Body Shots

(Inga Hendrickson)
gopro adventure film cameras action cameras

GoPro Hero3 Black Edition

GoPro shrunk the latest Hero to the size of a dental-floss dispenser and still managed to pack the power of a DSLR into a 2.6-ounce package. The Hero3 was tough enough to handle repeated head-butts into a boulder and came stock with a remote that, in addition to letting me hit record from a lifejacket pocket, is capable of changing modes on an absurd 48 GoPros at once. Other perks include slo-mo and Wi-Fi capability.

SPECIAL FEATURE: It shoots 30 frames of giant 12-megapixel stills per second (think sequence shots in magazines).

VERDICT: With a more intuitive interface, this could be the perfect cam.

Drift HD Ghost

drift hd ghost cameras action cameras adventure film
(Inga Hendrickson)

The HD Ghost’s focus on functionality pays off. It incorporates a bombproof two-inch LCD that let me access dozens of options—frame rate, mic sensitivity, self-timer—and review clips right on the chairlift. The 360-degree rotating mount survived a swan dive into a Douglas fir, and the lithium-ion batteries lasted 45 percent longer than the other cams’.

SPECIAL FEATURE: In Flashback mode, footage is stored in short-term memory but only saved—up to five minutes after it was shot—when the menu button is pressed. That way you don’t waste space on the weak stuff.

VERDICT: Intuitive functionality, ample camera chops, super-rugged.

Contour Roam 2

contour roam 2 action cameras adventure film the best mobile filmmaking
(Inga Hendrickson)

While not as feature rich as either the HD Ghost or the Hero3 (no remote, slo-mo, or fancy high-speed photos), the Roam 2 captures high-quality footage at half the price. The on-off switch slides forward and back, which made it easy to operate even with ski mitts on, and a beam of light pinpointed exactly where I aimed it. One knock: the Roam 2 beeps like a cardiac monitor when low on power or memory, which got annoying. But the camera made up for it in toughness. When I accidently backed my Toyota Camry over it, the Roam 2 lived to beep about it.

SPECIAL FEATURE: The lens and mount both rotate 270 degrees, so with a swivel and a twist I was able to film behind me without shooting upside down.

VERDICT: Simple and solid—great for folks on a budget.

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