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GoPro Hero3+
The GoPro Hero3+ camera range has just been announced by GoPro in time for winter. The new range of Hero3+ cameras from GoPro are updated versions of the previous Hero3 models which came out late 2012. Here is a few details on what to expect from the new cameras:

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition
The GoPro Hero3+ Black is the top of the line GoPro model and it will be available in two packages: the Adventure and Surf packages. Each package comes with exactly the same camera and waterproof housing, the only difference between the Adventure and Surf is the mounts inside the package (the Adventure package gets one curved and one flat surface mount, the Surf package gets one surfboard mount). Highlights of the Hero3+ Black Edition include:

  • Smaller, lighter housing with bigger buttons. Waterproof to 130'/40m.
  • Sharper lens for less image distortion
  • 1180mAh battery for 30% longer battery life (between 1 and 2 hours depending on mode used)
  • Faster wi-fi for improved video preview via GoPro App
  • Superview mode, for wider angle recording
  • Auto Low Light mode for improved quality in varying light conditions
Just like the previous Hero3 Black model, the Hero3+ Black will shoot professional quality videos with modes such as 2.7k/30fps, 1080p/60fps and 720p/120fps as well as 12MP stills at up to 30 frames per second.
GoPro Hero3+ Black

GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition
The GoPro Hero3+ Silver is available in one package only and comes with one curved and one flat adhesive mount. Highlights of the Hero3+ Silver Edition include:
  • Now shoots 1080p/60fps and 720p/120fps
  • Smaller, lighter housing with bigger buttons. Waterproof to 130'/40m
  • Sharper lens for less image distortion
  • 1180mAh battery for 30% longer battery life (between 1 and 2 hours depending on mode used)
  • Faster wi-fi for improved video preview via GoPro App
GoPro Hero3+ Silver

The new GoPro Hero3+ cameras will be available in Canada from mid October. And in case you are wondering, the Silver and Black Edition cameras look exactly the same from the outside. The terms "Silver" and "Black" do not refer to the colour of each model, it is just their model names.

How to take rotating time lapse photos
Drift recently unveiled a cool new product designed to make taking rotating time lapse photo sequences nice and easy. The Drift Timelapse is a camera mount that you wind up with your camera on top and set your camera to take photos every "X" seconds. The Timelapse mount will rotate a full 360 degrees in 60 minutes and then all you have to do is drop the photos in to your video editor to create a stop motion video.

Drift Timelapse camera mount with Drift HD Ghost mounted on top
The Drift Timelapse has a standard 1/4" tripod thread that will screw directly in to any camera with a 1/4" tripod thread such as the Drift HD Ghost camera shown or any camera that has a 1/4" tripod mount adapter available such as the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition. The base of the Drift Timelapse has a female 1/4" tripod thread so that you can securely attach it to a tripod and you can also stack Timelapses to get faster rotation and more rotations. If you don't have a tripod handy you can just place the Timelapse on any flat-ish surface thanks to it's flat base. Check out the video below to see an example of a video shot using the Drift Timelapse:

Drift HD Ghost Initial Review
Drift have just released their latest offering to the action camera industry, the Drift HD Ghost. The new camera brings many new features that people have been requesting in a product since I can remember working in the industry. It is the most versatile camera on the market that can be used and adapted to anything. They have dramatically improved the optics as well as packing in features to make this camera truly stand out from the crowd.
The new Drift HD Ghost with 2-way remote.

The key to Drift cameras being more versatile has always been in the screen and the remote. From the days of the X170 camera they always used these and in the Ghost they have taken them to the next level. The Ghost now has a built in 2 inch LCD screen which is protected by Gorilla glass which is a leading manufacturer making glass screens for many smart phones. This means that it is now even easier to align your next angle, and the screen is protected from scratches.
Controls on top are easier to use and allow room for a full 2" LCD screen on the side.
Best in class 1700mAh battery will last for three hours, great for the Canadian winter.

The remote control is now bidirectional. This means that now the cameras status is displayed on the wireless remote control. Gone are the days of missing footage because you didn't know if the camera was recording or not, or the times that you left the camera in the wrong mode and you ended up with a bunch of pictures instead of a video. The remote has coloured LED lights which signal with alternate colours which mode the cameras is in when in standby. Once recording the lights change to red so you know that you are capturing the action.

Three new features that Drift have introduced to the HD Ghost are WiFi, Flashback and a waterproof rating without a dive housing. Drift’s new WiFi data link allows you to connect smart phones, both iPhones and Android devices to the camera. This provides a live stream of what the camera is looking at, as well as the ability to change camera settings. One of the coolest features of their data link is that it allows you to share files across onto your smartphone where you can view and upload onto the net so your followers can see that trail you just tore down.

There has been a call for quite some time with people wanting to be able to record in the past, without having captured the last 3 hours of an activity. For example, you are out fishing and spend 2 hours in the water waiting. When the fish bites you press record and the camera captures up to the past 5 minutes to make sure you got the event and it continues to record, saving you from watching hours of eventless footage. Drift have named this feature Flashback, and it works in a similar way to a security camera ‘loop mode’.

