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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Call to Action!

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock-climber for the last few years you’ve likely heard of action cameras or at the very least “GoPro”.   These tiny wearable video cameras have taken the sports/recreation scene by storm and now account for an enormous (and still growing) slice of the video camera market pie.  If you’ve yet to pick up an action camera for yourself or know someone who has it high on their want list, it might pay to brush up on your facts and figures. Let us help with the below information. 

Grab your helmet and strap yourself in as we give you the run down on what’s available and who it’s likely to appeal to.

GoPro Hero 3 Range

The big name in Action Cameras for many years, GoPro was once sought after only by extreme sports people and hardcore divers looking to record their unique past-times.   Thanks to some excellent footage captured by these top users, demand for GoPro among the wider public has soared.  Attach the camera to your head, car, bike, surf board, skate board… press record and do your thing.  Today GoPro is available in 3 different flavours, and a couple of very recent revisions.
GoPro White Edition:
Entry point to the GoPro range, the White Edition packs all the fun and waterproof ruggedness into a low cost package, ideally suited to casual/family use.  GoPro White is compatible with all of the GoPro mounts and accessories and still features built in Wi-Fi connectivity for Smartphone/Tablet remote control.  Full 1080 HD video capture is present with 5MP stills and the same 60m waterproof housing as higher models in the range.
GoPro Silver and Silver+ Edition:
Middle child of the GoPro set, the Silver Edition builds on the specs of the White Edition increasing the still photo resolution to 11MP, time lapse and adding a 10 frame per second burst shooting, advanced recording modes such as looping video, manual white balance and ProTune aimed at cinematic colour grading.  The new Silver+ improvements include reduced size and weight, 30% better battery life, faster Wi-Fi access and better lens optics for even sharper footage.
GoPro Black+ Edition:
Feature packed and among the most wanted, the GoPro Black+ Edition crams so much into its tiny form factor to easily please even the most discerning video adventurer.  Used by professionals in the sports broadcasting, documentary filmmaking and news/journalism fields and loved by enthusiasts the world over.  The GoPro Black+ Edition comes bundled with its own wireless waterproof remote, ability to record higher than Full HD at 4K and 2.7K resolutions, slow motion capture of up to 120fps as well as improvements to low light capabilities and still image capture and a better lens, smaller (by 30%) form factor and better battery life than the recently replaced Black Edition.

Competitive Spirit

While GoPro are the undisputed kings of action cameras, there are still two places on the podium.  Contour and Sony both have enviable reputations in the marketplace.
Contour
Contour, one of the original action camera manufacturers has two cameras in their current range, the ROAM2 and the +2.
This is the entry level Contour camera and features a 270 degree f2.8 lens projecting onto a high quality 5 megapixel sensor.  This camera records at full high definition at 30fps and high definition at 60fps and is waterproof without a case down to 1 metre with an optional housing that goes down to 60 metres.   The lens rotates 270 degrees for level mounting on any angle surface and has an easy to activate record button.
The +2 has a lot of the same features as the ROAM2 but with a better quality lens and better low light performance. It also features built in GPS functionality and Bluetooth connectivity.  It also does full high definition video and 120fps slow motion video at 480p.
Sony
Sony has just announced its all-new Action Cam HDR-AS100V (as detailed in our blog below) – it’s a new splash proof wearable video camera that records high-quality Full HD pictures. Due in Australia in March.
Currently available, the Sony HDRAS30V is an awesome action camera from the electronics giant.  It is almost the same as far as sensor and lens (170° Ultra-Wide Angle Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar Lens) as the previous version but with a few new tricks added to keep it very current.   This video camera uses the excellent Exmor R Back-Illuminated CMOS sensor for great colour reproduction and very good low light performance.  The recording options go up to 60fps at full high definition or high definition at 120fps.  You can also record slow motion video at 120fps or 60fps at a resolution of 1280 x 720p.  Still images can be captured at 11.9 megapixels.  Connectivity options are ample with the camera featuring Wi-Fi and NFC compatibility.  It also has GPS built in, of course.  You can buy this with an LCD housing to give it an LCD screen so it can be used as a normal camcorder and it also has a universal mount adapter included to fit all of your existing GoPro mounts.  This camera is excellent value for money.
So, when looking around for cameras to capture your adventures don’t just limit yourself to the GoPro range.   There are a lot of options out there for recording high quality video footage of you and your friends crashing/jumping/winning/riding your favourite extreme sports.

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