I was recently working on some time-lapse sequences, and wanted to create one driving in my car at night. I started figuring out rigging to mount a DSLR in my car, and then it dawned on me this would be the perfect GoPro shot. If you are wondering why, take a look at the size of the camera, it fits in the palm of your hand and weighs almost nothing. But can a simple little camera like this really take good pictures? Oh yeah…
Here are some specs on the Go Pro. 12mp still images, burst rates up to 30 frames per second, time-lapse mode, 4k video up to 30fps, 2.7K up 60fps, and 1080 up to 120fps (amazing slow motion footage at the frame rate), built-in wifi, audio and audio support for external mics…and the camera comes in a case that is waterproof down to 131 feet. One concern I’ve heard from other photographers is the GoPro always captures the super wide angle of view shots. This is great when you are doing point of view photography of yourself paddling off a waterfall (not!), but not an advantage if you just want to take normal photographs. Now many of the GoPro models offers wide, medium and narrow angle of views to produce images have more standard angles of view. Perhaps the biggest draw to using a GoPro, and why I used one, is the incredible number of mounting accessories you can use. There is virtually no place you can’t mount a GoPro. To mount mine on my car, I used the handy suction cup mount. If you have a helmet, the GoPro comes standard with a helmet mount included, just stick on the base plate. One of my favorites….the dog mount. Yes, you can attach you GoPro to your dog, and go play fetch to produce some pretty creative and entertaining footage (or images). Image quality, both video and still, is excellent. If you still doubt the quality coming from this camera, if you saw the movie the Martian with Matt Damon, a number of the clips were shot on the Hero4.
Another big concern from photographers concerning the GoPro is the lack of LCD panel to review images. The camera comes with a simple LCD on the front to navigate through the shooting modes, but no playback. GoPro offers a LCD back to fit on the Hero4 to allow image review, but it does suck up a lot of battery use. I’ve found with the wide angle of view I just point the camera in the general direction to get the shot I want. It becomes second nature after using the camera a little while.
Why would a normal DSLR photographer buy a GoPro. I carry one because it is tiny and weighs nothing, is waterproof, and can be a great camera to get a shot or video that might compliment my DSLR. And if I want to shoot a time-lapse in the rain, I just set up the GoPro and walk away. In my next post I’ll show you some examples of how I have used this camera, including the infamous dog mounted GoPro!