618 of 681 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2011
(Update 6/6/2012) GoPro finally released the new diving case which fixes the infamous underwater focus problem with the standard waterproof case after two years of long wait for some users. The diving case will cost $49 that is a great price, but it is extra. Anyway, all my comments regarding the underwater problem should not be a concern with the new diving case.(Update 5/21/2012) I got the new diving case from GoPro. Although it cannot attach any filter, it is still great. I like the lens cover that came with it too. I can also see tiny bid less fish-eye effect and wider angle on land. That is nice IMO. I am giving 4 stars because they have the fix now even though I needed to spend extra $49. The diving case is that good.
After all these issues / promises are solved and updated, I will give this product 5 starts.
1. (Fixed!!!)Underwater focus fix with Extra $49.
2. 127FOV and 90FOV for 720P as promised
3. Overheating issue and short battery life
4. Price is still too much for such low quality materials used in this product.
5. (Released!!!)This was not expected, but as they promised "Pro-tune" firmware update will be released in this summer, not in summer 2015 like the diving case that GoPro promised long time ago.
6. Bugs in low light videos, photos, and time lapse feature.
7. Hopefully this will get fixed with "Pro-tune" firmware, but Auto White Balance does not perform well underwater at all.
Hero2 is clearly better than the original HD Hero in many areas. The price difference is justifiable although $300 was bit too much for my wallet. I am still happy with the purchase. If you are choosing between Original HD Hero and Hero2, I would get Hero2 for better low light performance. I would not use this camera for photos like point and shoot cameras unless there is lots of light and steady mount to take time-lapse photos. (Update 3/16/2012) My GoPro Hero 2 is broken now from getting wet. GoPro HD Hero 1 and 2 both have underwater focus issue. In order for the camera to work underwater, you need to modify the case with some flat lens. FYI: Modifying GoPro cases voids the warranty.
Video Quality: ***** (Amazing)
Photo Quality: * (iPhone is much better unless you need fisheye look)
Built Quality: ** (Cheap plastic body, but the case is sturdy)
Fun Factor: ***** (Can mount on anything. Very versatile)
Easy To Use: *** (It is easy to use, but hard to configure)
Underwater Video: * (Horrible)
Underwater Video w/ Flat Lens: *** (Great, but modifying a case with some flat lens voids the warranty)
Value: *** ($300 is pretty expensive)
(Update 2/21/2012) I started seeing some disappointments from reviews regarding underwater focus and photo quality issues. The underwater focus issue is pretty disappointing, but there are many quality solutions from other vendors as little as $22. GoPro is almost ready to release the new diving case. IMHO, GoPro2 with a flat lens option produces amazing underwater result. I first thought $300 was too much for such plasticky cheap looking camera, but the performance is there as long as you know its quirks. I have not found any better solutions under $500 to shoot wide angle underwater video. For underwater macro video and photo, a point and shoot camera with an underwater case works better. If you are thinking about replacing your point and shoot camera with GoPro, you might not like this camera. This is pretty much the best wearable/mountable action/helmet camera that has different purpose than Point and shoot cameras. I use DSLR, Mirrorless (CSC), Point and shoot, and Action/Helmet (GoPro) cameras all for different purposes. If you shoot more photos and do not wear a camera on you, Panasonic TS3, TS4, and Nikon AW100 suit your need although they can not do time lapse (except TS4).
Pros Over the Original HD Hero:
* (Update 2/20/2012) Addictively fun camera to use once I understood the quirks.
* low light. Especially at 60fps in low light, I see huge difference.
* Video is sharper. I am not sure about 2X though.
* Auto White balance is much better in low light.
* The Running LED light on the back side. I do not care about the top and bottom ones.
* Motion is clearer and less motion blur due to faster shutter speed I think.
* Auto Exposure is more accurate.
* Improved dynamic range. I see good detail in shadow areas.
* Config LCD is easier to use.
