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Cameras: Is GoPro Still on the Short List?

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Cameras: Is GoPro Still on the Short List?

Old 09-09-21, 01:13 PM
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Cameras: Is GoPro Still on the Short List?

Is GoPro camera still on the short list? Or are there others just as good and even better for cycling?
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Old 09-09-21, 02:07 PM
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Sort of depends on what you specifically want from it. However I like the Garmin Virb, but my son favors the GoPro. Not sure which model. Neither of us have one, but they are on our wish list.
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Old 09-09-21, 06:56 PM
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Well, I'm on my third action cam, first was the Campark ACT74 as a trial balloon, to find out what is required but lacking on that model.
Next was the Akaso Brave 4 which has the EIS and a gyro along with extremely nice rendition, lots of accessories and features.
The Campark will be replaced by a Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera 20MP EIS Vision 4 Lite which has the EIS and can be used with an external mike.

BTW all of them sold for less that Can$105, but when all is said and done it will come down to where the camera is mounted, e.g the rock solid mount of the Brave 4 on the stem of my Devinci Stellar Acera XC bike does not fix the wiggle of the bike riding along on gravel.
I've been experimenting with different mounting locations and will keep at it to reduce that wiggle as much as possible, without spending all kinds of money.


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Old 09-09-21, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by OldRailfan View Post
Well, I'm on my third action cam, first was the Campark ACT74 as a trial balloon, to find out what is required but lacking on that model.
Next was the Akaso Brave 4 which has the EIS and a gyro along with extremely nice rendition, lots of accessories and features.
The Campark will be replaced by a Dragon Touch 4K Action Camera 20MP EIS Vision 4 Lite which has the EIS and can be used with an external mike.

BTW all of them sold for less that Can$105, but when all is said and done it will come down to where the camera is mounted, e.g the rock solid mount of the Brave 4 on the stem of my Devinci Stellar Acera XC bike does not fix the wiggle of the bike riding along on gravel.
I've been experimenting with different mounting locations and will keep at it to reduce that wiggle as much as possible, without spending all kinds of money.

Are all your cameras still working? Why are you replacing them? Would a good functioning but expensive GoPro or Cycliq have been the way to go?

I have two cheap cameras. One for rear view (Kaiser Baas) and helmet (Campark V30). The battery cover on the Kaiser Baas is falling apart and the Campark has lost its date and time retention when you change batteries. But they are still functionable.
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Old 09-09-21, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Are all your cameras still working? Why are you replacing them? Would a good functioning but expensive GoPro or Cycliq have been the way to go?

I have two cheap cameras. One for rear view (Kaiser Baas) and helmet (Campark V30). The battery cover on the Kaiser Baas is falling apart and the Campark has lost its date and time retention when you change batteries. But they are still functionable.
They're working, the DT hasn't arrived yet. As mentioned the CamPark was a $60 trial balloon, the Akaso Brave 4 is great with all the features I was after and more than enough accessories.
What still needs to be sorted is the mounting position for the Akaso, the DT will be helmet mounted.
By the way I don't believe that a GoPro would fare better as far as wiggle and sway goes. The trick will be to get the mount as low as possible to cut the degree of arc.
Just looked at the Cycliq you mentioned. I always smile at the videos they select, going downhill without pedaling is in my opinion not a good test. I have some of those going 62 km/h on pavement ..... looking very smooth. Doing that at slower speed on gravel will only introduce some vertical chatter but no sway.

PS so far I'm out Can$234 on the three cams! For that money one doesn't get to "play" with even one GoPro or Cycliq and would have to buy a slew of accessories to go with it e.g. different mounting schemes.

Last edited by OldRailfan; 09-09-21 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 09-09-21, 10:27 PM
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My GoPro 7 Black has very good quality, better than any other action camera I've used, and the electronic video stabilization is excellent.

I would assume that the 8 and 9 are slightly better -- at least that's how GoPro has done in the past, each camera is a modest improvement video quality-wise over the previous model. (And I've had several other GoPros over the years, starting with the GoPro HD.)

That said, the battery life is marginal -- about 75 minutes. If you want longer, you'll need some sort of external battery.

I had a Cycliq Fly 6 SE. It was very convenient, and had about 6 hours battery life -- but the video quality was mediocre. Good enough to say what happened in a crash, but ... not great if I wanted to use the footage for something else.

(I say "had", because it stopped working after a rainy ride, out of warranty. It's supposed to be water-resistant, but ... I saw evidence of corrosion on the sd card, I think some water got in there.)

I've tried several other brands over the years, and GoPro has consistently had the best quality (compared to whatever else was available at the same time), but the battery life was always around 75 minutes.

As far as "wiggle and sway" go, I've found that the most important thing there is a solid mount that minimizes vibration. So mount to your frame or seat post if at all possible rather than your handlebars, and keep the mount as short as possible no extensions, for example, as a long mount will wave back and forth as you go down the road.
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Old 09-10-21, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
.................................................................................................... ..........

