St George Underwater Centre is now an agent for GoPro Cameras.
GoPro make a range of what can be best described as Sports Video Cameras. They are very small, lightweight, capable of shooting high definition video (up to 1080p) and come with a housing that is waterproof to 60 metres. They can also take photos up to a resolution of 11MP (depending on the model).
These cameras are great for diving because they are so small and light. The can be mounted on your mask, worn on your hood or wrist or simply carried for shooting whatever you may encounter.
There are two main models (at least in the interest of divers):
- HD Hero Original
- HD Hero2 Professional
Both shoot video in 1080p, 960p, 720p and WVGA. The original is limited to a wide field of view (127º for 1080p and 170º for the other modes) where as the Hero2 allows the video to be shot in on of three different fields (170º, 127º and 90º) of view in all video modes. A field of view of 170º is almost as wide as a 10mm fisheye lens on a digital SLR camera – that’s a very wide angle of view. A FOV of 90º is still quite wide but closer to a 17mm lens on a DSLR.
Both cameras have a battery life of around 2.5 hours when shooting in 720p/60 fps mode. i.e. you could easily record a whole dive.
For a more detailed comparison, see: Product Comparison: HD HERO2 & HD Hero Cameras
The cameras don’t come with a screen but you can buy them as an optional accessory. The screen fits onto the back of the camera making it marginally fatter and also includes a replacement rear door for the housing. Unless you plan on wearing the camera on your mask or hood, a screen is a good idea for framing your shots.
With the screen attached and switched on the battery life is reduced however it will still record 720p/60 for up to 1.25 hours, more then long enough for a single dive.
Another recommended accessory is a corrective flat port on the front of the housing. By default the port on the front of housing is curved. This works fine out of the water but underwater can result in less than sharp footage. A few third party companies make an add-on port which does not compromise the seal on the housing. I have installed the BlurFix adapter on my GoPro and I now get very sharp footage. The added advantage of the BlurFix adapter is that it uses a standard lens filter as the port so a coloured filter can be used to correct for the loss of red light underwater when shooting with natural light.
The quality of the footage on these cameras is exceptional, especially when you consider how small and inexpensive it is. It is comparable to professionally shot footage.
Here’s some footage that was taken on the recent drive trip to Borneo. All expect the last sequence (leaving Kapalai) was shot with the original HD Hero. The last sequence was shot with a Nikon D7000 DSLR.
There are some more videos at St George Underwater’s Vimeo page.
Please call the centre for more information and pricing.