Help Which action camera?

xDOMx

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#1
I am toying (very much undecided as of yet) about getting an action camera.

Of course GoPro is seen as the 'gold standard' but I have read very positive things about other, cheaper versions such as the SJCAM M10.

Anyone with any experience in these cameras (I know a few of you have them), feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 

Tuomas

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#2
I can sell you a SJCAM SJ4000 WiFi cheap so you can play around.

It's the Chinese copy of an older GoPro, works perfectly but I just don't find the motivation.
 

bloaker

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#3
I have a gopro and a virb.
The gopro video quality is better - however the Virb has a slider on the side that allows me to turn it on and start recording in one motion. There is no guessing whether or not you are recording.
That one feature alone has me using the virb much more than my gopro.
If I had something important I wanted to film, I would take my gopro... but that is rare.
I do use the gopro on time lapse and get some great shots. In this respect, the virb is not close.
But once again - I don't do it often. I use the virb twice a month. I might use my gopro 4 times a year.
 

macrophotofly

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#7
I run a Go Pro now and again. I bought one at the beginning of last year and after bolting it on the front of the bike handlebars found myself incredibly bored by the footage. The single forward facing format is not very exciting on a road bike. You don't really get a sense of speed even when decsending at 60+km/hr.
I then tried it bolted to the back of my helmet for a few rides. This is far better than sticking on the top of your head as it is out of the wind. You can then get plenty of shots of your mates behind you and get side shots by looking the other way. HalfFastMike managed to jazz it up one time by him having one on the front of his bike and combining it with my footage going backwards. Even still, I got bored with that.
I've tried time lapse which is great if the road doesn't turn too much - but the photo format on the GoPro isn't particularly helpful (there's no 1080 format for time lapse) so you end having to process far more at the end of the day than you need to.

I've had much more success once I bought a selfie stick for it. Okay you've got to hold onto the stick with one hand but its easy to pop it into one of your back pockets when you've got to ride harder. I've attached an example video with the selfie stick from last year's HFC Nichitsu ride. It gives a dose of reality to what's achievable with a Go Pro and one evening editing it
I've also now got a mount point on the front QR axle that I can use for descents - much better. No example footage though.

Other points to note -
  • They eat batteries. I have to carry the 2-3 spare new higher capacity ones (which now come with the latest model) if I'm out for a days cycling
  • Not having a screen on the majority of the models means you "point and hope". Don't even think about a "quick" check on your wi-fi linked mobile phone. Your mates will be 5km down the road by the time you've got it connected, showing the view, and then switched it back off (both Go Pro and Phone battery life diminishes way to quickly with it left linked on)
  • Agree with Bloaker that the lack of affirmative on/off is very annoying. I got round it by buying a model with the remote control (although that uses up more batteries on the camera too).
  • You get rid of 95% of what you film - be prepared to spend time editing it after. If you haven't got 3 hours spare each time you want to use it, don't bother.
  • With no stabilisation the raw Go-Pro footage is very bouncy when cycling. I tend to shoot at 1080 and then use the software to stabilise down to 720. Still very juddery at times though.
  • For any film you really want lots of view points to make it more interesting, so I wish they had made the camera easier to attach and detach. I understand the screw withstands more knocks, but a clever quick-release system would allow you to put a few mounting points around the bike and move the camera around them quickly while out on your ride.

Anyway I find I use it 3-4 times a year for the bigger HFC event rides but its actually more useful for me for filming my bike builds on time lapse. Rest of the time it sits in the cupboard
 
Likes: Musashi13

GrantT

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#8
I use a Mobius. Probably the cheapest, lightest and smallest of any. It's small enough to tape to your helmet without being conspicuous (see the photo of me in the Hinohara Hill Climb thread). The quality of the footage is also good as long as you have a stable mount (which I didn't really have for my videos so far). It's main limitations are the 1.5 hour battery life, non-replaceable battery, and lack of display screen.