Drift have now built the HD Ghost to be waterproof to 3 meters without the use of a waterproof housing. This means that it is perfect for sports such as kite surfing and kayaking. They also have a 60 meter waterproof dive housing if you wish to push further into the dark depths.

The HD Ghost features an adjustable lens viewing angle through the settings. This allows you to pre select either 170, 127 or 90 degrees making the camera a lot more customisable to your application. It also features a 10x digital zoom. Along with the addition of a 960p tall video mode they have upped the still images to 11MP and introduced a 7 element glass lens to the front of the camera to deliver crisp images and video.

Drift have introduced an industry leading battery capacity to the HD Ghost. The battery supplies 1700 mAh which will deliver you with up to 3 hours of continuous recording. The battery has also been center mounted so that the weight of the camera is distributed evenly. This offers a far more stable camera when it is mounted. Not only have Drift innovated ways to make the camera more user friendly and offer jaw dropping image quality, they have also stepped up the audio. The mic in the camera now features a digital signal processor which cuts down the wind noise and makes what you want to hear more clear.

The Drift HD Ghost is available for pre-order in Canada for $449 with a release date of late November 2012.

Drift HD Ghost: Share Your Vision from Drift on Vimeo.

Massive demo and open box camera and accessory sale
We've got a heap of ex-demo and open box cameras and accessories that have to go. Pick up a sweet deal on Contour, GoPro, Drift and VIO items at up to 80% off normal retail. Some of these items are available for online purchase, however most of them are only available via phone, email or in-store purchase. Check it out:

Contour Cameras

6 x Contour HD 1080p
Condition: As new, ex-demo camera. Retail packaging not included.
Includes: Camera, battery, 2GB microSD card, rotating flat mount, profile mount, USB cable, lens cap
Warranty: 30 days
Other: Get 50% off any microSD card with this camera with coupon code YMEU3179H

5 x Contour GPS
Condition: As new, ex-demo camera. Retail packaging not included.
Includes: Camera, battery, 2GB microSD card, Contour Connect View card (normally $34.99 extra), 2 x rotating flat mounts, USB cable,  lens cap, plastic carry case
Warranty: 30 days
Other: Free shipping included across Canada. Get 50% off any microSD card with this camera with coupon code YMEU3179H

1 x Contour+
Condition: As new, ex-demo camera. Retail packaging not included.
Includes: Camera, battery, 2GB microSD card, Waterproof housing (normally $45.99 extra), Contour Connect View card, 3 x rotating flat mounts, 2.5mm to 3.5mm microphone adapter, USB cable, lens cap
Warranty: 90 days
Other: Free shipping included across Canada. Get 50% off any microSD card with this camera with coupon code YMEU3179H

1 x Contour ROAM
Price: SOLD
Condition: Open box, new condition, unused, complete kit.
Includes: 1 x rotating flat mount, 1 x profile mount, 1 x USB cable, 1 x plastic carry case
Warranty: 12 months
Other: Free shipping included across Canada. Get 50% off any microSD card with this camera with coupon code YMEU3179H

1 x Contour ROAM Watersports Kit
Condition: Open box, new condition, unused, complete kit.
Includes: Contour ROAM waterproof housing, 1 x surfboard mount, 1 x USB cable, 1 x plastic carry case
Warranty: 12 months
Other: Free shipping included across Canada. Get 50% off any microSD card with this camera with coupon code YMEU3179H

Contour Accessories

All the Contour accessories are in new condition without standard retail packaging unless otherwise noted. Not available online. Phone, email, in-store orders only.
2 x Contour HD and 1080p waterproof housing (orange) - SOLD
1 x Contour GPS Waterproof housings (black) - SOLD
1 x Contour GPS Waterproof housings (black, minor scratch on lens cover, out of field of view) - $20.
1 x Contour GPS Waterproof housing (green, minor scratch and imperfection on lens cover, out of field of view) - SOLD
6 x Contour Lens Replacement Kit (for HD, 1080p and GPS cameras) - SOLD
5 x Contour Universal Mounts - SOLD
3 x Contour Roll Bar Mounts - SOLD
2 x Contour Suction Cup Mount (rail mount only, does not fit Contour ROAM or +2) - SOLD
8 x Contour Surf/Wake Mount (older design, includes spare base and spare adhesive) - $10
10 x Contour Rotating Flat Mount (older square shape) - SOLD

GoPro Cameras

1 x GoPro Hero2 Camera
Price: SOLD
Condition: Ex-demo, one minor cosmetic scratch on camera.
Includes: Camera, battery, housing, 1 x curved surface mount, 1 x flat surface mount, 32GB SD card, 1 x spare battery, USB cable
Warranty: 6 months
Other: Free shipping included across Canada. All SD cards currently available at 50% off.

1 x GoPro Hero2 Surf Edition
Price: SOLD
Condition: Brand new, in box, unopened.
Includes: Standard GoPro Hero2 Surf Edition contents
Warranty: 12 months
Other: Free shipping included across Canada. Free 16GB memory card included.