As far as "wiggle and sway" go, I've found that the most important thing there is a solid mount that minimizes vibration. So mount to your frame or seat post if at all possible rather than your handlebars, and keep the mount as short as possible no extensions, for example, as a long mount will wave back and forth as you go down the road.
Yep, in my case it isn't vibration it is that "sway and wiggle"that I find annoying, but I'm working on it. I also found some interesting samples on an Act74 in this review https://www.tomsguide.com/us/campark...view-5590.html
Now that explains more than the proverbial thousand words.
The power limit got solved by using a power bank which is good for approx six hours. That's considerably longer than I plan on riding.



The "Frame mount" seems to work better than the enclosure, but back to the program .
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Old 09-10-21, 09:56 AM
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Changed it back to the low mount and using the modified housing. That's as low as it get with the shortest, offset extension hardware.



Since the display is not easily accessible to frame the view I mounted a mini level on top of the housing to get it level. Tar and gravel ride a bit later.
Speaking of housing other than the access modifications for the USB port and the SD slot, I also jam some flex foam material in there to prevent the cam from vibrating in any direction.
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Old 09-10-21, 10:28 PM
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Depends on what you want from a video camera.

I use video only for traffic documentation in case of an accident. I use a pair of Drift Ghost X cameras with 5 hour batteries. The current version has 8-hour batteries. Excellent value in a rugged, simple documentation camera. No image stabilization, not the best choice for an action camera for mountain biking, stunts, etc. But outstanding for mundane ride recording.

I used to use an Ion Speed Pro, which recorded for 90-120 minutes when new but gradually declined to around an hour after a couple of years. Good daylight camera, mediocre at night. Unfortunately the one time in two years I didn't use it was the day I was hit by a car in 2018. The battery was dead. I could have hooked it up to a USB battery and charged it on the fly while recording, but didn't bother that day. It cost me a year of recovery from injuries and never was fully compensated for all of my medical expenses. If I had the video the legal case would have been a slam dunk. The driver clearly ran a light while looking down (probably at her phone). But without video it was just another he said/she said case. And the cop implied I was partially to blame for failing to avoid being hit by a car. Yeah, the laws really are that stupid. Negligent drivers get the benefit of the doubt in many regions where collisions with cyclists and pedestrians are concerned.

I never ride without video now. At a minimum I'll mount a Drift Ghost X on my helmet, But that 2018 injury caused permanent neck pain and I can't tolerate extra weight on my head for long. So I usually mount one camera on the stem or handlebar, and another facing rearward on the seat post.
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Old 09-11-21, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Depends on what you want from a video camera.

I use video only for traffic documentation in case of an accident. I use a pair of Drift Ghost X cameras with 5 hour batteries. The current version has 8-hour batteries. Excellent value in a rugged, simple documentation camera. No image stabilization, not the best choice for an action camera for mountain biking, stunts, etc. But outstanding for mundane ride recording.
How old is it? Any signs of aging or functions that stop working?

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
... And the cop implied I was partially to blame for failing to avoid being hit by a car.
Blaming the victim absolves bad drivers from their responsibilities.
...[/QUOTE]
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Old 09-11-21, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
How old is it? Any signs of aging or functions that stop working?
My first Drift Ghost X just turned 2 years old. And I've used it on every single ride for two years. That's about 3-5 rides a week. For the first year it got the full 5 hours per charge runtime. Now it's down to about 3.5-4 hours per charge. Not bad. And replacement battery modules are available. But I'll probably just buy a new Drift Ghost with the now-standard 8-hour batter and semi-retire this one to occasional helmet use.

I got the second Drift Ghost X in December 2019. And it's also been on most rides, probably about 75% of the use of the first. Runtime per charge is still close to 5 hours.

Both have been through a few downpours. Not a single problem with water entry. They're well sealed against most weather as-is, no need for a separate housing, although it's available for shallow water use (like snorkeling, not diving).

Both have been dropped indoors and out a couple of times. A week or so ago, during a night ride, the first camera, front mounted, popped out of the mount and hit the chipsealed pavement (that's coarse gravel glued down with something like epoxy resin -- much tougher and rougher than finished asphalt). I heard and saw it tumbling in my mirror -- the red blinking light and red LED were visible. My fault. I had just moved the mount from over the handlebar to under the handlebar, and neglected to check the full steering range with my exposed brifter cables -- on tight turns the cables pressed the squeeze-release clips. Easily fixed during a brief stop -- I used a velcro strap or rubber band in my repair kit bag to hold the cables out of the way.

The camera was fine. A slight nick in the outer ring around the lens, but the rotating ring wasn't damaged at all and still turns like new -- about like a manual focusing/zooming camera lens, if you've ever handled one of those. And a nick in the rubberized armor on one rounded edge, but no damage to the camera body. These Drift Ghost cameras are built really tough. They're small but heavy, probably aluminum bodies with tough rubberized armor and weatherproof seals.

Both cameras have minor occasional operational glitches, nothing unusual for any USB device. For example, I prefer to set the cameras to instant record-on/off by default. If I neglect to do the usual ritual to remove a USB device from the computer, I'll need to press and hold the Drift cameras until they turn on, wait for the LED to turn from red to green, then press and hold to turn them off again. Then they'll resume my preferred instant on/off mode.

