Neat new camera for ruggedized use

Started May 3, 2007 | Discussions
Lin Evans
Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,546
Neat new camera for ruggedized use

I ran across this really cool little camera which is designed for active or sports oriented outdoor people.

It's a two megapixel, ruggedized, very light, relatively tiny camera with image stabilization, a 58 minute capacity 640x480 video capability. It has a 48mm effective focal length, 100ft waterproof (can actually be used at that depth), comes with wrist attachment, etc., and other systems pending to mount to helmet, etc.

The sample videos, even in web reduced and compressed format show it has very decent potential. It uses up to a 2 gig SD card, holds thousands of images and has some neat features.

here's a couple links

http://www.goprocamera.com

specs:

http://www.goprocamera.com/dh3-specs.htm

Lin

jlabate Contributing Member • Posts: 533
Re: Neat new camera for ruggedized use

very cool.

Undah Veteran Member • Posts: 5,330
Re: Neat new camera for ruggedized use

Website says 3mp.
Looks neat. Can definitely see potential in something like this.

Lin Evans wrote:

I ran across this really cool little camera which is designed for
active or sports oriented outdoor people.

It's a two megapixel, ruggedized, very light, relatively tiny
camera with image stabilization, a 58 minute capacity 640x480 video
capability. It has a 48mm effective focal length, 100ft waterproof
(can actually be used at that depth), comes with wrist attachment,
etc., and other systems pending to mount to helmet, etc.

The sample videos, even in web reduced and compressed format show
it has very decent potential. It uses up to a 2 gig SD card, holds
thousands of images and has some neat features.

here's a couple links

http://www.goprocamera.com

specs:

http://www.goprocamera.com/dh3-specs.htm

Lin

Lin Evans
OP Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,546
correct - three megapixel - typo....

Yes, it is 3, that was a typo.

Undah wrote:
Website says 3mp.
Looks neat. Can definitely see potential in something like this.

Lin Evans wrote:

I ran across this really cool little camera which is designed for
active or sports oriented outdoor people.

It's a two megapixel, ruggedized, very light, relatively tiny
camera with image stabilization, a 58 minute capacity 640x480 video
capability. It has a 48mm effective focal length, 100ft waterproof
(can actually be used at that depth), comes with wrist attachment,
etc., and other systems pending to mount to helmet, etc.

The sample videos, even in web reduced and compressed format show
it has very decent potential. It uses up to a 2 gig SD card, holds
thousands of images and has some neat features.

here's a couple links

http://www.goprocamera.com

specs:

http://www.goprocamera.com/dh3-specs.htm

Lin

omr Senior Member • Posts: 1,118
corrections, review, & more samples

Lin Evans wrote:

I ran across this really cool little camera which is designed for
active or sports oriented outdoor people.

Here is a review of the camera:

http://www.piranhadailynews.com/newsstream/?p=24088

I'll quote from that review in the comments below.

It's a two megapixel ...

As you've already noted in your correction,
it's a three megapixel camera.

ruggedized, very light, relatively tiny camera
with image stabilization

Image stabilization? Where is this mentioned?

I doubt that this camera would have any true
CCD-shift or lens-shift based image stabilization.

And (if the review is correct) the maximum ISO is 200;
so there is not even a high-ISO 'anti-blur' mode.

a 58 minute capacity 640x480 video capability.

54 minutes, 30fps, with sound.

According to the review mentioned above:
"The owner’s manual incorrectly states"
that the camera will stop after 1MB of video;
in fact it can continue until the card is full.

(The review also notes that the audio quality
is limited: "Recorded sound can be thin.
If the sound source is quite loud then there
shouldn’t be a problem. ...")

It has a 48mm effective focal length

And currently f/2.8.
(The review claims that "new models will have an f3".)

The review says the ISO range is 50-200 automatic.

Quoting from the review:
"We found that pictures always look best in very brightly
[lit] conditions. Colors were mostly accurate and there
was plenty of contrast. When the light levels dropped
images got noisy. Video, surprisingly, came out nicely,
often to the point that we preferred this over still images."

Since the camera is typically used in a plastic housing,
this can affect image quality. With the camera
outside of the housing (in dry conditions of course),
results "were always better", the review says.

The reviewers "compared the Hero3 both in and out of
the housing against a 5-megapixel Kodak point-and-shoot,"
which "outperformed the Hero3 ... in overall
image quality, especially in low light."

100ft waterproof (can actually be used at that depth),
comes with wrist attachment, etc.,
and other systems pending to mount to helmet, etc.

The sample videos, even in web reduced and
compressed format show it has very decent potential.

There are currently 14 sample videos available at:

http://gopro.vsocial.com
(Note -- the page control buttons on that site may
not be visible in some web browsers such as Firefox.
Click the category links instead.)