2 x GoPro Hero2 Outdoor Edition
Price: SOLD
Condition: Brand new, in box, unopened.
Includes: Standard GoPro Hero2 Outdoor Edition contents
Warranty: 12 months
Other: Free shipping included across Canada. Free 16GB memory card included. MEGAPACK also available.

GoPro Accessories

All the GoPro accessories are in new condition without standard retail packaging unless otherwise noted. Not available online. Phone, email, in-store orders only.
3 x GoPro Vented Helmet Mounts - SOLD
2 x GoPro HD Replacement Housings - SOLD
5 x GoPro Wide (old, standard definition model) Wrist Housings - $5 each
8 x GoPro Rechargeable Batteries - SOLD
1 x GoPro Rechargeable Batteries - SOLD
1 x Eye of Mine Flat Lens Dive Housing - SOLD

Drift Accessories

All the Drift accessories are in new condition without standard retail packaging unless otherwise noted. Not available online. Phone, email, in-store orders only.
4 x Drift HD remote controls (with wrist strap) - $10 each
4 x Drift HD170 (orange) remote controls (with wrist strap) - $10 each
3 x Drift HD170 mout kits - SOLD
2 x Drift HD mount kits - SOLD
4 x Drift HD170 RCA microphone input adapters - $10 each

VIO Accessories

All the VIO accessories are in new condition with standard retail packaging unless otherwise noted. Not available online. Phone, email, in-store orders only.
5 x VIO Chest Harness - SOLD
3 x VIO H2O waterproof bags - SOLD
3 x POV Pouch - SOLD
2 x VIO Mount Kits - SOLD
3 x RaceRecall Race Case - SOLD
4 x Star Mount velcro kits - SOLD
5 x Ortec Goggle Mounts - SOLD

The difference between the GoPro Hero3 White, Silver and Black Editions
GoPro announced their newest camera recently and, given that the previous version wall called the GoPro Hero2, it's not big surprise that it's called the GoPro Hero3. But what is with the new naming convention between the models - previously we had the Outdoor, Motorsports and Surf Editions, now we have the White, Silver and Black Editions and the Black Edition is going to be available in an Adventure, Motorsports and Surf kit. That's a whole lot of GoPros to choose from!
GoPro Hero3 White Edition

First up is the GoPro Hero3 White Edition - internally, this is basically the same camera as the original GoPro HD Hero that came out in late 2009, although the Hero3 version now has built in wi-fi. You get the original HD Hero 5MP sensor that shoots 1080p at 30fps (field of view is 127 degrees though) and 720p at 60fps. The Hero3 White gets the newer Hero3 housing and is therefore lighter and smaller than the original HD Hero.
GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition

Next, we have the GoPro Hero3 Silver Edition which has the same internals as the GoPro Hero2 but it also has built in wi-fi as well. Just like the Hero3 White, you get the new Hero3 housing with the Hero3 Silver, so the camera is smaller and lighter than it's Hero2 predecessor. The GoPro Hero3 Silver will only be available in one configuration (compared to the Hero2 which came in Outdoor, Motorsports and Surf packages that had more mounts).
GoPro Hero3 Black Edition

Finally, sitting at the top of the pile is the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition. This camera has all new internals and a whole plethora of new shooting modes and features. GoPro are really targeting the higher end production users and companies with this camera, with modes such as 4K at 15fps, 2.7k at 30fps and 1080 at 60fps. A lot of day to day users will no doubt want this camera as well, although you are going to need a fairly powerful computer and editing suite to take full advantage of these sorts of modes. The Hero3 Black Edition will be available in Adventure, Motorsports and Surf packages (same cameras, different mounts.....Adventure model is shown above). The Adventure and Motorsports packages will have the exact same contents (only the pictures on the packaging will be different) and will come with 1 x curved surface mount and 1 x flat surface mount. The Surf package will come with 1 x surfboard mount. All of the Hero3 Black Edition cameras will also come with a Wi-Fi Remote Control included.

Sony action cam review (HDR-AS10 and HDR-AS15)
We recently put the new Sony Action Cam through it's paces to see how it held up to the competition such as GoPro, Contour and Drift. On paper the Sony Action Cam looks really good; it comes with a waterproof housing, wide angle lens, steady shot, 120fps at 72p and wi-fi built in (HDR-AS15 model only). The big question for us though is how does it perform when you take it outside and use it for your favourite sport?

After a couple of weeks of testing the Sony Action Cam we found that the results were quite disappointing. The audio was terrible (you can hear the camera rattling inside the waterproof housing), the mounts were poor and in most cases unusable and the overall usability left a lot to be desired. These sort of issues might have been excusable 2 or 3 years ago, but with companies like Drift, GoPro and Contour all producing well thought out and executed products these days, it's hard to look past the fundamental flaws of the Sony Action Cam.

