I’ve been thinking about buying an action camera for a while now. Just so I could make some nice Saab-videos 😀
I finally decided to buy the new GoPro Hero 3 White Edition. There’s a few different versions of the Hero 3 camera for different uses. I could have gotten the MotorSport Black Edition which comes with some extra accessories and mounts. And if I remember correctly it also has the ability to shoot at higher frame rate than the White Edition (so you can make cool slow motion shots). But essentially I do not need slow motion and the MotorSport Edition is quite a bit more expensive also.
I haven’t shot any real footage yet – just a bit of testing. There’s plenty of footage and reviews around the web so if you want to see some real footage just Google around. And this is not a complete review either. Just a few points I found annoying or impressive (mostly impressive).
The first annoying point was that there’s no user manual with the camera. You have to download it. And since the menu system on the camera is pretty un-intuitive you’ll probably need it.
The second annoying bit was that I just couldn’t figure out how to open the protective case around the camera! After I struggled with it for two minutes I decided to Google it and found this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vemWD5WuRiY
I actually had managed to try the correct way also but the latch is very stiff the first time you open it. I was just apprehensive on using too much force so I wouldn’t break it. And no – the manual doesn’t tell you the correct way…
But that aside the camera is pretty great. I was also very impressed with the GoPro iPad app. Most action cameras don’t have an LCD-screen. Basically you just attach them to something – a helmet for example – and start recording. You get what you get. The Hero 3 has WiFi functionality and can connect to your iPad or iPhone. The feature is pretty awesome and very useful.
The still image quality is pretty basic. It’ll do but you still need a proper camera for any real shooting.
I also bought a tripod mount adapter just so I could use my tripod to position the camera. But what I really wanted was a suction cup mount so I could use the camera on a car and attach it to a window glass or fender/bumper/whatever. Unfortunately the shop I bought the camera from had run out of those so I couldn’t get one straight away. But I found a way to get one free – check the photos below… 😀
The Navigon suction cup is not the strongest possible but it is pretty good and the Hero 3 is lightweight. So figured I can use it inside the car in normal driving but it’s quite likely too weak for hard driving (rally) or to use it outside the car in high speeds.
Therefore I decided to get a proper Manfrotto suction cup mount later. I can use it with my SLR and I’m pretty sure it can take the beating on higher speeds also.
I’m currently working on the 1969 Saab 96 Rally – or rather I’m still moving stuff from the old garage to the new – and I was thinking about two options to mount the camera on it. I may weld a thread on the roll bar so I can just screw a regular tripod ball mount to it. Or maybe I will make a clamp so I can move the camera around a bit. We’ll see.