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GoPro HD Hero3: Black Edition
GoPro HD Hero3: Black Edition

85 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally 5 stars for GoPro from a Hero1, Hero2, and Sony User, November 16, 2012
I bought the Black Edition from Local Best Buy. I have used Hero1, Hero2 and Sony Aciton Cam. I just have to say this is the best action cam for me so far. GoPro seemed to address most of my issues where I wrote under my Amazon Hero2 review except the short battery life. Hero3 blk has better low-light than hero2. Sony does pretty good under low-light, but I still like hero 3 noise reduction better.

Hero3 Black Edition Advantages Over Hero2:

1. Smaller and lighter
2. Much better build quality
3. Built-in Wifi
4. Included flat lens case
5. Better low light
6. Better image quality
7. Higher dynamic range
8. Higher resolution and fps (4k/15fps, 2.7k/30fps, 720p/120fPs, and 480p/240fPs WOW!!!)
9. Higher photo quality and burst rate
10. Higher quality case
11. Double lock latch on the case
12. White Balance Adjustment and Cam Raw
13. Reliable ProTune Modes
14. Better Lens and Less Fisheye
15. Included Remote Control

Hero3 Black Edition Advantages Over Sony Action Cam:

1. Smaller
2. Much more mounting options
3. Better build quality
4. Included flat lens case
5. Better noise reduction
6. Higher dynamic range
7. Better image quality (Sony color is unreal)
8. Higher resolution and fps
9. Excellent Photo modes (No Photo mode on Sony)
10. White Balance Adjustment and Cam Raw
11. ProTune Modes
12. Included Remote Control

Hero3 Black Edition Wish list:

1. Hero3 blk without the Remote for less than $399. All I need is one remote, but I might buy more black editions.
2. No Wifi version for less than $399 because I do not need Wifi that drains battery.
3. More battery life. I can record 1080/60P just little over 1 hour. It should last at least 1.5 to 2 hours IMO.
4. Bug fixes. It is a new product, so the cam has some minor bugs with sudden reset, Wifi, and the battery indicator.

For Hero1 and Hero2 Users:

1. I can use most of the same mounts and accessories except batteries, cases, and full-size SD cards.
2. Cleaning the lens on the inside is pretty tough now. You have to remove the lens and clean all the way.
3. The product updates are done via Java based webpage. Chrome browser was not supported.
4. Video files are in general larger even if they are in the same modes.

Summary:

The biggest issue so far is the battery life. I really have to get the new battery pack. Other than that, Hero3 black is amazing. I could not believe how good the IQ is from this super tiny cam. I will keep updating this review as I find more pros and cons.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 24, 2012 1:14 PM PST


Action Video Camera from Sony HDR-AS10 (Black)
Action Video Camera from Sony HDR-AS10 (Black)
Offered by Willoughby's Established 1898
Price: $199.00
20 used & new from $104.49

483 of 501 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sony Action Cam, GoPro Hero2 or Hero3, September 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
(Updated 11/26/2012) I now have GoPro Hero3 Black Edition. This review changes a bit. Although Sony is pretty good, if you can afford $399 action cam, I would go with Hero3 Black Edition. Otherwise continue with my review.

If you are OK with the following limitations of the Sony Action Cam, this little Sony Cam is absolutely fantastic. Otherwise, I would go with GoPro Hero 2 or Hero 3 Silver Edition.

1. CANNOT RECORD SOUND in 60/120FPS modes. Not that I value sound from any Action Cams inside a case, but no sound can be a deal breaker for some.

2. Underwater footage is much worse than GoPro Hero2 in terms of color (Mainly Sony auto white balance does not work underwater). The case of the Sony Action Cam also has a curve lens, so it cannot focus underwater. Sony will release the door pack that includes the flat lens dive door.

3. Severe Lens flare. Some lens flare can be a good visual effect. I am OK with it if the flare is not too much, but Sony cam often washes out some colors under certain conditions.

I do not record any action cameras in 1080P/30FPS mode since CMOS jello effects can be very pronounced in fast action scenes. So I record most clips in 720P 60FPS. The problem is that Sony records 60/120FPS footage without sound and output videos as 30FPS. I do not mind the output frame rate, but the sound should be there.

