Thursday, February 29, 2024

First Test – Go Pro HD HERO video camera

FOR many fishos, recording video while on fishing trips can be as much fun as the main event. And with video cameras so readily accessible in the modern mobile phone age there’s no shortage of cool fishing videos to check out on Youtube or Vimeo. If you can’t actually get out fishing, watching it on video can sometimes be a good enough substitute.

Filming videos from boats and moving vehicles can be tricky for a variety of reasons. Expensive video cameras and water don’t mix and the price of quality waterproof housings for DSLR cameras that shoot video can be prohibitive. While there are plenty of waterproof compact cameras on the market that record video, none are arguably as specifically designed for extreme sports as the Go Pro HD (high definition) HERO. This compact little camera is clearly made for those into outdoor sports such as fishing, surfing, kayaking, motor sports – you name it.

The GoPro HD camera I’ve just bought was part of the interestingly titled “Naked” package, which I was glad to discover had nothing to do with the camera being wearable… The package includes the Go Pro HD camera, which physically looks quite tiny and belies what the product is capable of – it can produce up to 1080p professional quality HD video (five different resolution settings are available) as well as take still photo images. According to the makers up to 2.5 hours of recording can be done on a single battery charge and up to 9 hours of footage can be stored on a 32GB SD card (not included).

Included in the Naked package was a mount for attaching the camera to a helmet or other curved surface as well as a quick-release waterproof HD housing which protects the camera. The housing also comes with an alternative back for use away from water where more sound recording capability is required. I tried the latter back out while the camera was fitted to my motorbike and it performed really well, with the sound appearing to be unaffected by wind noise. With the waterproof housing in place the camera can be used down to a depth of 180’/60m. For shooting underwater footage I plan to rig up a pole-mount for easy use from a boat.  

GoPro make a heap of accessories for the HD HERO including different mounting accessories. I bought a suction-cup mount which allows the camera to be fitted securely – the makers claim safe mounting for speeds up to 100mph – on flat surfaces on boats, vehicles, and a bunch of other places. For my first try out of the camera I mounted it on the side of my Hobie Mirage kayak using the suction mount. Once in place it felt very secure, but as I was apprehensive it could still end up in the drink I secured it with a paddle tie-down. I needn’t have bothered though as the mount stayed solid for a couple of hours.

Turning the camera on is done via a button at the front, which emits a beep when performed correctly. Another beep after pushing the shutter button on top means the camera’s recording. While a red light at the front lets you know this, there’s no such indicator available at the back of the camera. There isn’t a viewfinder either to show you what you’re filming, or for playback, but I’ve since discovered an accessory LCD viewfinder is available. I can see myself opting for one of these as well as a handy looking wearable chest-mount in the future.

All up the GoPro HD HERO Naked package, suction cup mount and 32GB SD memory card cost me $540. If you’re in the market check them out at local camera retailers and online. 

Anyway, as you’ll see from my first attempt at using the GoPro HERO, albeit in very foggy conditions in Sydney last Saturday, the picture quality is very good – excuse the water drops… While mucking around I even managed to catch a bream on a popper – you’ll see that at the end – and raised a few others from their winter slumber. For a bunch of cool stuff shot on these cameras type GoPro HD into the search tab at Youtube.

For more info on the GoPro HD HERO and local distributors go to:

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