A really cool HD 1080p/720p digital video record for sporty folks
Small, long battery life, 1080p, 60fps, video, still, timelapse, waterproof housing rugged
slight wide angle look to all video / stills, no sound through waterproof housing
The Bottom Line:
This is a great little digital video camera for action/sports oriented users who need a rugged/wearable camera.
I purchased this camera so that we could take it snorkeling, scuba diving, use it on the kayaks when fishing, in the pool or when we go skiing.
It was really designed for outdoor or use in action sports with the ability to wear the camera, on a headband, helmet, pole or something else, to capture action video and stills.
It meets everyone of these needs and more albeit in a little bit of a "clunky" package that is a little unintuitive to operate.
Overview: This little camera (in the Hero Naked package) comes with a waterproof housing, a stick on mount, a camera tripod mount, a headband, battery and all the cables. No SD memory card is included.
The camera itself measures in at 2" x 1" x 1". It has a small LCD display and two buttons. The lens is fixed and has a wide angle setup. No zoom, either digital or mechanical is available on this camera. The Microphone ports are on the top.
It accepts an SD memory card in an uncovered slot on the side of the camera. It does click in and needs to be pushed in to release, so it is pretty secure when it's installed.
It is supplied with cables to connect the camera to laptop, a composite TV or an HD TV.
Using the camera: The camera itself is very easy to use once you have figured out how to set the mode and how to get it started.
The video that is captured is great. Very clear and with no jumps/jolts that used to plague digital video cameras. The 1080p mode records video at 30 frames a second. The colors are rich and on a large flat-screen TV it looks just fantastic. The 720p modes offer the option of 60fps or 30fps, so for faster action sports, the 60fps setting captures the action wonderfully. The camera has a wide angle lens, and the recorded video does show that. When you get used to it, its fine.
There are two silver buttons on the camera. The front button is the on/off and mode and the top button is the select / start / stop button. You turn the camera on by pressing and holding the front button, then cycle the camera through its modes using the front button. They are in order, still photo, timed photo, video or settings.
When you have set the mode, you press the top button to take a picture, start the timer or start the video. Press it again to stop the camera from recording video. There is a red light on the front of the camera that flashes when it takes a picture or is recording video. You can also set the camera to capture a series of still pictures in time-lapsed mode which is fun.
The basic camera has no view finder or LCD to show you what you are shooting. There is an optional LCD display that can be connected to the camera to view stored videos. (this cannot be attached when the waterproof housing is in use).
The bigger memory card the better for this camera, the HD video will eat flash. The average movie clip for me (at 1080p) takes about 120mb per minute of video stored. So a 12 minute video fro example will take about 1.4Gb of space on flash card. The lower resolutions use less space. We purchased a 32Gb Kingston card and this has proved to be big enough for us.
If you plan to use the camera in rugged environments, i.e. when skiing, swimming or diving, you will use the waterproof housing. It's a simple design, pop the camera in and close the back door with an over center latch. The rubber gasket seals tightly and the specs say its good to 300 feet. I have taken mine to down to 115 feet below the surface and can confirm all worked as advertised. The housing has two silver buttons that contact the buttons on the camera and you can see the display through the clear housing.
The housing mounts to all of the attachments, the helmet band, adhesive mount, pole or bike mount, using a finger screw and captive nut. The captive nut isn't always a solid as it could be, and I had to find it once or twice after it dropped out of the mounting.
When the camera is in the housing, the microphone ports are covered and whatever sound is recorded is very muffled, with only the loudest sounds being captured.
The battery life has been just fine for me. I did purchase an extra battery with the package, but have not had cause to use it. My longest video recording sessions have been almost 2 hours when all totalled. The battery is a bit tricky to change. The back of the camera is a clip on battery cover and then the battery itself is very tightly fitted.
Summary: This is a neat camera for a very dedicated application. Wet or action sports where you need to attach the camera to something, or wear the camera. The video captured is very, very good in all modes as are the stills.
If you are looking for a general purpose digital video camera, this probably isn't it (lack of a built in view finder and the form factor). For general purpose use, the Flip is much more suited to the role.
If your a diver, swimmer, boater, kayaker, skiier, skydiver or want to do wild things with a camera, this will capture great HD video or stills for you.