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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:13 am 
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Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
I have been writing a blog about life here for several years now. I try to put some nice colorful tropical looking photos in as often as possible. I've been averaging about one new/replacement camera per year for six years! This place eats electronics.

Anyhow, I recently added one of the GoPro Hero HD cameras to the collection,thinking it would be some cool shots. Like from the top of the TI mast. Well, after several hours of disappointin video due to the housing fogging up, I decided to risk the open back case, and just hope it didn't get wet. The housing didn't fog up, but after taking over 1200 shots on a really nice, bright day yesterday, I am coming to the conclusion that I really don't much like this camera. It's a nice package, and has a good battery life, and the array of mounts for it is impressive. And that's all good.

But it just seems to take lousy photos. Hundreds of lousy photos.
I mean, the fish eye effect is distracting, but I've managed to remove that using Paint Shop Pro...but whether the distracting fish eye effect is in or out, bottom line, the photos are not nearly as good as either of my other two waterproof cameras, a Pentax and an Olympus.

Any thoughts?
Image

Any suggestions?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:54 am 
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Location: Maui, Hawaii
Have you tried the different video resolutions? I slowly went through each one and found r5 1080p (1920x1080) to be the best with minimal "fish eye". I also have been playing with putting some tinfoil inside the waterproof cast to attract any moisture from the lens. Also, depending when you bought yours, there is a downloadable update to simplify start/stop recording to one button. A lot of trial and error required to get better pictures from this camera.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:37 am 
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Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
yes, that photo IS with the r5 setting. Tinfoil? how does that work? Is it inside the sealed housing?

I have been playing with some post processing, to get rid of the fish eye, but once I got rid of the fish eye distraction, I realized that was was left was still a crummy quality of photo in it's own right.

For example, here's a before:
Image

and after using a fish eye removal tool on Corel's Paint Shop Pro:
Image


The resolution is terrible, and fixing the fish eye just moves the distortion to the near field. Notice how the boat is distorted no matter which way I go with the processing. And I don't like moving pixels in photos. I don't mind using filters for noise, and fade control, but I really resist moving images around. Doesn't feel honest.

By the way Bob, you might notice your splash shields in place. they work really good. I basically used your instructions except I have about a six inch diameter loop of the black bungee for tension, between the outside corner of the spray shield and the little post on the aka. It seems to be working well. Lets the shield act as a hinge, dumping water to the outside since that's where the give is. And the bungee keeps it tight and is easy to get on and off. That's the only part I disconnect to fold the boat up. Getting in and out of the boat from the front seat has become more of an operation than before, but overall it's a huge improvement. La Gringa Suprema says 'thank you!'

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:29 am 
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Location: Maui, Hawaii
Gringo wrote:
Tinfoil? how does that work? Is it inside the sealed housing?

Yep, I've tried it on 3 sides of the camera inside the housing. Seems to help.

I thought your corrected picture looked great. I did have to get use to the "distance" view the GoPro creates. It wasn't very useful this year for me with the whales, as even close encounters looked triple the distance away.

The Sprayskirt looks nice on your boat! Glad it's working so well for you.

