GoPro Helmet HERO Wide Video Camera Review

Pro Reviews

Bottom Line:
This is a fine lightweight video camera for various sports specific uses. It can mount to your helmet, a bike frame, a kayak, a car, etc. It’s light, easy to use, can take the abuse laid out by an outdoor activity, and it’s waterproof. Using a 2GB SD card you can get 56 minutes of video time which is adequate for most activities, and newer firmware will allow 1 hour and 50 minutes using a 4GB SDHC card. I really have to say that the quick attachment system to the helmet is remarkable, I wish all bike light manufacturers went with this as a standard! I have some quibbles with it getting an occasional sunspot when directly looking at the Sun, and it would be nice to have some sort of counter so you know how much video time you have used. This unit is not recommended for a professional videographer since the video quality is lackluster when comparing to the upper echelon of video cameras. This camera is going to be mainly used for video’s that are used on blogs, and various video upload sites such as YouTube, and Vimeo, so video quality is not a primary constraint. I can recommend the GoPro Helmet HERO Wide video camera package for taking video’s while biking and many other outdoor activities. I am hooked, and I am already playing with video editing and becoming a consummate neophyte videographer.

Strengths:
-Uses ordinary SD cards.
-Light.
-Ease of use.
-Multiple options and placements using various attachments methods.
-Great protection case and very abuse proof.
-Excellent quick attachment system (bike light companies take note).
-Waterproof to 100 feet.
-No cables needed while filming.

Weaknesses:
-Drains batteries quickly.
-Upside down LCD information is annoying.
-Needs counter on the camera screen for time of video usage.
-Sun spots when the camera is directly in sun.
-The Wide angle can give a bit of vertigo when viewing video’s.
-Just decent video quality, it’s not a Professional POV camera.
-When using multiple swivels it’s hard to keep the unit from moving.
-No video screen for viewing.
-Short 56 minute recording time (fixed by newer firmware-1hr 50min)

Value Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

GoPro HERO Specs:
Sensor – 5 megapixel (2592 x 1944)
Lens – Glass f2.8, 170 diagonal FOV (field of view)
Exposure – Auto

Internal Memory – 16MB, expandable to 2GB SD
Video – 512 x 384 (56mins on 2GB SD)
PC Connector – mini USB to USB/RCA cable
Power – 2xAAA batteries
Operating System – Win ME/2000/XP/Vista and MacOS 9.1/10.2+
Camera Size – 1.25 x 1.75 x 2.3 in
Warranty – 1 year

Detailed stats:
56 minutes of 512×384 video with sound at 30fps on a 2GB SD card
3x sequence still photo burst
Auto “Photo Every 2 or 5 seconds” mode – 1945 in 2 sec mode on 2GB SD card
Adjustable sound recording levels
Waterproof 100′

Pricing:
Helmet Hero Wide MSRP $189.99
Optional seatpost mount (Ride Hero) MSRP – $19.99

GoPro Website: http://www.goprocamera.com/

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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  • Reginhild says:

    I was waiting for one of the mountable light video cameras to accept a 4GB SD card. Even the higher end ones right now are limited to 2GB.

    The next step would be 8GB capability but it would require going to two AA vs. AAA to last longer than 2hrs… or the video resolution/frame rate could be pumped up.

  • Reginhild says:

    I was waiting for a light mountable camera to move up to 4GB SD cards. Even the high end ones seem to still be stuck at only accepting 2GB cards.

    Next step is 8GB and higher frame rate or resolution to still fit in the 2hr battery limitation…or they could redesign for AA batteries.

  • Adrian says:

    Hi. Could you tell me where you got that update for the camera. So that I can have a 4gb memory card. Thanks.

  • pastajet says:

    GoPro should be releasing a 4GB firmware upgrade shortly for the HERO camera, I do not have a time frame for the release. It will also be nice when they have the 8GB firmware.

  • oneye says:

    Good to excellent quality video ( for the price ) . Doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. Make sure to use lithium batteries in cold temps. Oh yeah, the sticky mounts are good to 140 mph, I can vouch for that!

  • Amrish says:

    Can it be directly hooked up to a PC to be used as a web cam.

    Need to transmit images in real time.

    Amrish

  • pastajet says:

    It appears as a removable device/disk when hooked up to PC, so it won’t work as a web cam as far as I know. I can try it sometime at home, but I doubt it would work in that manner.

  • George Henry Poppycock says:

    Nice videos Brian! I have a Hero 5 as well, I had some faulty quick release buckles that snapped when removing from mounts, I contacted GOPro and they informed me that I had received a kit that had been made with brittle resin – and sent me new clips and parts the next day… I believe the reason for the sun being blacked out is that it is programed to do so, to prevent over exposure of the video. If the sensor metering off of the sun and changes the aperture and or exposure to the correct exposure for the sun every thing else is extremely dark… I think it looks kinda cool too. I want to get the handlebar/seat post mount. When my buckles were broken I used the head strap mount as a shoulder/chest/crotch cam.

  • mufn8r says:

    Arrrgh! When is the firmware going to be released?! Also, will the firmware improve the video quality of the older versions? I mean when I connect my GoPro to my motorcycle, no matter how secure the camera is the video misses frames and looks “liquified”.

  • Edo says:

    I’m thinking about buying this camera. Where can I find some sample video files to download to my PC to check them and to play around with my video editing software?
    Thanks

  • LeeL says:

    Edo – myself and several others have posted some GoPro footage to the MTBR Video forums. You need a vimeo login but once you have one you can download the footage to play with editing

  • John says:

    What are the recording times using using the recommended rechargable batteries?

    Thx!

  • 8664 says:

    hi since they have the wide i am a big fan and with the chest mount it is the best solution without shutter!!! best cam for money!

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