I'm considering buying a helmet camera for my commue - what are the pros and cons of a helmet camera that I should know about?
I have a small bullet cam which can record HD resolution. It was bought primarily as a "just in case" mechanism against road rage.
The pros are as stated by others. The cons for me are (in no particular order):
- frequently forget to turn it on
- when I do remember to turn it on, I frequently forget to turn it off. I have many times got a long recording of "the parcel shelf on the train"
- given its size and minimalist appearance, its difficult to tell whether its on or off. An LED flashes but this can be difficult to see in broad daylight. Also the tiny on/off button is difficult to operate in to my winter gloves.
- normal battery life is around 90 minutes, so bear this in mind. For your commute it'll likely be fine but if you then decide you want to use it for an epic 6-hour ride, it'll be lacking.
- it recharges via usb, but it is also fixed to the side of my helmet. Therefore the helmet needs to be by my laptop. Granted, this is not exactly a con, other than I can otherwise leave my helmet out in the garage with my bike.
- it can be quite bumpy, as other people have said. Also light balancing can be a little slow - and the contrast between sky and ground is often high, so this is very noticeable. Basically don't expect Hollywood quality.
I realise that many of these points are cons to do with my memory than a camera, but I would not have thought I was any more forgetful than the next person. I'm basically trying to say that the probability of wanting to use the thing and finding that the battery has discharged is quite high. And I suspect you'll find this typical of a lot of cameras on the market - I specifically considered battery life when I bought mine and 90 mins was about as good as it got. Other points maybe come over as a little flippant, but nevertheless they highlight some of the things to look for if you're making a purchasing decision.
I did put one film on YouTube, which you're welcome to view if it'll help your decision.
Its not brilliant.
I see a previous commenter has mentioned weight, in my case that's not an issue, the camera weighs next to nothing. One other thing you may find useful is that I have a 16GB card in mine and according to the manufacturers that equates to about 4 hours. So no problem whatsoever about space, given how frequently I need to hook the camera to a pc in any case.
Hope this gives you some food for thought.
- You can film while riding.
- This can lead to interesting or useful events being recorded.
- Video quality is usually sub-par and will contain a lot of shaking.
- Weight on helmet - affects comfort
- Possible affect on helmet safety
- Some people take offense to being recorded without permission
- Your video could be used as evidence against you
- Expense and hassle of acquiring camera, batteries, ensuring they are charged etc