto my climbing helmet, in the right hand side.

Be careful though - I needed to fabricate the appropriate rigging and cut the bolt to length to make sure it wouldn't touch my head if my helmet was banging around.

December 18, 2014
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