It wasn't long ago that we were praising the GoPro Motorsports Hero Wide (MHW) camera ("In Motion!," Oct '09). Its compact nature and supplied suction mount kit made it ideal to attach onto most flat surfaces, allowing us to document cool action footage from a number of vehicles. Since then we've used it for most outings, from in-car dragstrip runs to autocross action.
And just when we thought it couldn't get any better, GoPro proved us wrong by introducing its latest high-definition version, the HD Motorsports Hero (HMH). The HMH isn't much bigger than the original, but is able to shoot in three HD resolution modes (1080p, 960p, 720p) at 30 frames per second (fps). There are two additional HD resolution modes (720p and WVGA) that can be shot at 60 fps-great when processed to play back in slow motion.
Aside from shooting in HD, the HMH has a number of improvements over the MHW. One of these is the microphone system featuring a built-in mic with an automatic gain control. This means no more of that wind howl you may have gotten accustomed to. Also, the HMH comes with two back covers, one with a vented area good for any motorsports up to 100 mph and one sealed for higher speeds or for underwater footage. Another advantage is the ability to use larger SD cards. The MHW was limited to a 2GB SD card and only recently upgraded to handle up to a 4GB card; the HMH, on the other hand, can handle up to a massive 32GB card.
All this is priced at just $300-we dare you to find a better camera for the price. If this is still a little more than you want to spend, then you'll be happy to know that GoPro now offers a HD Hero 960 which is similar to the HMH with the exception of 720p at 60 fps and 1080p functions and the expansion port in the back, which would allow you to take advantage of GoPro's upcoming accessories. On a final note, GoPro still offers the original MHW for $150. When determining which camera is the right one for you, that'll ultimately be contingent on what you're looking to do with the final footage. Either way, you can't go wrong, and both systems make it easy to record the action you want to capture most.
GoPro HD Motorsports Hero video camera
You'd be hard pressed to find a better deal
|HD VIDEO RESOLUTION MODES
||DATA RATE (MBIT/S)
The HMH isn't much larger...
The HMH isn't much larger than the MHW, but you can forget about using the MHW housing as a spare. The rear of the HMH housing utilizes a new design to accommodate the rechargeable battery. Even so, the dimensions are 1.6x2.4x1.2 inches, and weighs in at just 3.3 ounces with the battery installed.
New for the HMH is the rechargeable...
New for the HMH is the rechargeable Li-ion battery that's good for 2 1/2 hours of record time. Should you need a replacement battery-or just want to keep a spare-they can be had for just $20. At that price, it's a pretty good idea to keep an additional one handy when you don't have access to a charger.
You'll need to purchase an...
You'll need to purchase an SD card, and depending on the HD resolution you're recording in, you can get up to eight hours of video time with a 32GB SD card (must be plugged in to a power source). We've been using an 8GB SD card and it's been perfect for our needs. GoPro offers 2-, 16-, and 32GB cards on its website.
Every kit includes a waterproof...
Every kit includes a waterproof quick-release housing that can take a serious amount of abuse. Our HMH has been a trooper, enduring accidental drops, even from a moving vehicle when we forgot to clamp the suction cup down.
The HMH can also be used as...
The HMH can also be used as a still camera for 5-megapixel images. You can also set it to automatically shoot in 2-, 5-, 10-, 30-, and 60-second intervals. Another option that we like is that while the lens aperture is fixed at f/2.8 for maximum performance in low-light situations, the viewing angle is set at 127 degrees for a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio shot in the 1080p mode, whereas the viewing angle changes to 170 degrees for a wide view and to capture more above and below the 16:9 widescreen in the WVGA, 720p, and 960p modes.
The sides of the HMH have...
The sides of the HMH have ports for both audio and HDTV connections, along with the USB port to transfer the data and charge the battery. Don't worry about having to purchase additional cables; everything you need is included with the system.
Each system comes with a number...
Each system comes with a number of adhesive mounts and quick-release buckles can be used to attach the HMH onto flat or curved surfaces, including the dash or onto a helmet. GoPro even supplies a suction cup mount shown here with a three-way pivoting arm assembly that allows you to mount the system onto just about anything you can imagine.
Our HD Motorsports Hero has...
Our HD Motorsports Hero has become a vital tool that we always keep in our camera bag. We've used it for nearly every autocross event we've entered, along with sessions where we're testing everything from suspension components to tires and brakes. More recently we're trying out time-lapse videos. It just goes to show you that the HMH is extremely versatile and it's only limited by your imagination. Be sure to log on to our site at chevyhi performance.com for our videos, and don't forget to send us links to your videos by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.