* I can use the same protective cases and mounts on Hero2.
* And other neat features like 10fps photos and more.
Pros Over Other Action Cameras like Contour HD series, Tachyon HD series, Bullet HD series, Midland XTC series, and Oregon Scientific ATC-9K
* (Update 2/21/2012) The waterproof case is amazing and inexpensive to buy extra. I had to drill a hole in one of the cases for mic jack. When I checked the hole, the wall was very thick and strong. I am extremely confident to take the camera anywhere!
* Most action cameras use microSD card which is little more expensive and easy to lose. GoPro sticks with Full SD card. That is great!
* There are other action cameras that are on par with the original HD, but this Hero2 is one step ahead of other competitors. There are no better action cameras in terms of video quality than Hero2 as of 11/10/2011.
* As far as I have seen videos of other products, Hero2 handles the best in high contrast scene and low light.
* Rolling shutter issue seems well controlled compared to other cameras.
Cons Over the Original HD Hero (Update 5/8/2012):
* (Update 6/26/2012) Hero2 underwater auto white balance is much worse than Hero1. Hero2 underwater videos are very very green, so I need to post-process. I tried with a red filter, but Hero2 AWB sometimes goes crazy and outputs super red tinted underwater videos.
* Battery does not last as long as the original HD. Hero 2 @ 720P/60fps lasts max 1.5 hours with a new battery in optimal temperature. Usually it will stop recording in less than 1.25 hours. I am expecting 1 hour, so that I can plan my recording.
* I keep repeating myself, but Hero 2 gets very very very hot. Make sure no small children touch the camera while recording without a case.
* More bugs. Newer products usually have some software issues, but Hero 2 has many. Occasional lock-ups. Strange streaks in photos. Half of one picture in different exposure. Losing some color. In low light video, there are two strange lines showing up. There are more issues I have experienced, but I have to ignore. I guess it is because working-around issues are also part of fun for GoPro users.
Temporary Cons (Gopro says a new firmware will fix the following items):
* No support for 127º and 90º FOV at 720P even though that was specified.
* 3D is not supported yet. (Update 2/20/2012: 3D has been supported via firmware update)
* (Update 4/2/2012) Overheat Problem. Now that I broke my Hero 2 by getting it wet, I am bit scared to use it underwater. I tried one of my newly purchased hero 2s to film in a room at 75F degree temperature with the case and LCD backpack. It overheated in 30 minutes and shut itself down. I saw the overheating icon on the LCD screen. The camera and the SD card were very very hot.
* (Update 4/2/2012) Much more noises toward end of video due to excessive heat with the case and LCD backpac. After I was getting the overheating issue with one of my Hero 2 (I now have two hero 2s and one hero 1). I started testing all my GoPro cameras. Hero 1 got hot, but it was not as bad as hero 2. I tested my two Hero 2s recording at 720P/60FPS for 30 minutes on a tripod. Both of my Hero 2 cameras took excellent noise free footage at first few minutes. However, towards the end, both cameras recorded pretty noisy footage that I am sure that came from the excessive heat. I know many cameras overheat recording long period of time, but Hero 2 seems little too easy to get that hot. I did not realize this noise issue since I have been using it underwater exclusively in very cold water. Without LCD backpac, they run little cooler, but they still get very hot.
* (Update 2/20/2012) While recording or not recording for about 1 hour, the camera body gets super hot. I can understand when recording, but if I am not recording, it should not get that hot and drain battery. I have to make sure I turn it off when I am not recording. I now use automatic shut-off.
* (Update 2/20/2012) Using the external mic jack with nice powered mics still gets too low volume. I can increase volume level in post-process by adding 10db-15db to get better sound quality than the internal mic though.
* (Update 2/20/2012) It is very addictive. I bought all sorts of accessories for it that ended up costing more than some nice DSLR cameras.
* Flimsy battery cover.
* Built quality is good, but for $300, they can do better IMO.
