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Go Pro HD Hero II Analysis

by Dirk
04/06/2012 05:08:30 P.M.

Nothing gets me more excited to go on another adventure than browsing through old photos and videos of a previous trip. Not only do they inspire me to relive some old memories, they motivate me to experience the things that I never had a chance to. The sole purpose of any adventure is to live it, love it, and then hopefully remember it. That is why the GoPro HD2 has become my newest travel companion. Not only does it help me document the fun activities that I can later show to my friends, it’s the next best thing to reliving ‘that one amazing moment in time’ again.


I live to take photos on my trips, one of my short term goals - in fact - is to become an expedition photographer; so, I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that I will have to lug heavy and expensive camera equipment on my back. Whether it’s backpacking through Europe, hiking in the woods, or kayaking down the St. Johns, I take all my gear with me, but sometimes the extra weight and worrying (about it getting broken or stolen) is enough to make something exciting like traveling become too stressful. My newest solution to this problem is to take the GoPro HD2 with me instead, and I haven’t looked back since. I still have a camera that shoots 11MP photos, takes time lapses, can take 10 photo-per-second bursts, AND shoots high quality HD video in a select number of frame rates and image quality options!

On top of that, another great thing about the GroPro HD2 is that it’s a new and updated; so it’s - in my opinion - 2 times better in almost every way when using as advertised. The photos are higher quality, there are more settings when it comes to the preferred field of view (narrow, medium, and wide),  and the lens is sharper. But the most noticeable difference is probably the HD2’s new user settings interface. GoPro really went out of their way to make the HD2 a lot more user friendly with it’s new easy to understand settings menus that use pictures instead of hard to remember codes like it’s predecessors. It took me less than 15 minutes to fully understand the basics which make it easy to use and just as easy to teach to others (because it’s nice to be in the photos/videos once in a while too).  This matters to me a lot because if you can’t use or understand your camera properly, your results are going to suffer.

The GoPro is famous for wide-angle HD video capabilities that in the HD2 come in 720p, 960p, and 1080p options. Not only can you select different quality settings that add quality to your videos but you can also choose lower (but still good) quality video that extends the capacity of the SD card, which you have to purchase separately.  In relation to the video frame rate the HD2 has a new 120 frames per second option that means you can play back the video in slow motion 4 times slower than the action that was captured.

My favorite thing about the GoPro HD2 are all the accessories that come with (or separately) at the initial purchase of the camera. There is virtually nothing that you cannot mount this little dream device to, and the more creative you can be, the more interesting of a shot you are going to have. And if that wasn’t enough, it gets better; it comes in a waterproof case. Thus making water your best friend and no longer your worst enemy.

So far I've mounted the HD2 the the hood of my car, to my mothers motorcycle, to kayaks, to helmets, to my skim board, to bicycle handle bars, to my chest, on my head, even my dog Jack (the honest truth) and anything in between. One day we even took it Scuba diving with us! And like I said before, the more creative you are, the better the shots turn out and without the normal stress of ruining your camera (which ultimately results in a ruined experience).

The improved quality and ease of use of the GoPro HD2 has made it one of my favorite tools to take on fun weekend trips, because there is nothing better than reliving good memories at the end of the day.

[Here's a last few words of advice that will help you enjoy peace of mind as you document your adventures:

1. Remember, it is still an automatic camera so the best remedy for making sure your videos come our great is to shoot as much as you can until your batter either dies (in approximately 6 hours fully charged) or until your video memory runs out. From my personal experience, with a 16GB high class memory card, the battery will run out before your video card is filled.

2. I recommend getting 2 batteries if it’s within your budget and if you plan on spending an entire day out on a trip. I also would recommend that you don’t’ buy the least expensive memory cards, rather buy a high quality SD card designated for HD video instead of buying lower quality ones that have higher memory. Theres nothing worse than having choppy video with great content - rendering it useless.

3. The GoPro works best when in great sunny, blue-sky weather. Murky, grey days sometimes yield less than fantastic results, but from a photographer’s perspective...keep shooting! You might just find a sweet spot and the more you use it, the more likely you are to gauge when the best time would be to press record.

4.Wear bright colors, be creative, and have fun!]