Check out the video below to see more details on the following issues that we had with the Sony Action Cam:
  • Terrible audio. You can hear the camera rattling inside the housing, so you end up with a loud "click'clack" sound throughout all your videos.
  • Bad status indication. All good helmet cams have a loud audible beep to let you know that you are recording. We could barely hear the Sony Action Cam indoors and definitely couldn't hear it outdoors.
  • Poor mount design. The mounts are too big and don't use 3M VHB adhesive (the only adhesive to use, proved through trial and error by all the major players).
  • No angle adjustment in mounts or camera lens. You can't mount the Sony action camera any way other than perfectly up and down (compared to the Contour+2 and Drift HD which have a rotating front lens) and when you put a helmet mount on it has to be in exactly the right spot because there is no adjustment in the mounts. In a lot of cases, because of visors or ridges on helmets, this meant that it was impossible to mount the Sony action cam anywhere on a helmet and have it pointing in the right direction.
  • No menu control on waterproof housing. The only way to change settings on the camera is to pull it out of the waterproof housing, which is fiddly and frustrating. Not something that you want to be doing in winter.
  • Unusable microphone input. The microphone input is hidden underneath the waterproof housing latch and is inaccessible when using the housing. The only way to use the microphone input is without the housing, but then you can't mount the camera without the housing and the front lens is exposed to damage. 
Here is the video with full details and a clearer explanation of the problems encountered with the lack of adjustability in the mounts:

Contour+2 open box review
Markland from the Launch office in Australia recently put together an open box review of the new Contour+2 camera which you can view below. In this review Markland goes over the contents of the Contour+2 package and some of the basic features of the new camera. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of the updated features on the Contour+2 camera.

GoPro App has been released.......sort of.
GoPro have just announced the release of their smartphone and tablet app which is simply called the GoPro App. The GoPro App is used in conjunction with the GoPro Wi-Fi Bacpac which was released earlier this year and the app will only work with GoPro Hero2 cameras. The GoPro App is currently only available (free) for Apple products via iTunes; if you are using and Android device then you will have to keep waiting. GoPro have not made any commitments as to when the GoPro App will be available for Android users at this stage.
The GoPro App currently has the following features:
  • Full control of your HD HERO2 camera’s settings + features
  • Live preview makes framing your shot easy
  • Access to GoPro’s Photo and Video of the Day

In addition to these features, GoPro are saying the GoPro App will have at some later date:
  • Playback + Share content stored on your camera’s SD card using your smartphone or tablet
  • Multi-camera control

GoPro Tether Kits
GoPro recently released a new accessory for their cameras that are designed to keep you from losing your camera in a crash. The GoPro Tether Kit is a pack of five adhesive based anchor points that come with five short leashes. The idea is to have your GoPro camera attached to the anchor via a leash so that if your camera comes away from it's mount (say for example in a crash), then you wont lose it. This a great idea for sports like skiing and snowboarding where you have almost zero chance of finding a camera lost in a ton of powder.

GoPro camera anchor and leash
The anchors that come in the GoPro Tether Kit attach the same way the standard GoPro helmet mounts attach: via the super strong 3M VHB adhesive. If you're not sure how to attach the leash, check out this blog post on how to tether a gopro camera.

New Contour+2 camera announced by Contour
Contour have just announced the newest addition to their camera line-up which is called the Contour+2. As the name suggests, the Contour+2 camera is an updated version of the discontinued Contour+, with some new features brought over from the Contour ROAM camera.

The new Contour+2 camera.
The new Contour+2 camera keeps all the great features from the original Contour+ such as bluetooth connectivity, GPS tracking, microphone input, HDMI output, replaceable rechargeable battery, 170 degree rotatable front lens, etc. Full HD video and 5MP stills carry over as well plus there is a new 120 frames per second mode at 480p that gives you the option for super slow motion videos. The laser alignment feature on the front of the camera makes a triumphant return with the Contour+2 and the sliding switch has been updated to include a locking switch to ensure you don't accidentally start or stop recording.
Sliding switch with lock and updated status lights.
Carrying over from the Contour ROAM is the new "one step" recording feature; slide the switch forward on the camera and it will power the camera up and start recording (rather than the older style which had a separate power button that you had to turn on first). The Contour+2 also gets the built in 1/4" female tripod thread that features on the Contour ROAM.

The rear of the Contour+2 remains pretty much the same.
The best thing about the new Contour+2 camera? It is $100 cheaper than the old Contour+ AND it comes with a waterproof housing included in the package, which makes the Contour+2 excellent value for money.

GoPro Hero2 Megapack
We've just added some new camera bundles to our website that pull together a bunch of popular accessories to go with the GoPro Hero2 Outdoor Edition. The GoPro Hero2 Megapack comes with all the standard mounts that come in the Hero2 Outdoor Edition along with a 32GB class 10 memory card, spare battery, USB car and wall charger, handlebar/seatpost mount, tripod mount and a crushproof, watertight case.
GoPro Hero2 Outdoor Edition Megapack contents
 The high speed 32GB memory card will hold a little over 4 hours of full HD video. The GoPro battery lasts for approximately 2 hours of recording, so the addition of the spare battery means that you will have enough juice to fill the 32GB card. If you do run out of power when you are away from a computer, you can use the USB wall and car charger combo to charge your camera. The Vault VC-07 hard case is a super tough case that comes with pick and pluck foam that you can customize to fit all your gear.

