Go Go Gadget!

Do you film your adventures whether it’s SkyDiving, Mountain Biking or even just going to the pub! Have you thought about getting an Action Camera? Well we have and we do but recently we added a new toy to our arsenal.

A few years back Bob received a present from her Dad of a GoPro 5, which we used occasionally to film us climbing and the occasional day trip to Winter Wonderland, cycling and other bits.

Then Bob bought Ash a Hero7 Silver for a Christmas Present two years ago and it has to be said he/I loved it, it’s one of the best presents ever. That Action Camera has been in his bag near enough everywhere he has been ever since.

Our holiday to Sicilly last year was documented completely on the 7, it went in the sea, on the extensive walks to and from the beaches and towns and to everything in-between. The Hero7 has filmed everything from Beer Festivals to Recipes, Cycling trips to the dogs playing ball in the park. But one problem with the Hero7 if we had to find a fault was the Image Stabiliser, or lack of any on the Silver. the Black (the top of the range) did have the new tech, but it was over £120 more than the Silver.

Then at the end of last year the GoPro Hero8 came out and they claimed the Image Stabiliser or Hyper Smooth was even better, even smoother and even more money! So once again the possibility of owning one went in the ‘Wish List’ and was destined to stay there.

Then a little pandemic hit and people stopped going Surfing, Parachuting and Quad Biking, people stayed home and filmed themselves making tea, or sewing, not the thing you need IBIS and 120fps 4k Video for and GoPro suddenly felt the pinch in their over stuffed bank accounts.

So when the Lockdown was over GoPro were on the ball and they launched an incentive to get people out and filming again. They reduced the price of the Hero8 by over nearly half (40% to be precise, for a very short time and now £100 off). But in that first weekend we saw the deal and just had to have it.

Both Bob and Ash bought one and eagerly awaited the delivery from The Netherlands. Two days later emails appeared in our inboxes saying ‘Purchase sent’. Then we waited for over a week, while UPS F****d Up, Lost Ash’s and delivered Bobs to the wrong address.

But eventually the little boxes arrived and we opened them eagerly.

Inside we found much what we had with the Hero7 except this time the 8 delivered so much more, personalised icons on the home screen, allowing the user to have zoom functions and Lens Choice on the home screen, Hyper Smooth Boost, Microphone settings,  Wind Filter on the 3 – yes THREE – Microphones, ISO Settings, Colour and White Balance Settings,EV Compensators, Shutter Speed, Bit Rate and Clips and Low Light Setups all available at he touch of a button.

Then in the centre you get to choose your Shooting Settings;

Resolution from 1080/1440/2K or 4K

Frame Rates at 24/30/60/120 and even 240

What Lens you want to set it to and aspect ratios too.

This is a vast improvement over the 7, which had some of the settings, but was much harder to find and change. Plus you can set these set-ups and save them to come back to and switch between when you need to change what you are shooting.

But that’s not all, in Time Lapse Mode, you can change the settings once again, choosing which lens to use, Resolution and the speed at which the camera shoots the time lapse, between 2x and 30x and all in up to 4K. Plus you have Time Lapse and Time Warp modes (having spent ages trying to figure this out Ash finally has a handle on the differences and a simple tip to remember).

Time Lapse is far static shots, think a Camera over a Motorway, shooting the blur of car’s taillights/headlights. As long as the camera is mounted or clamped still and not moving about this will and does look great.

But get on a bike or a Jet Ski or similar and you’ll want Time Warp on, this kicks the Hyper Smooth in and suddenly humps and bumps don’t give the viewer motion sickness and if you put the boost on you can literally ride down a flight of stairs and it will look like you’re on a Hot Wheels Track, not a bump in sight. Honestly this mode is a little too smooth, I never thought I’d say that, but it’s true, you need a bit of jolt to prove you are moving and not filming on a drone.

The night Mode is impressive to say the least, Ash tried it the other night leaving it to film in pitched black for an hour and got about 10 seconds of recording that looked like it was film at dusk, the aperture and Iso rating were so open to allow for a ton of light and still to capture clouds floating across the sky.

All this tech and ability to shoot in different modes does take a lot out of the battery. The standard battery that was in the Hero7 lasted for hours, the same battery in the 8 lasts about 30-50 minutes, but if you are shooting on and off this can still last a while just not as long as the older version. So you will need to buy additional batteries which are interchangeable.

Talking of buying extras we should mention some of the accessories too. The Chest Strap for example is great for Ash, but Bob has Boobs, something GoPro don’t seem to understand, clearly they think those possessing these additional appendages will not use an Action Camera as the Chest Harness will not sit over the bust and rides up and allows the wearer to film up their nose.

While the RuckSack and Shoulder Harness both do similar, the rucksack harness slides down every time you hit a bump and the shoulder strap sits at a 30° angle at all times, so footage has to viewed with your head tilted over at all times.

The Head Strap is better except for on a bike on a road, where you need to look around a lot, so you get a whip effect on time lapse. but it’s the best of a badly designed bunch of harnesses.

The Shorty Grip, GoPro’s floating hand grip is fine, but retails at around £40 and it just a yellow sausage with a mount on top, you are better buying a SameTop GooseNeck Clamp, which allows you to clamp the camera to a post, or rail to film, or detach the clamp and use the gooseneck to hold the camera and vlog and this is neutrally buoyant too and all for £10.

Also don’t throw away the bit of plastic the camera come on when it is in the box, that’s a great freebie camera mount.

So far we have only used the new toys to film Cycle Rides around London, but with the Hyper Smooth on it’s a whole different ball game. Shot some video in 2K and talking to the camera then Microphone is great, clear, not tinny or echoey and probably not even needing the Vlogging Cage that is due out in August, which will allow you to mount a Røde Microphone on top. no button if so as it stands the Hero8 Black is already set to be a Vloggers ideal camera, if only it had a flip out screen so you could see yourself as you talk to Camera. This apparently will come out before the end of the year, so that would need to be a purchased

The voice activation will come in handy too, to save having to keep turning the camera to see what you are recording and to start and stop recording on command. (One thing I have learnt is to not say, ‘I don’t have the GoPro on Record, at the moment’ or something similar because ‘GoPro Record’ will make it do just that and worst is ‘I have the GoPro so Stop and do it again’. Or the like, because you will have just stated ‘GoPro Stop’ and without noticing your recording of that amazing stunt will never be recorded.

So these are just a few tips, tricks and things we have discovered in the month or so we have had our latest toys and thought we should share them with you.

So if you are thinking of getting a new Action Camera, then we can recommend the Hero8. Of course we haven’t used the GoPro 360° or the Osmo Pocket with modular componants, but if GoPro or Osmo want to give us the products to try and compare we will let you know what we think, in the mean time you can get your Hero8 with a free 32GB SD Card, Head Strap and Shorty Grip for £349 here… 

So there you go a new toy or toys for us and look out for photos shot on them real soon.

Do you have a GoPro, are you thinking of Upgrading? Well we hope this review is helpful.

Come back next time for another review and remember to check out our other Social Media for notifications on new posts and other stuff linked to Climbing Moss.

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