GoPro HD HERO Review

Cameras Pro Reviews

What is it Capturing?
Another point of contention is that is sort of hard to know what you are capturing on the HD HERO. The old view finder is now gone, so you have to use the alignment of the camera body itself to know what it is shooting, which is even tougher since once you put it on your head you really aren’t sure where it is pointing? Trial an error (look at the video post ride) will eventually get you to know what angle works best.

Status LCD Screen
The HERO Wide had an upside down viewpoint of the LCD screen, which was very annoying. The upside down screen output was a leftover from the HERO’s surfing roots, in which the camera was attached to your wrist, and upside down was the right side up! I am glad they went to a normal screen output with the HD HERO.

“Abby Normal!”

herohd_lcd

LCD Screen Layout

The LCD screen is where you see the current status, such as the battery level, video resolution setting (1-5), shooting mode (photo, video, triple shot, timer), picture count, deletion status and exposure setting. As you go through the menu system, using the power/mode and shutter/select buttons, various icons, numbers and 3 letter anachronisms are highlighted on the LCD screen, allowing multiple camera options to be set. The upside down image capturing mode is missing (upside down records right side up), hopefully a firmware upgrade will be released soon. The user manual (ok, a single large double sided piece of paper), does a good job of covering everything, even if it is sometimes ad nauseam!

I would have liked a slightly larger screen, since a lot of information is packed into it a small area. The mode icons are difficult to see, and they are tucked up high on the screen.

Weight:

  • 98.9 grams – camera with battery and SD card
  • 26.1 grams – battery
  • 1.7 grams – SD card
  • 90.5 grams – waterproof housing with connector
  • 19.3 grams – connector
  • 189.4 grams – total

Size:

  • 60mm x 42mm x 30mm – camera size
  • 72mm x 65mm x 46mm – housing size
  • 13mm x 16mm – LCD screen size

Housing
The housing is a really nice unit, that is durable, waterproof and resists contamination. The housing is made of polycarbonate, with stainless steel hinge pins. I have used the camera kayaking, and biking in the snow and mud, and can attest for its tight seals and protection it affords. Which is a good thing, since the camera itself is a bit fragile, so it really needs to be used within the housing? On the bottom of the housing is a slotted connector to hook it up to the mounting system.

hd_housing

Expansion Port
The back of the camera has an expansion port, that will allow optional expansion packs (called Bakpacs) to be connected. The current Bakpacs list to be released sometime in 2010, is an LCD screen (to view videos/pictures), and a battery extender. The Bakpacs will come with an expanded back door, so that the fatter camera (camera with attached Bakpac) will fit inside the waterproof housing. Future Bakpacs are supposed to include a battery warmer for those ultra cold days when batteries give up the ghost at the most inopportune moments.

herohd_port_long

Expansion Port and Output Ports

Next » Mount System & Memory

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Tommi says:

    Nice review, it was very helpful and well written.

    “Note: I am cross comparing the HD HERO to the old HERO Wide and VHoldR ContourHD 1080p”
    So how does it compare to these? I’m currently trying to decide which one to go for, GoPro or ContourHD.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    As requested, a crude comparison, at the bottom of page 4 http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/gopro-hd-hero-review/4/

  • Pedro,Miami,Fl says:

    I have both of them and love them but if you want a clear perfect video and pictures HD is the way to go,only one down side is the file are too large to upload them in youtube or any website, The PLUS side and I mean it when I say that is the outstanding customer service and support, The also stand behind their products warranty.I hope it help.
    Pedro,Miami Fl

  • leel says:

    I’m not sure where you’re going with that Pedro? Vimeo allows really big files. You also don’t need to generate really big video files if you’re rendering for the web.

  • ProEdgeBiker.com says:

    We currently use the ContourHD 1080p but will be soon getting one of the HeroHD’s to try out.

  • JAB says:

    Well written, thank you.

  • Pedro,Miami,Fl says:

    HI Leel I tried Vimeo and yes you are right I could do it,thanks for the info,I still like the HD Hero over countourHD BUT like I say that is my opinion everyone is free to has diferent opinion.
    Regards

  • Jaymo says:

    I have both cameras. Both put out a great image. From an industrial design standpoint, the Contour is a great looking cam and is very sleek. However, the contours design limits its mounting capabilities. GoPro has 10x the amount of mounting options, and due to its design, much more room for creativity. Also, the Contour is not waterproof. The GoPro takes a licking. Waterproof to 180ft. What? That is some serious force and pressure. My biggest recommendation is to take the time and read the GoPro manual. Do not pull a “dude” and just start using the camera. You will fumble and jack your footage. Read the manual, take your time to learn the ins and outs of the GoPro. It is a tool, and when used correctly can give you amazing footage. Also, take the time to learn about codecs and compression. If you do the homework, your footage will like like something from George Lucas.

  • JP says:

    Great review! Check out some videos from all models of GoPro at:

    http://www.youtube.com/quik564

    What a progression in such little time… gotta love GoPro! Customer service rocks too!

  • Nardo says:

    You forgot to cover the following GoPro attributes:

    1) the GoPro comes with enough mounts to attach it to 4 helmets and 2 pieces of gear (4 total adhesive mounts + vented helmet strap + head strap) whereas the Contour only comes with one single helmet mount.

    2) GoPro comes with a waterhousing whereas Contour does not (you mentioned this but not in relation to #3 below)

    3) add up the above GoPro included parts and you’d have to spend about $440 with a Contour to match all that comes with the GoPro for $299. That’s a huge $140 difference between the two, 47%, basically.

    4) The GoPro shoots 5MP photos in single shot, burst and timelapse photos modes. The Contour doesn’t shoot photos.

    5) The Contour’s sound is horrible no matter what setting you put it in. Sure you can adjust the sound volume down but all that does is make crappy sound softer.

    6) The fact that you cannot change settings on your Contour in the field without a computer is a massive negative. If you set the camera up for a certain lighting situation and go on your ride and the lighting changes significantly, you are SOL unlress you have your laptop with you. The GoPro adjusts so well to different lighting conditions that it doesn’t need manual settings. That means the Contour is making up for design inefficiencies that the GoPro doesn’t suffer from. Massive point to anyone wanting a really good automatically adjusting camera.

    7) GoPro has a 1 year warranty whereas the Contour has a 6 month warranty. Important point for a camera like this.

    Your review was pretty thorough but you left out these important GoPro advantages that make it a much better deal, and arguably much better camera, than the Contour.

  • smith says:

    Does anyone know , where I can find this camera in Miami ???????????????,,,, Im looking all over the place but I cant find it

  • Brian Mullin says:

    You could go directly to the GoPro Link

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