Which Go-Pro to buy?

-- Last Updated: Mar-11-15 6:52 PM EST --

Dear All -

We want to get a Go-Pro (or similar device) for our trip this summer - but we are clueless about which one to get - any suggestions? Also - any ideas for mounting to the front deck? Thanks in advance!


– Last Updated: Mar-11-15 8:05 PM EST –

are you planning to do on the front deck ?

cheapest is best
if that is the first time you are using an action cam then I suggest the cheapest model of GoPro, or even better a good copy of it available on eBay.

Action cams footage looks so incredibly good on the promotional videos and professional clips but reality is very disappointing for most new users.

I know of dozen of people that bought a GoPro to use it once or twice and never again.

If money is no object then sure get the Hero4 Black: it does take incredible footage, but so does the basic Hero.

Unless you want to spend a bunch of time and have the skills to edit really high resolution footage then the hype (and price) of the Hero4 is not justified. If you have great skills in capturing and editing 4K footage then it is an outstanding tool.

As for securing the cam on the “front deck” ( I presume you mean the deck of the kayak) the basic stick-on clips mount for the cam work great (on a composite kayak). For a bit more fancy and removable options the suction cup works well too.

What type of filming do you want to do? Do you need a remote or would a model that you have to be able to reach to turn on/off work for you? Will you be doing slow motion videos (which require high frame speeds)?

which ever edition you get I have a few
suggestions- get the large capacity battery and change and get the rear door that is designed to fit it. Always tether it to something as a backup. I had difficulty getting a deck mount to stick long term. Pick a flat spot on the deck, some folks use a hair dryer on the boat and the sticky mount to improve adhesion. Which edition to get? black or silver has a lot to do with how big of files and quality you want. So do your homework. When you go to upload the files to youtube or facebook check out the different options for upload quality as well. This makes a huge difference- perhaps even greater than the difference between the camera models. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard much about the cheaper off brand versions other than the image is of poorer quality. Oh yeah, get the little strips made to absorb moisture for inside the case. Use rainex where the case covers the lens. If you want to shoot other folks with it, you have to get really close to them. I personally like to carry a regular small video camera as well- to keep things more interesting- the 1st person point of view gets tedious after a while.

cheaper alternative
>>Unfortunately, I haven’t heard much about the cheaper off brand versions other than the image is of poorer quality.

Here is a review with footage samples of the best alternative to GoPro (same format and shape): https://youtu.be/xnHDu-oW7_Y

There are other side-by-side video comparisons on his YouTube channel (please forgive him his accent, it's British) of GoPro vs SJ cameras. I was incredibly impressed, given that I own/use 3 different models GoPros.
Of course if you want 4K footage (and we all know how good that looks on FaceBook) then the Hero4 Black is your answer.

Doesn’t have to be a Go Pro
I use my waterproof Pentex Optio for video with a Fat Gecko mount - works great.


Mounting in the front of the boat can be pretty boring, unless you are going to turn the camera around every once in a while to get some video of yourself paddling. Different mounting options (front, back, high, low) make for a more interesting video.

OK here’s some advice
First, be aware that the real quality comes in the editing AFTER you have shot your video. Gopro makes free editing software, as do some others, but you will have some learning to do if this is new to you.

Second, you do NOT need 4K filming. The 3+BE model older than current 4 models also does some 4K anyway. Either the 3+ older model or the new 4 model will be fine, with the former being cheaper.

Third, to set up your shots it helps to have a visual viewer. The 4 SIlver model has that built in and is cheaper than the 4 Black. You can buy a 3+ model and still add a viewer back, BTW. Gopro makes a remote, which came with only the 3+ model, otherwise an after purchase. But you don’t need that if you carry your cell phone, because they supply a free app that lets you both view and control your camera from a smart phone anyway.

Fourth, there are 3 ways to attach a camera to a deck: glue on mounts, suction mounts, and screw in mounts. In most cases, particularly with a poly kayak, the standard glue on mounts will do the job. With a slicker flatter surface, like fiberglass, you might prefer the suction mount with a tether too (I found it sometimes unreliable on poly deck). In the end I went with a Railblaza screw in mount and camera platform which is highly versatile and absolutely secure, but that may be overkill for your use.

