Go-Pro Wide and wide angle thoughts….

Hey everybody, I am back! Whew, been really busy and haven’t had time to really jump on anything new lately. It’s not like there are really any new updates in the Helmet Cam world.

The only big news is maybe Cisco cashing out $590 million in stock to acquire Pure Digital, maker of the pint-sized Flip Video line of cameras, a favorite among the YouTube crowd. Not a helmet camera but interesting news.

So lets go back to the helmet camera

I have not really tested any product or bought anything new. But I have been monitoring boards, forums and reviews. So I noticed that Go-Pro has a wide-angle option now and since I ranked them in my last review “The Big seven of wireless helmet cams” second, I figured I needed to do some research to see if they could possibly move up in the rankings. I was waiting for a new release or major update to any of the Big 5 helmet cam manufacturers to write another review. But due to the overwhelming amounts of emails I have received about the Go-Pro wide I figured I would write a bit.

Click the pic to see the review


I was so excited to see a wide screen helmet cam hit the market at 170 degrees field of view. When I first read the specs page on GoPros website I was ready to pull out the credit card and buy on the spot.  But then I hesitated for a minute, 170-degree field of view? Isn’t that wider than the average human peripheral vision? Will that not distort the outer edges of the video?

“The normal human visual field extends to approximately 60 degrees nasally (toward the nose, or inward) in each eye, to 100 degrees temporally (away from the nose, or outwards), and approximately 60 degrees above and 75 below the horizontal meridian.” Wikipedia

One other problem I noticed on the Go-Pro spec sheet was their 512×384 video resolution, OUCH…compression, compression, compression. Stretching the rez so far out will for sure compress the video. And with only allowing a 2GB card (for the time being the 4GB upgrade is on the way) the video is already weaker than competitors that offer larger SD cards. Now like I always say, I am no scientist, tech geek or mathematician but it seems to my like the pixel ratio must be pretty weak in the 170 compared to everyone else’s normal 50 degree field of vision, of course it is. (Email me if you have answers) It’s not a true widescreen, its almost like a door pinhole or a fishbowl view. I really does bother my experience as a viewer; I think the videos look like alien navigators viewing the spaceship screen. .

I was so excited at the wide angle opportunity, I mean look at the website. The riders and videos on the page are insane, are you kidding me, John John Florence. I’ve been following him since he was a wee little grom ripping north shore out of the womb. The Yamaha video, it would be insane if the FOV wasn’t so forced out, ok there are some pretty awesome shots in that teaser, the tail whip by the Yamaha rider about 75% through. The base-jumping video made me a little queasy. On the highlight video the bmx guys helmet is huge with a wee little bike below him. You can really tell on this photo below the “fishbowl” distortion.


Here are a couple of quotes I pulled off a few review sites and forums echoing my frustration.

“GoPro Hero Wide: 170 degrees sounds great, right? If your subject is really close maybe. But man, if you are pointing at something a bit further away it’s like looking through the wrong end of binoculars. 70 of those degrees are pure distortion.”

“The wide angle lens looks like a fishbowl. And it takes away from the quality.”

The wide however is really wide. The subject can disappear very quickly. It is great for close quarters and to show speed and the surroundings, but this 170 degree wide is a bit too wide. I consider a wide in the 120 degree range….. In my perfect world, the GoPro standard would be about 90 degrees and the “wide” about 120 degrees. Currently, if you have even a question, I’d go with the wide.”

Here is a You Tube video that shows a side by side comparison of the wide vs regular, the guy didn’t upload his video in HD or HQ so it is quite pixilated but it does give you a pretty good idea.

Go-Pro vs Go-Pro Wide Video

I echo the last quote that I pulled from Helmetcamreview.com 90-120 degrees would be perfect for the helmet cam world. You really don’t need any more, any wider the 90 I feel will lose pixels on the edges and become distorted.  Anyways that is my daily, weekly, actually monthly rant. The second somebody releases something new, I will save up or get a sample to so some more video reviews.

I have noticed that GoPro is now calling itself the number one selling helmet cam in the world. I pulled that straight form one of there ads. Call it marketing, call it advertising, whatever, it just kind of bothered me. Oregon Scientific has been on the market for ages! The ATC2K I believe has sold millions of cams. Interesting, that I seem to see a really large number of ATC and Tachyon XC videos from all over the world, but only a few international GoPro videos? Hmmmmmmmmm….

Am I being harsh, ok maybe a little but I expect big things from whoever claims to be the #1 Selling Helmet Cam in the world. C’mon GoPro, seriously it’s a fish eye. Will someone please release a wide screen in the helmet camera market that is a real widescreen? I am waiting. Send me your thoughts. I might be slow to answer, but I eventually will. And if anyone from Go-Pro reads prove us that you are the #1 selling helmet camera in the world, email me, because the readers and I want to know..



15 responses to “Go-Pro Wide and wide angle thoughts….

  1. How do I import/capture the my clips from the GoPro camera to my computer in 16:9 / widescreen? 🙂

    • helmetcamreview

      Do you have the GOPRO wide? Even if you don’t it will depend on your software that you are editing yet, make sure that when you either import the video or render the video, your setting are on 16:9. You may have to crop ( I would crop over stretch) the video if you don’t have the wide angle cam.