Here are a few stills taken by the company founder's
brother. Unfortunately these were not posted at full-size.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pstar/sets/72157600035289011/

A company representative (presumably the founder)
posted in another forum two months ago.
Click this link to go to the 2nd page of the thread,
and see the 2nd and 4th posts on the page.

http://www.2ndlight.com/forum42ndlight/messageview.cfm?catid=3&threadid=59424&STARTPAGE=2

-- hide signature --

omr

It uses up to a 2 gig SD card, holds thousands of images
and has some neat features.

here's a couple links

http://www.goprocamera.com

specs:

http://www.goprocamera.com/dh3-specs.htm

Lin Evans
OP Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,546
Re: corrections, review, & more samples

omr wrote:

Lin Evans wrote:

I ran across this really cool little camera which is designed for
active or sports oriented outdoor people.

Here is a review of the camera:

http://www.piranhadailynews.com/newsstream/?p=24088

I'll quote from that review in the comments below.

It's a two megapixel ...

As you've already noted in your correction,
it's a three megapixel camera.

ruggedized, very light, relatively tiny camera
with image stabilization

Image stabilization? Where is this mentioned?

Right here in answer to my inquiry in the email from technical support:

Hi Lin!

Here's answers to your questions:

Just read your ad in Denver Post and wanted more information on your newest camera.

I understand it's "waterproof" to 100 feet - what is the functional depth it can be used at?

100 feet!

What type media does it use? Internal or removable such as secure digital, compact flash, etc? So can the media be changed in the field?

SD card. We recommend SanDisk Ultra II or Extreme III (for cold weather use) to best take advantage of new faster video compression our update patch will provide later this month. This patch will update existing and new Digital HERO 3 cameras with new even faster, smoother video and sound settings!

It will be available via download from our site.

What's the capacity at 3 megapixels if it uses removable media?

3500+ photos or 54 minutes of video on a 2GB SD card.

The videos were very smooth, does the camera have image stabilization?

YES, there is onboard image stabilization. And also, the camera is very very light so it doesn't shake very much.

I would guess there is no zoom, but what is the fixed focal length in mm?

It is equivalent to a fixed 48mm lens (if you were talking about a film camera lens)

Is there any flash? If not what ISO and aperture does it use?

No flash. ISO 100 at F2.8 with variable shutter range. It is a very good CMOS sensor so low light performance is good

Thanks for any technical information...

You can see more tech specs here: http://www.goprocamera.com/dh3-specs.htm

Thanks Lin!

Many thanks,

GoPro Support
http://www.goprocamera.com

I doubt that this camera would have any true
CCD-shift or lens-shift based image stabilization.

The company says it does. See above...

And (if the review is correct) the maximum ISO is 200;
so there is not even a high-ISO 'anti-blur' mode.

Again - see answer from technical support...

a 58 minute capacity 640x480 video capability.

54 minutes, 30fps, with sound.

Yes, I fumble fingered the figure, it's 54 minutes rather than 58

According to the review mentioned above:
"The owner’s manual incorrectly states"
that the camera will stop after 1MB of video;
in fact it can continue until the card is full.

(The review also notes that the audio quality
is limited:

snip
snip

(The review claims that "new models will have an f3".)

Who do you believe, the company or the reviewer??

The review says the ISO range is 50-200 automatic.

Again - see the emai from tech support

Quoting from the review:
"We found that pictures always look best in very brightly
[lit] conditions. Colors were mostly accurate and there
was plenty of contrast. When the light levels dropped
images got noisy. Video, surprisingly, came out nicely,
often to the point that we preferred this over still images."

Since the camera is typically used in a plastic housing,
this can affect image quality. With the camera
outside of the housing (in dry conditions of course),
results "were always better", the review says.

Can't comment and not sure if this review was referring to the same model.

The reviewers "compared the Hero3 both in and out of
the housing against a 5-megapixel Kodak point-and-shoot,"
which "outperformed the Hero3 ... in overall
image quality, especially in low light."

Three megapixel versus five - I would expect it would - Why would any serious reviewer compare this three megapixel unit with a five megapixel Kodak?? but that's not the point is it? The point is to have a camera with you during times when it would not normally be available. There are numerous videos and stills available on the website so people can make up their own minds. My 16 megapixel Kodak MF back takes better images too, but when it's in my backpack or glovebox when the action is happening it really doesn't matter too much because even a one megapixel image you "have" is worth one million time more than the 20 megapixel image you didn't take - LOL...

100ft waterproof (can actually be used at that depth),
comes with wrist attachment, etc.,
and other systems pending to mount to helmet, etc.

The sample videos, even in web reduced and
compressed format show it has very decent potential.

There are currently 14 sample videos available at:

http://gopro.vsocial.com
(Note -- the page control buttons on that site may
not be visible in some web browsers such as Firefox.
Click the category links instead.)

