How To Buy a High-Resolution Helmet Camera

by William Lynch

    High-resolution helmet cameras document the activities of extreme athletes from a first-person perspective in dazzling 1080p, allowing viewers to experience what it's like to skate a halfpipe, jump from an airplane, speed down the ski slope or navigate rugged terrain on a mountain bike. Besides entertainment, helmet cam videos also play an important role in training by providing an athlete with a unique perspective on his performance. Buying the right helmet camera for your sport requires considering several important factors.

    Size

    Helmet cameras may be either one-piece or two-piece devices. The one-piece cameras are lighter, more compact and less expensive, generally retailing between $200 and $500. Two-piece cameras feature the recording device as a separate component and use a cable to connect the recorder to the camera. While more expensive, heavier and more complicated to set up, two-piece cameras deliver enhanced video quality.

    Field of View

    A helmet camera's field of view refers to how much of the surrounding scene the video shows. A narrow field of view focuses on the subject and little else, leaving the video susceptible to movement. A wide field of view takes a wider perspective, showing more of the surrounding area, which stabilizes the image. However, having too wide a field of view distorts the image's edges. For best results, look for a field of view rating between 110 and 170 degrees.

    Operation

    Ease of use is extremely important when it comes to helmet cams since you seldom have a free hand or the time to cycle through camera functions. Consider the camera's ergonomic design, its number of buttons and the button placement to determine any operational difficulty. Also, check to see if the camera has a one-button mode that activates the camera and starts recording with a single push, which can prove invaluable during the heat of action.

    Protection

    High-resolution helmet cameras come with built-in protection against environmental conditions. The exact protection level needed depends on how you intend to use the camera. Rubber casings serve as shock absorbers against bumps and falls. If you engage in winter sports, the camera needs a waterproof case to withstand snow and rain.

    Attachment

    Consider the helmet camera's attachment options and whether the cam is designed to be a side mount or sit atop the helmet. While high-end cameras come equipped with a variety of mounting options, including straps and clamps, low-end cameras may require you to purchase a separate mounting kit. The best helmet mounts offer tripods for greater stability and extender links that can be constructed and positioned to achieve any desirable camera angle.

    Extras

    Certain high-resolution helmet cameras come with extras such as built-in GPS, which documents the footage's location so you can later chart paths taken and speeds achieved, and cell phone compatibility so you can instantly share videos with mobile devices. Other important extras to consider include extended battery life, an external microphone jack and USB slots for easy file sharing.

    About the Author

    William Lynch has been a freelance writer for the past fifteen years, working for various web sites and publications. He is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts program in writing popular fiction at Seton Hill University. He hopes to one day become a mystery novelist.

    Photo Credits

    • Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images