* No in-camera exposure adjustments like Contour HD.
* Config LCD is better than the original, but it is still hard to adjust.
* No underwater lens or case option that fixes the underwater blur issue directly from Gopro. There are 3rd party options available, but they are not perfect. They are either too big or have vignetting at 170º. If GoPro is putting underwater footage on their boxes and the promo-videos, they should provide some kind of underwater solution.
* 120fps is great, but you need lots of light. Well I guess we knew that.
* As we know, this is not an indoor camera. Even though video is pretty good indoor, photos are pretty noisy and blurry due to use of slow shutter speed. For time-lapse movies, slow shutter and motion blur are welcome though.
* Audio is still not good as the Original HD Hero. There is a stereo mic jack, but to use it, we have to buy another special case that has a opening on the side.
* Price. There are no other action/wearable cameras better than Gopro HD Hero2 at this time, so the price can be justified. However, when I look at Panasonic TS3 at $260 with metal body, GPS, and all the other features, huh... this is a pretty expensive plastic camera that has only two buttons from China. I am sure the profit margin on this camera is huge!
* Standard 1/4" 20tpi thread on the body would be nice.
* Different color bodies. It is not a big deal, but I would like it in black or camu for hunting and fishing.
* Electric or Software Image Stabilization: I see other cheaper video cameras have this feature. Any action cameras without it disparately need image stabilized, so viewers do not get motion sickness.
* A small Built-in LCD for liveview and playback would be nice. The LCD Backpac makes the camera too thick.
* Would like to know how to shoot and edit a video like the Hero2 promotional video!
* (Update 2/20/2012) Unfortunately, GoPro has not released their underwater housing to solve the blur issue (ETA in April). There are quality workarounds from other vendors. The best option is "blurfix". The second best IMO are "Pursuit Glass Flat Lens" and "eyeofmine flat lens housing". The cheapest solution is "mako flat lens".
* (Update 2/20/2012) Sometimes GoPro2 takes very dark and underexposed images (almost black) in time lapse mode. I found that the use of 1 second or faster interval can cause the issue even in slight low light condition. If you give GoPro 2 at least two second interval, GoPro2 has enough time to process and use 1/2 sec shutter speed to get some what right exposure.
* (Update 2/20/2012) Not so good indoor photo quality is due to use of 1/2 sec shutter speed almost all time in low light condition. Since I know that now, I do not use the camera handheld indoor. I always make sure I mount on something for steady shots.
* (Update 3/4/2012) The best setup for fast action scenes is 720P/60fps/170FOV. I had hard time post-processing 1080P footage since the CMOS rolling shutter issue got exaggerated from camera shakes. If I can mount my gopro on a steady tripod, then I will switch to 1080P. When I am wearing it on me, I only use 720P/60fps/170FOV to avoid the rolling shutter problem. I had to use 1080P mode most of the time using the Original Hero HD because 60FPS in the old GoPro HD had pretty bad low light performance. HD2's 60fps performs really good in low light situation.
I compared the original GoPro HD Hero@1080P/127º and Hero2@1080P/170º against Nikon D7000@1080P with 8mm Fisheye lens@F3.5 in low light condition. Original GoPro could not capture most of the low light scene. GoPro Hero2 got it fine, but it was bit noisier than D7000. Assuming D7000 has jerky motion at 24fps, overall I liked Hero2's color rendition better than D7000.
