Go Pro Digital Hero 3 - a review

-- Last Updated: Feb-11-09 9:25 AM EST --

Since I couldn’t find any specific answers regarding mounting the GoPro to a kayak, I decided to add this here for others who might be in my situation.

When NRS was having their mid-winter sale, I purchased the wrist-mounted GoPro Digital Hero 3 camera for around $100. I had been looking for a relatively inexpensive way to create those fun digital movies that we see of people sea kayaking on YouTube and the like. I won’t go into any of the techie stuff, but I’m very happy with this little camera for capturing some fun on recent trips.

The Hero 3 comes with a wrist mount (Velcro with some rubber) that is designed to flip up to take digital still pictures or video. After one paddle I quickly realized that this wrist mount was fine for the occasional photo but not conducive to taking video. I mounted it on my pfd using the velcro strap to secure it to the left of my head. I ended up with a lot of sideway videos as the camera tilted and leaned on my vest. After consulting with GoPro via e-mail (next day customer service response, by the way), I purchased the helmet expansion pack from an online bike store for about $50 including shipping.

The expansion kit includes a different housing the wrist mount, a headlamp-like strap mount, a strap mount for a vented helmet that can also be used on decklines, and flat and curved mounts that have 3M sticky pads to mount to a clean surface like a glass kayak deck. These sticky mounts seem to work very well even when rolling. GoPro did recommend attaching a tether to the camera just in case (apparently the waterproof housing does not float).

The motorsport expansion kit contains the mounts and a strong suction cup that customer service said was effective, but could get knocked into the “release position” in rough waves. I took a chance with the cheaper helmet expansion kit and am satisfied so far. Between the headlamp mount, the flat sticky mounts and the deckline mount, I think there are more than enough options to get the video angles that I am looking for.

My recommendation: don’t get the wrist-mounted model if you are looking for “in-action video”. If you are only looking for a cheap still camera, the GoPro Hero 3 takes decent stills but not consistently. For digital video, the wrist-mount is pretty unrealistic. Also, since the wrist-mount housing is not compatible with the helmet or motorsport mounts, I’d recommend saving your money to buy either the helmet or motorsport version from the start if you want to do kayak-mounted digital video. Also, don’t forget that you’ll need a 2GB SD card and 2 AAA NiMH batteries to make this thing work. Hope that someone finds this useful. - SK

Sweet review!
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I have used the GoPro3 quite a bit. If you want action video it is best to use the head mount. I actually made one from a headlamp harness before they offered one. The video is 30 frames per second and it takes better video than a lot of still cameras that cost far more. As far as batteries go I use the lithiums since I can get 3 memory cards (2 GB) out of one set of them. Be sure to test burn so you know for sure about battery life before you try to video something important. It is certainly as no-frills as you can get a camera these days.

It’s up to 5 now
GoPro cameras are now 5 megapixels, by the way. Definitely on my list of purchases sometime soon.

I’ve also used the GoPro 3…
and agree with the above…

Add in lightweight, ease of use and has the ability to playback over a Tv or VCR with the included A/V jacks and the review is more complete.

Takes great pics underwater when snorkeling…

Other GoPros and the 3
I bought the 35mm version from LLBean. They have for $15 and it even comes with a roll of film.


After I had for a while they had the Go Pro 3 for $59 on a special sale. I ordered one but the case came cracked. Decided to return it and just live with my 35 mm for a while.

How is quality?
I have a $250 samsung video camera and would like a comparison of picture quality

review here
I did a review of the GoPro Hero 3 on my Blog, including putting photos and videos up in the form they are taken (no editing). Note it is of the Hero3 (where 5 is the current version), and is not of the wide version they are currently offering.