Sony underwater AWB does not function properly yet. I do not believe Sony adjusted the camera for underwater usage. The color is very strange. Too green, too blue, and a bit noisy.

If you do not mind these issues, then this is the camera to get because

1. The Zeiss Lens is absolutely the sharpest among all action cams out in the market right now
2. The SteadyShot is just unbelievable. I was not a big fan of an electronic image stabilization, but this one really works!
3. Colors produced by the image processor is very natural. The tonal curve is flat, so it is much easier to post process.
4. The lens is wider than GoPro Hero2 or GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition and much less fish eye (Less distortion)
5. Low light performance is better than GoPro Hero2 or GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition.
6. The Noise Reduction works really well.
7. Very smooth motion.
8. Lower price.
9. The case is high quality.
10. The case has a standard tripod thread.
11. The case latch is pretty solid. It should not pop open like the GoPro Hero2 one. Hero3 case is very solid BTW.

Other minor issues that you may want to know (could be major issues for some)

1. It cannot stand on its own without the case. The bottom of the camera is round, so it falls down on its side.
2. I wish Sony added two more buttons on the case. This is not the Wifi version. I cannot change any settings once the cam is inside the case. I can easily change settings in GoPro though.
3. Not so compact with the case.
4. Unrealistic blue sky. It can be attractive, but to me, it is way too artificial.
5. No battery can be added to extend recording time
6. All input/output ports on the bottom of the cam. I do not know how I can use any ports including the Mic input simply because it cannot be used with the case. Also the cam cannot stand without the case, so I have no idea how to use the mic input or other ports while recording.
7. No dedicated photo mode like GoPro. It has the interval (timelapse) mode where photos are limited to 1920x1080.
8. Slower start up time.
9. No adjustable beep volume on Start/Stop button. I need louder beep sound from the cam to acknowledged record start/stop when my recording environment is noisy.
10. No underwater focus solution has been released yet. Sony will release the flat lens door in November as a part of the door pack. The pack will cost around $50.
11. CA (Purple fringing) is pretty bad around corners especially in high contrast situations.
12. I could be wrong, but I do not see PAL 25/50FPS options. Not that I care for my use.

The reasons why I did not get the Wifi version:
1. Higher price of course
2. I cannot use Phones or Tablets to adjust the cam underwater or in extreme environment anyway.
3. More battery consumption

If I use the cam more above water, then I would get the Wifi version.

Conclusion:
I did not include GoPro Hero3 White Edition into this review because it would not be comparable that the white edition is the same old technology as Hero1.
Sony Action Cam's video IQ, SteadyShot, and image processor was the best among other competitors on land footage before Hero3 Black Edition came out. There are minor issues, but if Sony includes sound for 60fps and fix the underwater AWB, then I would go all the way with Sony Action Cam if you cannot afford Hero3 Black Edition.

If you can afford GoPro Hero3 Black Edition, here is why I like the Black edition better.

1. Better noise reduction under low light
2. More compact body with many mounting options
3. Sharper and detail image from higher resolution modes
4. Higher FPS and better low light from 120FPS at 720P
5. More accurate color and exposure
6. Less CA(purple fringing) and far less lens flares
7. Adjustable White Balance
8. Included Flat lens case for underwater
9. Much better Auto white balance underwater
10. Sound can be recorded at 60/120/240 FPS modes

Although I like the Hero3 Black better, I miss these Sony features.

1. Much longer battery life at all recording modes
2. SteadyShot is unbelievable
3. Less buggy
4. Nicer beep sound
Comment Comments (29) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2014 4:17 PM PDT


Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
Offered by Photo&Video
Price: $1,539.00
38 used & new from $1,211.31

13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for the price, September 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Update (09/27/2012): I played more with high ISO images from D600. Actually, RAW files are not bad at all. They are pretty much equal or very little more noises than 5D MK3. It is just the D600 JPEG engine does not perform as good as 5D MK3. I hope Adobe updates with their RAW support for D600 soon. I have nothing bad to say about the camera now. This is by far the best camera at the price point!

