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Woody
Woody MegaDork
3/2/15 12:16 p.m.

I've never had a Go Pro camera before and I think it's time has come. I know nothing about pixels, megabytes or most other nerdy words. I want something that I can mount to the inside of my windshield, push a button and record stuff. Ideally, it would capture audio as well and be easy to download to my laptop. I'm not sure if I would ever mount it to my motorcycle or mountain bike, but it may come to that one day. I doubt that I would ever post anything on Youtube, but I would probably email it to my dad or post it here.

Simplicity is my friend. What do I want and where should I get it?

Karacticus
Karacticus Reader
3/2/15 12:34 p.m.

In my opinion, the big functional differentiation is whether or not the unit has wi-fi connectivity or not. That allows for controlling the camera and all of it's settings from your phone rather than using a control setup not that different from programming a VCR during the early 80s.

It also allows you to use a smartphone as a view finder, which is very nice.

The downside to the trade is that the batteries appear to last longer if you don't have or use the wi-fi capability.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
3/2/15 12:38 p.m.

I have a Hero 3. The smartphone app allows you to do all kinds of fun stuff and makes it so much easier to use. I can start it from within the car before an autocross run, regardless of where it is mounted. I would not go below that or up to the 4K.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Reader
3/2/15 12:38 p.m.

The wifi is really nice, especially since the gopros don't have a screen or viewfinder of their own.

The trick is to just turn it on to get it aimed where you want, then shut it back off and use the button to start/stop recording.

Woody, I think any of the gopro models will probably do you just fine. Even on the lower end ones the video quality is pretty decent. I got mine as a promo for opening a bank account, so I can't tell you where to buy, but they seem to be pretty consistently priced everywhere.

yamaha
yamaha MegaDork
3/2/15 1:18 p.m.

You don't need anything more than the original Hero.....the rest is just either slight ergonomics tweaks to the menu or adding useless crap to kill battery life faster.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
3/2/15 1:49 p.m.

The old ones with the PITA interface work fine. Once you go through the trouble of configuring it, you can set it up so that pressing the top button starts & stops recording and holding the front button turns it on or off. That's how I set my old Hero 960 to work.

trigun7469
trigun7469 Dork
3/2/15 1:59 p.m.

I have seen a lot of Go Pro knock-offs on ebay for $30, that are suppose to be 1080pixels in HD quality, perhaps that might also be a option.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/2/15 2:12 p.m.

I have a Hero 3 silver, which has wifi. Speaking as the person who usually is the starter at our club autocrosses, I wouldn't do without the wifi. I've seen a lot of people have to jump out of the car, run around to wherever the camera is mounted, press the START button, jump back in the car, belt up, get in gear, and launch. Is that really stress you want right before heading out on course? Yeah, you can do that when you're 2nd of 3rd in grid, but then you get a minute of extraneous video before your run starts.

When I'm driving, I can mount the camera anywhere on the car, then push 1 button on my smartphone to begin recording, from the safety and comfort of my driver's seat. Plus I get to see what the camera sees in preview.

There are other options, but hit up BJs and Costco for a sale on a GoPro with wifi, and be happy.

yamaha
yamaha MegaDork
3/2/15 2:40 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: The old ones with the PITA interface work fine. Once you go through the trouble of configuring it, you can set it up so that pressing the top button starts & stops recording and holding the front button turns it on or off. That's how I set my old Hero 960 to work.

Wait PITA interface? You get instructions for the different modes, and if I want to upload videos, I just hook the USB cable up to my Macbook and its as simple as that.

fornetti14
fornetti14 Dork
3/2/15 2:47 p.m.

I have a Hero4 silver (I think the Hero4 black records in 4K, but I don't have any 4K TV's) and the main reason I went with the 4 is the ability to link 2 camera's together. I can have one on the windshield or roof and one off to the side of the car, or where ever.

This will be my first season running them so I can't wait for all this snow to be gone & the track season to start.
I'll edit this post - I bought my camera at Best Buy and it didn't work right out of the box. Nothing.
The nice thing about BB is I just went back to the store 1 mile away and they swapped it out for another one.

kb58
kb58 Dork
3/2/15 3:06 p.m.

I had a Hero 2, a 3, and now a 4 (Silver). The thing with the "4" model is that for $450, all you get is some sucky rep-rate 4K, which no one needs or uses yet. Yet, for $350 you can get the silver, which has a video viewfinder, which to me is far more useful than 4K.

I set mine up for the one-button on/off/record thing and all was well. I took it to Fontana Speedway for a track event and while the 1080P picture and sound quality were great, GoPro hasn't completely outgrown their creaky UI. Later while downloading the files, I was surprised to see several very short ones, showing me puzzling over the thing, asking out loud "How can I tell if this thing's on?" Usually the light blinks, but apparently not that day. Finally when it seemed to be recording, I went out for a session, finding out later than, nope, it hadn't done nuthin.

The next session went well, though part way through the session, the camera stopped recording then immediately restarted again.

The last session when I tried to turn the camera on, nothing, completely dead. I assumed that I'd left it on and run the batteries down, yet later when I plugged it in to download videos, it said 75% battery power remained... grrr.

So it's still somewhat clunky, but the video quality - when it works - is great. Here's the session that did record. Pay no attention to the wrong year listed on the screen... and be sure to select 1080P Midlana at Fontana

There are competitors, but GoPro still seems to have the edge in the overall package - especially the mounts. Hard to beat them.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy UberDork
3/2/15 3:26 p.m.

One thing to keep in mind if you mount it to your windshield is to make sure the camera is far enough away that it won't chatter against the glass when you go over rough pavement.

The Hero3 I have with wireless does everything I want it to do and more.

ross2004
ross2004 Reader
3/2/15 3:41 p.m.