(Update 3/16/2012) Broke My GoPro 2:
It is my first time to break an underwater camera in at least 100 dives while taking videos with several cameras. My GoPro Hero HD 2 case got some moisture inside, and it does not turn on with a fully charged battery. The case was not flooded, but I guess GoPro or digital cameras in general are pretty sensitive electronic devices. I understand when cameras get wet, they break, and manufactures cannot help. I trusted my GoPro case, but GoPro told me the cause of moisture getting inside was more likely use of a flat lens on my GoPro case. I never had issue with two of my flat lenses before. We are not supposed to modify GoPro cases to use the camera underwater if we want to retain the warranty. I should have known that. GoPro is not saying anything wrong here. They are right. However, my point is "How can we take underwater videos using GoPros without modification?" I know GoPro has a promotional video using modified cases. I just wanted to apologize for recommending third party flat lens options here on Amazon. You do not want to modify GoPro cases, and I now recommend not to use GoPros underwater unless you can live with blurry video footage or no warranties. The GoPro support person was not bad. He was doing his job making sure I modified the lens, so it is not GoPro's fault. As far as I investigated why my camera got moisture inside is that GoPro cases are not all made the same. Thier manufacture torallance is not tight. I have four cases that they all seem to have different tightness when closing the case door. Anyway, if you are going to use it underwater, make sure to test the case before use.
I still like GoPro2's excellent video quality. I also invested too much on several GoPros, mounts and cases, so I am getting it again from freedivingspearfishinggear.com, where I got my flat lens from. The person there really tried helping me on this issue. He did actually help me more than GoPro support (GoPro offered me some discount on a new camera as long as I returned the bad camera). The GoPro support kept the 24 hour reply policy. It is unfortunate that GoPro does not have a service department that can repair cameras. My GoPro2 works fine when connected to USB. It does not work with any of my three batteries (Fully charged using my other GoPro). I feel like it can be repaired, but I guess a new camera is much cheaper than repairing labor cost for them. Even though you scratch your GoPro lens (the actual lens on the body), GoPro will not replace with a new lens that is not expensive at all. Instead, they will give you some discount on a new GoPro that still cost much more than just a new lens.
If I can go back in time, I would start all over with Contour since their cameras are all weatherproof just by themselves. Contour Roam is waterproof. Contour has some of thier own quirks with thier cameras. Contour video quality is not as good as GoPro Hero 2. However, I am not a professional and cannot afford insurance on my equipments. I now feel much better with a weatherproof body and a waterproof case combination. With Contour + underwater case, I do not have to buy an expensive flat lens and modify a case to void warranty!
I am downgrading from 4 stars to 3 stars because GoPro does not have any phone support. GoPro does not have a service department that can repair cameras with fee basis. Despite I defended the underwater issue last month, If GoPro does not allow modification with flat lenes, they should not promote underwater videos. Lastly, GoPro cases are made strong, but they are not all made exactly the same. This is also a known issue.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2011
I bought this camera specifically for use while I'm scuba diving. The FAQ on the GoPro web site indicates that you might see slight blurring when used underwater as the lens isn't optimal for underwater use. That is a significant understatement. I tried this camera in a clean, clear pool, with plenty of light. The still images are completely un-viewable -- it looks like someone speared something on the lens. The video isn't much better. It's not that there is a good viewing distance. In fact, I took video while swimming at a stationary object starting at 20 ft away. I didn't stop swimming until the camera was almost touching the object. There was never a frame in the video that the object appeared sharp... or even in focus.
It also appears that white balance is off when used under water. In that same clean, clear pool, with plenty of light, I would expect that the images of an object in the water, taken from outside the water should appear to have the same colors as the images of the object taken from under the water. But they don't. It might simply be that the blur affect was causing other distortions...
The fact that I was getting such sharp clear images while using the camera outside the water lead me to believe that reviews I read were over stated. I mean seriously... this camera takes some awesome videos... outside the water. There are videos from this camera on YouTube. When I viewed those videos, I accepted that they were blurry because they were on YouTube... but to see such extreme blur in HD on my 55 inch TV... it was shocking!
Update (12-7-2011): I've purchased the MAKO Flat Lens ($21 + $3 s&h) and installed it according to the instructions. One of the features claimed by the MAKO web site was that it wouldn't cause vignetting in the 1080p video or still images. I re-read the claim... and realized that it doesn't actually claim this for the Hero2 camera. In 1080p video mode and using 11m still images, I do see vignetting. I'm going to try this out in a pool tonight and compare the video quality... and post an update.
