There is an old photographers adage “the best camera for the job is the one you have with you”. The Go Pro Hero may just the best camera for a wide variety of situations. The small size makes it easy to stash in a pocket or purse, but don’t let that fool you, thanks to the water proof housing this camera packs a punch. The camera is easy to use and comes with a variety of shooting options including time lapse and full 1080 video.
So after my in home experiments with the Go Pro, I finally got to field test in the environment I purchased it for. I wanted to get footage of the long, extreme off-road trip from the town of Bainet, Haiti to the village of Zorange. I had been told by everyone who had made this trip before that it was an “experience”, and they were right.
All the guys on the trip with me said there was no way that camera was going to stay on the hood. They were wrong, despite all the bumpy trails, it held tight. Despite the fact it got rained on and splashed on it worked great. The battery lasted about 2 1/2 hours and the 16 gig card was 1/2 full by that point, shooting continuous video in full 1080. As you can see, the video looks good, and it really captured the essence of the trip. The only downside we discovered was that in this wet/muddy environment, sometimes you get water spots or mud on the lens and it pretty much renders the footage useless. In total we had between 4-6 hours of footage. 2-3 hours of it was totally unusable due to mud or water spots. That isn’t a knock on the camera, more an FYI for users.
Now there was no way I was going to put my precious 7D on the hood of that car to capture this experience, and to be honest you can’t really compare the footage either. That said, use the right tool for the right job. I had the utmost confidence that the Go Pro would survive this grueling experience unscathed. I did tie a string from the camera mount to the vehicle, just in case, which turned out to be a total waste of time. That camera wasn’t going anywhere.
I think all in all the camera preformed beyond my expectations. The footage looks great, the color saturation is great, and at 1/5 the cost of the 7d, I felt ok putting it in harms way. This camera is built like a rock. My team and I are already trying to think of new and different ways we can utilize this powerful asset. Tomorrow we start looking for a remote controlled helicopter to carry it… THAT has some possibilities that totally warrant exploring.
In conclusion, I think this is a tool that needs to be in every pro’s toolbox. It definitely wont be replacing your primary camera any time soon, but you can’t put your primary camera through what the Go Pro can handle. The results are awesome and the ease of use makes this camera a real win. Not to mention, at the price point of $300, you almost can’t afford to not have this versatile tool in your arsenal.