Helmetcams

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Helmetcams

Postby Replicant » 10 Oct 2016, 13:04

I have been thinking about getting a helmetcam for quite some time now. Being hit by a car last week has now invigorated my search somewhat.
This will be used primarily on my motorbike but would also be useful on the mountainbike as well.

I am well out of touch and am trying to get a decent shortlist depending on price and functionality.

I know there is the Go Pro range but was wondering if you really need to get the most expensive one or are there some good options lower down the range.
I have also seen the Drift Ghost S I like the shape of this one as opposed to the large cube for the GoPro. Not too worried about it having a screen if there are other ways of setting up (such as using a mobile etc).

Anyway, any help in drawing up a shortlist and what pleasures/pitfalls to look out for would be great.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 10 Oct 2016, 18:35

Have you ever read the DCrainmaker page? I find his site good in that the articles are detailed and good at simply providing the information to let you make up your own mind whereas I find a lot of professional reviewers are extremely biased towards GoPro products (even though in one case, the camera was almost entirely unusable when reviewers had it):

http://www.dcrainmaker.com

For a helmet cam I think quality is important as you need to be able to make out details like number plates although I don't think it would be worth paying for a Hero4 Black over a Silver for example. I've currently got a GoPro Hero 3 Black, a couple of GoPro4 Sessions, a Garmin Virb Elite and two Garmin Virb basics (all first generation).

I've never liked the GoPro3, batterylife is terrible, it's unreliable and the dive case is really fiddly. I haven't tried the Drift but I had a few recommendations for it when complaining about the GoPro as Drift was a solid, reliable unit.

I was a big fan of the first generation Garmin units as they had a robust design (no dive case needed, body is weather sealed), screen and controls (Just slide the big switch forward and it always records), reliable, recorded GPS data, decent batterylife and a well designed mount system. The problem was the cylindrical design which meant it didn't work with a chest mount and it didn't work well on the helmet either as the weight meant it seemed to always gradually loosen its mount. That said, it seemed to work well on a motorbike helmet as met a useful group of people who rode adventure/tourer bikes on a forum and they liked the Garmins.

The reason I differentiate these ones as the first generation units is that since then Garmin completely abandoned the cameras and the second and third generation Virbs are little more than GoPro clones that use a similar design losing all compatibility with the original Garmin parts.

Despite disliking the Hero3, I like the Session - no fiddly dive case and they're so small and light they're easy to mount in a variety of places. The screen is minimal but I found with the bigger GoPros you largely had to use an app on the phone to configure them anyway. The battery is the tradeoff, batterylife isn't great and it's not replaceable.

I haven't used any of the Sony cameras but I rarely see anything good on them, their design seems quite fiddly and I noted DCrainmaker when asked why he hadn't ever reviewed them said he'd bought them each year but disliked using them and never got far enough to write a review.

A new one that's been getting some good feedback is the Yi 4K action camera - it offers a similar sensor and processor to the GoPro4 Black but cheaper and with far better batterylife. The fiddly dive case (not even included) put me off though so I haven't tried it myself.

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Postby Replicant » 11 Oct 2016, 12:59

Well I have been comparing the Drift Ghost S to the Go Pro Hero4 Silver.

The best thing about the Drift is the profile. It naturally sits better on your helmet. I think the GP4 looks ridiculous by comparison.
Yes the GP4 does have a better higher 4k resolution but I have nothing to view this on at present anyway. 1080p at 60FPS seems fine to me.

Biggest complaint I have seen about the Drift is with regards to sound.
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Postby Replicant » 11 Oct 2016, 18:27

Been reading up more on the GP4 Silver and it looks like a hard act to follow for most cams. Problem is it looks fornicating ridiculous on a helmet!
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 12 Oct 2016, 12:53

Not sure if there's any refurbished ones left but worth checking:

http://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/gopro-h ... ro-2523926

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Postby Replicant » 14 Oct 2016, 12:35

Well I have gone and ordered the Drift Ghost S in the end.
It isn't quite as good as the GoPro but it is far more aerodynamic and easily good enough for what I want it for.

Drift do have a 4K model coming out at some point in the near future but no idea when and how much so I am happy with my choice.

I will probably end up with more than 1 camera eventually anyway, just as John has.
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Postby Johnmcl7 » 15 Oct 2016, 16:34

I think that's a good choice and hope it works well for you, I feel GoPros are generally hugely overrated and there's too much of a focus on their image quality and not general usability which can be a big issue with action cameras. A short time after I got my Garmin and was very pleased with it I was reading a five camera shoot out with the Garmin and Drift both at the bottom of the pile and the GoPro3 Black very much ahead as the best of them. This surprised me as I'd had a lot of good recommendations for the Drift and I liked the Virb while I'd found the GoPro next to useless, they hammered the Garmin on a few points but in particular it's unacceptably poor batterylife - it could do over two hours with its GPS and wireless sensors enabled and over two and half for pure video recording. The Gopro on the other hand could barely squeeze an hour and that was cut in half when its wireless was enabled.

Since then I've paid a lot less attention to professional reviews and much more to user feedback which is variable but there's decent sources out there that I find far more accurate. Personally I'm not fussed about high resolution video mode (above 1080p), it generally slaughters the battery and takes up way more room plus a lot of the time the footage is going to be compressed further to be stuck on Youtube or similar however a lot of reviewers seem to place the resolution above everything else - the GoPro3 Black had a useless 4K mode but it was praised for its superior resolution even though that meant it had terrible batterylife and was chronically unreliable.

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Postby Replicant » 19 Oct 2016, 19:14

Took the Drift out on my commute to work today. Really impressed with the quality so far. The remote works really well and so far I am really happy with it.
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