New Contour Camera sneak peak
Contour are normally fairly prolific at releasing new cameras and it's now been almost a year since their last release, the Contour ROAM. Contour's other two cameras, the Contour GPS and Contour+ have both been discontinued for a while now so we've been expecting to hear news of a new camera from Contour. And while they haven't released any official information yet, we have got wind of their next generation camera which was seen in Whistler just recently at the Crankworx festival on the helmet of Contour sponsored rider Cam Zink.

In the video below, which is shot with the new camera (make sure you click on the HD option, it looks wayyyy better), Cam gives a little sneak peak of what we can expect. The new Contour camera looks a lot like the Contour Roam but is rumoured to have all the features of the Contour+. If you look closely you can see that the rear door still has the access ports for the USB and HDMI ports, however our spies tell us that the new Contour camera will have the Instant-On record switch which was introduced with the Contour ROAM (no more separate power button to turn the camera on/off which we think is an awesome feature). At this stage there is no official word from Contour on the release date, model name or the price of the new Contour camera. In the meantime, check out this video shot with the new Contour camera and get a feel for what it must be like to huck a 60 foot gap on a mountain bike:

GoPro Dive Housing
GoPro recently announced the release of the GoPro Dive Housing which is a flat lens version of the normal GoPro housing that comes with all GoPro cameras. Why the different housing? Well, the standard GoPro housing has a curved lens cover that is great for shedding water when you are using it in wet conditions on land. However, the downside is that when you use the standard housing underwater, the curved lens makes videos and photos look slightly blurry. GoPro and their users have been aware of this problem for a long time and companies like Eye of Mine have been making their own customized flat lens housing, but now GoPro have stepped up and made an official GoPro Flat Lens Housing.

The GoPro Flat Lens Dive Housing is designed for all underwater activities (not just diving) and it comes with the normal GoPro mounting clip on the bottom of the housing, so it can be used with any GoPro mount. It also comes with a lens cap for when the dive housing is not in use so that you don't scratch up the lens. GoPro put together this promo video for the release of the new dive housing, check it out:

Camelbak in Canada at Launch
Launch Helmet Cams is proud to announce that we are now an official dealer for Camelbak hydration packs and accessories. We have all personally used Camelbak products for a long time and we only like to carry products that we feel are well designed and thought out, so it made sense to start carrying the Camelbak brand.

For those that have been living under a rock for the past 25 years, Camelbak is the world leader in the hydration pack field. Camelbak made the first hydration packs and have been innovating ever since. Not only do they make the best water bladders out there, they also make brilliantly designed and executed backpack designs. And they stand behind their products; Camelbak have their "Got your Back" lifetime guarantee that comes with all their hydration packs.
Camelbak MULE in Chilli Pepper Red

We are carrying a solid range of the Camelbak packs in Canada and have them available on our website and in-store. We have classic Camelbak packs such as the Camelbak MULE which is designed for 3+ hour adventures and the Camelbak HAWG NV for those who need to carry more gear, further. Another pack that we are really excited about (and are currently thrashing in the mountains of North Vancouver, BC) is the Camelbak Charge LR, which differs from most hydration packs in that the bladder is a horizontal "lumbar design" (ie the bladder sits on your hips) compared to traditional packs which hold the bladder vertically. The advantage of the Camelbak Charge LR design is that it keeps the water weight low in the pack and distributed across your hips instead of in your back and across your shoulders.
Camelbak Charge LR with lumbar bladder in Peat colour

To celebrate the release of the Camelbak line in Canada for Launch Helmet Cams, we have all our Camelbak packs on special on our website and in our store. Check them out and pick up a great bargain while this special lasts!

New website with mobile version
A screen shot of the new Launch Helmet Cams website.
We are super stoked to have launched our new website which now has a mobile version! The old website was visually pleasing but was a pain to navigate and use so we went all out and started from scratch. We hope that you like the new website which is much easier to use and had a heap of cool features. As part of the rebuild, you can now also buy all of our products via the Launch Helmet Cams facebook store.

GoPro Night Time Footage

We often get people enquiring about the use of helmet cameras in low light scenarios and applications. Some of the cameras on the market are released with a "night mode". These are better explained as a low light mode, EG dusk. The cameras still require lighting to be able to record decent footage. Due to the small sensors in helmet cameras to reduce over all size and weight they do tend to be less sensitive and require a lot more light then larger cameras. The more lights that you have access to the better. When purchasing a camera for low light situations research the cameras lux rating. The lower the number the better the camera is going to cope. GoPro currently have the lowest advertised Lux rating available in the helmet camera industry coming in at .84 Lux.

Have a look here for more info on Lux ratings

I recently did a test run with a GoPro HD2 camera mounted to the front of my 4x4 in complete darkness. My vehicle is fitted with a large array of auxiliary lights which really allows you to capture some great footage in such harsh lighting conditions.

