GoPro HD Hero Still Photos Review

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GoPro HD Hero Still Photos Review

GoPro HD Hero Still Photos
GoPro HD Hero Still Photos

The GoPro HD Hero is a video camera that can be used as a normal digital camera as well. Capable of taking 5 megapixel photos it is a handy all-in-one solution to carrying another camera with you, or is it?

The reason for reviewing the GoPro HD’s still photo ability is what you see with still photos it what you will generally see with video color and quality as well. So better photos will equal better video.

When not riding motorcycles and running Total Motorcycle I enjoy photography. I own upwards of 8 different camera bodies (Nikon and Konica) as well as over 40 different lenses (zoom, prime, macro, etc) and a ton of different filters. So a good quality photo is important to me, and so when it comes to cameras and lenses I know a thing or two about that. So the GoPro should be shaking in its boots.

Using a pretty standard, but simple method of photo detail comparison I took photos with 3 different digital cameras at the same object the same distance away using maximum quality settings to offer up a fair and unbiased review. While I have many film cameras I wanted to compare digital vs. digital.

The GoPro has a setting for taking still photos and the options are: Single shot, photo every 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 secs.; 3 photo burst and self-timer. What you cannot adjust is megapixels of the image or any other type of options such as aperture, exposure, macro/micro range, shutter speed, zoom or film speed so the GoPro HD Hero is a very basic digital camera overall.

What the GoPro HD Hero has going for it is a good lens (glass) and a focus range of 2ft/.6m – 8 and a bright aperture of f/2.8, which GoPro says “high performance in low-light situations”. But f2.8 really isn’t that “fast” of a lens for a prime (that is a fixed lens vs. zoom lens) “normal” focal length (40-60mm… that’s what you can see with your eye in width). A good camera lens is 50mm f1.8 which is x2 faster than a f2.8 (f1.4 is 8x faster and f1.2 is 16x faster than f2.8). Technical’s aside, it’s not a bad lens overall.

Let’s take a look at some detail shots (see the full photos below). What you will notice is color reproduction is poor to fair. The GoPro HD has trouble reproducing the entire color spectrum accurately and seems to washout or de-saturate colors. Details are good to excellent. Pincushion is poor to fair. If this was only a still camera I would think it to be a below average point and shoot or a good disposable, but of course the GoPro HD Hero is more than that as it offers excellent HD video.

GoPro HD Hero 5MP digital camera still detail photo (taken at 5 megapixels)
GoPro HD Hero 5MP digital camera still detail photo (taken at 5 megapixels)

Cannon PowerShot 6MP digital camera still detail photo
Cannon PowerShot 6MP digital camera still detail photo (taken at 6 megapixels)

Olympus X-920 12MP digital camera still photo (taken at 12 megapixels)
Olympus X-920 12MP digital camera still detail photo (taken at 12 megapixels)

 

Overall the GoPro HD Hero still photo ability is good and it will work in a quick snap situation, thus we awarded it our Total Motorcycle Editor’s Silver Award, 3 out of 5. Just don’t forget to bring along your regular camera.


The Positives

1. Good fixed lens at f2.8

2. Easy to use, no hassle options.

3. Excellent reproduction of details.

 

The Negatives

1. Too basic as a camera (no options)

2. Color reproduction is poor to fair

3. Pincushion is poor to fair



 

 

GoPro HD Hero Still Photos Field Photos

GoPro HD Hero 5MP digital camera still photo (taken at 5 megapixels)
GoPro HD Hero 5MP digital camera still photo (taken at 5 megapixels)

GoPro HD Hero 5MP digital camera still detail photo (taken at 5 megapixels)
GoPro HD Hero 5MP digital camera still detail photo (taken at 5 megapixels)

Cannon PowerShot 6MP digital camera still photo
Cannon PowerShot 6MP digital camera still photo (taken at 6 megapixels)

Cannon PowerShot 6MP digital camera still detail photo
Cannon PowerShot 6MP digital camera still detail photo (taken at 6 megapixels)

