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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gadget Bag: Compact HD Cams

They’re small, they’re light, they produce outstanding footage, and they’re everywhere. Why you should have one in your bag.

Labels: Gadget BagGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
Contour also offers the simple ContourROAM ($199.99; $249.99 with waterproof case) and the tiny ContourGPS ($299.99). Contact: Contour, www.contour.com.

You've undoubtedly seen output from the popular GoPro HD HERO compact video camera in action videos online, TV commercials, TV shows and movies—the camera mounted on the action subject. Now, GoPro also offers the HD HERO2 Professional with a 2x faster image processor, a 2x sharper glass lens and professional low-light performance. The housing is waterproof to 197 feet (60 meters).

The built-in, fixed-focus ƒ/2.8 lens can deliver angles of view of 170°, 127° and 90°. Power is by rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and files are stored on SDHC cards (not provided).

The tiny HD HERO2 comes in three editions—Outdoor, Motorsports and Surf—each with appropriate mounting accessories to suit the intended use, and each priced at $299.99. All three can shoot video at 1920x1080/30p, 1280x960/48p and 30p, 1280x720/60p and 30p, and 848x480 at 120 and 60 fps, with mono sound via a built-in microphone or stereo via an external mic. It can also shoot 11-, 8- and 5-megapixel still images in single shots or 10-frame bursts.

Accessories include the Wi-Fi BacPac + Wi-Fi Remote (provides Wi-Fi connectivity and enables operation of up to 50 cameras from up to 600 feet away), LCD BacPac (adds an LCD monitor) and Battery BacPac (lets you charge batteries off-camera and provides additional battery power on-camera). The HERO 3D System lets you combine two HERO or HERO2 cameras in a single housing to record 3D and 2D photos simultaneously. Contact: GoPro, www.gopro.com.

Midland XTC-300VP4
Midland XTC-300VP4
The unit with the most complicated name is the simplest featured here. The $249.99 XTC-300VP4 is a tiny HD video camera that provides first-person video and audio at the touch of a button. It's weather-resistant and comes with a submersible case good to 100 feet. The multicoated, tempered-glass lens provides focus from 5 inches to infinity, with a 127° angle of view for 1080 video and 170° for 720 and 480 video. The camera can do 1920x1080p video at 30 fps, and 1280x720 and 848x480 video at 60 fps in MPEG-4 format with H.264 compression with AAC sound.

Power is via a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and files are stored on microSD cards up to 32 GB.

The camera comes with a helmet, a helmet strap, and handlebar and goggle mounts, and a wide variety of inexpensive additional mounts are available as accessories. It weighs less than six ounces with battery. Spare batteries are just $29.99.

Midland also offers an SD action camera for $99.99, HD models starting at $109.99, and the Mossy Oak 1080p camera, similar to the XTC-300VP4, but with a camouflage finish. Contact: Midland Radio, www.midlandradio.com.

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