Wednesday, April 20, 2011

GoPro Hero HD

Okay... Begin rant... 

A few months ago I drank the GoPro koolaid and picked up a Motorsports GoPro Hero HD. I think I at least got it on sale or on a 'tax free' sale - I hope so anyway. I have to dig out the receipt. I will be even more unhappy if I paid the full price of $299! 

The GoPro takes very nice, high quality, great looking pictures and videos. That is the reason I decided to buy one - well that and all the reviews from happy customers that I read.

Unfortunately, the user interface is not so nice. I have spent the last few months trying to get the camera to work. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It acts like it is working and then when you go to review the video there isn't one. It has left me high and dry with no video several times now. So far the success rate has only been around 30% and I am just about done with it.

I have the instructions just about memorized word for word now. I have verified that the SDHC media is compatible. And I have read their FAQ about troubleshooting problems. I have been about driving myself nuts thinking that I have been doing something wrong...

On the way to the RTE last Sunday I took the Uvas Dam route to Hwy 152 to Watsonville and then Hwy 1 to Moss Landing. I had the camera mounted and running - at least the blinky light said it was... Then after lunch we rode up to Fremont Peak and I had the camera going again. I was really excited to get home and review the footage. Well, there was no video at all of the Uvas Dam ride. WTF??? I did however get some video of the Fremont Peak ride - except... it stopped just before we actually go to the peak because the stinking battery ran out!

I was so upset that I started boxing it up to sell which most likely will be at a big loss... Then I started thinking about how it isn't right to offload it on some poor unsuspecting person and I decided to go back to the GoPro website one more time to see if I could find any known problems like the ones I am having. While I was hunting around there I saw that there was an available firmware update so I downloaded and installed it.

So far I have successfully gotten video 2 times out of 2 attempts. It is still too early to say that the problems are fixed though. It needs to work flawlessly every time I use it for a while before I will believe that it is fixed. If it leaves me empty handed again, I will be done with it.

If I had to do it over, I would pass on the GoPro. There are cheaper cameras that are easier to use out there, with better (longer) battery life, and I would gladly give up a little picture quality to have one that isn't a total PITA.

Alrighty... Rant over. I feel better now :)

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