  2. I wanted to know if you have reviewed the Contour HD. Pretty sure that it’s made by VholdR. I checked out the video on their website and it looks really good.

    • helmetcamreview

      I have not yet..It was just released a few weeks ago to the media so I caught the PR announcements on Engadget- Yes it is made by VholdR, the video look fantastic, as soon as either they send one or I save up I will review it.

  3. Hi,

    I would like to complement you on the great review you showed on helmetcams. I am about to buy a cam so your review gave me all kind of tips on where to pay attention on.
    Despite the great score of the Tachyon cam, will I but the new VholdR contourHD. I kind da miss this new cam in your review. VholdR claims they have the first HD cam. If I compare the new ContourHD with others then it might be the best choice (at this moment, as I believe a lot of cam will follow with HD). Only the price is a bit too high.

    I hope you will update your review so others can have the same comparison. Thanks again for the great review.


    • helmetcamreview

      As soon as I save up for one or they send one to me to review!-When i did the Big review the Contour wasn’t released yet, I may wait to see if any of the other companies follow suit and create HD cams so I can review them all together, we shall see…thanks Bart

  4. Nice job on your reviews! I see that the contourhd is backordered until end of july. it still can’t do still photos, that’s too bad, but still the sample vids on their site are nice.

  5. Nice review…I had a Go-Pro wide. I got the handlebar/seatpost option for when I went downhill mountain biking so I could get it lower to the ground. Second run down the mountain and the plastic ‘link’ between the handlebar mount and the camera broke. Of course I didn’t notice until I got to the bottom of the run so it was lost. I would urge other owners to put a lanyard in the clip that holds the polycarb box closed and secure it around the bars. That way you won’t lose it.

    My friend has the Contour HD which has that feature and produces great video.

    • yep..I have learned my lesson on tethering cams to something…I have some on the bottom of lakes, oceans, etc!…I like the some of the new ContourHD features..but not waterproof, and the battery life is short, not sure how tough it is either..have on on the way to review!..

  6. Yes, the gopro hero camera is well incased. Yes it is like looking in the wrong end of binoculars. To record trail runs with my kids I could not really tell they were my kids and I remember they were right in front of me. Yes it is horrible setting up as the firmware usability I rate at zero points. Yes the camera itself -not the protective lexan case- is a tiny cheap pos. Yes I took it back and got the contourHD after seeing videos from it with it on youtube. Even it has 135 in hd and 90 in sd. Now…how to convert sd.
    Also why on earth does the contourHD only record to h264/mov format ????
    First thing I will have to do is convert with my video editing software before I can add tracks.
    Still….sure looks like the best videos by far with the vholdr.
    Thanks for great comment on 170 “wide angle”.

  7. Friends, Im Sebastian Donadio, argentinean pro track cycling rider, that do the international circuit of races of 6 days in Europe. My next is Zurich, and Im planning to record the crazy races on LIVE to offer a unusual service to the organization. I dont know how to transmitte on live the images, do you? Somebody could help me?
    I send you a little video to understand the races I do.


  8. Hi, just a tip, you should check out EPIC’s new wide angel action-cam it’s got 168 degrees view but does not look like a fishbowl. It’ alot better than the Go-Pro Wide in my oppinion.

  9. I have a Go Pro Hero Wide. I have had a few issues and honestly im getting a little POed. I first bought mine last year, it worked great in the summer, winter you could only get say 25 min of video then batteries were dead but all was good, summer time one set of batteries would fill the 2 gig card. Then all the sudden every time I hit the record button it would shut down and turn off, then when it did start recording it would shut off when ever it wanted, then if it did by chance turn on, stay on and work when I hit the record button when i wanted to stop filming it would freeze and the only way to fix it was to pull the batteries out. I sent it to go pro and they gave me a new one for free… GREAT I love ther service great people to deal with. Now its winter again and the new one will only record for aobut 8 min then shut off, the card has acted like its full, it will take one 8 min clip and then if I change the batteries it will take another, but when I go to watch them only the first one shows up the second one is blank and has nothing on it. The funny thing is the card was cleared when I went out to ride, I took some snowmobile video but when I come in to view it the imiage showing what video it is I took is an image of a previous atv trip I took, whe I click on it its snowmobile footage, its like the atv stuff is burned into the sd card and I cant get it out even by reformating the cards. would this cause my issue of only having 8min of film time? I love the camera for the fact it picks up footage from all angles but it does suck that everythign looks far away. Im just wondering if my SD cards are scrap now, one is a 2 gig san disc ultra 2, the other one is a Toshiba 2 gig card. Is it possible that the defective camera perminetly screwed up my SD cards? witch is the best SD card to buy? As of now I love my go pro hero wide when it works like it should, everyone else who has one that I know of has never had an issue, I love the fact that the water proof case does a great job of protecting the lense from rocks and ice and debris, looks like a lot of the other cameras have nothing protecting the lense from crap.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s