Olympus X-920 12MP digital camera still photo (taken at 12 megapixels)
Olympus X-920 12MP digital camera still photo (taken at 12 megapixels)

Olympus X-920 12MP digital camera still photo (taken at 12 megapixels)
Olympus X-920 12MP digital camera still detail photo (taken at 12 megapixels)

GoPro HD Hero Still Photos Specifications

GoPro’s HD HERO Naked is the world’s highest performance wearable 1080p HD video and still photo camera. Professional quality 1080p / 960p / 720p HD resolutions record at 30 and 60 frames per second (60 fps in 720p). Record up to 2.5 hours on a single charge and up to 9 hours total on a 32GB SD card (not included).

The camera can also shoot automatic 5 megapixel photos at 2/5/10/30 and 60 second intervals during your activity, hands free. Press the shutter button once at the start of your activity and record up to 2.5 hours of poster-print quality photos of you and your friends, living it up.

Included is one mount for attaching the camera to a helmet or other curved surface as well as the quick-release HD housing which protects the camera.

The HD HERO Naked is compatible with all other GoPro HERO camera mounting accessories, so it’s very easy to expand the functionality of your camera to suction cup to vehicles, clamp to bike handlebars and seat posts, mount to surfboards, and even be worn on the wrist or chest.

Waterproof to 180’ / 60m and protected from rocks and other hazards thanks to its removable polycarbonate housing. Replacement housings and lens kits are available, making repairs or refurbishing your HD HERO camera affordable and convenient. It’s a GoPro…go for it.™

What’s Included:
– 1 HD HERO Camera (5 megapixel)
– 1 Rechargeable 1100 mAh Lithium-Ion Battery
– 1 Waterproof Quick-Release Housing (180’/60 m)
– 1 Curved, 3M™ Adhesive Mount
– 1 Quick-Release Buckle
– 1 USB Cable
– 1 Component Video (HDTV) Cable
– 1 Composite Video + Audio Out Cable
– Warranty: One Year

Tech Specs:

Camera Optics
– Lens Type: Fixed Focus (2ft/.6m – 8), glass
– Aperture: f/2.8 (high performance in low-light situations)
– Angle of View: 170º ultra wide angle in WVGA, 720p, or 960p mode
– Angle of View: 127º wide angle in 1080p mode

Video
– HD Video Resolution Modes: (subject to change, pending final firmware release)
1080p = 1920×1080 pixels (16:9), 30 fps, 15 Mbit/s data rate
960p = 1280×960 pixels (4:3), 30 fps, 12 Mbit/s data rate
720p = 1280×720 pixels (16:9), 60 fps, 15 Mbit/s data rate
720p = 1280×720 pixels (16:9), 30 fps, 8 Mbit/s data rate
WVGA = 848×480 pixels (16:9), 60 fps, 8 Mbit/s data rate

– Sensor Type: 1/2.5 HD CMOS, 2.2µm-sized pixels
– Light Sensitivity: Super low-light sensitivity (>1.4 V/lux-sec)
– Video Format: H.264 compression, saved as Windows- & Mac-compatible MPEG4 (.mp4) file
– Exposure Control: Auto with user selectable center weighted average and spot metering settings
– White Balance: Auto



Audio
– Microphone: Built-in, mono with AGC (automatic gain control)
– Audio Format: 48 kHz, AAC audio compression

Photo
– Resolution: 5 megapixel
– Capture Modes: Single shot, photo every 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 secs.; 3 photo burst; self-timer

Storage
– Memory: SD card (SDHC), up to 32GB capacity (not included)
– Average recording times (using 32GB SD card): 1080p (30 fps): 4h 21m
960p (30 fps): 5h 26m
720p (60 fps): 4h 21
720p (30 fps): 8h 09m
WVGA (60 fps): 8h 09m

Camera Connectors & Cables
– PC Connection: USB 2.0 (data connection and battery charging)
– HDTV Out: HD NTSC & PAL (component cable incl.)
– Audio Out: Combo 2.5mm jack with stereo audio and composite video out
– PC Compatibility: Windows® Vista or Windows® 7; Mac OS® X 10.4.11 and later