(Original Summary)
I have been a D7000 user who just got D600. This camera is right at home for me since most controls are similar and better. I am not 100% happy with the AF speed in low light, but hey I did not pay that much, so I should not complain. I love the image quality at lower ISO. However, I envy Canon 5D Mk3's low light performance. D600 at 6400 ISO is usable, but it can get pretty noisy in shadow area. Sony sensors have better DR for sure, but no matter what DxO says, Canon 5D MK3 got better high ISO performance. This issue too I should not complain since I did not pay 5D Mk3 price. As a result, this is still the best camera for me who owns several Nikon lenses. When I first heard that D600 had 12 Mega pixel less than D800, I was hoping D600 would get less noisy than D800. It turned out that they are both similar in low light performance. I guess I was expecting too much from an affordable FF camera.

Pros:
1. D7000 like controls with improvements
2. Amazing image quality at lower ISO
3. Affordable Price
4. Smaller body
5. Faster Continuous Shooting than D800
6. Amazing Dynamic Range
7. Build-in Flash, HDR, and Timelapse mode
8. Supports most Nikon lenses
9. Not many people talk about this, but I love the LCD cover on Nikon cameras for protection.
10. Battery life is much better than Sony SLT or mirrorless cameras
11. Much better Auto ISO setting than D7000
12. 39 AF points. Yes, the AF area is smaller, but I am OK with it.

Cons:
1. No aperture control in live view and in movie mode!!! Why?!!! I guess to implement a powered aperture mechanism in a live view costs.
2. I thought Sony sensors had better low light performance than Canon sensors in general like in APS-C. D600 still performs much better than D7000 in low light, but I was hoping D600 does little better than what I see from ISO6400 images.
3. The AF system suppose to be the same as D7000 or better, but I often get hiccups in low light where D600 sits for a second or so.
4. 1/4000 shutter speed, which is slower than D7000. Well, the D600 sensor is bigger, so I guess that is max they can do for the price.
5. This is not about the camera, but I was hoping Nikon bundled a better kit lens like Canon 24-105L lens. I guess Nikon 24-120 F4 is too much to bundle as a kit lens then.

All in all, I am very satisfied. I know I cannot get everything from a low cost FF camera, but if I can ask for one thing from D600 was to have little better low light performance. Maybe one stop would have made this camera perfect.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 1, 2012 6:43 PM PDT


No Title Available

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the best tablet at $249, but ..., July 30, 2012
I got the 16GB from Google Play store. It has been a couple of weeks using the device. I like the hardware very much. The tablet is really well made. I feel nexus 7 in my hands much better than my iPad3. However, I keep using my phone, GS3 or iPad3 for web browse, email, skype, facebook, games, Youtube, Netflix, and Splashtop. I do not read magazines or books. I am trying to force myself to use my Nexus 7, but I am not successful changing my habit just yet. Here is why.

1. Jelly Bean is nice and smooth, but I experienced some bugs with Apps that were not up to date for OS 4.1. In time, they should be resolved though.

2. I like clean OS with less bloatware, but JB needs some basic features like a numerical battery indicator and Landscape mode on the default launcher (because Nexus 7 is a tablet) Sure, I can install Apps to correct all these, but I would like to have them by default.

3. No Flash support although it is not the tablet's fault. I can make Flash contents work by side loading the flash player apk, but several browsers often crash watching contents in Flash.

4. As we all know, not many Android Apps are optimized for tablets.

5. My place is very clouded with 2.4GHz devices, so I have 5GHz Wifi setup. However, Nexus 7 does not support 5GHz. iPad3 and GS3 do support 5GHz.

6. The Speaker is weaker than my phone, so no good for Netflix or Skype without a headset.

7. Screen is very crisp, but pretty faded due to Nexus 7's aggressive Auto brightness. Sure I can set it to higher value and get nice and bright screen, but I am just too lazy to switch when I change my environment. I would like it to be little brighter from the Auto brightness. It is much darker than other devices set at Auto.

8. No Micro SD is OK for me, but I need to store some videos for my daughter. I keep using my GS3 or my old Archos 70 tablet for that.

9. HDMI would have been nice. If it had HDMI via MHL, I could have used the tablet as a media player in my bed room mirroring video to a larger screen. I am using GS3 for that now.

10. Nexus 7 should have a much better front camera than iPad3, but my Skype recipients told me videos are not good from Nexus 7. It could be the software though since Nexus 7 is not certified by Skype just yet. As a result, I have to use iPad3 or GS3 for Skype.