About the MAKO Flat Lens: I'm a bit disappointed with the workmanship of this product. The lens is actually created by laminating (gluing) two pieces together -- a flat disk and a machined flange. The lens I got has bubbles and other imperfections between the flange and the disk. Also, after removing the protective film (as directed by the installation instructions), I could see there were already scratches in the protected surface (how is that possible?). I've taken some video using this new lens... For above water video, I think the stock lens is better. I will likely buy an other enclosure to use out of the water.
Update (12-8-2011): OMG! Underwater with the MAKO Flat Lens, the picture is incredible. In my above note about the MAKO Flat Lens, and vignetting... Yes... you do see arches in the 4 corners of the video... and that's disappointing. But the image quality is such that I didn't actually notice the arches until I looked for them. The wide high definition video is so spectacular, I'm willing to loose a little clarity in the corners... It would be awesome to be able to post some actual video in this review...
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2012
Just received this yesterday and haven't taken it out on the bike yet but from some of my experiments this is what I've found
I like it, it definitely works and with the exception of performing firmware upgrades on the camera and time lapse images, the abysmal Cineform software can be avoided simply by importing the .mp4 files into another video converter/editing package.
Hardware is nice. Very good build quality.
Video quality is very good. There's a bit more fisheye to it than I expected. Tweaking from the menus reduces it but it's still more than I see in the sample videos online so I must have some tweaking to do yet.
LCD display is very tiny. If you're past the half century mark as I am, you're going to have a hard time selecting modes and configuring it. I got the LCD backpac with it and that makes it much easier to see the icons, though you're still navigating through unfamiliar and low resolution icons using a two button interface.
I really like the hardware quality, and based on the videos from users I've seen, it's got the image quality I want. It's small, it's light and it works.
I always download the manuals for products before I buy them, just to see if there are any show-stoppers. One of the things I liked about the Hero2 is the manual says that you can use it while it's plugged into the USB port. Unfortunately they forgot the asterisk after that feature. What should be there is "* as long as the camera is running at the time you plug it in to the USB port". As far as I can tell you can't turn it on and use it after it has been plugged in to the USB. You must be taking video at the time you plug it in and if you stop recording after you've plugged it in then it switches back to USB mode (i.e. charging only, no video) There may be some magic in the manual that I haven't found yet so far that's the way it is. The only thing it's useful for (and I can see it being a critical feature) is if you are in the middle of taking video of something important and the battery gets low you can plug in the USB cable and keep on going.
GoPro Cineform software. Bleah. Really really bleah. It's got an unintuitive user interface and in ~30 minutes of use I've had it crash with assertion failures 4 times and discovered several significant bugs, one that can potentially result in lost data. The potential data loss one involves changing the file format when converting video. I used Cineform to convert one of the .mp4 videos to an .avi. It created the .avi file in the output directory as expected. When that file turned out to be unplayable by VLC media player, I changed my settings to export as .mov and ran the conversion again. Two things happened: it ignored my settings and saved the video to the default video directory, not to the one in my settings, and when it finished I found that it had written the video to the same file name it used before - in other words it saved an .mov file with a .avi extension on it.
Codec issues: While the .mp4 files it saves on the SD card seem to play fine with everything I've tried, VLC can't play back the converted videos Cineform produces. When I try to play back the .avi file using VLC I get an error: "No suitable decoder module: VLC does not support the audio or video format "CFHD". Unfortunately there is no way for you to fix this." Playback on Windows Media Player is fine.
