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BBC and Forbes look at the booming action camera business

By dpreview staff on Mar 12, 2013 at 21:21 GMT

Small, rugged, go-anywhere action cams have become increasingly popular. Both BBC news and Forbes magazine have taken a look at the booming action camera business over the last week. The BBC's  Forbes posted an interesting story about GoPro's Founder and CEO Nick Woodman with details on the company's success.

In a blog post, BBC's Ian Hardy examines the popularity of these action cams writes about the various kinds of cameras available and the wide number of applications for which they are being used. He covers Pivothead sunglasses for traffic police in Texas, 360 degree panorama cams for real estate agents, and unique microscopic cameras in science classrooms.

 A low-cost underwater film camera

Forbes examines how GoPro sales have more than doubled every year since the first camera hit the market in 2004. 'In 2012 the company sold 2.3 million cameras and grossed $521 million, [...] with $100 million in sales in January alone, that annual figure should again double this year. For the month of December GoPro was the highest-grossing digital imaging brand at Best Buy, knocking out Sony for the first time in the chain’s history.'

GoPro's Founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman.

At the age of 37 he is worth $1.3 billion. He started GoPro in 2002. 'Just ten years old, GoPro was responsible for 21.5% of digital camcorder shipments nationwide in the first half of 2012, according to IDC data.'

Photo by Eric Millette.

GoPro's 4k-capable Hero 3 action camera was released in Oct 2012. It can shoot at up to 3840 x 2160 pixels at 15 frames per second.


Total comments: 11
By Timmbits (Mar 26, 2013)

How is a gopro or any other camera like this, any better than any of the current rugged and waterproof cameras on the market?
I'm thinking of a Panasonic TS, Fuji XP, etc. They can be mounted too! And are more versatile in that they double-up as a 12mp/14mp stills camera.
So why spend so much money on one of these?

1 upvote
By johnmarson (Mar 19, 2013)

The Panopticon should have the effect of making everyone better behaved – especially the police and the military.
Surveillance rules!!!

By OneGuy (Mar 14, 2013)

It's tough to argue with success.

But what this case also shows is that ALL of the established players keep chasing each other's tails. It is then a commentary on the hierarchy we all see around us that spends time and money perpetuating its own existence (and cannot see it even if it is under their own noses etc., etc).


By webrunner5 (Mar 13, 2013)

It is just amazing how good a GoPro is for the money. Just wish I had thought about it!!

1 upvote
By atlien991 (Mar 13, 2013)

The GoPro phenomenon is the creepiest developments in digital technology. Action sports (a weird redundant term by the way) are what's emphasized but these devices are selling primarily because big brother is buying millions of them to record us while simultaneously using its own laws to prevent us from recording it. Entrenchment of the police state.

By wakaba (Mar 13, 2013)

Using Gopro for couple of years for diving and downhillbiking. This is one stellar product with an nice and simple linear editor running on my i7 SSD Ultrabook with 2000px LCD.

Bob from Plymouth
By Bob from Plymouth (Mar 13, 2013)

Last year a friend of mine was interviewed and filmed on his motorcycle by our regional TV company after he broke a land speed record. They wanted some on-bike shots and for that they used a GoPro Hero, the first time I'd got a good look at one.

Anyway, I bought myself a Hero 2 to use on my own motorcycle at top-speed (LSR) events. It's a brilliant product and really cheap for what it does.

Since buying mine I've spotted them many times being used in TV programmes, such as Top Gear. The picture quality is good enough to edit in seamlessly with other clips taken on "normal" broadcast quality cameras. Most of the time you wouldn't know the shots were from a tiny GoPro.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By gsum (Mar 13, 2013)

This is far more relevant and interesting than the 'Connect' articles that appear on DPR. More please.

1 upvote
By makofoto (Mar 12, 2013)

And DxO still won't get on the band wagon. Correction files for cameras and lenses that have tiny sales compared to the GoPro?!

1 upvote
By makofoto (Mar 12, 2013)

Yet DpReview refuses to cover and test the most popular camera in the world ... used by so many Pro's. If you watch TV and movies ... you are seeing GoPro footage.

Josh SZ
By Josh SZ (Mar 12, 2013)

Yah, it is part of the digital booming. Looking forward to more to come.

1 upvote
Total comments: 11