Here are a few stills taken by the company founder's
brother. Unfortunately these were not posted at full-size.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pstar/sets/72157600035289011/

A company representative (presumably the founder)
posted in another forum two months ago.
Click this link to go to the 2nd page of the thread,
and see the 2nd and 4th posts on the page.

http://www.2ndlight.com/forum42ndlight/messageview.cfm?catid=3&threadid=59424&STARTPAGE=2

-- hide signature --

omr

It uses up to a 2 gig SD card, holds thousands of images
and has some neat features.

here's a couple links

http://www.goprocamera.com

specs:

http://www.goprocamera.com/dh3-specs.htm

Lin Evans
OP Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,546
Re: corrections, review, & more samples

I ran out of space above.

Actually it sounds like a very decent little camera. One doesn't buy a camera of it's type because it's a top of the line digicam. For $139 my expectation would be to get something which takes decent images under conditions which normally would not accommodate a camera or would make it difficult to get a camera into action quick enough to use.

I paid more for an underwater housing for my little Olympus C2000Z than this camera with housing. I think the company has a winner with this. It may not equal a "5" megapixel Kodak (why didn't they test it against another 3 megapixel camera??) for image quality or low light use, but then it's not designed for that purpose. Also, the unit tested may not be identical to the one they have available now.

In answer to your doubts about image stabilization, if you actually "look" at the videos taken from a rapidly moving mountain bike and have any hands-on experience with making movies under such conditions, it would be difficult to believe that it "didn't" have image stabilization.

I have over 30 digicams, many of them take movies. A number of them take 640x480 resolution movies and with the one's which don't have image stabilization it's difficult to get any quality at all hand-held. Only my Canon S3-IS with image stabilization matches the quality I'm seeing in terms of stability from this little unit and I sure wouldn't want to mount it on a bicycle bumping down a dirt trail at high speeds - LOL.

It seems that this camera represents a very good value for its intended purpose, which is why I posted both the link to the site and link to the specifications.

I think this one will be on my list for purchase this year.

Best regards,

Lin

chuxter Forum Pro • Posts: 21,714
Re: corrections, review, & more samples

Lin, it looks like a good value if you need a camera like that.

I think he's a better surfer dude than camera designer: "...the camera is very very light so it doesn't shake very much."

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Charlie Davis
Nikon 5700 & Sony R1
CATS #25
PAS Scribe @ http://www.here-ugo.com/PAS_List.htm
HomePage: http://www.1derful.info
'I brake for pixels...'

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Lin Evans
OP Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,546
Re: corrections, review, & more samples

LOL - yes, probably so. The important thing to me is that it does take decent images and the movie mode is impressive. Judging from the many videos on their web site, I think this might be the most important function for the really active person. The ability to snap a few stills and document an adventure in rock climbing, surfing, kayaking, bicycling, running, etc., but having an ultralight and very tiny camera on your wrist or attached to your equipment which is there when the moment happens is the valuable feature. I can't count the number of times when on the slopes I've fumbled in my shirt pocket to retrieve my little Optio S to grab a quick snap only to have missed the action by seconds because I had to unzip my jacket or times when I've been on the water and didn't have my rather bulky little Olympus C2000Z in its underwater housing available.

I can appreciate this concept of accessibility for sure.

Best regards,

Lin

chuxter wrote:

Lin, it looks like a good value if you need a camera like that.

I think he's a better surfer dude than camera designer: "...the
camera is very very light so it doesn't shake very much."

Ian Rambo Newland New Member • Posts: 3
Re: corrections, review, & more samples

Hi all, I've had the GoPro3 now for 4 weeks and have taken great footage with it that i could not have got with any other camera anywhere near it's price range. It doesn't miss a beat even when mounted on my paddle and thrashed around in the surf. No missed frames, nothing.

Check out the video's I've posted on my website, they are extreme use and contain lot's of varied clips.

http://rambos-locker.blogspot.com/2007/05/rambo-thor-get-smashed-oc1-surfing.html

http://rambos-locker.blogspot.com/2007/05/hero-at-sunset.html

http://rambos-locker.blogspot.com/2007/05/testing-rebuilt-hurricane-and-new.html

Cheers Rambo

Lin Evans
OP Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,546
Re: corrections, review, & more samples

Ian, surfer dude!

Looks great, I watched all of them. I like the new mount on the Hurricane which greatly helps to stabilize the view. Now you need one more so you can wrist mount it and edit your video's by switching views back and forth. That way you can get the kayak next to you and the forward view and give another perspective.

Looks like the little camera is working very well indeed. I wish this technology were available when I was a kid in the late 50's and early 60's - I would have had some great surfing frames. In those days the housing for my cameras was so big and heavy that trying to handle that and the relatively huge boards we used would have been too much.

Best regards,

Lin

Ian Rambo Newland New Member • Posts: 3
Re: corrections, review, & more samples

Thanks Lin, actually i'm buying two more, just waiting for the upgraded model, that will give me 3 different perspectives. The solid mount returns the best stable pictures, but the paddle mounted one is the most versatile. I can stop paddling and point and shoot without taking my hands off the paddle. Remote control would be a dream but having 3 cameras on board overcomes that to some extent.

Never mind the 50's and 60's .... startup watersports again.

Cheers Rambo

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