The Hero2 is great. They have this great lens, just perfect. And the exposure is amazing, even when you are in front of the sun, the colours are really bright, and it’s white balance is rarely caught out, but…
Ok, strap yourselves in, here we go.
There are 3 main problems which if fixed would really make this a great camera, but as is makes it a frustrating toy.
- Firstly when you take a picture, just a one off pic, there is about a second delay between pressing the shutter button and it taking the camera. This is supposed to be an action camera. As a stills camera it’s therefore mostly useless.
- Next up is the mic. Of course the onboard one is shit, but there is no housing that allows you to make use of the socket in the side of the camera to plug in a decent mic. And you can’t use the camera without a housing because there’s no way of mounting it.
- The file format used for video is a delivery format. It’s great quality, but its not a format which is designed to be edited. Given the way most people use a gopro, letting it run for hours, the footage it generates is destined to be spliced and edited. So the whole thing has to be transcoded before you can even start taking masses of time and disk space.
Then there are the minor niggles.
The casing and the camera need a place to attach a lanyard.
The closing clip is precariously fragile.
There’s no software that comes with it to allow you sort and delete the 100s of images it generates which are of no use.
When you turn it on it has a habit of jumping to the next mode so you have to scroll through all the modes back to the one you wanted. There’s an easy work around for this. You default it to the previous mode, but when you are trying to take some shots while flying you don’t want to be fiddling and looking at the screen.
The time it takes to hold down the switch to turn it on is hopelessly long for an action camera. Instant on what you need when you’re hanging from a paraglider in ratty air. The buttons are sprung loaded with enough force it’s not going to turn on accidentally.
The memory card capacity means that it can record up to 2 hours in the highest definition, but the battery only gives you an hour.
There’s no standard screw on camera mount in the plastic casing.
And then there are all the poor idiots that bough the wifi streaming add on so they could preview the image on their androids smartphones. Check out Gopros facebook page to see how happy (and amusingly vocal) they are about it all.
Oh, and the firmware is pretty badly written making the first cheap memory card I tried incompatible. So you then face the expense of a top of the range class 10 branded card if you want it to record HD video, which you do, because that’s why you bought the Hero2 and not the Hero.
But apart from all this, it’s great. Upload the stuff to vimeo following their encoding parametrers and your video looks amazing. Just a pity that the camera isn’t as amazing.