Sports Camera Shoot Out - What do you use?

GSAstuto

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#1
My first 'sports cam' was a mini Super 8mm cam. OK, well, it was film. Then I used a BackPack VHS rig. Then a Fisher Price PXL2000 (still have it), Now I'm using a Go Pro. So - the tech is always improving - what's the best out there now?

GoPro Hero? or Hero 2?
Sony?
JVC?
Contour?
Liquidimage?

My dreamcam would be:

1) Goes at least 4hrs on a charge, or interop with a dynamo hub.
2) Allows for simultaneous video and image caps
3) Option of 1-touch image cap, so you can hit the button anytime for a series of image caps without interrupting the video
4) GPS
5) Wideangle , rotating lens - so it's easy to position regardless of mount.
6) Remote or even ANT connectivity - why shouldn't I be able to control the cam from my Garmin for chrissake?
7) Weather proof without any funky external cases

Anything else?
 

FarEast

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#2
Although the youtube video thats I posted in the other thread was created by Sony fan boys, something I'm certainly not and after some serious issues with Sony's warranty system and the fact that they seem to be designed to fail within a month of the warranty expiring I vowed to stay clear.

However I've been looking at action cams for ages, Contour, Go Pro, iOn Action, Oregon Scientific ATC Mini. I've never been that impressed with the technology v price tag.

However the Sony Action cam seems to be exactly what I'm looking for.

Here is the video foor those that missed it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu8MKceMve4
 

FarEast

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#3
1) Goes at least 4hrs on a charge, or interop with a dynamo hub.
Most HD cameras will do this now - I know the Contour does as its the main contender.

2) Allows for simultaneous video and image caps
Not really needed if you are recording in HD, just get the screen grab.

3) Option of 1-touch image cap, so you can hit the button anytime for a series of image caps without interrupting the video
See above

The Contour HD GPS and Contour +2 has this function.

5) Wideangle , rotating lens - so it's easy to position regardless of mount.
Contour HD, HD GPS, +2, HD WiFi ....hang on have you actually done any proper research on this?

6) Remote or even ANT connectivity - why shouldn't I be able to control the cam from my Garmin for chrissake?
Sony WiFi and Contour WiFi, +2 can be controled remotely using the iPhone or Andriod based phones ....I feel like im doing your research for you Tim :D

7) Weather proof without any funky external cases
Now this is very clever, the Contour and Sony (I didn't research the others) are actually weather proof,without the housing they are rated at IPX4 so you can use them in foul weather without the scuba case.

While the Contour Roam is rated at IPX7 so water proof to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Also you might want to add super slow motion to the list basically anything that records over 120 fps.
 

bloaker

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#4
I use a GoPro Hero 2 - with LCD (so I can see what I am shooting).

I don't mess with it too much, but the image quality is great and the waterproof case works.

Only issue is occasionally I will get some 'fog' on the case cover that kinda kills the image quality.

Also - the mic picks up every shift and clip in out. Almost annoying.
 

joewein

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#5
1) Goes at least 4hrs on a charge, or interop with a dynamo hub.
Most HD cameras will do this now - I know the Contour does as its the main contender.
Contour quotes 2-2.5 hours on a full battery for the ContourHD, Contour+, Contour GPS and 3 hours for the ContourROAM. They mention a wall charger and car charger for longer sessions, but that's not ideal for a bike.
 

GSAstuto

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#6
@FE - just a thread starter. I know that several of the cams come close to my 'dream list'.

As for image cap - remember, most of the video is captured in MP4 which means you are not getting full frame each frame, but an interpolation of the frame. So, only the key frames would be very clear. The idea of a 'button grab' means that you force the camera to actually capture key frames. (My JVC does this - it's a 'photo' button that you can push whilst in the video mode). I really like it.

Also - the purpose of the button is that oftentimes you just want to capture a segment of the ride. Not the whole thing. So , get this, wouldn't it be cool if you could set the 'time window' of the button action to anything. Like +/- 10min and then you get those 'magic moments' without sacrificing the battery life or storage. This is similar to most motion detection cams - at the motion sense - the buffer is stored to nvm.

Remote Issue: I'm not a smartphone 'fanboy'. That's why I have a Garmin AND a feature phone. The feature phone lasts for several days on a charge and serves as my primary communication device without interruption. The Garmin is the cockpit. And never the twain shall meet. I want consolidation among my cockpit controls, but keep my communication device isolated as I might actually have to use it. Now then, if the Smartphone makers actually produce something more 'Garminlike' , I'd totally be in the market. But, as yet, without a bunch of kludgy add-ons, holsters, dongles, etc - I just don't see anything that's interesting to me. Even GoPro goes over the edge with this, with their 'BacPac'. Great - now I have to take a cam that is actually 'almost' the right size and stack it like a bunch of legos.

Anyway - all good comments --- I'm interested to see the replies.
 

