Interested in buying a helmet camera to capture your dirt bike adventures? Here are a few things to look for that may help you choose the right one.
In the past, GoPro has been the clear leader in helmet-mounted action cameras for dirt biking as well as a host of other extreme sports. Today, however, GoPro has fallen behind the competition from Sony. Sony is the largest manufacturer of camera sensors in the world, and their new lineup of action cameras is really putting pressure on GoPro. In fact, it’s tough to compare the Sony action cameras side-by-side and not be amazed by how much more advanced their cameras are than the GoPro. Still, some people love the brand name GoPro, or want to save some money and will end up choosing something like the Yi 4k+, which is still a very capable camera.
These are the Top 3 Dirt Bike Action Cameras for 2018:
- GoPro Hero 6 Black Edition (click to check current price on Amazon) – GoPro is the brand name and nobody will be disappointed if you choose the GoPro brand.
- Sony Action Cam (click to check the current price on Amazon) – Sony’s action camera is actually better quality than the GoPro in almost every way. It’s better quality, has better stabilization, better audio, etc. It’s the best action camera you can buy.
- Yi 4k+ Action Cam (click to check current price on Amazon) – This is your budget option. It’s made by a Chinese company so it’s cheaper, but the quality is almost identical to the GoPro. For me personally, there’s no way I’d spend twice as much on a GoPro, but some people like having brand name stuff.
Why I Picked the Sony Action Camera
When you sit down and compare the Sony action cameras to the GoPro, the difference is surprising.
- The Sony offers significantly better image stabilization. The GoPro stabilization is jerky. It handles a very minor shake very well, but doesn’t do well with the kind of motion we see on a dirt bike which bounces up and down significantly.
- The Sony offers about 1 stop better low light performance, which is nice for early morning or late evening dirt bike rides.
- The Sony mounts in a slim profile on the side of the helmet so it looks less ridiculous than a GoPro, which looks like you’re wearing a phylactory.
- The Sony offers an improve frame rate set so you can do slow motion footage with greater fidelity.
Features to look for in a quality dirt bike helmet cam unit:
- High resolution (though this alone does not guarantee a better picture) – Definitely get a 4k video camera to future-proof your purchase.
- Tough, durable, waterproof and shockproof camera casing and mounts – these things get the bejeebers shaken out of them when attached to dirt bikes! It won’t last long if it’s not tough
- Motion stabilizer technology. All of the brands offer image stabilization, but the question is how good is the technology? This is rated in stops. A camera with 5 stops of image stabilization means the shutter speed can be 5x slower and still capture smooth video.
- Multiple mounting possibilities ex. not only on your helmet but can be mounted to the frame, handlebars and fenders
- Quick adjusting lens sensors to combat overexposure and sudden changes in light conditions – for example, when jumping you will often face into the sky, if the camera can’t regulate the amount of light allowed through the lens quickly enough then all you will catch on film is a bright haze
- Simple to set up and operate
- Quality microphone system with wind noise reduction
- Wide-angle lens
- Anti-fog lens for wet/cold conditions
- Strong waterproof connectors to keep the duct tape away – or even better, wireless
- A remote control
- Long-life battery use or rechargeable batteries
“I’ve always thought about buying a helmet cam. Now I’m definitely going to get one! Cheers for the good advice.” – Matt
Here is a great clip of the kind of footage you can expect to achieve with a modern helmet cam..
So if you’ve been sitting around with your mates dreaming about the great footage you could be getting if you only had a helmet camera, why don’t you get together and put in for one between ya’s? With prices for a quality cam beginning at around $300US it’s not out of your reach. And the thrill of having those amazing days of riding forever caught on camera will be priceless!
Some places to begin looking:
Twenty20 Helmet Cams produce a great range of outdoor cams for different sports and conditions. They make a camera that doesn’t require a camcorder to be connected. Instead, it records directly to a Micro SD card which is in the unit. No cables and less baggage. If you enjoyed what you saw in the video clip above then the GoPro HD Helmet Camera is for you. And make sure you check out my experiences with it in this helpful GoPro Hero 2 Review.
My advice before you buy? As with any product, have a look around online and compare prices before you jump in. Make sure you get a warranty of some sort, and don’t necessarily go for the cheapest model!
About Helmet Cameras
A helmet camera, also known as a bullet camera or lipstick camera, is an awesome way to catch footage of you and your mates’ riding. They offer a completely different perspective than regular filming does. The footage they produce provides a fantastic viewpoint of what it looks like from the rider’s seat, and the great thing is it doesn’t have to hinder your riding or fun! The other useful thing about them is you can use them to improve your riding skills. Study your riding technique after a day on your local track and see if you could’ve chosen better entry lines, or check your body positions e.t.c.
Helmet cams are small cameras that are easily fitted to your helmet or on a part of your bike such as the front mudguard. They record without you having to actually hold the camera, so are ideal for those of you who like the idea of capturing those magic moments but can’t be bothered standing around recording your mates.
Due to the increase in sports film creation, the amount of people out there wanting to create their very own videos, and advances in technology, helmet cameras have evolved to become not only light-weight and affordable, but they also produce a very nice final image.
There are really only two types of cameras used on the market today. CMOS cameras which are generally cheaper because of their simpler sensor pickups, and CCD cameras which use more complex technology to produce a clearer overall picture. CCD cameras adjust better to changes in light exposure.