Several years ago, before GoPro cameras were of acceptable quality, I purchased a VIO POV 1.5 and recorded a good bit of mountain biking with it. Late last year it finally died, and looking for a replacement the GoPro HERO3: Black Edition was recently released and had some amazing looking video samples. The entire camera is bigger than the recording part of the POV 1.5 so there is more to attach to my helmet, but there is no bulky battery/storage unit, it’s waterproof, and there are many more mounting options. But what really matters is the video quality. The HERO3 performs amazingly well for low-light things like night mountain biking, works pretty well during the day, and works underwater. I’ve shot a few things in 4k video but without a way to edit or view those, I’ve mostly stuck to 30fps 1080p. Below are the results! Subscribe to my my Vimeo account for future ones.

First up, testing out mounting options while mountain biking. Helmet is great if it’s aimed right (which can be tricky with no viewfinder/display), Handlebars are surprisingly good but the mount slides around unless you wedge something ‘grippy’ in it (they have fixed this on a newer version of the clamp mount which was just released), and on the seatpost provides a neat perspective but on my bike I had to rotate the video 180 degrees which seems to confuse iMovie and caused some weird cropping.

Allatoona Creek from Chris Kelly on Vimeo.

Then it was on to the night! Both of these were shot with a ~900 lumen HID light on my helmet and the camera mounted on my handlebars. I’ve traded-up lights to a ~1800 lumen LED, check back for video from that soon.

Dirty Mustache Ride from Chris Kelly on Vimeo.

Dirty Mustache Ride 2013.04.16 from Chris Kelly on Vimeo.

Up next was capturing the Thursday Night #fmride. This was helmet mounted and with the higher speeds of a road bike, I could feel the wind drag on my helmet. Not a problem, but it could be on longer rides.

#fmride 2013.04.25 from Chris Kelly on Vimeo.

I thought the waterproof housing would be nice for sweat and the occasional rain while riding bikes, but it does a pretty great job at the pool as well:

Pool! from Chris Kelly on Vimeo.

Lastly was some ‘proper’ mountain biking with Mike at the Olympic MTB course in Conyers, GA:

GIHP - Beginners + More from Chris Kelly on Vimeo.

GIHP - Granite from Chris Kelly on Vimeo.

If you’re looking to get an ‘action camera’, I recommend getting this a GoPro HERO3: Black Edition. Sure, the battery only lasts about an hour, the mounts take some patience to figure out, and the 2-button UI take some getting used to, but the quality of the video you’ll get is completely worth it.

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