611 of 641 people found the following review helpful
Better than the Original HD
, 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.