Which is the right helmet cam for me?

How to choose the right camera? This is a question that we get asked quite a lot and can heavily vary from person to person.

These days there are lots of different offerings from multiple suppliers that all present very good products. Manufacturers vary their features and key points quite significantly and it often leaves people wondering which one is right for them or which ones wouldn’t even work at all.

The main question that needs to be answered is what are you aiming to use the cameras for? That is, is it being mounted to a car, helmet or surfboard? With this answer, then look into if the camera needs to be waterproof for your application, if the shape or size matters and the features and usability of the camera that best suit your self.

Waterproofing or a water resistant rating is an option that a lot of people look for in a camera. This is really critical that you take into account any surprise situations that you might come across while using an action camera. Even for use on a dirt bike, you may come across rain during a ride or come off while crossing a river. Having a waterproof or water resistant camera could mean the difference between having a camera at the end of the day with some amazing footage of you crashing into a river bed, or going home out of pocket and empty handed. For applications like surfing it is key that the camera is waterproof to a far depth. Even though the cameras may only be submerged a meter or two, the pressure of a breaking wave may be more like 30 meters of depth. Obviously for diving take into the account of the depth you wish to go down to when purchasing a camera. Also for diving it is important to get a camera that has a flat lens on the waterproof casing or the image will become blurry once submersed.

The size and shape of a camera is also something that needs to be looked at in particular to your application. A fully waterproof camera might be great in the fact that you don’t need to worry about it getting wet, But is that extra housing compromising its size? For example trail riding through the bush you will want the camera that sticks out the least amount from the side of the helmet to stop it from snagging on branches. In car use isn’t as critical due to there being less size constraints. Another thing to think about is, are you going to mount it in a concealed location and if the shape of a specific camera will fit. Can you also have cables from the camera or do you need it to be a self-contained unit?

Each camera manufacturer has their own offering of mounts. Some cameras are better suited to certain applications because of this. Think again what you are planning to use it for and then research the different mounts that are available for the cameras. For example, one manufacturer may have mounts for bolting to the side of a gun and goggle strap where as another brand may not offer these mounts due to the design. All of the manufacturers will offer suction cups, helmet mounts and tubular mounts. Its more specific mounts such as surfboard mounts, roll bar mounts, picatinny rail mounts (rifle mount), vented helmet mounts and monopods that are more specific to manufacturers that you will need to consider when purchasing a camera.

Power and storage is also something that you will need to consider. That is, how long you are expecting to record for? Most cameras offer between 2 to 3 hours of recording time off a single charge. Some cameras have optional larger batteries that can extend this time. In saying that, all of the cameras can be connected to external sources such as 12 volt or external power packs. Cameras use either a micro SD or SDHC cards to store data to. Most will now take up to a 32gb card. Each manufacturer offers a different amount of record time per card size due to the compression method that they use while recording. Make sure that you select something that can meet both the power and record times necessary.

The final part of a camera to consider and personally one of the most important considerations to make is the usability and extra features of cameras that may make it a better option for you. A camera with a screen makes it a lot easier to use when out and about. The settings can easily be adjusted, footage can be reviewed or deleted and shots can be lined up correctly. Everything is there in front of you and you aren’t left wondering if you have got it right. Other features such as a wireless remote control, digital zoom and a rotating lens are also features to keep an eye out for. Some cameras feature GPS built in which can show your location, speed and altitude. Keep in mind that this extra feature limits battery life, so if you don’t really need it then go for a camera without it. Some cameras also feature optional external microphones that are really good for high wind applications. Other features that semi pro and professionals chase is a HD video out for streaming or to view on an external display.

Here are some examples of choosing the right camera.

Situation number 1
The customer is a keen surfer and wants a camera to mount to his board. Things that he needs to consider is the level of waterproofing as it needs to be able to take high pressure or depth, easy to use with good strong mounting options. This customer's ideal camera would be the GoPro. These are waterproof to 60 meters, have the option of coming with surfboard mounts ready for the application. Other cameras such as the Contour could be used in the optional waterproof housings and board mounts but may be harder to set up initially.

Situation number 2
The customer wants a camera to mount on his helmet for dirt biking both on the motocross track and in the bush. He needs to consider it to be water resistant, smaller in size, and whether or not he wants GPS for tracking his rides.
Two cameras could be recommended to them. Both the Drift and Contour cameras would be able to cover his needs. The Drift cameras are slightly more water resistant which could be a tipping point if he is going to consider water crossings. Remembering that they are not completely waterproof and completely submerging them may damage the camera. The Contour cameras would be a good option if he wanted a camera with built in GPS.

Situation number 3
This customer wants to mount a camera to their car. The biggest consideration when mounting a camera to a fixed point is having a screen to frame the shot so there is enough of the action in the shot, and not too much sky or bonnet. Mounting would be done via a suction cup. The camera could be powered easily by 12 volt power to offer larger record times.
The best camera for this situation would be the Drift HD. As this has a built in screen, easy to connect to 12 volt and is also water resistant if placed on the exterior of the vehicle. The wireless remote control means that the camera can be easily started from within the vehicle if it is mounted outside.

