GoPro Hero 2 Review | Extreme Sports Camera

GoPro Hero 2 Camera boasts itself as the world’s most versatile and powerful sports camera. Not an empty boast considering its increasing use by professional athletes, sports filmmakers and sports enthusiasts.

Going by GoPro’s website, GoPro cameras have been used in over 70 TV programs incuding popular ones like Amazing Race, Mythbusters, Deadliest catch and Sarah Palin’s Alaska.

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GoPro Hero 2 mounted on surfboard, gopro.com

GoPro Hero 2 – Endless Possibilities

There are endless possibilities in terms of what an active person can do with this camera. GoPro Hero 2 camera is wearable on the head, wrist or chest for recording videos during a variety of outdoor activities.

GoPro Hero 2 Camera is mountable on almost anything – On surfboard, on a bike’s handlebar, dashboard of cars, on remote controlled planes and practically anywhere and any place that you can think of .

‘Impossibly small cameras that go practically anywhere’ – Fortune.com / CNN, October 2010

GoPro Hero 2 | Features & Specs

FeaturesGopro Hero 2
Size (H x W x D)42 x 60 x 30mm
Weight93.55 grams
Video1080, 960, 720 HD
Megapixels11 MP
Battery Life2.5 Hours
Wide Angle ViewExtreme, 90 to 170 degrees
Internal MemoryNone
External MemorySD, Up to 32 GB
LensFixed Glass Lens
SensorCMOS
WaterproofUp to 60m depth
Image StabilizationDigital
Price*$279
 

GoPro Hero 2 – Form factor

  • Size – 42mm x 60mm x 30mm (LWD)
  • Weight –  93 grams, 167 grams with the casing

GoPro Hero 2 is a small camera, in-fact it is tiny and easily sits in the palm of a hand (even if it is a small hand). The naked GoPro camera itself is made of plastic body measuring 60mm wide, 42mm high, 30mm deep and weighs under 100 grams.

Since the camera is primarily intended for use in extreme conditions, GoPro Hero 2 is designed to remain in its protective housing. The housing made of hard polycarbonate makes the camera rugged, shatterproof and waterproof up to 60m depth.

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GoPro Hero 2 in its Housing

The included GoPro Hero 2 Camera housing comes with two types of back covers or doors:-

  • Closed solid back – designed for underwater use and in high speed conditions of over 100 miles per hour
  • Open back – Designed for use in low speeds and for recording Audio.

In terms of looks, GoPro Hero 2 is certainly not the prettiest of the cameras that you may have come across. The entire design is focused on making the camera small, portable and optimized for use in a variety of extreme conditions.

The camera is cuboidal in shape with buttons, indicator lights, ports and slots decorating all its sides.

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  • Front side – Display screen, Lens, indicator light, Power on/off button which also acts as a mode switching button once the camera is on
  • Right Side – TV out port, 3.5mm stereo jack, mini-USB port for charging and data transfer
  • Left side – SD Card Slot, Mini HDMI port
  • Bottom Side – Indicator light, microphone input
  • Back side – Hero Bus-Port, Indicator light
  • Top side – Shutter button, Micro-phone input, Indicator light

GoPro Hero 2 Lens

GoPro Hero 2 Camera comes with a high quality fixed type glass lens that is optimized to provide sharpness, extreme wide angle views, and good performance in low light conditions, while still being small in size.

Unlike regular point and shoot cameras, the GoPro Hero 2 does not have a built in zoom function. However, the camera makes up for this by providing Wide, Medium and Narrow field of views, which effectively simulates the zoom-in function.

It is important to remember that GoPro Hero 2 is an action camera and the zoom function is not practical for use in extreme sports and high speed situations.

It will be interesting to see whether GoPro can come up with an intelligent auto-zoom function in future.

GoPro Still Photo Mode

GoPro HD Hero 2 is primarily an action camera for recording live videos. However, it can also serve as a still camera and allows shooting still photos in 4 different settings.

  • Single shot
  • Three shot burst
  • Auto photo Mode – Can be set to shoot every 2, 4, 10, 30, or 60 seconds
  • Timer mode – Set the timer to shoot in 10 seconds.

The camera can be set to shoot either in 11MP, 8MP or 5MP modes. Lowering the megapixels allows you to save memory and get more pictures.

GoPro Hero 2 – Video Recording

This is where GoPro Hero 2 excels, recording professional quality HD videos in extreme conditions. The camera offers three different modes for recording in HD and one non HD recording mode.

  • 1080p Mode – offers a resolution of 1920 x 1080, 30 FPS, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 960P Mode – offers a resolution of 1280 x 960, 48FPS plus 30FPS, 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 720P Mode – 1280 x 720 resolution, 60FPS plus 30FPS, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Non HD Mode – 848 x 480 resolution, 120FPS plus 60FPS

The camera can be set to record videos or shoot still photographs in 3 different Wide Angle modes.

  • Widest – Extreme 170 degree FOV
  • Medium – 127 degree FOV
  • Narrow – 90 degree FOV

The 170 degree wide angle is probably the widest FOV offered by any camera and and even the narrow 90 degree FOV offered by HD Hero 2 is still considered wide angle in regular cameras.

GoPro Hero 2 – Battery Life

GoPro Hero 2 camera uses a 3.7V, 1100mAH battery that is rated to last up to 2.5 hours of continuous use. The battery is chargable by a supplied USB cable and takes about 2 hours to re-charge.

You can also re-charge the battery in half the time (about 1 hour) by using third party wall socket to USB chargers that are available, or you can buy battery BacPac that GoPro has now introduced.

GoPro LCD Screen

GoPro HD Hero 2 is primarily designed for recording videos while you are on the move. Hence, the camera does not come with a viewfinder or a LCD view screen.

gopro-hero2-lcd-bacpac

However, GoPro has come up with a detachable LCD screen to address this issue, you will be able to preview and playback videos and also control camera menus on this optional LCD screen.

GoPro Hero 2 – Modular Design

A major advantage of the GoPro Camera is its modular design which allows addition of accessories to enhance its usefulness. Currently, there are four  accessory ranges.

LCD BacPac : Provides the ability to frame pictures, play back photos and videos, and provides an easier menu interface

Battery BacPac: doubles the battery life

3D System : Helps Produce 3D pictures

Wi-Fi Bacpac and Remote : Enables live GoPro video broadcast via the Wi-Fi network.

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Again due to its modular design, the camera can be adapted for use in different outdoor activities. Currently the GoPro Hero 2 is available in 3 editions.

  • HD Hero2 Outdoor edition
  • HD Hero2 Motor Sports Edition
  • HD Hero2 Surf Edition

The basic camera in all editions is the same versatile GoPro Hero 2 camera that we have reviewed above, the only difference is in the type of camera mounting systems provided with each edition.