Don't overlook the Contour cameras. Incredibly simple to use.

car39
car39 HalfDork
3/2/15 4:28 p.m.

If you're just doing autox (or similar) Harry's Laptimer app for Iphone works great. I bought the proversion, I think it was $25. Just make sure your phone is powered, major battery killer

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
3/2/15 4:38 p.m.

Harry's Laptimer is also available for Android these days.

daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
3/2/15 4:45 p.m.

I have a made in China go-pro knock off. It will record 1080p, but only at 30 frames per second. It works pretty well but the software is limited. If I mount the camera inverted, I need to use video editing software to flip the image, the camera has no options.

I bought my father the gopro hero4 silver for Christmas as he wanted one.

I chose that model for good picture quality and simplicity of use.

The hero4 silver has the touch screen back and viewfinder included(easy to turn off to save power). It will capture 1080 at 60 frames/second or 720 at 120 frames per second.

When looking at cameras, image quality is important, but you also have to think about frame rate; fast moving films will look choppy with lower rates (my HD camera takes great images, but autocrosses are somewhat choppy). A high frame rate will also allow you to slow the video down and have more images.

The description of image quality is similar to what is used on TV's: 720-1080 is modern HD, higher is better image quality (youtube has some side by side films if you want to see the image difference) 4k is pretty cool, but not common yet.

The camera's also seem to take pretty high quality still photos.

The downside of the hero4 silver is mounting: I haven't spent much time with it, but there is no standard camera mount on the camera itself: you have to place it in the waterproof case to mount. With the touch screen back and wifi connection, this is not a big deal (and keeps the camera somewhat more protected) BUT the cases seem to cut down on sound quality.

So there is that to think about.

For reference: this is me overdriving my hybrid at 720p (not greatest image camera can produce), but at 60 frames per second (what I would consider the minimum for action) this is not a gopro, its my Chinese "action cam." crz

There are obviously more options beyond the top line gopro and a Chinese knock off, the gopro is however like the iphone of smartphones; its established with a good support base and easy to learn. The gopro even allows you to download a free video editing software program for your pc/mac.

Jaynen
Jaynen Dork
3/2/15 4:48 p.m.

There's a lot of "keychain" cameras used in the RC modeling community that will take 1080p video at decent framerates that are amazingly small. I love goPro but have the older first gen HD hero model.

The wifi thing sounds useful

Jamey_from_Legal
Jamey_from_Legal New Reader
3/2/15 5:00 p.m.

If you have a decently-powerful Apple or Android phone, Harry's Lap Timer is a good low-low-budget solution. Or if you buy one of the later generation I-touch units (kinda an iphone without the phone part) they work great too. It's nice to have the GPS-based speed overlay on the video, and if you're driving on tracks, they're already mapped in, which is great. With later model OBD-II cars, you can get throttle position, gear selection, RPMs, and brake input over-layed as well, which is really cool. It's fiddly to get it running with all that extra stuff. But it actually does all the video overlay and assembly in the phone itself. So you can watch in in the paddock between runs, if you want to critique your last out.

The HD picture quality is just fine but the view angle is a little narrow. I can only get a view from A-pillar to A-pillar, and it would be nice to get something wider. The Go-Pro definitely has the great field of view for in-car video. The Go-Pro will also communicate wirelessly with Harry's Lap Timer on the phone for the data recording, and you can use Lap Timer to sync the data to the video as an overlay. Best of both worlds. I don't know what other options are out there for overlayed video.

captdownshift
captdownshift Dork
3/2/15 6:12 p.m.

Another ion, contour or replay vote here.

Oregon scientific has a camera called the cameleon that records forward and backward at the same time that's pretty awesome. With a waterproof case and mount it's about $115 on amazon.

JacktheRiffer
JacktheRiffer Reader
3/2/15 7:46 p.m.

I like my hero 3. If you get either the roll bar mount or suction cup makes a fantastic on board track camera.

bluej
bluej SuperDork
3/2/15 8:05 p.m.

I've been happy with the Sony as100v I picked up last year. The WiFi w/ phone app is really nice for the aforementioned reasons and I was VERY pleased w/ the image stabilization. Sony is the only one I would cross shop against the go-pros.

Rallyx video example. The camera is mounted to the rear glass w/ a suction mount and you can see me put my phone away after starting it. Oh and that's irish44j out of the gate in front of me:

http://youtu.be/l2nI6by3IXI

You can see the camera try to hold the focal point.

One more, just cus: http://youtu.be/PpC0yo8MPfc

mazdeuce
mazdeuce PowerDork
3/2/15 8:16 p.m.
Jamey_from_Legal wrote: The Go-Pro will also communicate wirelessly with Harry's Lap Timer on the phone for the data recording, and you can use Lap Timer to sync the data to the video as an overlay. Best of both worlds. I don't know what other options are out there for overlayed video.

Could you expand on this? I have a gopro 4 silver and I have an android phone. What sort of witchcraft is necessary to make it all work together?

mr2peak
mr2peak HalfDork
3/2/15 9:41 p.m.

Hero 4 Silver.

If you need to shoot commercial stuff, get the Black.

Both can take wonderful stills as well.

Edit: Couple more things. Raw video eats up storage space, so be prepared. Also, buy an extra battery or 2 if you want to really film anything, battery life is terrible. Every time I go out with my camera it dies, usually earlier than planned. It's better to shoot too much, then edit it down to the good parts. Tricky to do if you ran out of battery and missed the good shots in the first place :/

mr2peak
mr2peak HalfDork
3/2/15 10:16 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

GoPro app, and go look in your handbook

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
3/3/15 6:46 a.m.

I would buy just about any other manufacturer before I bought a GoPro. I've got a Hero 3 Black and it's pretty much crap. The cheap-o camera I got from Woot works much better.

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