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Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Driving to Basketball in the 500 Benz

Got back out on the mean streets this morning for my weekly 10am basketball game, and I decided to mount my new GoPro HD Hero2 to the rear deck for the occasion.

Verdict: a lot of random stuff can happen in 25 minutes of LA driving...sorry about the fingerprint smudge in the lower left corner...and this is a pretty neat piece of equipment.

NOTE: Sorry about the intermittent blinking black bar at the bottom of the frame...we are working to resolve the issue. Fixed! New video is live.

First of all, the camera is way smaller than it looks in photos. The blocky design had me expecting a Leica-sized device, but nope. It's tiny.

Here it is on the seriously sticky "Motorsports Edition" suction-cup mount, which GoPro claims is strong enough to remove dents. Even with the mount, it's still not as tall as this standard-issue press-event swag.

About the only thing I don't like so far is the lack of any sort of viewfinder, which means you can't frame your shot with precision before filming. Of course, GoPro have solved this problem with the LCD Touch BacPac, but I feel like we're conditioned these days to expect fancy LCD viewfinders on everything, so it's a little jarring to see just that expanse of plastic back there.

As you'll notice in the video, however, the fixed lens's fish-eye focal length means that you're basically going to get everything in the frame no matter where you point the camera. So I'm actually not sure that it makes sense to spend 80 bucks on that BacPac. Maybe if the camera had a zoom lens, yeah.

Something else I noticed is that the built-in microphone doesn't have much range. The camera was only mounted a few feet behind the cabin, but even when the car's stopped, you can't hear the music very well—and it was loud, trust me. I had it pumping on the assumption that the camera would pick up the sound, just like my iPhone 5 did in the CEL video. Obviously the iPhone was inside the car at the time, but I had higher expectations of the GoPro. Guess I'll have to run an external mic into the cabin if I care that much—or just get another GoPro, which generally seems like a good idea (multiple camera angles on the same drive for split-screen stuff, etc.).

Oh, and why didn't I get the latest-and-greatest HD Hero3? Simple: scathing consumer reviews on Amazon regarding the firmware, which is evidently beset by bugs. That plus the higher price—and the plenty-impressive specs on the tried-and-true Hero 2—made it an easy call. If I do get another one of these, maybe they'll have the Hero3 straightened out by then.

Anyhoo, so I got a GoPro HD Hero 2, and I think I like it. As for the promised 981 comparison drive, by the way, that's been rescheduled, but I do have a little trip to Puerto Rico coming up next week that should be making its presence felt on this blog directly.

posted in: 500Benzlife  Videos  

1 comment

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February 14th, 2013 | 2:31pm hollywood time | #1

seagal3 says:

A realistic slice of driving through LA. Would have liked a glimpse of the actual bb game. Perhaps in the sequel.

GoPro Promo

The GoPro's features are prominently displayed throughout both films and in accompanying text. MotorBeast should earn some serious coin for the enthusiastic endorsement. Of course, the average Joe or Jane could probably not hope for these Oscar-worthy results right out of the box -- correct? In the hands of a pro, however, the outcomes were impressive.

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