Go Pro and other helmet cams

I’m curious what others experiences are. I’ve had a couple people as ask how I liked my Go Pro. People are looking for gift ideas.

My Go Pro was the cheapest (non HD) model that took AAA batteries. It worked great, till it stopped working. I don’t know if go too damp inside or what. But it died. I’m now thinking of replacing it with the HD model for $139 at Cosco.

How have other peoples’ cameras held up? Other suggestions besides Go Pro? I’m not going to spend $300 or anything close to that for something that I’ll use in WW. Less than $150 really appeals to me.

Oregon Scientific ATC9K
I had the GoPro non-HD as you did (still do - for sale on a helmet now for $90) but opted for a new HD ATC9K. Love it - and like the perspective better than the GoPro HD as that one is even more wide angle than the ATC9K. Have mine mounted on my Gaith helmet and can move it to my deck cup mounted system. Extremely good HD video - though the sound is less than excellent.

Didn’t know they had one less wide angle
I’d opt for that too, if the price was right. The regular Go Pro’s are a bit more angle than you’d like for paddling.

check out review

– Last Updated: Dec-06-11 12:30 PM EST –

California Kayaker Magazine had a review comparing the GoPro HD Hero to the Oregon Scientific ATC9K in the Fall 2011 issue. Did side by side comparisons of the two, including having a blog post that contains the raw (unedited) pictures and videos from each camera, so you can see exactly how they compare.

You can read it for free online at

Posted this yesterday elsewhere on the site.

thanks for the feedback.

I have been researching helmet cams (like many of you i’m sure). i have looked at contour, drift, tachyon, vio and oregon scientific. The go-pro seems to bee the most popular camera. .

i am currently leaning towards the ATC9k.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. thanks.

btw: i would also use on a bike and trail running.

thanks again

StickyPod and Pentax Optio Wpi
Get a decent waterproof digital camera and use the

StickyPod mount on the kayak - you’ll get great shots.

Image stabilization allows great movie making.


StickyPod - hands free paddling camera action


do you know the field of vision?
It’s usually stated in degrees.

I’m also interested in something with a bit less-wide angle.

Sticky pod
I also use the stickypod when kayaking, but find that the triangular base doesn’t always work when you don’t have a flat deck to attach it to. I unscrewed one of the suction cups though and rigged up a one-cup base for my ATC9K when I paddle my Rapier 20. Just remember to always put a leash on it!!

my experience with helmet cams
I use both the ATC9K and GoPro, looked at the Contour model but found it didn’t have anything new or different to offer. Both cameras have comparable quality footage but noticeably different fields of view. For running rapids either mounted on helmet or boat I prefer the ATC9K for its narrower view (makes waves look much bigger!) and lcd screen for aiming. The GoPro has excellent color quality right out of the box where with the ATC9K colors need to be “tweeked” in post. The GoPro is nice for underwater shots due to its wider view. Something to keep in mind is the way the cameras save the footage. Make sure your editing software can import it without having to convert. I use Vegas Pro which doesn’t like the ATC9K’s Quicktime files so I have to do the extra step before I’m able to use it. The GoPro has a bulging lens on both the camera and waterproof case making lens flares a problem. With both cameras lighting and the angle of lighting is crucial for getting usable footage. Unfortunatly you won’t find an HD helmet cam for much less then $300. Hope I was able to help.

Mark Morrall

Morrall River Films

GoPro Hero vs. Hero2 vs OSATC9K
Just received a Hero as a gift. :slight_smile: As it’s still new and in the box, would there be enough of an advantage to upgrade to the new Hero2 for an additional $100, or to make an (almost) even swap to the Oregon Scientific ATC9K? ($30 additional through Amazon).

Thanks! (Scott, I know you’re a fan of your OS…) :slight_smile:

Bend the base of StickyPod

– Last Updated: Dec-03-11 11:26 AM EST –

I removed the suction cups, put it in a vise,
and bent the ""wings" of the triangle a bit,
to match curvature of my Dagger kayak.
I like the idea of 3 industrial suction cups.

