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The Best Helmet Cameras

By Amiee Maxwell | Permalink | 1 comment | November 1st, 2010

How sweet would it be to capture your skiing, biking, kayaking and ziplining adventures on video from your point-of-view? Well now you can easily record your life’s adventures with a compact, wearable camcorder. These lightweight, durable, and water resistant helmet cameras are giving adventure travelers a new and easy way to record their worldwide adventures.

Most helmet cameras are built to withstand recording in extreme environments like wind, rain, and snow. Just make sure the camera you choose is built to withstand the types of conditions you plan to be filming in. Be aware that some cameras are totally waterproof whereas some are simply water-resistant. If you want to record your kayaking or surfing adventures, make sure to choose a waterproof cam or purchase a separate waterproof housing for your cam.

The best helmet cams run anywhere from $80 to well over $400, the higher the price the higher the sound and video quality is going to be. The lower-end helmet cams, like the Oregon Scientific ATC3K Waterproof Action Cam, capture video at 640 x 480 VGA resolution at 30 frames per second, whereas the higher-ends cams, like the Contour HD 1080P, can capture video at 1080p high-def at 60 frames per second.

Here are some of the best cameras available on the market listed from the least to most expensive:

Oregon Scientific ATC3K Waterproof Action Cam

At only 80 bucks, the Oregon Scientific ATC3K Action Cam is a great entry-level helmet camera. The waterproof, shock resistant, and durable body is great for capturing video in extreme conditions and the simple 3-button design makes it easy to operate.

Weighing in at only a half of a pound, the super compact cam is so sleek it can fit just about anywhere. Several straps and grips are included so you can easily mount the ATC3K to helmets, handlebars, or other sports equipment.

Why it rocks:

  • Waterproof up to 10 feet and shock-resistant for extreme conditions
  • Weighs only 4.4 ounces (without batteries)
  • 640 x 480 VGA resolution at 30 frames per second

>>Buy Oregon Scientific ATC3K Action Cam

GoPro HD Hero 960 Helmet Cam

The GoPro HD Hero captures professional looking video at a not-so-professional cost. The camera captures 720p and 960p HD resolution video at 30 frames per second plus a WVGA mode that captures 848 x 480 resolution video at 60 frames per second.

A “photo every 2 seconds” mode captures 5-megapixel photos for sweet time-lapse videos. The Hero will perform well in all sorts of conditions in its rugged, shockproof, waterproof housing that easily mounts to your ski helmet, bike helmet, surfboard, or handlebars.

Why it rocks:

  • HD Hero 960 captures professional quality 960p and 720p HD video at 30 frames per sec
  • 5-megapixel sensor and quality glass lens offer sharp images and smooth, clear video
  • Records professional-grade sound without the wind or break ups
  • Shoot up to 9 hrs. of HD video on a 32GB SD card (not included)

>>Buy GoPro HD Hero 960 Helmet Cam

Contour HD 1080P Wearable Camcorder

The Contour HD 1080P shoots incredibly clear video with 1080p high-resolution video. The 135-degree wide-angle lens captures loads of action with five video resolution modes and different frame rates so you can get the best shots for your specific activity.

Weighing in at only 4 ounces (with batteries), the Contour easily mounts to your ski goggles, ski helmet, handlebars, kayak helmet, or pretty much anywhere else you want to capture action video. The anodized aluminum body is splash-, dust- and dirt-proof so it can handle all your outdoor adventures, plus it is shock resistant to tolerate the abuse of filming outside.

Why it rocks:

  • Low-profile, 4.3 oz. camera sports a large, wide-angle lens for quality footage
  • Shoots in 4 high-definition video modes (1080p, 960p, and 2 720p) feature 2 frame rates (30fps or 60fps)
  • Tough, anodized aluminum camera body is splash-, dust- and dirt-proof
  • Internal microphone reduces wind noise while still capturing the sounds of the action

>> Buy Contour HD 1080P Wearable Camcorder

V.I.O. POV 1.5 Helmet Camera

The V.I.O. POV 1.5 Camera is quite a bit different from all other helmet cams reviewed thus far. The V.I.O POV is made up of 2 parts, both a camera head and a recorder, which are connected by a cable. The super light and compact camera head captures wide-angle video with resolutions up to 720 x 480 and records to a device stashed in you backpack or jacket.

What’s nice about this camera is that is has an LCD screen so you can view your videos on the go, only bummer is you need to stash the recorder somewhere on your body or in your backpack without getting all tangled up in the connector cable.

Why it rocks:

  • High-quality wearable video camera records with 720 x 480 resolution at 30fps
  • Records in 2 modes: LOOP mode allows you to tag and save key video segments; CLIP mode records continuous, traditional video
  • Components are shock-resistant, water-resistant and dustproof

>>Buy V.I.O. POV 1.5 Helmet Camera

[Photo courtesy of gordontarplay]

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Comments

  • Scott Says:
     

    The HD HERO (not the HD HERO 960) wasn’t mentioned above but, if you’re looking for an action sports camera, you’ll probably want to take a look at it as well. It comes in four variations (Surf, Motorsports, Helmet, and Naked – differences between these are only the mounts that are bundled with each) the base model, the HD HERO Naked, costs less than the Contour HD while offering the same video resolutions, battery life, and maximum SD card compatibility as it. However, the GoPro differs in the fact that: it performs much better in varying light conditions, it can take 5mp photographs in single, triple shot burst, and an auto photo mode with 5 intervals to choose from (the Contour HD 1080 cannot take photos), it is completely waterproof to 180′ (the Contour is only splash-proof), and every setting can be made on the camera itself. This last part might not sound like a big deal but, if you get to the trailhead and realized your Contour is not setup the way you wished it was, there is nothing you can do to remedy it unless you brought your computer. In fact – if you filled your SD card the last time you used your Contour, and forgot to delete it while connected to the computer, you might as well not even take it out of your backpack because you won’t be able to delete it and/or record anything new… this is very frustrating and I mention it in the hopes I will help stop it from happening to someone else.

    Read reviews – check out the community on places like the companies’ facebook pages – watch video samples – check out forums. There’s lots of information about all these cameras out there and, if you spend the time to look into them, you’ll get a good cross section of public/user/professional opinion for whatever the price range you are looking at. Whatever you choose, you’ll be stoked to both find/make opportunities to go use it, and also share to it with your family and friends (not to mention yourself when look back in the golden years!).