Review of Go Pro – Lyn Macdonald

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Santa brought you lots of new photography gadgets to play with.

The Go Pro 2 Camera recently came top in a poll of the most wanted presents for Christmas.  Our member Lyn Macdonald recently carried out a review of the Go Pro 2 camera and has kindly shared her findings with us.

A few weeks ago I saw an amazing video on Facebook. It showed Cullen from the air, views sweeping over the beach in such bright detail it looked as though it were taken in some subtropical paradise.

The movie had been made by Malcolm Slater who owns Slater Sports in Buckie, using one of the new GoPro cameras. Since then I’ve met a number of people who have added the camera to their Christmas list. It even featured on The Gadget Show on 8th December, taking the place for the most wanted gadget-gift for Christmas. There’s a buzz about it, the new must-have, and I decided I had to go and find out more.

The camera is tiny, not much bigger than a matchbox. It can take stills and video but its real versatility is in its size and ease of use. It’s in the videos that it really comes into its own.  You can attach it to the handlebars of a bike, use the suction pad to stick it to the front of a speedboat (of course we all have one of those), attach it to your head and have it walk around with you. You can put it on the end of a very long pole (any pole will do, Malcolm uses an extending one used for washing windows) and be able to film from a height without having to do any climbing. They even make a harness so you can attach it to your dog. You get a whole new way of seeing the world and its lamp posts.

In its waterproof housing, dip it under the sea and get views you’d never be able to capture with an ordinary camera, or if you’re a diver, even better. It’s waterproof to 40 metres. Malcolm has some stunning scenes of a boat that sunk off Sandend almost 100 years ago. Shoals of fish swim all around and suddenly you can appreciate even more the wonderful coastline that we share.

To me, the very best thing of all is the quadcopter, a remote controlled aerial device which will lift the camera into the sky and film wherever you take it. This costs extra but opens up a whole world of possibilities.

Unable to come close to competing with Malcolm’s video footage, I decided to spend my time playing with the camera, the Hero4 Silver, using it only for stills. It takes 12megapixel photos and can take up to 30 frames a second. You can use it as a point and shoot or manipulate the settings if you need something specific. It takes photos at night, and can take images at regular intervals while the video is running.

I loved the wide angle lens and had great fun with that. Images come out with an almost fish-eye effect but if you don’t want that, it can be manipulated with the software that accompanies the camera, or just put it onto one of the more usual settings to start with. Quality is excellent and it coped well with all the different conditions.

The camera can connect to your phone through wifi so you can always tell what the camera is seeing. Stick it to the window outside your house at night and when you see that elusive barn owl appear on your phone, hit the button and capture the owl from the comfort of your sofa as yet another Corrie wedding goes pear-shaped.

I don’t want to go into the technicalities of the camera because that’s a bit dull, but would urge you to check out the footage of the area that Malcolm has captured. Examples can be seen if you go to You Tube and search for “Go Pro Cullen”. He also has a number of shots on Facebook in Cullen Past and Present and you can also see them on the Banffshire Advertiser Facebook page. Or call into Slater Sports any time and have a chat with him. He’ll be delighted to  show you his footage on the big screen.

Prices for the cameras range from £100-£370, a small price to pay for the versatility and convenience of such a great little camera.

The Photos taken with the Go Pro

  • The Camera 
  • Buckie Harbour, showing the fish-eye effect. 
  • Selfie. I put the camera on the ground looking upwards and by using the wifi connection to my phone I was able to take a picture of myself in the setting of Findochty harbour.

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