Situation number 4
The customer is a Police officer and needs a camera that can continuously loop record with a very small camera head but doesn't mind having a cable to an external recording device. A popular device for this scenario is the POV HD

There are many considerations to make when choosing a camera and sometimes compromises must be made when using a camera for multiple applications. Just make sure you keep within operational specifications and you shouldn’t have any issues.

New Contour 360 helmet and surfboard mounts

Contour have been in the lab cooking up a couple of new mounts that are quite different from their previous offerings. The new Contour 360 helmet mount looks very similar to the other new mount, the Contour Surfboard Mount, but there are some subtle differences. The Contour 360 helmet mount is designed around a ball joint that is held in place with a really strong clamp. The idea of the new Contour 360 helmet mount is make it easy to adjust the mount so shoot backwards, sideways, forwards, up, down - pretty much anywhere you want. The top of the 360 helmet mount detaches from the base when you don't want to use the mount. Don't let the name of the mount fool you though, the Contour 360 helmet mount can be used on pretty much any flat or curved surface thanks to it's six-pronged base that is flexible enough to mould to different surfaces and comes with 3M VHB adhesive that is super strong. The top of the mount has a clip that hooks the plastic on the front of the camera (just above the status light) to make sure it can't accidentally release from the mount.

The new Contour Surfboard Mount has pretty much all the same features of the 360 helmet mount but it is specifically designed to work with your Contour camera when it is inside a waterproof housing. The clips that holds the camera in place is slightly longer than the one on the 360 helmet mount to allow for the added size of the waterproof housing. The base of the Contour Surfboard Mount is also different; the prongs are longer which gives better adhesion thanks to the larger contact area.

Card format issues

We have in recent times been coming across quite a few card issues that customers are experiencing. The big issue is the way that the card is formatted and recognized by the camera. Most cameras now come with an option in the menu to format the card while inserted into the camera. This really needs to be done as gone are the days of being able to generically format the card in a computer then put it in the cameras and go. Each camera will name and format the card slightly differently to best suit it for the particular device. It is also a good idea to reformat your card regularly to make sure that there are no corruptions on the card. Some of the errors that you may find with a corrupt or improperly formatted card are things like video files that are corrupt and cannot be played, the camera may refuse to start recording and glitches through the footage. It is recommended by some manufacturers to format the card each use. But be sure to make a back up of all the footage before formatting as it will delete any data on the card.

The GoPro2 often comes up with SD Err on the screen with new cards inserted. These are super easy to format. Simply navigate through the menu settings on the camera until you get to the symbol of the recycling bin. Select it using the top button and then scroll to reformat. The error message will now go away and you are ready to go.

The Contour is a bit more fiddly. You need to power the camera on with the Micro SD card removed from the camera. It will beep 3 times as it powers up. Then re insert the card and using a paper clip to push down the format button located on the back of the camera. Hold this in until you hear a beep. Then turn the camera off and back on, upon which the camera will be ready for action. More can be viewed at http://help.contour.com/customer/portal/articles/251040-how-do-i-format-the-microsd-card-

The Drift is the easiest of the cameras to reformat. Simply go into the menu under camera settings which is the 4th option. Then scroll down to format and hit the record button. Once this is done your camera will be ready again.

There are still other things that may prevent a card from working in your camera. Things such as the wrong class or actual damage to the hardware. But thankfully most of the time things can be resolved by a simple format.

Holiday opening hours 2011

It's that time of year where everyone gets to breath out, relax and enjoy some fun times with friends and family. The crew at Launch are going to take a well deserved break over the Christmas and New Year period and as such we will have limited opening hours:

Friday 23rd: 9am - 3:30pm
Saturday 24th: Closed
Sunday 25th: Closed
Monday 26th: Closed
Tuesday 27th: Closed
Wednesday 28th: 9am - 4pm
Thursday 29th: 9am - 4pm
Friday 30th: Closed
Saturday 31st: Closed
Sunday 1st: Closed
Monday 2nd: Closed
Tuesday 3rd: Normal hours resume, 9am - 5pm

From everyone at Launch Helmet Cams we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Early snowboarding session with the Drift HD camera
Matt recently took advantage of the early snow that has been hitting mountains across the west coast of North America. Matt and some buddies headed up Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, BC after they had their earliest opening day ever to see if they could get some fresh tracks. They took up a Drift HD camera attached to a Drift Monopod to get some cool angles and shots. The Drift HD is an awesome option for snow sports thanks to it's remote control which is easy to use with gloves on. The LCD screen on the Drift HD makes it easy to line up different shots when using the Drift Monopod too. Check out this short edit they put together of snowboarding on Cypress Mountain with the Drift HD camera:

GoPro HD Hero 2 open box review
We've put together an open box review of the outdoor edition of the new GoPro HD Hero 2 to show you what comes with the camera and give you a quick overview of some of the new features. Some of the big differences we noticed upon opening the GoPro HD Hero2 were the improved instruction manual which is more comprehensive and easier to read, the inclusion of some free stickers (although they are very hard to get off the backing), the louder status beeps which should make it easier to know when it is recording or not and the improved LCD screen which is much easier to navigate. We used the GoPro HD Hero 2 over the weekend and will put together a video of our findings soon. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy our open box review of the GoPro HD Hero 2:

Gopro Hero2 camera with GoPro Hero2 Wi-Fi announced.