I understand comparing Nexus 7 with iPad and GS3 is like apples and oranges. iPad3 and GS3 should have better hardware from much higher price than Nexus 7, but I still have to somehow find a way to use Nexus 7. The only advantage so far from Nexus 7 is that it is smaller and lighter than iPad and larger screen than my phone. The battery life is not as good as iPad, but it is much better than my GS3. It feels really great in hands. I think Nexus 7's processing speed is on par with iPad3. However, Nexus 7 is slower than my GS3. Maybe that is why I use GS3 more often. If I read magazines or books from tablets, Nexus 7 might become my favorite device. I will keep forcing myself to use it.

Conclusion:
This is still the best tablet at $200 and $250 as of 8/1/2012, but if you already have other similar devices like myself, you will have hard time finding a reason to use it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 1, 2012 3:34 PM PDT


Liquid Image 5.5 Watt - Ultrawide Side Torch Light
Liquid Image 5.5 Watt - Ultrawide Side Torch Light
Offered by S&W Group
Price: $119.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent little LED for the price!, March 16, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Although the switch on the light broke off, I still love the light.
It is now ON all the time, but it works really well underwater.
Very bright for the price with no hot spot.
I would like to get more of these for underwater videos.
The customer support was excellent when I called for the broken switch.
Highly Recommended!


Sony SGPT111US/S Wi-Fi Tablet (16GB)
Sony SGPT111US/S Wi-Fi Tablet (16GB)
Offered by Focus Camera
Price: $325.00
31 used & new from $99.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I do like the tablet, but it still needs serious improvements, January 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Quick Summary:
I got this tablet for $369 from Amazon, so it was not a huge investment. At this price, this is a very good tablet for web browsing, viewing email, and IR remote controller for my TV, Receiver, Cable and PC. I would only use this tablet at home since it does not have good battery capacity and wifi performance. I cannot really use it for serious typing due to delay in typing and HD streamed multimedia contents caused by limited wireless performance.

Pros:
* Although I like the look of thinner tablets, this sony design actually works really great in hands.
* IR Remote Control feature is superb! That is the only reason why I am keeping it!
* Full SD Card slot. No sony apps work with any SD Card direùctly, but other apps can.
* Plastic shell may not be good in feel, but the tablet is pretty light and should not interfere much with WIFI (I guess it does not matter). Inside the shell, Sony uses magnesium components to protect the core. The tablet is pretty well made.
* UI is great looking and smooth to operate.
* Nice default keyboard with numeric pad.
* I do not really care for PlayStation games, but they are there.
* 9.4 inch screen is good size and great quality although I can see very sight yellow tint in true white color.
* GPS and Bluetooth (Not that I want to use the features since the battery performance is not so good.)
* ICS future upgrade
* Brand new Sony tablet for $369 was relatively inexpensive IMO. Especially it was directly sold by Amazon. Sony may even have to drop the price lower to compete with upcoming Tegra3 tablets.

Cons:
* Smaller battery capacity gives this tablet shorter time in use than other Tegra2 based tablets. 4 to 5 hours of web browsing and video.
* WiFi performance is not great. It works, but I wish it included 5GHZ.
* The default browser and some apps crash few times a day. I think they are inherit issues from Android OS in general.
* Sleep mode needs improvement to save more battery life.
* Not all video codecs are supported by the default multimedia player. MX and Mobo Players work OK up to 720P though.
* Typing occasionally delays, so I cannot really do serious emailing.
* The Front facing camera is unusable indoor that it is way too underexposed. My room is well lit, and other tablet and netbook cameras are just fine. My tablet may have some defect though.
* Default browser does not allow "Desktop" mode without going into Debug mode. I use Dolphin HD, but I think the default browser is bit faster.
* Sony Apps do not directly work with SD card.
* The Back facing camera lens has poor quality plastic cover that gets scratched up easily. It now takes hazy photos and videos.
* There are many useless sony apps, but most of them cannot be removed by user.
* There are no "Restart", "Deep Sleep", and "Airplane Mode" options when I hold down the power button. It only allow "Shutdown". I would like at least "Restart" option.
* Now that I realized it cannot do 1080P videos / smooth HD streamed videos like youtube (pretty choppy) because of not so great Wifi performance, HDMI is not really needed. However, it would have been great to have HDMI out if all worked.
* The charging connector has pretty bad design. It is very hard to connect. There are no 12 V car chargers / USB chargers from sony or 3rd vendors. A Power Inverter works, but this is no iPad2 with gazillion accessary options.
* As with other tablets, it cannot swap batteries by user. I wish I could upgrade the battery to 6000mAh or 7000mAh.
* No root yet.