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 Post subject: GoPro Hero HD use.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Location: CLEARWATER, MN
I have installed a GoPro HD Hero on my TI also. I have also used an Olympus camera with video HD. I actually prefer the GoPro over the Olympus when doing video. The GoPro has a much wider 'fish-eye' lens than the Olympus. I normally don't use the GoPro to take single photos but rather mostly video.
The GoPro HD resolution (1920x1080) is equivalent to a 2MB digital camera.
My Olympus, with a 10MB+ resolution, gives a much better still photo (resolution would be about 5 times better than GoPro). But when using the video function, with the Olympus, I was constantly having to swing the camera to get the scene. The much wider angle GoPro means less camera rotations to capture the view. I typically use the r4 setting which has a 4:3 (170 degree) view ratio for solo sailing, but there is considerable 'fish-eye effect'. If I know that I am going to try to get some shots of other sailors, and I don't want the other mast or shoreline to appear to be too bent I set the resolution to r5, which cuts the field of view to 127 degrees.
So I tend to use the Olympus for still shots and the GoPro for video.
I have only had the GoPro fog up once. I didn't know that aluminum foil would help remove some of the moisture. I bought a can of 'clean-dry air' at an electronics store (doesn't use liquid propellant). After making camera settings...I gently spray the clean air into the housing just as I am sealing it. Seems to displace the moist ambient air and the GoPro hasn't fogged up since then.
If you are getting drops sticking to the GoPro's housing outer lens face...I found that a drop or two of Rain-X on a micro-cleaning cloth really helps splash drops to skim off the plastic face.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:08 pm 
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I can barely even stand to look at the fish eye effect. I find it totally unacceptable. That's my main problem with the GoPro. I hate the images it produces. I don't understand the rationale in a camera that purposefully distorts the image. It's impossible to get a good true view with that camera.
I shot two hours of video from the TI mast, and deleted it after looking at the first fifteen minutes. It fogged after that, but even the first fifteen minutes, which was clear, was painful to watch. It was like a gimmick camera trick.

What the heck would one do with hours of totally distorted video? I am puzzled why someone would even build a camera that cannot possibly take an undistorted image. I had thought that the fisheye effect was just an option with these when I ordered one. I never realized that fisheye is all you're ever gonna get. I just made a mistake buying the camera. Wouldn't be the first time.

I'll stick with the Olympus for video that makes sense, and the little Pentax W80 will do the time lapse without trying to wrap the horizon completely around you.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Location: Central Coast NSW Australia
Gringo,
The GoPro is a POV (point of view) camera and not a general use camera. It is arguably the best POV camera out there. Most of the clips I have posted have been filmed with this camera (aistringy on youtube)
The fogging is a well known issue as it has a battery warming function for use with snow activities. GoPro sell re-usable pads but you can use tissue paper or even rice grains to stop the fogging. Another solution is to fill the case with the dry air from your cars air con vent before closing the case.
I find R3 mode the best for video. The fisheye effect can be lessened by keeping the camera horizontal.
This forum will answer any of your questions: http://goprouser.freeforums.org/


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:48 am 
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hey, if you like the camera, I'm glad that it was what you were looking for. For someone like me who wants to record the image he is looking at as accurately as possible, so he can show it to other people, well, this camera doesn't do that. One shouldn't have to continuously explain what's wrong with a photograph. I just wasted the money based upon my misunderstanding that this was a good outdoor camera. I saw the housing and all the plastic parts, and didn't think to actually see if I could find a decent photo taken by one.

I mean, if you spend a couple hundred bucks for a digital camera these days, don't you expect it to take good, accurate photos? The GoPro should be labelled as a kaleidoscope, or something. Or at least make it clear that it's a permanent fisheye lens and that's all you're ever going to get from it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:07 am 
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Location: CLEARWATER, MN
My third waterproof video camera is a 'lipstick' tube type. It also records in HD and the lens is equivalent to about a 50-70 mm standard lens (no image warping). I rarely use it anymore because the 'angle of view' is so narrow that I seemed to be missing the area I wanted to record quite often.
My Olympus has a zoom function so I use this waterproof camera as a handheld point and shoot, wide to narrow images.
Several friends, who ski, bought the GoPro to mount on their helmets and recommended it to me. I was really impressed with their HD videos played back on a large TV. I went to the GoPro website and played their collection of videos so I knew what the images (fish-eye, etc.) were going to look like.
The GoPro is also waterproof down to more than 150 ft depths, so I can take the camera down with me when I snorkel or scuba and want a small camera.

Regardless of which camera you are thinking about...you need to surf the web and see the images that the camera can take before buying. No sense throwing away several hundred dollars for something you may not be satisfied with.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:38 am 
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for my dive housing for my video camera I use little desiccant pacs velcro'd or taped inside. You can reuse them too ...

something else to consider is temperture differentials, i.e., the camera/housing sits in an airconditioned house/car and is then brought outside/underwater. this is asking for a fog-up. Let the camera/housing adjust to the outside airtemp before sealing

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:23 pm 
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As stated, the GoPro is a "POV" video camera. Just because it will take photos does not mean they will be good photos. ALthough is is more "camera style" than like a lipstick type cam, it's primary mission is video.