GoPro have just announced the release of their next generation camera called the GoPro HD Hero2. The GoPro HD Hero2 camera builds on the popular GoPro HD Hero design and introduces a number of new features. The big news that is grabbing a lot of attention for the GoPro Hero2 camera is the yet to be released GoPro Wi-Fi Bacpac and Remote Control. The GoPro Wi-Fi Bacpac will plug in to the back of the GoPro Hero2 camera and allow users to live stream their video via Wi-Fi to any computer or Wi-Fi enabled device which has the GoPro App. Full technical specification of how the GoPro HD Hero2 camera will work over Wi-Fi are yet to be released and the Bacpac is slated for a Winter 2012 release. The GoPro Wi-Fi Bacpac will also come with a remote control that should make operating the GoPro HD Hero2 a lot easier. The new GoPro Wi-Fi Remote Control will work with the existing GoPro HD Hero cameras but the live streaming feature will only work on the newer GoPro HD Hero2 camera.

The GoPro HD Hero 2 camera will come with an updated glass lens that is said to twice as sharp as on the GoPro HD Hero. Video is still shot on the GoPro HD Hero 2 in either 1080p, 960p, 720p or 480 SD however there are now more options for the field of view. For example, in 1080p mode you can now shoot with a 170, 127 or 90 degree field of view. 60 frames per second is still available in 720p mode and in 480 SD mode the GoPro HD Hero 2 will shoot at 120 frames per second. Photo quality is also improved with the GoPro HD Hero 2 with users having the option of 11MP, 9MP and 5MP shots. The time lapse interval has also been improved to shoot as quickly as a photo every 0.5 seconds with the GoPro HD Hero 2.

What else is new? Well, the GoPro Hero2 comes with a 3.5mm microphone input which will allow you to hook up an external microphone. The GoPro Hero2 also gets a mini HDMI output on the side of the camera next to the SD card slot. The information released by GoPro states that the GoPro Hero2 will have LED status lights on all sides to make it easier to know if the camera is recording or not, although the photos only show one extra LED on the rear of the camera (which will be covered up if a GoPro Bacpac is installed). The GoPro Hero2 also has an upgraded LCD screen that looks to be easier to read and have more information displayed.

The GoPro HD Hero2 will come in three different packages - the outdoor, motorsports and surf edition. Each package will have the same camera and will include different mounts to suit each activity. The GoPro HD Hero2 is due for release in Canada in late November and is available for pre-order.

PWC and boating cameras

We often get asked what is a good camera for boating and personal watercraft (PWC) use. There is a pretty wide range of options available for boat and personal watercraft users with all the major helmet cams being either waterproof or having waterproof housing options. One camera that does stand out as being particularly good for boating and PWC use though is the Drift HD170 Stealth. The reason the Drift HD 170 Stealth is such a great boating camera is that it is really easy to use (thanks to a wireless remote control for starting/ stopping and an LCD screen for setup and review). With the remote control you can set up the Drift camera anywhere on your boat or PWC (such as on the mast of your boat or rear of your PWC) to get some really unique angles. The Drift HD170 Stealth is water resistant and you can wash it under a tap after use to get any salt water off it. If you plan to go underwater you can get a Drift Waterproof Case.

Don't just take it from us though, check out this Drift HD170 Stealth review from The Intrepid Cottager (aka The Intrepid Snowmobiler in winter). He has logged a lot of hours with the Drift HD170 Stealth on his PWC over the summer and will also be putting the Drift HD to test in the winter. Below is a video from the Intrepid Cottager on a Sea-Doo tour of Ontario's North Channel from St. Joseph Island to Sault Ste. Marie and back:

GoPro flotation device

Unfortunately a lot of people over time have discovered that GoPro HD Hero cameras are negatively bouyant, which is a fancy way of saying they sink when they are dropped in water. GoPro have finally recognized this issue and come up with a GoPro flotation device which they call the GoPro Floaty Back Door. The new GoPro flotation device is about as simple as it gets - it's a chunk of bright orange waterproof foam with an adhesive backing that you can stick to your GoPro camera.

The GoPro Floaty Back Door comes with a spare HD Hero rear door, so you can swap out doors when you're not using your GoPro camera around water. If you have one of the older standard definition GoPro cameras you can still use the foam, but the replacement door wont fit so you'll either need to get a spare housing or be stuck wit the flotation device foam on your camera housing. One other thing to note is that this flotation device from GoPro will only float the camera on it's own; if you have the GoPro Suction Cup or any other heavy mount attached then your GoPro camera will still sink.