GoPro HD Hero2 ReviewJune 15, 2012
- Crystal clear images
- 120 frames per second option
- 11-megapixel camera
- Many mounting options
- No stock viewfinding options
- Heavier than other cameras
- Memory not included
The HD Hero2 provided the best images of the three cameras we tested. Its upgraded image sensor and crystal clear lens made for stunningly clear video, and its versatile mounting system makes it simple and quick to move the camera from helmet to bike frame. It's the best of the cameras at this price range and below—though the helmet mount is downright dorky.
GoPro’s newest release, the HD Hero2 uses beefed-up image sensor and sharper glass lens than the original to provide clearer recordings, and the effort definitely shows.
Best video in class
In side-by-side tests with other cameras, the HD Hero2’s video was noticeably clearer than any other camera tested in every lighting situation; it was startlingly sharp and bright. Even in overcast light conditions, the camera’s beefed-up sensor caught everything – on a stormy snowboarding trip in Mt. Shasta’s backcountry, the Hero2 captured every snowflake with startling clarity.
Very good still images
The 11 megapixel still camera delivers sharp images as well – when my camera died during a press event in Boston, I subbed in the HD Hero2 and it performed well. The still camera options are also impressive: you can set time-lapse photos for a shot every .5 seconds or even shoot in 10-shot-per-second bursts.
Versatile mounting options
The HD Hero2 also stands out with GoPro’s signature boxy shape. Its flatter design allows for mounting options that cylindrical cameras can’t pull off, most notably the forehead strap and the Chesty harness, which straps the GoPro to your sternum, giving your recordings the feel of a first-person shooter video game. That leads to the mounting options – they are plentiful and very well thought out. Most of the mounts are utilize the same pinch-style clipping, allowing for a quick swap between applications. The downside? You can’t mount it to the side of your helmet. Rather, you have to mount it to the top of your helmet, so you look like a dorky rooster. (Not only is this a smashing blow to your mojo, but skiing or riding in low branches…say goodbye to that sweet camera!)
It’s no lightweight, though. The camera, with the waterproof case weighs about 6 ounces. It doesn’t seem like much on paper, but on your head, you can definitely feel the weight. The LCD menu on the case, while easier to manage than the HD Hero, still requires a bit of figuring to navigate. Also there aren’t any viewfinder options (like Drift’s LCD screen or Contour’s laser pointer). So unless you pick up the BacPac attachment, there’s no viewfinder to help you gauge your frame.
Despite these nitpicks, the GoPro HD Hero2 does provide the sharpest images of any camera tested. If clarity is king, this is the camera.