The wide, WIDE angle of these cams (in my opinion) is way more geared toward video, not photos. I certainly agree that for video they are pushing the wide FOV (field of view) a bit too far, especially for seascapes that are wide open with flat horizons.

These wide angle cams work better in close quarters to show the action going on around you - within 25 feet max IMO...

Great for MT biking, skiing, etc, but yes the distortion of the "flat" horizon is annoying. On a boat or kayak about the only view I use it for is from bow or stern looking at the crew... or from mast down.

You can reduce the effect of the horizon distortion by centering the view of the camera and splitting the horizon right in the middle of the FOV. Not a cure by any means, but it helps.

The older GoPro's had much less VOF, there are also other cams out there worth checking out too

Might see what's up over at HelmetCamReview.com ;-)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:34 am 
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Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
Thanks for the tips. I am still trying to find someplace to use this GoPro. Almost nothing I video is within 25 ft. I live in a world of wide open beaches and ocean. This place is more Big Sky Country than even Montana.

Yesterday I set it up on a tripod and got some time lapse of a squall blowing toward us over the ocean. It's an interesting gimmick, but no better than the Pentax W80. Which is waterproof and fits in my cargo shorts pocket. And of course the horizon is distorted.

PassWind, I tried all the dessicant packs I have but the problem with the GoPro housing is that there is not any room in it to velcro or tape anything. I doubt there's room in there to even put the velcro alone. It makes for a nice tight, small camera package, but they should be looking at redesigning the removable back of their housing with a hollow place for a real silica gel pack. GoPro has come out with these little cardboard-thin dessicant packs. $ 15 for a pack of three that are reusable for just a few times. Not really much of a long term solution, or if it is, an expensive one.

I'll get over it. I'm just bummed because I made two bad buying decisions in one trip to the USA. I ordered the GoPro Hero, and a Garmin eTrex Summit HC GPS. I really screwed up. Both of these purchases were mistakes on my part. The Garmin is next to useless to me, since it cannot download marine charts. That was deceptive advertising on Garmins part, but I should have looked into it more closely. I must have had a bad week when I made those buying deisions. $ 500 thrown away. Bugs me.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:17 am 
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Okay, La Gringa strung all 1200 of these together to get four hours of sailing into a three minute video. She found some music she liked for it, too, since of course the audio is worthless. I think we'll put it on the next blog post, which should be published in the next hour or so.

What do you think?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:30 pm 
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Location: CLEARWATER, MN
I have been looking at quite a few 'Youtube' videos of Hobie AIs and TIs and how
owners have been placing their cameras and the rigs they have installed to control the movement/positions of the cameras. There are a number of GoPros installed or with POV brand units. Some boats are rigged with both types. I would be interested in the opinions of owners who have had the chance to video with both types on how satisfied they are with the action captured.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:09 am 
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Gringo wrote:
Okay, La Gringa strung all 1200 of these together to get four hours of sailing into a three minute video. She found some music she liked for it, too, since of course the audio is worthless. I think we'll put it on the next blog post, which should be published in the next hour or so.

What do you think?


Sometimes in an art gallery you get a TV with some video art. I really like it. It's pretty art-y.

I think you're pretty right though Gringo in that I don't think that there is any one camera that does all. I'm in the market for a GoPro myself. I've got the Panasonic Lumix which I love but it doesn't have the robustness that the GroPro has. It takes great video and stills but the waterproofness is questionable. I wouldn't mind something that I can mount to the bow or a pole and get it wet. But then again, neither of these 2 cameras have a depth of field or interchangeable lenses, so to get any sort of professional type photo is either impossible or takes a lot of effort. So a Panasonic GH2 in a waterproof housing would give the best results however +$2,000 and heavy so still not ideal for what we do.

It would be interesting to see the results if you strapped the GoPro to Dooleys collar Gringo.

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