FarEast

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#7
@FE - just a thread starter. I know that several of the cams come close to my 'dream list'.
Just pulling your leg Tim! :D


Contour quotes 2-2.5 hours on a full battery for the ContourHD, Contour+, Contour GPS and 3 hours for the ContourROAM. They mention a wall charger and car charger for longer sessions, but that's not ideal for a bike.
Joe I think that those numbers are at full resolution basically 1080HD and 120 fps. I could be wrong though as it's been sometime since I really dove in to the numbers on the cameras.
 

theBlob

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#8
I'm yet to watch an onboard bicycle video that can hold my attention for more than 12 seconds. Although Eric's race vids with narration are pretty cool. Cause I know Eric and I like hearing his commentary.

I'm not sure why anyone would bother watching other peoples bicycle POVs. it is like watching grass grow.
 

FarEast

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#9
I’m in the market for one as I’m basically making training videos Although I’m allowed to use UCI licensed footage for private classes I can't sell them online without paying the UCI their pound of flesh and as many of my athletes have mentioned they would rather see Japanese roads, scenery and races than they would UCI footage.... basically they want something better than the four walls of their apartment :D
 

bloaker

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#10
I'm not sure why anyone would bother watching other peoples bicycle POVs. it is like watching grass grow.
Agreed when it is just a ride around town.
MTB video is a bit different. I have watched and learned lines on trails that have caused me issues when I am out solo.
My videos in Japan have been for friends back home. More to show them the sights and it is much faster than just walking around. In 8 minutes I was able to capture Chinatown, MotoMachi, Yamashita Park and traffic in general.

MotoMachi was a bit blurry... damn roads! ;)
 

GSAstuto

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#11
I have a hundred hours of 'license free' Alps you can have. But, yeah, having some well shot sections would be cool - and if it has GPS embedded, perhaps riding along as a 'course'. This is another feature I'd like - an overlay of my computer data - like speed, grade, etc. Again, if it was ANT enabled, this would be possible. Hmm, another idea popped into my head .. slight diversion .. but how about a utility that takes your TCX or FIT data then outputs a 'movie'. Then you can use as an overlay in your video (Aftereffects, Premiere, MovieMaker, etc). The timestamps should be close enough to make it reasonable.
 

FarEast

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#12
I have a hundred hours of 'license free' Alps you can have. But, yeah, having some well shot sections would be cool - and if it has GPS embedded, perhaps riding along as a 'course'. This is another feature I'd like - an overlay of my computer data - like speed, grade, etc. Again, if it was ANT enabled, this would be possible. Hmm, another idea popped into my head .. slight diversion .. but how about a utility that takes your TCX or FIT data then outputs a 'movie'. Then you can use as an overlay in your video (Aftereffects, Premiere, MovieMaker, etc). The timestamps should be close enough to make it reasonable.
Yes - the GPS feature is really coming in to play especailly with indoor trainers that have power/feedback such as the TACX, ELITE and the new Wahoo. GPS data + footage will give you a much better indoor training experience. All you need to do then is work out a way for the player to slow the video in rerlation to your speed on the trainer - that there is the tricky part!
 

Malte

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#14
... This is another feature I'd like - an overlay of my computer data - like speed, grade, etc. Again, if it was ANT enabled, this would be possible. Hmm, another idea popped into my head .. slight diversion .. but how about a utility that takes your TCX or FIT data then outputs a 'movie'. Then you can use as an overlay in your video (Aftereffects, Premiere, MovieMaker, etc). The timestamps should be close enough to make it reasonable.
Already exists e.g. Dashware.
You can find many samples on youtube e.g. here and you can display all your TCX data (heard-rate, power, speed, cadence...)
 

GSAstuto

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#18
@Bloaker -

Dashware is written in .Net and runs as a desktop app - NOT a webapp.
Slow is relative - I know many J2EE apps which are very fast - choose the right tool for the job, no?

@Malte - some cool bits and pieces - but not close to cool sh$$t. Out of the box it parsed none of my GPX files - so , I need to debug or use a GPX 'cleaner' to see why. It's demoware which means I can't even test it thoroughly to begin with. And then it does it's own video merge /rendering. Why should I want that? I have a Dual GPU powered native CUDA encoder sitting next to me that does more than 1000 fps at HD. I'd rather let it do the heavy lifting than my ARM powered netbook. Wouldn't you say?
 

joewein

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#20
Joe I think that those numbers are at full resolution basically 1080HD and 120 fps. I could be wrong though as it's been sometime since I really dove in to the numbers on the cameras.
I don't see anywhere on their site where they claim more than 2-2.5 hours. Specifically see "Battery life expectancy for the ContourHD" on their online support.

However, since the wall charger and car adapter which they recommend for longer recording sessions connects via a regular USB connector, any USB buffer battery would work to extend this.