01.HD Hero2 camcorderPrice:
$369 (Motorsports edition)
The HD Hero2 is a pocket-sized camcorder made to capture HD video in extreme circumstances.
When placed in its plastic housing the camera can take some serious punishment, with many examples on YouTube showing the camera falling out of cars, crashing with the bike rider and other mayhem.
It can also take extremes in temperature, with a battery warmer to keep you shooting in cold climates.
We take a look at the HD Hero2's:
The camera itself is a simple block (42mm x 60mm x 30mm) weighing less than 100g with three buttons, three connections and a fixed-focus lens with the ability to capture video at 170 and 127 degree wide angle in 1080p resolution and a narrow 90 degree field of view at 720p.
CHOICE tested the motorsports pack (all packs are the same price), which includes a suction cup bracket mount and several arms and screws to place the camera in the best position when attached to the helmet, side of the car or whatever flat surface you could imagine.
If you want to use your helmet, skateboard, bike etc for extended videoing, a selection of additional bracket bases with 3M tape are included.
The outdoor edition has straps and wearable brackets instead of the suction cup mount, while the surf edition has a selection of mounts made to stick to a surfboard as well as cases that can float.
Ease of use
In an effort to keep the durability at its highest level, the camera has very few parts that can snap off, shatter or otherwise break. An LCD viewer is an optional extra and very useful for framing a shot. However, if you plan on doing anything outrageous, shooting without the LCD viewer attached is recommended.
Although the company claims the menu controls are an improvement over the previous model, the controls on the HD Hero2 are simple yet often frustrating.
The various menu items, such as video, playback and still camera, are available as a button selection. Unfortunately, if you miss one selection you can’t simply go back - instead you need to cycle through all the choices to get back to the appropriate menu. However, we suspect most users are willing to forgive the ease of use issues if it delivers the extreme video.
Performance and durability
Our testers, including a group of teens hell-bent on making a funniest home video, soon realised that the suction bracket that comes with the motor kit needs a smooth surface or it falls off and tumbles along the road.
However, the mishap does illustrate the unit’s durability when placed in the clear plastic mount. The camera can be attached in areas not normally the domain of the HD camcorder.
One session involved placing the camera on the side of a pool and another strapped to the pet dog (no animals were harmed in the making of this video).
Some of the more interesting features on offer include:
- The ability to capture 120 frames per second (at WVGA resolution) or 60fps (at 720p), allowing you to create atmospheric slow-motion video highlighting a hair-raising stunt.
- The camera can also capture 11MP still images and can play both video and audio on a TV using a mini HDMI connection.
- A mic input, which is useful for improved audio. However, many users may opt for a soundtrack overlay and let the extreme action speak for itself.
It’s not the easiest camera to use, and when all the extras are added up its not cheap either, but it’s a lot of fun to use and limited only by your imagination – and willingness to put yourself in crazy situations.