Thursday, November 24, 2011

Go Pro Hero 2


We loved our Go Pro. It was simply the sweetest wearable action camera we'd seen... until now. The brand spankin' new Hero 2 isn't dramatically different, they just made everything a lot better. I may never take it off.

Video shot with the HD Hero looked good. This looks way better. They put a fancy new sensor in there and it really delivers. Colors were way more vibrant and realistic, details were sharper, and brightness and contrast are much more balanced. The older Hero had a tendency to be washed out and blown out; that doesn't happen anymore (see first water shots in the video). You can also now get a full 170 degree field of view while shooting 1080p, and it has more options for frame-rates and sizes. It can shoot stills at 11 megapixels vs 5 megapixels on the Hero 1, and it can process images much faster, meaning you can take a time-lapse with one shot every half-second, or you can shoot 10-shot-per-second bursts.
The Hero's UI has been refined, making it much easier to set up. It's actual words on the little screen now, not incomprehensible abbreviations. There are now 4 LEDs that blink while you're recording, so you know you're rolling no matter which way it's facing. The Hero 2 has added a mini HDMI out and some built-in Wi-Fi awesomeness. GoPro's upcoming Wi-Fi BacPac will allow for remote control and realtime streaming from the Hero 2, which is pretty sweet. Lastly, the Hero 2 is the exact same size/shape/configuration as the Hero 1, meaning all of your Hero 1 accessories will fit just fine, including the LCD BacPac which allows you to line up your shots and play them back. And yes, it still comes with its housing that makes it waterproof to 180 feet.

Shot with Hero 2

No Like
The Hero 2 performs poorly in nighttime settings. Yes, it makes the images brighter than the Contour ROAM it was next to, but it brings in a ton of noise and graininess to do it. Also, while the UI is extremely improved over its last iteration, that's not saying a ton. Navigating through the settings is still a slow, unwieldy process. Also, the buttons can be stiff, which sometimes makes turning it on/off tougher.
Oww my ears! At the default setting the Hero 2 is super loud. I had to turn it down 4-7db in the video because it was peaking like crazy. There's a setting for wind-reduction which I haven't messed with yet, but it seems to me that the default should have a bit less gain. Also, while it's great that there's a mounting system for virtually every application you can think of, it's worth noting that setting these up is not always easy and intuitive. 

Thanks Gizmodo for the Review

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