In 2005 GoPro launched its ever improving Hero range of helmet cameras, which are now extremely popular with extreme sports enthusiasts.
There are now many different packages and models available, at a variety of prices, so it can be difficult to know which one is most suitable for your chosen sport.
The first model to be released was the original GoPro Hero, which was soon surpassed by the GoPro Hero Wide. The difference between these two models can be found in the title, as the latest version has a 170 degree wide angled lens but still shoots in standard definition.
In November 2009, GoPro upped its game further and released its latest model in high definition, named GoPro HD Hero, which took its place as the first full HD 1080p helmet camera.
The GoPro HD Hero is now available in four different models the HD Helmet HERO, the HD Motorsport HERO, the HD Surf HERO and the GoPro HD Hero 960.
In terms of functionality each of these versions deliver a wide range of features, all of which can be customised when using the camera. They also have extra features available such as 5 mega-pixels still photo mode, a 170 degree angled lens and the ability to watch 60 frames per second back in slow motion – a feature that cannot be overlooked.
Each camera also has the added bonus of being waterproof up to 60 metres as it comes with a waterproof housing, have 1920x1080p HD recording ability and also GoPro have developed HD sound. This is one of the best sound recording systems in the market, optimised to capture the most important audio and minimal wind noise.
So what are the differences between each of these versions?
Primarily the fundamental differences are simply the mounts that come within each package, which make them more suitable for particular sports. For example the GoPro HD Helmet Hero has several mounts that make it easy to attach to a helmet during any sport whether it be skiing, climbing, skydiving or mountain biking. These mounts include a head lamp style head strap, vented helmet strap and quick release buckles to name just a few.
The HD Motorsport HERO doesn’t come with helmet specific mounts but suction mounts and flat and curved adhesive mounts, so the camera can easily be mounted on the dashboard or bonnet to record footage from an on-board point of view.
The HD Surf Hero differs further; as that comes with waterproof quick release, stick on base and a FCS compatible plug mounting system – most appropriate for mounting the camera on the front of a surfboard to catch all the action on the water.
However there is also the HD Naked version, which contains only the camera and the waterproof, so you can add the various mounts that are going to be most useful to you.
GoPro has also recently released a ‘budget version’ known as the HD Hero 960. This features the same professional grade 960p, 720p and 480p (WVGA) video, 5MP time lapse photo modes, and incredible sound recording system as the original HD HERO camera but does not record in full HD, so is therefore nearly half the price.