Time lapse mode: I (stupidly) assumed that it would record to a video format since that would use very little space. It doesn't, it records each frame to a separate .jpg file. This is the only video related feature I've found that seems to require you to use Cineform. Cineform present the sequence of .jpg files as one video clip. Anything else (like Picasa or Windows Explorer) just gives you a looong list of numbered .jpg files. The other annoyance is that individual .jpgs use a lot of storage if you're doing time lapse at high resolution. Using a 2 second time interval between frames it filled a 32GB SD card in less than 15 minutes using 11 megapixel images.
The major annoyance:
They have no official support forums. You want to learn tricks, techniques and workarounds for the plentiful bugs in Cineform? Have fun with google because GoPro doesn't maintain any sort of forum (or if they do, I haven't found it yet) I'm guessing that's due in part to the fact that people would spend a lot of time flaming on Cineform.
The minor annoyances:
Over-packaging taken to extremes, put on steroids, gone feral. I mean really excessive/irresponsible waste of natural resources. Gigantic clear plastic display case taped to even bigger cardboard box, and a big square of hard plastic with a mounting shoe glued to the top of the box. Then they add nice little touches like providing printed copies of the manuals - tiny little copies the size of the camera that are in fonts too small for anyone over 30 to read. To put the icing on the cake they print the LCD backpac manual in an inverse color scheme - black background (thanks for that waste of ink) with white letters that causes what would be a minimally usable manual to be completely unusable.
You'll find unreadable manuals in the boxes but you won't find a CD with the software or manuals on it - you have to go to the website to download those. You also won't find a quick-start page/card/sheet in there. First thing you read when you open the manual is how to insert a battery - it doesn't start with "here's how the latch to release the camera from the case works so you can install a battery." You have to skip way down in the manual to see how to do that. It really seems like they should have either gone one way or the other - either include readable printed manuals or else require everything be downloaded from their site and just put a quick start guide in the box. As it is it's the worst of both worlds - I couldn't read what they gave me and it didn't save me from having to go to their website to download stuff either.
Things they missed:
It has a USB interface. Why do they (and other small device manufacturers) not provide an easy to use PC based interface to configure the device?
Why oh why oh why do I have to do the 800 button presses just to set the time and date? Again, it's got a USB cable on it. My 10 year old Canon digital camera has the ability to set the camera's time and date from the PC clock. How hard can it be?
If it had some sort of simple programming API - say REST or SOAP based, the open source crowd would sell more cameras for them than they could produce. They should scrap the Cineform effort and focus on making the camera features available via an API.
Now get off my lawn! D**n kids!
=== Update 2012-04-18 ===
Well, managed to record a head-on collision with another dirt bike. Search for "speed + target fixation" on youtube. The video quality is fantastic (and so is the ability of my fat ol' bod to roll down a hillside) I took that one using the chest mount - which as far as I can tell is the best way to take video from an upright-style motorcycle. Obviously it wouldn't work on a sport bike and given how fat and wide cruisers tend to be I'd guess it wouldn't work that well on one of those (though I have far too much self respect to actually ride a cruiser so YMMV :p)
I'm currently running battery benchmarks on it in preparation for a long ride in June.
One problem I have is that it takes longer for the batteries to charge than it does to discharge. That means I've got to come up with a better solution because the very last thing I want to be doing on a 3,000 mile motorcycle ride is to set an alarm at night so I can get up every 4 hours and swap batteries on the charger :\ I've had this problem with every helmet camera I own.
What I've found so far:
I'm recording at 960 pixels 30 fps so that the 32GB SDHC cards don't fill up before the battery dies.
Using either a GoPro or Wasabi (aftermarket) battery and turning the LCD backpac off I get between 1:50 and 2:15 recording time regardless of resolution, size, or brand of SD card used.
Using an internal battery plus an external 3400mAh battery pack and leaving the LCD backpac turned on (which eats a lot of power) I got 3:15 of recording. There was only a small amount of motion in it (just pointed it out my office window at the pasture out back) and it's just a tad over 19GB.
