Go Pro produces a small HD video camera with a wide-angle lens that comes with a waterproof case and mounts for surfboards or helmets – for under $300. Basically, you can mount one of these bad boys just about anywhere to capture HD footage. There are other point-of-view cameras on the market, but nothing seems to beat this combination of size, image quality, waterproof capabilities and price.
At the highest video resolution, the camera shoots in 1080p (1920×1080 pixels at 30 frames per second) and can be set to take 5 megapixel stills every few seconds. It can also shoot in 980p, 720p, and WVGA formats. At 720p (1280×720 pixels) the camera will shoot at 60 frames per second, which allows for really smooth slow motion playback.
It uses a CMOS sensor, making it good for low light situations. It ships with the waterproof case, and a ton of mounts are available for helmets, bike handlebars, surfboards, cars and so on.
Want, want, want!
Okay, take a breath. One thing to consider: this is not a general purpose camera. There’s no zoom or lense aperture adjustment. It’s a fixed-focal-length, fixed-focus wide angle (2ft/.6m – ∞) with a fixed aperture (f/2.8), so it’s not going to take the place of your typical camcorder or one of the newer DSLRs. If you’re really into making films, this is an addition to your camera quiver, not your primary shooter.
Another catch – this one more minor – is that the SD memory cards it uses have to be purchases separately. Go Pro sells the largest one – 32 MB – for $100. That gives you the ability to shoot up to 4 hrs and 21 minutes of full 1080p HD footage. You can find same cards for less if you shop around.
To get a feeling for the kind of footage these cameras can take, at their best, check out this promo clip from Go Pro:
And here’s a guy, below, who attaches it to the end of his paddle. One nice thing about a camera that cost less than $300 bucks is that you’re more likely to put it into risky situations where you might think twice about using a $1000 or $2000 camera. With risks comes reward, and the rewards in this case are novel shots.