Power & Battery
– Battery Type: Rechargeable 1100 mAh lithium-ion
– Battery Life: Approx. 2.5 hrs
– Charging: via USB to computer or optional power adapter
– Charge Time: 80% capacity after 1 hour with optional power adapter; or 2 hours with a computer’s USB port

Waterproof Camera Housing
– Depth Rating: Up to 180 feet / 60 meters
– Construction: Polycarbonate and stainless steel
– Hardware: Stainless steel

Size & Weight
– Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.6” x 2.4” x 1.2” (42mm x 60mm x 30mm)
– Weight: 3.3oz (94g) incl. battery, 5.9oz (167g) incl. housing

Optional Accessories
– Additional Rechargable 1100 mAh Lithium-Ion Battery
– Full Line of Mounting Accessories

Optional Expansion BacPacs™

An innovative expansion port on the back of the camera, the HERO Bus™ accepts optional Expansion BacPacs to expand the functionality of HD HERO cameras:
– LCD BacPac for on-camera preview and playback
– Endurance Battery BacPac for double battery life
– More BacPacs and expansion devices coming soon

Videos


Be a HERO…GoPro, in HD.

Developed for professional use, but at a consumer price, the HD HERO line of wearable cameras capture full HD video rivaling cameras costing 10x the price. How? Our team consists of some of the the brightest minds in Silicon Valley who also happen to be obsessed with outdoor sports, race cars, and all things moto. Athletic super geeks? Indeed.

Professional Quality, Full HD Video

1080p, 960p, and 720p in 30 and 60 fps (720p). The HD HERO line of cameras offers three different HD resolutions, giving you three filming modes to capture the best angles for any given activity:
– 1080p: 1920×1080 True HD featuring a 127º angle of view, 30 fps, and 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio
– 960p: 1280×960 Ultra Wide and Tall HD featuring a 170º angle of view, 30 fps, and 4:3 aspect ratio. See more of the action above and below than widescreen16:9 resolutions can show.
– 720p: 1280×720 Ultra Wide HD featuring a 170º angle of view, both 30 and 60 fps, and 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio

5MP Photos, Automatically

HD HERO cameras can shoot hands-free, 5 megapixel photos automatically at 2 / 5 / 10 / 30 / and 60 second intervals until the batteries die or the SD card is full (2.5 hours). Or set it to single shot, triple shot, or self timer for more traditional photo taking.



Audio Excellence

We’ve invested more in the HD HERO camera’s sound system than most companies spend on their entire camera development. You’ll only be hearing the sounds of your sport, not the howl of the wind. How? Obsessive audio engineering and an understanding that good sound is as important as good video.

Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, Built in Battery Warmer

The rechargeable 1100mAh lithium-ion battery (included) lasts for 2.5 hours of constant recording. It can be recharged to 80% capacity in just 2 hours when plugged into a computer’s USB port, or in 1 hour when plugged into a USB compatible wall or car charger. Camera can also be used while charging…handy on road trips where it’s fun to leave the camera rolling. Camera also features an integrated battery heating system for keeping your battery warm in winter activities.

Shockproof, Bombproof, Waterproof to 180’ / 60m

Don’t let a little water, or even a ton of water get in the way of getting the shot. Proven in heavy surf from Hawaii to Tahiti, Southern Mexico to Northern California, HD HERO cameras can handle it thanks their highly engineered polycarbonate exoskeletal housing. Waterproof to 180’ / 60m and tough enough to take a spin across the asphalt, GoPros are built to take a beating. Replacement lens kits are also available for $20, so there’s little worry of scratching the tempered glass lens while going for glory. Trash the housing in a massive crash? Replacements are available for $40. It’s a GoPro…go for it.



 

Total Motorcycle GoPro HD Hero review video

 

Overall, we give the GoPro HD Hero still photo capability 3 out of 5 stars.

Total Motorcycle Editor's Silver Award
Total Motorcycle Editor’s Silver Award


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About Michael Le Pard 356 Articles
For 18 years, Total Motorcycle has been supporting motorcyclists and motorcycling worldwide!