GoPro release the improved in many ways “Hero 2”

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Ethics Statement: GoPro are a site sponsor, but like all my sponsors, they make gear that I use, recommend and love!

I do love my GoPro. So small, the perfect sports camera, and great for mounting onto vehicles and of course yourself.

The original HD version is great, the image is terrific for the most part, but there were some nagging things.

Menu from hell. You need to have a manual on you to understand the menu, and as most of you know, men do not like manuals. We don’t need them 🙂

Terrible low light performance

Impossible to know if it’s recording unless you can see the red tally light at the front

The field of view changes for the different record modes, which is not ideal.

Well, I have been playing with a Hero 2 for a couple of weeks now and I have been mucking around with it. I did use it for a lot of driving shots for a documentary I just shot, both timelapse and video. Looks great. I did a very little edit of some of the non documentary driving shots, a timelapse of the go pro on the 5dmkii on a Kesssler Shuttle Pod for a 20 foot move and some OK 120 fps shots of me tossing it in the air. A lot of compression on those last shots…

Do check out the official reel first though!!!

A bit of fun with the new GoPro 2 HD from Philip Bloom extras on Vimeo.

http://philipbloom.net2011/10/24/gopro2 for more info

Music Ghosts II by NiN



Here are the big improvements. This is what GoPro say with my comments next to them!


  • Professional 11MP Sensor Nice big stills
  • 2x Faster Image Processor Absolutely
  • 2X Sharper Glass Lens Agreed
  • Professional Low Light Performance Doesn’t seem much better at all. Still poor in low light
  • Full 170º, Medium 127º, Narrow 90º FOV in 1080p and 720p Video This is a big deal. Having all the field of views no matter what rate you are recording in is a big deal. 
  • 120 fps WVGA, 60 fps 720p, 48 fps 960p, 25fps 30 fps 1080p Video Great stuff  but 120Fps…don’t get too excited. It’s about SD resolution so OK but nice to have there…
  • Full 170º and Medium 127º FOV Photos These are great. Big improvement here
  • 10 11MP Photos Per Second Burst MUCH faster
  • 1 11MP Photo Every 0.5 Sec Timelapse Mode Very useful for timelapse
  • 3.5mm External Stereo Microphone Input
  • Simple Language-based User Interface A menu that makes sense! No need for the manual! Although two buttons is fiddly when going through them.

One big plus on top of that is tally lights at the front, back and side so you know when you are recoding. Although if you use the battery backpac you won’t be able to see the rear tally light.

Low light really doesn’t seem that improved. It’s certainly brighter in low light but with a lot of noise…this camera works great in anything bar low light!

I still recommend the LCD bacpac for framing up your shots (remember to turn it off once you have set up the shot for longer shots like timelapses, or you will drain your battery)

The great thing is it is still cheap! You can buy it for $299.99 by clicking here or any of the images!


Overall, it’s much better, especially the daylight images and the menus. Hero 3 really has to push it up a notch in low light though!

Worth upgrading if you already have a Hero? Yes. The low light is a real shame that is hasn’t improved much, but the rest make it a worthwhile upgrade and of course all the accessories for the Hero work with the Hero 2.



    1. I agree Frank. Some sort of exposure control or locking off of exposure would be great. Some of my indoor timelapses have flash frames in them (intermittent over exposed frames) and I have to dissect the clip and correct them by hand.

      1. Contour cameras has also refreshed their line, with the lows cost ContourRoam, and the Contour+. The roam only has a laser to line up the shot, and costs $200. The plus has HDMI out and also Bluetooth to your cellphone or ipad so that you can change the camera setup and check the shot. $500 for the Contour+.

        Just like the great recent improvements in the Super35 sized cameras, any improvements to image quality is a good thing. It only keeps getting better…

  1. No changes to allow the lens to properly focus underwater??? Big shame.

    Do you know if the housing design has changed at all or if old housings can be utilised with the new camera? A lot of us who shoot underwater have had our housings modified so they focus properly, will be great if these modified housings will be useful still.


