In my previous post I went through buying HD cameras for kitesurfing and what you should be looking for in terms of functions and reliability, but without featuring the models that are out there.
So, to cover all bases, I’ve picked a variety of HD cameras at different prices and specs. Of the four I’ve reviewed here, you’ll be sure to find one that fits your needs.
There’s ones that fits onto hemets and boards, one that’s more of a happy snapper – but still a solid choice – and a top end model favoured by some of the semi-pros who make kitesurfing vids.
GoPro HD Hero 2
Arguably the most popular waterproof camera / video camera designed for sports.
At only £200/$300 USD MSRP, this unit has revolutionized its market. The GoPro is small and only waterproof when used with its waterproof housing that comes included.
The new Hero 2 model has the ability to shoot standard definition at 120FPS, 720 at 60FPS, and 1080 at 30FPS. 720 at 60FPS is the optimum mode for most kiteboarding videos.
The Hero 2 comes with an 11 MP (mega pixel) still camera with an improved light sensor (over the original Hero model). You can set the camera to take automatic pictures at varying time intervals. There are tons of mounts available separately to stick the GoPro in unique places to capture great footage. Records to SD card.
Another quality video and still photo unit that MSRPs around £200/$300 USD. The unit is not waterproof but a housing is available for an extra £25/$40. Contour does offer a more basic unit that is water resistant to one metre for £135/$200. The GPS model can record video in 1080 at 30FPS or 720 at 60FPS with adjustable frames of view.
A great feature of the Contour is the built in GPS feature that tracks location, speed and elevation. You can synchronize this data with Google Maps, to retrace the route that you travelled.
The new Bluetooth function of the unit transmits a picture to your phone so that you can check the angle of the camera before riding. Eliminate the guesswork.
The Contour has the ability to take still shots at 5MP. Data records to SD cards.
Pentax Optio WG-2
This unit retails for an MSRP of £200/$350 USD. Rated as waterproof up to 40 feet and can withstand 5 foot drops. No need to beat the camera up on purpose but its armour like appearance can surely handle a thrashing. With an insane mega pixel rating of 16, this camera will capture crisp shots of your kiteboarding holidays. The 5x optical zoom is not epic, but it will get the job done for most closer range shots.
The Optio WG-2 is able to shoot 1080 HD video at 30FPS. The video quality will be lower than the Contour and GoPro, but the still picture quality – higher. This unit also features a crisp display to preview your work beforehand.
Canon EOS 7D
Much different than the aforementioned products, this is Canon’s new line of digital SLR cameras that have video capability. They are significantly more expensive at MSRP £1150/$1700 USD for the body only. Lenses can run from £150/$200 USD to many thousands of dollars. The 18MP still picture camera quality, built in flash and hoards of other features equate into much higher image quality. The camera is also able to shoot HD video using the same lenses as the still photo shots.
However, the unit does have some drawbacks, such as the lack of manual focus while shooting video. So, fast moving subjects such as kitesurfers have to be shot with great care to avoid out-of-focus capture. Also, the unit is not waterproof and a housing will cost hundreds of dollars. However, the zoom on the larger lenses can easily compensate for this. A great product if you have a fat wallet. Also great for travelling. Look for this price to drop as this technology becomes more widely available.
- Bigger, Better and Blacker: GoPro Hero3 Reviewed
- Buying HD Cameras for Kitesurfing: What you need to know
- Rugged cameras: Are they tough enough?
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