Occasionally if I pull the USB cord/camera from the PC without doing the removal ritual, the camera will freeze. Clicking the reset button under the weaterproof cover for the media card port will clear the lockup.

After that I need to remember to turn on the camera's built-in WiFi hotspot, connect to the app on my phone, and let the phone automagically reset the date/time stamp. Otherwise it will default to the manufacturing date (April 2, 2018, in my cameras -- presumably different for later Drift cameras). Not a big deal but I want accurate date/time stamps for legal purposes.

Blaming the victim absolves bad drivers from their responsibilities.
...
Yep. If I hadn't been stunned by the impact, I would have been more vigilant about the cop's investigation. For example:
  • I should have asked the cop if he interviewed any witnesses -- there were several, but apparently none came forward. He had an opportunity to check with witnesses who were temporarily stopped while I was face down in the middle of the intersection.
  • I should have been sure to tell him the driver appeared to be looking down, definitely not at me, while she was turning.
  • I should have told him to note down her first statement to me, when she got out of her car after hitting me. She said "I was only going 8 mph!" That's oddly specific. And a pretty good indication that she was more concerned about building a defense than the condition of the person she hit.
  • I should have asked the cop specifically to check the traffic light patterns. I definitely had both the green traffic light and pedestrian walk signal. She claimed she had the green light, but also claimed "the sun was in her eyes". She was mistaken or lying. Unfortunately our city uses those dangerous combination signals that permit left turns across traffic on flashing yellow *after yielding* to oncoming traffic or pedestrians. But negligent drivers will interpret flashing yellow/yield as "I'm going, get out of my way."
But nobody who's been stunned by being struck by a car can remember all of that. I wasn't unconscious but my helmet did strike the pavement. I was stunned and had the wind knocked out of me, so it took me about a minute to catch my breath so I could get up. That's when I realized my right arm was dangling uselessly because the shoulder was broken and dislocated.

But the cop did a perfunctory, disinterested, rote job of filling out his report. And I didn't realize at the time that a police code he used on the report assigned partial blame to me for "failing to get out of the way of the car." Unfortunately my first attorney didn't catch it either. The attorney who took over the case nearly three years later finally caught that detail, but it was too late to do anything about it. That pretty much killed my court case. There was no point in asking for a jury trial in my county, which is stocked with anti-cycling/pedestrian judges and juries. And the driver's insurance company and attorney was very aggressive about denying any liability whatsoever.

I will never ride without cameras now. I even carry a GoPro knockoff with image stabilization on some runs, because I've nearly been hit by drivers drifting off the road onto the shoulder while looking at their damned phones. And one driver threw an aerosol can at me because I "looked at him" while he ran a stop sign. It was a can of deodorizer used by stoners to cover up weed smoke. And that's another problem. As Texas has eased up on enforcement of cannabis laws, I'm smelling weed smoke from every third car (just a guesstimate) in my neighborhood. There's gonna be a lot of impaired drivers out there. So it'll be even more unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians.
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Old 09-12-21, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Sort of depends on what you specifically want from it. However I like the Garmin Virb, but my son favors the GoPro. Not sure which model. Neither of us have one, but they are on our wish list.
Be aware that the Virb has been discontinued by Garmin, and has been for some time, so you won't get much support should something go wrong.
Originally I had a Rylo 360 degree cam (similar to the Virb), but Rylo was bought out by a larger company. Support for hardware was gone. Then my phone died, and the Rylo software went with it, and was no longer available to download.
I now have two GoPro Hero 8 Black cams mounted on the bike (forward and rearward.) I changed out the battery door to allow external power. The front is powered by my Garmin extended battery pack (under my 1030+) and the rear is powered by an external power supply mounted to my seat post. I can ride 4 hours or so with my setup. Any longer and I just carry two internal batteries for the cameras.
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Old 09-12-21, 09:01 AM
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I used a Garmin VIRB Elite for several years before it finally died. Great camera, very well suited for use on a bike. I had mounts on all my bikes and I could simple move the camera from 1 to the other, and it picked up the ANT data from my sensors. It's only drawback was the battery only lasted about 100 minutes. Too bad it never caught on as it was MUCH better than any of the others that I tried, including some of the GoPro clones as well as a Hero 6, and the VIRB Edit software was super easy to use.

I'm thinking that the Drift Ghost X might be a good one to try, but everytime I've gone to order it they've been out-of-stock. Damn semiconductor shortages.
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Old 09-12-21, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Be aware that the Virb has been discontinued by Garmin, and has been for some time,
I was worried about that. I should have checked. For even longer their heads-up display that attaches to most any glasses arm is discontinued. And now I'm regretting not getting one before they ended it.

My son has one and uses it every ride. The heads-up display pretty much eliminates having to look down at your handlebars when you should be looking ahead.

Last edited by Iride01; 09-12-21 at 09:44 AM.
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