Gadling gear review – GoPro HERO all-terrain camera

As Grant mentioned, Today is beach day here on Gadling. Earlier this morning I listed some great gadgets for at the beach, but the piece of kit in this review is so cool that it deserves it own post!

The GoPro lineup of all-terrain sports cameras feature a 5 megapixel sensor, capable of shooting high resolution video and 5 megapixel photos. The camera itself is fully enclosed and can survive pretty much everything you throw at it – including taking it underwater up to 100 feet.

Now, to be honest, sports cameras are nothing new, and I remember purchasing a helmet camera for my Archos player many years ago. What sets the GoPro lineup apart from anything I’ve ever seen is that you can attach their camera to anything – really, GoPro has a mount, clip, harness or suction cup for anything you could ever want to mount it to, including your handlebars or a tripod.
Fancy recording yourself riding the waves on your surfboard? Stick a camera on your board using a mount and some 3M VHB tape. Want to record yourself barreling down a mountain? Get a helmet mount!

The GoPro HERO camera comes in 2 flavors – wide and normal. The wide camera can be purchased on its own (camera, cables and case) or as a helmet, motorsports or surf package. The non wide HERO comes as a wrist mounted camera or ready for your surfboard.

The camera itself is very simple to operate – it has just 3 buttons, a small LCD screen, an optical viewfinder and an SD memory card slot. To use the camera, you simply insert an SD card with enough free space your your recordings, pop the entire camera in its waterproof case, and mount the whole thing where you want it.

The case has a waterproof seal, and can be submerged in up to 100 feet/30 meters of water. The buttons on the camera can be accessed when it is in its case.

Recording quality with the camera is surprisingly good for such a small unit. Sadly, I’m not too much of an outdoor adventure sports person, so I’ve included some real life sample videos made by real GoPro users.

As you can see, the camera really does capture the action quite well.

Each camera comes with a dual USB/video cable, so you can transfer recordings to your computer, or watch them on your TV. Recordings are made in 30FPS MJPEG, so they can be viewed and edited on almost any computer.

The GoPro HERO camera starts at $139 for the wrist HERO or the Wide HERO (without any mounts). A wide HERO plus mounting kit starts at $159 (for the Surf HERO).

The price of the camera is actually quite low, especially since a waterproof case for most digital cameras can cost well over $200 – and include the risk of damaging your camera. The GoPro camera itself is designed for rugged use, so it won’t mind being battered around in its case.

If you invest in a HERO camera and decide to take on a new sport, your investment is not lost – the GoPro site offers a huge variety of accessories and mounts which allow you to upgrade your camera

My conclusion is simple – if you do any kind of outdoor sport or other activities you’d like to record, you should order one of these. Capturing live action from your activities is so much cooler than just talking about it after the fact or relying on someone to photograph you from far away.

You’ll find the camera lineup and all the available accessories over at the GoPro web site. Did you make some amazing video with the camera? Drop us a comment, and share your adventures with the world!

Thanks to fellow Gading Blogger Tom Johansmeyer for the awesome beach photo made with the GoPro camera.