Amazon:
* I wish Amazon Video App supported other tablets like this one. Watching it in Flash kind of works, but once the wireless connection gets poor, it will never resume to play the video until I refresh the page.


GoPro Camera CHDOH-002 HD HERO2 Outdoor Edition
GoPro Camera CHDOH-002 HD HERO2 Outdoor Edition
Offered by Just Guy Stuff
Price: $287.99
30 used & new from $145.00

615 of 678 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 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.

Quick Summary:
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.
* 120fps!
* 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)

Cons:
* (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!

Wish list:
* 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!

Workarounds:
* (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.

Tip:
* (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.

Non-scientific Test:
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.
Comment Comments (36) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 26, 2013 1:03 AM PDT


Nissin Speedlite Di 466 FT Four Thirds Digital Flash for Olympus and Panasonic Cameras
Nissin Speedlite Di 466 FT Four Thirds Digital Flash for Olympus and Panasonic Cameras
Offered by TA2 Trading
Price: $138.99
14 used & new from $124.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Broke after 3 shots, May 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was a very nice unit for 3 test shots with brand new batteries. After the shots were made, the unit does not work anymore. I switched to another set of batteries. The result was the same. It does not turn on. I was asked by my boss to take some pictures at a conference. I shot some noisy high ISO photos without this flash. I realized I should have spent more money on a higher quality flash unit and have a back up camera with flash unit. Anyway, thanks to Amazon.com. I just returned the unit without any issue. I gave two stars because the 3 test shots were actually good. I thought about getting the same unit again, but I chickened out.


HP Pavilion Elite E9180F Desktop PC
HP Pavilion Elite E9180F Desktop PC

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works now!, September 1, 2009
I was so excited to get this PC with all the power and features.
I did not research about all the issues that many people experienced.
Whie it was being shipped, I have read many posts on freezing and BSOD.
I was very worried.
When I got the PC and firstime I booted, it started hanging and got BSOD.
I was so shocked! It is HP. I have never had any issues with thier PCs before.
I tried many things that people suggested. I still got freezing and BSOD.
When I though I was going to return, I went to Nvidia site and got the latest driver for the video card although there was video driver from HP as well.
Everything changed for me. I have been using it for a few days without any issues.
This PC is just amazing!
The power cosumption is not like laptops, haha..., but with all the performance, I cannot complain.
I am glad that I did not return this PC.
I hope those people who have the same issue can have the same result as I have now.
I would have given 1 star, if it kept giving me BSODs.
I am now extremely satisfied with this PC, and I hope HP will update the driver when they ship for future buyers.

Pros:

1. Super fast (comparing to all my computers that I ever had)
2. Great video card
3. 9G memory
4. i7 920 has 4 cores with HT, so windows see it as 8 CPUs!
5. Blueray and DVD writer
6. Good keyboard and mouse (I personally like them a lot)
7. Very inexpensive for all the features!

Cons:

1. Initial freezing and BOSD issue. I spent good amount of time trouboleshootin and researching...
2. It can get my garage pretty hot... (Considering all the peformance, I am OK with it).
3. Not about this PC hardware, but HP BIOS update for this PC creates bootup CD. It is tricky (more work) with Blueray player as the main drive.
4. Video card could not set to the native resolution (1080) of my Acer H233H monitors no matter how many time I used the Nvidia tool to resize. (This issue has been resolved after the driver update.)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2009 12:01 PM PDT


Acer Aspire AS1410-8414 11.6-Inch Sapphire Blue Laptop - 6 Hour Battery Life
Acer Aspire AS1410-8414 11.6-Inch Sapphire Blue Laptop - 6 Hour Battery Life

91 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best laptop ever!, August 29, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This laptop is just by far the best laptop for the overall features.

