A huge improvement on the revolutionary HERO camera, the HERO 2 boasts a feature that takes an 11-megapixel photograph every half second, a massive improvement from the original HERO’s two-second increment, and has proven to be an invaluable in capturing radical action POV still shots. In a 12-second base jump, I get 24 shots rather than just six, so it eliminates the luck factor. When I follow Timy Dutton straight-lining through a chute, I will capture that spray-free moment in the crux. Sure, at the end of the day I have taken 700 plus photographs, but the camera is extremely lap-top friendly, so I can trash all but the money shots before I load them onto my computer, so I do not waste any valuable space on my hard drive. The new firmware produces an image quality that is indiscernible from HD camcorders more than triple its size, and its ten-shot burst feature allows me to take a full sequence while standing by as my bros huck cliffs on skis, step off mountains and giving over to gravity, or slide a rail in the local park. The only downside is that I get so fired up capturing images of other people, I get far fewer shots of myself!
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www.sealife-cameras.com; 10.9 ounces
Cell phone cameras are handy, but they don’t fare so well in wet conditions. In contrast, the slightly-larger (4″ x 1.5″) SeaLife Mini II is a truly amphibious small camera that’s been tested (and guaranteed) to operate down to 130 feet. The rubberized casing is both waterproof and shock proof, proven by our young testers, who dropped the camera down a rocky embankment into a muddy eddy in the Deschutes River. In addition to the camera’s durability, they also liked the easy set up, with a 1-2-3 graphic on the 2.4-inch LCD color screen. In the underwater mode, the white balance adjusts perfectly; photos are bright, without the standard blue hues that dominate so much aquatic photography. In the Land Auto mode, exposure is automatically controlled, as is an internal flash. In addition to a 30-frame-per-second (640 x 480) Video Mode (ideal for action sports like surfing, rafting, or beach volleyball), there’s a Spy Mode where you can program the camera to shoot a continuous string of images at pre-set intervals—great for capturing wildlife at your favorite waterhole, nesting birds, or sneaky raccoons and bear cubs as they raid your garbage can. Pictures, with 9mp resolution (3472 x 2604), are clear and crisp, although we recommend using a tripod for capturing shots you hope to mount and frame. The SeaLife camera is powered by two AAA batteries and accepts SD and SDHC storage cards up to 8 GB.
Accessories include a Digital Pro Flash, Photo-Video Light, and Mini Wide-Angle Lens.