I saw the post about GoPro on Core the other day. No doubt GoPro has allowed its users to capture stunning footage, but in my opinion the design is lacking. Every time I see a GoPro on a helmet it looks out of place. The form and details of the body also appear to be an after thought. I am currently in the market for a helmet cam, but just cant get into having a box hovering above my helmet.
I think I am going to go with the ContourHD, which has an aluminum body, seems to be a bit more integrated and considered.
I am interested to see what other people think about the design of the GoPro.
I had exact same thought when I saw the post on core. When I first saw the product live in Mammoth on some kid’s helmet last year before I knew what it was, I thought it was some kind of tracking device his parents made him wear. It reminds a lot about the early days of cheap/small digital camera.
Product is awesome though. Think of the user studies you can do by making the user wear it and see everything they see, uninterrupted.
I saw 4 of those this season turn into a pile of parts from being slammed on the ski hill. That has to be the worst way to mount a camera. Something that didnt stick out so far (and didnt beg to be snapped off) would last a heck of a lot longer.
These things look like little toy spy cameras in person. Skeuomorphic rendition of what a camera is supposed to look like. Pretty weak, and hanging out in the breeze, not very streamlined. The Contour cameras are way slicker looking, have laser sights, and a sliding switch that is a bit easier to use with gloves on.
The quality of the HD images are great, but last time I used one the sound quality was pretty bad, hard to separate the wind noise from the activity and voices.
I finally picked up a GoPro this past January. I have to say it is a terrific product. There are so many well thought out details on the product. The camera itself is very small. The case system allows for easy changes between waterproof back, non-waterproof back, LCD back and wrist mount back. All using the same front (main) part and no tools. The user interface is a little “blunt” at first, but once you use it once or twice, you realize how simple and easy it is to opperate with two buttons. I also love all the different mount options. Talk about end user custom set up!
You have to give them credit for the “up-feature design” they did from the start. The camera came out a few years ago. They were designed then to offer upgrades (not yet designed). The back of the camera has an electrical connection and a lock lip on the side. The other month they came out with an LCD “backpack” and battery “backpack” that mounts onto these physical features. That is good planning.
I use mine all the time. Most recently, I used it to document house work with a picture every 60 seconds. It was in a dusty and very dirty area…and was knocked of the stand several times.
I had the opportunity to test a GoProHD out for paintball and some wakeboarding last summer.
I do agree that there are some features that aren’t perfect, but overall id say its one of the best things to hit the action-sports community in a very long while. And like Blaster says, it does have a few years on its neck, but is definitely still among the contenders for first place. Especially due to it’s flexibility and thinking ahead with all the mounting features. It is a shame that the sound is weak, but the images are top notch!
The contours advantage is that it is designed specifically for sports where there is a gogglestrap. As soon as this isnt available, you have the similar kinds of mounting solutions as the GoPro.
Correct me if I’m wrong, the Contour is only water resistive to water. It’s not water proof, so a housing is needed for surfing etc.
Just saw that they had one with GPS, what ever that is useful for.
We really wanted to get something like this to mount on our dogs collar. Then we realised what a bad idea it might be. He wanders around our marina all day (can hear a boats refrigerator opening right from the other end of the marina).
I think we might find out sooner rather than later, which boaters kick him, which boaters feed him junk food and probably which boaters wander around their vessels naked. Ugh.
blaster701: There are so many well thought out details on the product.
Blaster701, thanks for your description. It sounds like the GoPro has benefits that weren’t highlighted through its form. I have been watching side by side comparison footage of the Contour and the GoPro, and it looks like the GoPro is superior.
But from a design point of view, its hard for me to spend $300 on this form. It would be fun to do a redesign!
Apple may be minimal, but they put a ton of work into nailing minimal. Using radius’d squares and circles does not bring you to the level of apple.
That being said I love the Go Pro for its functionality, but really think it lacks in its integration for personnel wear. I would definitely use this product for track days in a car, but would never use it for anything open wheel like karting, and definitely not on the slope. It just does not look or feel right for helmet mounting applications, and I don’t think it think there are any limitations for it being packaged in a more streamlined manner.
I know, Apple spends a lot of time to create simple forms (they do them right). To me, the UI is what makes the Apple products nice, not the “box”.
I would hazard a guess that the GoPro shape is a result of how small they could create the “box”. Keeping in mind that the “box” has to provide the video quality they wanted to offer. Yes, the shape is not going to win any styling awards.
I have used it on my helmet, my son’s helmet, various bike positions, boat mounting positions, trailer mounts and so on. The “look” of this product on one of these mounts is not going to stop me from using it. The quality and POV of the videos/photos I get trumps the “look” on a mount. You do make valid points about potential improvements…and maybe they will head that way.
I’ve never seen a go-pro outside it’s polycarbonate shell… I’m wondering why don’t they just get rid of it/integrate the shell right into the camera, instead of having that external shell. Actually, I guess if the shell gets damaged, its cheaper to replace it. But I’d like to check out their records to see if that’s working… if you’re going to have enough force to break a PC shell, you might end up breaking the entire unit anyway.
It’s like the argument “if the black box is so tough, why don’t they make the entire plane out of it?”
The boxy shape of the GoPro might lend itself to be better integrated into a fabricated compartment… its just that more times than not I see it used hanging off something. I hope the next iteration of the GoPro cams look good. Theres no reason why they can put in some functional aesthetics into it.