If your aim is to upload cycling footage to YouTube, quality (in terms of resolution/bit rate) shouldn't be a big factor because YouTube down-samples all video to a relatively low bit rate, which means fast-moving detailed video like riding through a forest can look terrible.
 

bloaker

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#9
I was just messing with my bike mounts in this video - I like some, never use others...
But I needed something to find a more entertaining view... you can only take so many videos from the same perspective of similar rides.

Also - the mounts are compatible with both my virb and gopro.
Another nice feature of the virb - you can turn it on/off from a garmin edge.

 

theBlob

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Sep 28, 2011
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#10
Cycling videos are dull. Full stop. I can't imagine why anyone wants to be bothered making them at all. Oh, except for the downhill mountain bikers, those guys can make all the videos they like.
 

xDOMx

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#11
Cycling videos are dull. Full stop. I can't imagine why anyone wants to be bothered making them at all. Oh, except for the downhill mountain bikers, those guys can make all the videos they like.
I tend to agree.

My aim is to use it for photography purposes rather than video. Ultimately, if I did upload any video it would be to Vimeo where they don't rag quality too much.

Photography via a GoPro or comparable product tends to be pretty good for clarity, wide angle, and captures moment that you simply can't with a normal camera.
 

macrophotofly

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#12
What kind of photography? Action shots of people cycling? Static views of the scenery while cycling? Or both/other?

I personally found the GoPro pretty bad for photography, not least because you have no viewfinder and a fixed focus semi-fisheye lens. The shutter/record button is awful too. I read the latest model is even worse than the earlier models because they prioritised close up focus at the cost of distance.
If photography is the priority over video I'd suggest getting a waterproof lightweight camera instead - most of them do video at 1080 and are cheaper than a GoPro.

On the other hand if you use the GoPro to video at 4K then extract photos from that - it might work - not tried that on mine yet
 

leicaman

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#13
I tend to agree.

My aim is to use it for photography purposes rather than video. Ultimately, if I did upload any video it would be to Vimeo where they don't rag quality too much.

Photography via a GoPro or comparable product tends to be pretty good for clarity, wide angle, and captures moment that you simply can't with a normal camera.
If you are after a good photography camera for bike exploits, might I suggest something like my Tachihara. Very portable, and great quality. Not quite as fast to set up as a GoPro, but higher quality results.

 

Andy in Tokyo

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#15
I've had a Contour Roam and a Sony Action Cam, and now use a GoPro after blacking out in Yodobashi Camera a couple of weeks ago (again).

In short, they all do pretty much the same thing, the biggest difference is in the mounting options: GoPro has its own ecosystem of third party gear that others can't match. That said, you can make great videos and take interesting shots with any of them, provided you put the time in and get creative with angles and mounts, and/or get lucky and capture something truly amazing, like Sunderland playing decent football.

If I were you I'd just go with the one that you really want. Life's too short to live with regrets!
 

Musashi13

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#17
I'm pretty happy with my Virb so far and from what I can tell the new ones are even better and the mounts that are made for the GoPro can be used by the Virb without any special treatment.

Video quality options and photo size options abound so you can easily find what you want to work with. The battery will go for about 2 1/2 hr on standby using the Garmin to flick the camera on and off or last a whole ride if you flick the switch yourself keeping it off when you don't want to shoot.
If you leave it running capturing until it dies you'll get a great deal of footage and be editing it for months so get one you can easily control on the fly.
 

saibot

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#18
however the Virb has a slider on the side that allows me to turn it on and start recording in one motion. There is no guessing whether or not you are recording.
Agree with Bloaker that the lack of affirmative on/off is very annoying. I got round it by buying a model with the remote control (although that uses up more batteries on the camera too).
Amateurs :cool: check your settings, the gopro has a one button mode, 1click to turn on and start recording, 1click to stop and turn off the camera. This will also save tons of battery by not having it in standby.
 

bloaker

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#19
Amateurs :cool: check your settings, the gopro has a one button mode, 1click to turn on and start recording, 1click to stop and turn off the camera. This will also save tons of battery by not having it in standby.
Most of my recording is off road and often the camera is where I can't see the red led on the gopro, nor can IO hear the beep or feel the position of the on/off button. The virb is a physical slider I can feel with gloves on.