Of course people will want to tether/leash their
camera rig for their piece of mind.

I've used it completely submerged on the
bottom of my boat in deep water for some cool shots.

practice is the key
Around the house, make sure it works for the big shot out on the water. I mounted mine to a ww helmet but it is tricky for me to know when the film is running

Hero vs Hero2
I haven’t had a chance to try the Hero2 out yet but, looking at the spec sheet it looks like there is a wider variety of view angles. I don’t know if it would be worth the extra $100 dollars though.

I believe the Hero and ATC9K are very comparable to one another. One advantage the Ore. Sci. camera has is it doesn’t need a separate case to make it waterproof.


Fat Gecko Gator Camera Mount
For long continuous waves trains, a helmet cam is great. Otherwise, it gives you pretty limited options. Sticky Pod isn’t the best for a canoe, so I use the Fat Gecko Gator Camera Mount:


It can attach anywhere so give you lots of options for shots. I use it with my Pentax Optio

I’ll give contour 1080hd thumbs down

– Last Updated: Dec-03-11 6:08 PM EST –

Im on my third contour hd 1080p.

The first one died out on the water. The magnet in the waterproof case failed to turn on the camera. Just when I decided to open the waterproof case to troubleshoot it you can guess what happened. Seeing water drip out of the usb connector is not a happy experience.

The magnet in the waterproof case also failed to turn on the replacement camera I bought. So I called contour and they sent me a replacement magnet to go into the water proof housing. I let them know what happened to the first camera in the hopes that they were customer-oriented like REI or EMS, but they basically said tough luck.

About 2 months ago the replacement started making morse code everytime I turned it on. Fortunately it was still in the 6 month warranty, so I got a second replacement, or my third camera. I really don't want to take it near the water, and thats why I first purchased one.

The battery latch on the contour camera is very thin and mine (as well as others on the net) broke.

The underwater case is poor for a couple of reasons. If it is an older one, you need to get a repair kit to add a second gasket to make the thing more waterproof. (Do you see a trend here?)

Secondly, the front face is acrylic and really hurts the image quality. I took some videos of Eagles fishing around Coeysmans Is. and when I saw the video on the computer I just deleted it. If you leave the case and camera in direct sunlight the camera gets baked. Some foil tape on the case really helps.

I bought the usb charger accessory. Guess what? Put a dead battery into it and the light stays green, indicating that the battery is fully charged.
However, if you load the dead battery and then plug it into the usb hub on the pc then it starts to charge, well, most of the time. Maybe that needs a repair kit too.

Finally, on 3 of 3 cameras, the detente which holds the lens in the horizontal or vertical position is sloppy-- you can rotate the lens 10-15 degrees- it does not stay locked. Although my lens never rotated while I was using it, I always wonder if it is going to wear out and become loose.

I gotta get one of these
And I need to stop looking at these post or I’ll go broke with everything I “gotta” get.

Just got the Go Pro HD
As I said in the OP, I had a Go Pro (non HD) that died. While I’d like to try the Oregon Scientific ATC9K because of what folks posted here. I like that it is not as wide an angle lense. However, I just can’t justify $299 when I can get the Go Pro HD at Cosco for $139.

Thanks for the input everyone.

separate case is an advantage
At least in the GoPro situation. That bulging lens attracts scratches, so having a separate case means you can replace it relatively cheaply. They sell replacement lens and cases. I think the case is $20.

Of course, if they didn’t have that bulging lens, they wouldn’t need the separate case…

Comparison sheet of 3 Go Pro models

That Go Pro II sure looks nice. The one I got at Cosco for $139 is the 960 model. It sure would be nice to have the option not to film with such a wide angle. With the regular version you have to be right on top of your buddies to get video of that looks good.

If anyone looks on google they can probably find a contour hd 1080 for 109-120. YMMV.