Pros:

1. Very thin and light. Just a bit bigger than today's netbooks
2. Much faster than Atom based netbooks
3. Bright and large screen with true HD aspect ratio. Very useful resolution.
4. 4g upgradeable memory cap.
5. Great webcam and good microphone
6. Amazing battery life even with Core2solo CPU. Last longer than my other netbook with the same capacity battery.
7. HDMI out! wow
8. Wireless N and Bluetooth
(Edited:8/31/2009) No Bluetooth! My bad assumption from the bluetooth switch and LED indicator on the laptop. Sorry...
9. Multi finger/gesture touch pad like iPhone
10. Very usable keyboard
11. Quiet fan and harddrive
12. It does not get hot like my other netbook
13. Great speakers!
14. Centrino architecture seems to be faster in network response compare to Atom based netbooks
15. Inexpensive for the quality laptop with all the features
16. (Added on 8/29/2009) Spacious 250G HDD
17. (Added on 8/29/2009) Free upgrade to Windows 7 from Acer. Nice! (However, it was little tricky to register using Chrome. I had to use IE. They may have fixed the issue though...)
18. (Added on 8/29/2009) The lid opens up wider (deeper?) than my netbook. This is kind of important to me while using it on my lap.

Cons (I do not really care about these cons, but here they are)

1. Vista. I like XP myself
2. Shiny LCD screen is too reflective. This may be just me.
3. HD movies from Vimeo and Youtube are bit sluggish (not because of network bandwidth. It is more like not enough CPU power for Flash based HD movies.
(Added on 8/29/2009) Even though the movies are cached all the way, the CPU hits 100% with Flash based HD movies. SD movies are just fine. I can kind of watch HD Flash movies better with this laptop than my Atom netbook though.
4. All the pre-installed applications that I removed.
5. My wish for the laptop design to be somewhat like macbook or HP Mini series.
6. I thought the CPU had hyper-threading like Atom. Task manager shows only one thread. I know it is "solo", but Atom shows two threads.
(Added on 8/29/2009) The CPU does not have HT (Hyperthreading). I had some wrong info there. Even without the HT, this little laptop performs much faster than my Atom netbook.

Although I listed cons, they are very least items that I wish for. Of course, It does not perform like Intel i7 CPU based desktops. However, for the size and usability, this is a champ of all laptops and desktop PCs I have ever owned. I will use the i7 desktop for Video and photo editing. That may be only 5% of all my computer usage. The rest, 95% of tasks can be done with this little laptop for me. I cannot talk about the durability yet, but it seems to be well built. Anyway, this is a great laptop with very reasonable price tag!

(Added on 8/29/2009) Some usual stuff that I did to make the laptop even better.

1. Usual Vista tune ups like turning off Aero and other graphic intensive features.
2. Removed many pre-installed apps mainly Office trial and Anti-virus software.
3. Turned off unused start up programs

(Added on 8/30/2009) Some tests
1. HDMI out to HD TV
1080p resolution worked perfect including sound with not much config. 1080 resolution gets everything too small to read for my setup. I switched to 720p. My TV does not adjust automatically, so I had to adjust the size using Intel TV wizard software (This app cannot be used with Dual monitor config. Switching to Digital TV only mode enables it.). I adjusted using the app to 720p. The app works, but the screen refreshes every time the adjustment button was clicked, I had to press the adjustment button very slowly and patiently. When I clicked too fast, the app froze with 100% CPU for a long time like 10 min. I had to restart. Other than that all worked perfect!

2. Web cam and digital microphone using Skype
I wanted a small laptop with webcam, so I can put it right next to my baby and show her to my parents in Japan via Skype. My other netbook kind of worked, but in low light situation, the video was so dark that they could see only my white eyes. Mic was also giving them echo. When I tried with this laptop, it was literary day and night. This laptop webcam is optimized for low light. They could see my baby clearly. The mic was clear and no echo. The only minor issue is that the image is bit white tinted with default setting. My wife thought I was smoking... haha. I had to tweak a bit in config. Nonetheless, the webcam and mic worked great for Skype. FYI: It does not perform like high resolution after market webcams, but the built-in webcam satisfies my needs very well.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2009 9:16 PM PDT


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