Recommendations for helmet cameras?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Recommendations for helmet cameras?

    Hey guys,

    I'm interested in buying a helmet camera but there are lots of options out there. Anyone have one they'd recommend?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Costco has the GoPro Hero HD package on sale for $179 right now...it's usually $300+. The first version of the GoPro was terrible, then came the Wide version which was much better. The HD looks like it's their first really good camera, and it comes with a ton of mounts in the Costco package. I'd be grabbing one for sure if I hadn't gotten the Wide recently.

  3. #3
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    I've got the GoPro HD and absolutely love it! Shoots fantastic video, and it works great for not only sports, but general HD shooting.
    Has five different shooting modes, depending on what you need. I find that mode #4 works best for mounting on helmet, and mode #2 best for on the bars/stem.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Castigador
    Costco has the GoPro Hero HD package on sale for $179 right now...it's usually $300+. The first version of the GoPro was terrible, then came the Wide version which was much better. The HD looks like it's their first really good camera, and it comes with a ton of mounts in the Costco package. I'd be grabbing one for sure if I hadn't gotten the Wide recently.

    Don't see it on the site, did you see it in stock at a local shop?

  5. #5
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    I use the Contour HD 1080p. I have no complaints. If you're looking for a high-definition camera, this is one of the few options out there (along with the GoPro Hero HD that was already mentioned).

    The Contour is very light. (Most of them are.) It's got no tiny buttons to fiddle with while you have gloves on. (It's started and stopped by a large slider.) It features lasers to aid in aiming the camera. (Yep... "Frickin' lasers!") That's a bit of a gimmick though. And the image quality is surprisingly decent.

    You do notice significant softness in the image closer to the edges of the frame, though (at least with my camera). That much is to be expected, in my opinion, given the price level, optical specs, and the tiny lens on these cameras.

    I think there are two major things you will have to battle when trying to obtain good results with a helmet camera while biking:

    1. Image shake: There are no helmet cameras that I know of that feature image stabilization in the camera itself. The only thing that will be working to your advantage is that the lenses on these cameras are usually very wide angled. That reduces the relative appearance of image shake. On top of that, your only other option for image shake reduction is in post processing: Adobe Premiere Elements and Sony Vegas Studio Platinum Edition 9 both feature shake reduction features for editing. If you're savvy with PC video, you can also try VirtualDub as a free option; there's an anti-shake filter available for it online.

    2. Wind noise: There's no good way of shielding the microphones on these cameras from the wind. As the speed picks up, you'll capture tons of wind noise. Even the models that feature "wind noise filtering" features don't do nearly a good enough job of preventing it. However, this might be less of an issue, because a lot of people who make helmet cam videos usually replace the audio track with some music anyway.
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  6. #6
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    Ok, this issue is near and dear to my heart. I'm a pro videographer, specializing in action sports. I'm SUPER picky when it comes to quality of both the camera and the footage it creates. I just pulled the trigger on a GoPro Hero HD a few days ago, and here are my categorized reasons:

    720p 60fps. For slow-motion stuff, you want as many frames taken per second as possible to keep things clean and moving smoothly. 60fps is an absolute must for me in this arena, so a few cameras were eliminated instantly with that.

    Full 1080p. The latest standard in the never-standardized TV world. Gotta have it.

    Color. Most cams lately are producing decent color. It's also a pretty subjective thing, and open to debate. I personally like the color of the GoPro ever so slightly over the Contour. I don't like the color from the VIO series at all.

    Graininess. They all are a bit grainy looking, but they're getting better each year. I'll call this one a draw between all recent models.

    Waterproof. Not water resistant, mind you. Snow, mud, dust, water and all sorts of nasty stuff will hit your camera and quite often. The GoPro's little waterproof housing is rated to a depth of 160m (meaning you can easily swim and do some light snorkeling stuff with ease. It withstands huge waves in the ocean, so that's good enough for me.

    Mounting options. GoPro clearly the winner here.

    Sensor scanning speed. This is something a lot of folks don't understand. CMOS censors found in most image capture systems are what is called a progressive scan sensor. The first photosite on the top corner of the sensor begins its capture of photons, followed by the enxt one in that row, then the next, and so on. Then it goes down to the next row, and scans that one. Global exposure sensors don't do this. They expose them all at the exact same time, which captures a more accurate image. But good luck trying to find them in a helmet cam! A HUGE problem with many progressive scanning CMOS sensors out there is that they tend do perform this scan operation rather slowly. This means that, between the time where the first photosite and the last photosite on the sensor is exposed, the subject you're filming may have moved. What this lag between the photosite scanning creates is often referred to as rolling-shutter effect, Jello-effect, skew, wobble, etc. Here's an example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qC0_nIUq9s&feature=fvw

    This effect is COMPLETELY intolerable for me. It's makes me want to throw up in my hands. And contrary to what others might think, you CANNOT fix it with even the best of editing programs. Shake, yes. But the Stretching and compressing of the footage, no way. It's there forever. Unfortunately, it happens to all of the new helmet cams to a degree, but some are far worse than others. The Contour is a great camera, and has very pretty image. But it wobbles more than a Richard Simmons exercise video. The GoPro scans remarkably fast, so this effect is reduced greatly. This was the main factor in my decision, and the GoPro won hands down.