You can use a chest mount, rather than attaching it to your boat if all you want is a forward shot of the scene and the action. You can use a headband mount if you want to follow your field of view as you look around. So it isn’t absolutely necessary to attach to your deck.

Action cams are fun, but realize that they are NOT the same as regular videocams for vacation shooting. Gopro type cams are strictly wide angle landscape type viewing. So if you’re thinking of taking only a Gopro type cam alone for your vacation, you’re going to be disappointed when you want telephotos or closeups or tighter cropping.

Before you go for a remote…
Before you upgrade to a model that includes a remote, do a web search about the problems. There have been a lot of issues with the batteries not taking a charge. It isn’t designed to be a replaceable battery.

that was really good
Your post should be used as a forum article. That was really good.

Just stumbled on this on the
on the WNY Paddlers FB page.

Doesn’t address which Go Pro but shows possibilities with a creative bow mount.


as with…you know…spending LARGER sums gives quality results.

I have a Kodak waterproof camera that I bought to take snorkeling. I’m going to put a mount on the front of my kayak. With editing software you can make most anything look good.

At least for web video
Its amazing what you can do with a cheap camera free editing software.

JVC Adixxion gc-xa2
Just to give out some other alternatives that folks may not know…

JVC has an action cam out, JVC adixxion GC-XA2 in it’s 2nd version. I don’t yet have experience with it, but wanted to let known another alternative.

I just ordered this cam. I chose it as a 20 year anniversary gift at work. I haven’t tried it yet as it arrived at work yesterday but I took the day off. I should run in and get it to play with it this weekend, but it’s a bit of a drive. So, I’ll be playing with it on Monday.

It is comparable cost to the GoPro. One nice feature is it is waterproof down to 16 (I think) meters so it doesn’t require a separate waterproof housing like the GoPro. It also has a standard camera threaded mount on the bottom and the side to use any standard camera mount vs. the GoPro having proprietary mounting system.

I don’t know how to do it yet, but specs state it can record in slow motion, I think 4x times slower. It’s not something like the incredible slow motion videos that you see of water balloons popping or anything, but the few vids I’ve seen it seems a pretty neat feature.

It has a small LCD screen so you can see what you are recording. I think it is pretty small though. Probably good enough to set up your mount.

It also has wifi which you can get an app for iOS or Android and connect to the camera. I believe you can control the camera functions (off/on, white balance, resolution, etc) with your smartphone along with i think you can have the video stream back to your phone. That would be helpful mounting out of reach on your kayak and controlling it and seeing the vid from the cockpit.

I don’t think the battery life is very long, but you do have access to the battery and surely you can purchase an extra battery.

I’ve been wanting an action cam, but a GoPro isn’t something I would spend money on. I actually was planning to purchase one of the cheaper $80 alternatives. I was pretty thrilled to see this listed in my catalog. I will use it cycling, in the car, and with RC along with the kids can play with it in the pool.

All I need now is a kayak to mount it too, lol. Too bad it wasn’t a 25 year anniversary because there is an Old Town 12 ft kayak listed for a 25 year gift, lol. I’ll be picking up my cheap 10 footer maybe next month though. I’ll now have an action cam to record my maiden paddle out at the lake once it’s finally thawed. Can’t wait to try it out when I get back to work on Monday (funny, being excited to get to work on a Monday, LOL.)


– Last Updated: Mar-14-15 12:13 PM EST –

Ah's had good luck wit de Sony AS100VR wit de remote/viewin' control wrist band good ta 16' wit de standard housin', but a 190' housin' be $49.

While maybe not as rugged as de GoPros it still be plenty good enough. Ah's also gots de GoPro Hero 2 an' de Hero 3. Fer more serioos filmin' ah' use a Nikon P7100 wit a Fantasea dive housin'... but dats a little too big fer deck an' noggin' mountin'.



Look at a Contour
I have one, I like the fact that it is not boxey and every vid I have taken with it has been fine.

Thank you for your great response - we had someone tell us today that we would be disappointed with the wide angle lens on the go-pro - that is can end making majestic scenery look puny! We are still thinking and sorting through our options - we are taking a mothership/kayak tour in Alaska this summer and thought it would be fun to video the trip.

My waterproof Canon can take video - I have not played around a lot with this, but am going to experiment on a weekend trip over Easter…see how that goes before making a final decision.

Thanks everyone!
Thanks for the advice - always nice to know we can count on paddlers!