  2. So I hemmed and hawed about getting the Hero HD’s many many many times…So glad I waited! (I had a sneaking suspicion they were due for a refresh.)

    Juhani, Yup, looking forward to trying out my 2x HD 2’s in the 3D case when I go snorkeling this winter. Still debating trying out the “flat glass” replacement suggestion folks have for underwater work. If anybody finds out if the HD 2’s still suffer from blurry imagery in underwater work, drop a line.

    (Philip, sounds like a good outing opportunity for you…How’s your 2 work underwater? 🙂

  3. I notice though it’s mentioned it has a mini HDMI, not a single mention, of a) it’s purpose, b) what it can pump out of the side.

    Or in other words, if you can hook continuous power, and an Atomos Ninja, would could you do with it?


  4. Aren’t we expecting too much when it comes to low light? How big is the sensor to be able to handle low light better? And at this price point, can any other camera on the market beat it? I can live without low light on this, I got a DSLR for that. As for as a future improvement in version 3, I really don’t see how much more it can be improved without increasing the size of the sensor being used, and bigger sensors would mean more expensive no?

  5. Very glad you tell it like it is Philip, thank you!

    So the 120fps mode is 800×480? Is the compression horrid? I cant really tell from the vimeo piece you did. Some of the car timelapse does seem mushy on the trees. As if compression in Vimeo didn’t do it justice.

    The Lake timelapse was very decent. With some NeatVideo it will be very useable.

  6. I just got an email back from GoPro support who claim this new Hero 2 does actually have 25p despite it not being on the spec sheet! They said it just needs to be switched into PAL mode in the settings. I’ve emailed them back, just to double check this info, but it’s great news if that is the case.

  7. Could you comment on image quality vs the original HD Hero. From the specs I’ve seen so far this seems to be the only real point on whch I would consider upgrading and I haven’t really seen any comparison or commentary on image quality improvements.

    What are your observations?

  8. Good news from the FAQ: “Is the HD HERO2 compatible with PAL?
    Yes, the camera allows you to switch between PAL & NTSC modes. When PAL is selected you will be able to playback on PAL television sets, and you will also record video in the standard PAL frame rates of 25, 50, or 100 fps.”

  9. The external mic input is a major thing for me. Filming cars and having ‘tinny’ sound was the biggest let down – engine and exhaust tones didn’t sound right.

    You’re right the 30fps seems an odd move to make. I was going to say the UK version might have 25fps but looking at dogcamsport’s listing it says 30fps as well. I guess you can always convert it to 25fps. Slightly annoying though.

    Looks like you had fun with it Phil!

  10. Hey Philip

    I did some checking regarding the PAL 25fps and on the GoPro web site faq’s it says:

    “Is the HD HERO2 compatible with PAL?
    Yes, the camera allows you to switch between PAL & NTSC modes. When PAL is selected you will be able to playback on PAL television sets, and you will also record video in the standard PAL frame rates of 25, 50, or 100 fps.”

    You didn’t find you could switch to 25p? If not maybe in the firmware update when available.


  11. Regarding the underwater imaging. I emailed Go Pro and they still don’t offer a flat port option but there are plenty of 3rd party options for the Go Pro 2. ‘Eye of Mine’ offer a good housing which shoots full 170 degree field of view without shooting the edges of the housing. I tried one out over the weekend and it was great. Google them!

  12. Hi Phillip et al!

    I’ve got both the Hero, and Hero2. I’m a bit let down by the way the newer Hero2 is dealing with changes in exposure. I am seeing very visible stepping as the exposure changes on the Hero2, where on the HeroHD the exposure would change smoothly. I’m finding many shots I get now aren’t usable due only to this clunky exposure stepping. I just wanted to note this issue, and to ask if anyone else has noticed the same thing.

    Have you seen this exposure stepping on the Hero2 Philip? Anyone?

    Thank you.

    Chad Johnson
    Arcata, Ca

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