The external battery pack looks like a potential solution - but I'd have to put a hole in the waterproof case if I wanted to simply plug it into the camera USB port as an auxiliary battery :\
I believe I'll end up buying a couple of the higher capacity battery packs (they make them up to 10,000mAh) and use those to recharge the GoPro batteries while I'm riding. Then at night I'll recharge the big batteries from the USB ports on my laptop and a small 110V wall-wart USB power supply.
Update 2012/05/06: I purchased one of the Anker 8400mAh batteries ([...]) and tried it out last night. I set resolution down to WVGA 60fps and I left the LCD backpac turned on (which eats a *lot* of power) and I got just over 8 hours of recording time. It was only 2GB shy of filling up a 32GB SD card. Unless you're using it as a regular hand-held video camera the LCD backpac would normally be turned off. I believe I'll get 10 to 12 hours of recording time with it off which is sufficient for a full day of riding for me.
The biggest thing I don't like about the external battery solution is those external batteries have a very limited lifetime - typically around 100 charge/discharge cycles. Then it's a throwaway/recycle Pretty wasteful but I don't know of a better solution.
I really hate having to fumble around with SD cards and batteries when I'm on a long ride. The GoPro in particular is a pain, mostly because it's very difficult to remove the battery from the camera, especially with tired/slightly numb fingers.
Overall it's the best helmet camera I've used so far. Yeah it's a bit fumbly fiddly to make it go but unlike all the other cameras I've used, this one really delivers on the video quality. It has now survived one motorcycle wreck and at least half a dozen tumbles to the floor, twice on concrete, twice on wood - and it keeps on ticking.
62 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2012
Purchased the Hero2 18 April 2012, with a video BacPac. It seemed to work. Then, this Memorial weekend, I shot a few shots at the beach and turned the camera off. It refused to turn back on.
I brought it home. It appeared bricked. If I plugged it in to a USB outlet, it said it was unrecognized.
Finally, I removed the battery, the Bacpac and the card. Eventually, after reinstalling the battery, it finally started. If I plugged in the USB cable, it mounted. However, if I unmounted the camera from the USB cable (after properly ejecting it) the camera would not start again. Off with the battery, etc, etc, etc.
Reading the GoPro support page, it said it needed a firmware update to "70" to resolve a problem the camera has when fitted with a video BacPac.
In order to do update the firmware, I had to install the free GoPro Cineform Studio software. This software is supposed to detect if the camera needs firmware updating and automatically update it.
One problem: the software refused to run. Kept getting "GoProImport has stopped working, Windows is searching for a solution" (or some such) and the software simply never opened. So I couldn't update the firmware until THAT problem was solved. After registering on the GoProUser forum the next day, someone there suggested running under Administrator (I'm running Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit on a capable Core i7 machine.) I was running as a User. I switched to Administrator mode and, sure enough, the software ran. Yea! Thank goodness for small victories.
Now it was a matter of getting the camera to turn on so the software could see it. Out with the battery, wait, wait, reload battery, try rebooting the cam, out with the battery. This goes on for hours. Finally, the camera starts for no particular reason and I plug in the USB. Amazingly, it mounts to the desktop normally. I fire up the CineForm software per the detailed firmware update instructions.
However, after all this, there is no indication the HERO2 needs a firmware update. Apparently it already has the latest firmware. That's bad news. There's now nothing I can do to "fix" the camera, and it still won't start.
So now I consider the Hero2 camera EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE compared to my original Hero 1, which never failed me. (Come to think of it, though, I did have to send it back for a problem when its BacPac failed to work. But the camera always worked.)
This Hero2 may start, it may not, whether fitted with a BacPac or not.
As I sit here writing this, the one-month old Hero2 will not start. Totally bricked. If you are planning on doing something important with it, TEST TEST TEST. You better make darned sure your camera works. Mine surely does not.
Under the best of conditions, I get to pay for UPS to take it back to GoPro for them to fix it.
I have a service request in to GoPro but have not heard back yet.