Friday, April 04, 2008

GoPro Camera

The GoPro would appear to be a good digital video camera for sports/action videos. It records 56 minutes of video with sound at 640×480 resolution and 30 fps on a 2GB SD memory card. That's more than enough for YouTube. And the 120g weight will give you a more stable image than a heavier digicam. Best of all, it comes with all the mounting hardware for car/helmet/window, and it only costs $180! It runs on 2 AAA batteries. The main shortcoming is the lack of an LCD display.

This GoPro video is taken from a Formula Atlantic car at my favourite race track, Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma. The race car goes "off" between turns 3a and 4, to avoid contact with another FA car that it has just passed.

Update 4/18/08:
I bought the GoPro. The camera has the quality of a cheap toy. That wouldn't matter if the camera worked properly, or if it worked at all. But I was only able to take one 15 minute video. The video quality was good. Then it stopped working. And customer service is by email only...

Update 4/19/08:
Customer service by email is not good customer service! But GoPro has been responsive to my emails, and they will get the camera working or replace it.

The reviews on Amazon for the GoPro are all positive, so my unit might just be a dud.

Update 4/21/08:
GoPro customer service advised me to format the SD card as FAT16 rather than the FAT32 I'd been using. The problem is fixed. The videos are quite good for such a small/simple camera.

Update 5/2/08
More trouble: The camera will record short videos, but if I leave the camera running for more than a few minutes it stops recording. And the .avi file stored on the SD card is empty!
The GoPro is becoming more trouble than it's worth.

Update 6/4/08
Two weeks ago I returned the camera to GoPro for repair or replacement. I'm waiting to hear back from them.

Update 6/25/08
GoPro sent me a new camera two weeks ago. It was exhibiting the same problems. I thought perhaps my 30 minute battery charger was frying the NiMH AAA batteries, and they weren't holding a charge. So I bought a good Sony 8 hour charger. After charging and draining the batteries a few times, the problems have gone away!

Categories:Cars Movies Gadgets


zuke said...

Good to know about the formatting of the SD card. I just bought one too and had the vid shut off at 5 mins. Reading the instructions, I realized there is an auto shut-off timer, which I had to turn off. Doh! Will try it again on the mtn bike this weekend. :)

Anonymous said...

I bought a GoPro Motorsports camera and when mounted to my single seat race car it does not record more than a few seconds. It works in the house or garden but not on the race car. It is useless to me and GoPro do not reply to any of my emails asking for help.
In my opinion a complete waste of money. Andrew Spence

Anonymous said...

I have a GoPro Helmet Hero Wide and I have decided to sell it on eBay. I've had enough. It always seems to spontaneously stop recording video right when you need it most. I've had the problem windsurfing, wakeboarding, and snowboarding (so it doesn't seem to be a thermal problem). I use FAT16-formatted SD cards shop-bought lithium batteries, and, more recently Li-ion rechargeables. In these cases the memory card is not full, and the batteries are fully charged. It's so frustrating when you've just pulled off a nice run and you find you've only got the first 25 seconds after you put the camera on your head.

You wouldn't mind if it was cheap, but at £200 this isn't acceptable.

calle said...

I thought i could post solutions to my problem and a small review. So people with the same problems can get help.

GoPro Helmet Hero Wide is a great product for it's price. There are two down sides. But one can(currently) be fixed.
Here they come:
1. The camera does not support all SDHC cards(SD cards over 2 GB), there is a firmware upgrade available from the official web site witch is suppose to add that feature. But the feature does not work on all SDHC cards, the camera freezes when using SDHC cards from some cheap manufacturers.

It is better to get several 2GB SD cards. To be on the safe side.

2. It's battery time, a standard alcalic battery (non chargeable) will last aprox 20-25 mins, a god expensive battery will last 30-40 min.

In sub zero temperatures be glad if you can film more than 8 mins with a normal battery

Chargeable batterys will last the shortest of all max 5-15 mins.

The only actual battery that works god for the camera is the recommended "Energizer Ultimate Lithium" it works in sub zero temperatures and it also works 2-4 times longer than even the best of alcalic battery.

The selection of SDHC card is extremely important (if you want to use SDHC cards). Using a bad/cheap SDHC card will create tons of bugs.

I for example used a cheap SDHC card that required a absolute minimum of 2.7 volts. This caused the SDHC card to shut down much sooner than the camera and i lost more than an hour of material.

If your camera makes empty video files or/and the camera just locks down.
The cheap SDHC card is the fault.
Just get a new better one ore a 2 GB normal SD card.

Else it's a great product the sound is terrible but i don't care about that. You can drill a hole in the casing to get better sound if you want. but then it wont be water tight obviously.