    Result: GoPro all the way. It's an ugly little brick of a camera, but it works very well. It's also probably the most versatile of them all, due to the variety of mounts out there and that great waterproof housing.


    PS, sound wasn't considered. They all suck in this category. You will get wind noise from them all, they will rattle around some, and will have a good deal of mic hiss in the background no matter what. Just put the video track to some good music and call it done.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos
    PS, sound wasn't considered. They all suck in this category. You will get wind noise from them all, they will rattle around some, and will have a good deal of mic hiss in the background no matter what..

    Some day, SOME DAY, GoPro will have a way for us to connect an external microphone to the HD camera. They’ve been talking about it or a long time now. Just imagine a small “lapel mic” with a foam windsock on it. Man, I would sure love that.
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  8. #8
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    Any commnets on the Tachyon?
    Seems they have a new version coming out in November.
    http://www.tachyoninc.com/

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer
    Any commnets on the Tachyon?
    Seems they have a new version coming out in November.
    http://www.tachyoninc.com/
    Not sure how it'll look as far as image quality, but the specs aren't all that impressive in light of the competition. Max of 720p at only 30fps? That's a large step backward for sure. I wasn't all that wild on the color and grainyness/macroblocking in some of the clips i saw on youtube, but who knows what they did to them to get them onto youtube. The 3D one is pretty cheesy. 3D has a LONG way before it settles into good techniques and hardware.

    All in all, it's a camera. It is cheap, and it has a remote on/off switch, but it looks pretty bulky once it's in its mounting cradle. I'd definitely hold out for better specs.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  10. #10
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    and don't even mention the Oregon Sci camera. It's not even in the same league as anything mentioned here.

    To a point, you get what you pay for. Cheap hardware = crappy footage
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos
    Sensor scanning speed. This is something a lot of folks don't understand. CMOS censors found in most image capture systems are what is called a progressive scan sensor. [...]
    Good point. I do notice this in footage I shoot with the Contour. Perhaps our levels of sensitivity to this might be different (as you say yourself), but in my experience, this becomes bothersome only when going through the most violent camera shakes; e.g., when going over major rock gardens (speaking under the assumption of the camera being mounted on my helmet). And, since the camera shake goes way beyond any comfort zone in those situations anyway, the "jellyvision" is hardly ever in the position of being the sole factor that spoils the recording, at least in my opinion. But, your're right. It's a factor.
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  12. #12
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    without doubt Go Pro CAM HD!

  13. #13
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    Have both Contour 1080 and GoPro HD, by far the GoPro takes the prize. Get the chest mount eliminates most of the shake and gives a more compelling cockpit view from the bike. GoPro has a ton of features built-in and mounting apparatus that Contour does not. The Contour picks up too much wind noise, but the GoPro enclosure filters that out although you can still hear everything else including your voice perfectly. Also have a surfboard mount so there's the waterproof aspect.

  14. #14
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    Costco has the GoPro for 239.99 right now, not 179.00.

  15. #15
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    I've always used full feature cameras with OIS. My latest is a Canon HF M31.

    Not too many people want to hassle with figuring out how to get a full-featured camera on
    their helmet, let alone shell out the cash for one. But the features sure help to create much
    better videos.
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  16. #16
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    I've got one of the first Contour HD 720p cameras. I really enjoy it, but as others said the 1080p model or the GoPro HD's are also very good cameras. I do not think the Contour mounts are very well made, so I've had to customize a few of them to get stable footage (the vented helmet mount was horrible). You have to pay extra for a waterproof housing whereas the GoPro has it built in...

    Maybe further down the line when I get a faster computer for editing I will pick up a GoPro HD and shoot entirely in 1080, but for now the 720p Contour works for me!
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  17. #17
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    Just pulled the trigger on the Costco deal (for the HD 1080). Thanks for the info here guys. The current 1080 will work when the new 3D function comes out, but don't think I need that bad enough to buy a second camera.
    Last edited by whoda*huck; 11-28-2010 at 01:29 PM.

  18. #18
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    the go pro HD 960 is what costco was selling for 180. its a truncated version of the HD. basically, you get up to 960, and you lose 60 fps at 720, you do get 60 fps at 480. it also does not have the expansion port that the full HD model has, which is supposedly going to allow for LCD review screens, mics, and external batteries iirc.

  19. #19
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    hi Noahsw, I saw some awesome helmet cameras on suntekstore at good prices. you may search "helmet" on that site.

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