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Camera opinions....... Hero Session or Bandit?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
OK, so I've had a Veho Muvi cam the last couple of years to use when skiing, but in its waterproof case its quite heavy, and I've just used the backpack clip mount as I didn't want the stuck on top of my head look of a helmet mount, but the picture quality isn't great, and there's a lot of vibration and shaking - though more to do with my mounting method I suppose.

Anyway, I want to upgrade to something better, and I'm liking either the Tomtom Bandit, or a GoPro Session, as they're both quite low profile, and I've realised for steadier video I think I'm gonna have to helmet mount with sticky pads.

Has anyone used any of these? to be honest, I'm more swayed to the GoPro, and the session4 is only £150....... my budget was really up to £200, but then is the session5 worth paying the extra?
Not particularly bothered about filming in 4K, most likely will use 1080, but is the session5 worth it for the image stabiliser for skiing, and is there any improvements in the 5 over the 4 with regards to battery life or general picture quality when both set at 1080?

OK, I'm not gonna be doing anything extreme, and I barely ever go off piste (certainly no jumping or rails for my ability!), but I would like some footage for memories, and possibly to grab a frame to use as an in motion photo.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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I canít comment on the GoProís but I have a bandit which I bought at the start of this year for a ski trip.

Good things about it.

The 1080 60fps Video is very good. High bitrate and really nice and clear.
Mounts and the swivel make it easy to position and get just the right shot. I even mounted it facing backwards and got some great shots of my mate on his snowboard behind me on a boarder-X run.
Two buttons, one to start and one to stop. Nice and loud noise to say recording etc. I also had the remote which was on the shoulder strap of my backpack. So easy to start and stop, no messing trying to find the buttons on the camera itself.
Battery lasts a good 3+hrs. I also carried a small battery charger (like for a mobile phone top-up) which I used at lunch to put a bit of extra juice in it. The batt-stick meant I could plug it straight in.
The phone app is very good.
The Bandit has lots of sensors so you can get G-force, Speed, Altitude shown on your videos.
The shape means front on itís quite low profile. I could also mount on the side of my helmet then rotate to be the right orientation.
The highlights button is very good meaning you can quickly mark a good bit to view later.

Not so good things.
Itís not the lightest but is sturdy.
No built in image stabilisation. Wasnít an issue really for me, I like that the camera conveys movement a but in the video. I used image stabilisation post processing and preferred the before shots. I doubt the GoProís have proper optical IS? Think the Sony X3000 has.
Extra battery is about £40 due to the design.
4K is only 15FPS (Not an issue for me. 1080 is plenty for a number of reasons Iíll go into below).
You do get wind noise in the mic above about 30mph. Iím not sure what others are like, I could hear wind noise when I was skiing so it captured what I experienced.
The TomTom bandit PC software is classed as Beta. Itís Ok but I ended up using some other video editing software.

Overall Iím very happy with it. I love the video it captured. Happy to share my video if that is helpful?

Couple of things on the subject of 4K. 4K needs some serious PC power if you want to properly edit it. It also eats into your SD card more quickly. Consider that most of what you view on HD TV is max 1080, aspect and bitrate of the video contribute a lot more to the quality of a video than just pixels IMO.

If I was buying now my only concern would be if TomTom are going to actively continue to support the Bandit. Worth considering
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Can't comment on a Go Pro but I have a Bandit which I got for my last trip. Have a look at the footage in the link below. I agree with everything said above.

I have the wrist remote to go with it, which makes starting and stopping even easier! The Bandit is very, very easy to use and the phone app is great. The PC software has limitations.

Disclaimer: I am not Spielberg. I am also still learning to ski!


http://youtube.com/v/tYeXCYoV2Aw
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I've got a Session 4, I'm not good enough with it to get the best but here's an example of some skiing video. Battery life heavily dependant on temperature, one of the reasons that there aren't many clips from powder is because it was about -22 and I'd faceplanted a few times. Camera would shut itself off within seconds of starting. Usually it's good though, I'll film a lot through the day (always clips though, never leave it running for more than about 10 minutes at a time). I take a small power stick to give it a boost at lunch, just incase.

http://youtube.com/v/slc4sLPdDBQ&t=373s
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blacksheep wrote:
... 4K needs some serious PC power if you want to properly edit it. It also eats into your SD card more quickly. Consider that most of what you view on HD TV is max 1080, aspect and bitrate of the video contribute a lot more to the quality of a video than just pixels IMO....

It's a mistake to assume people would shoot at 4k to produce output at 4k. For the same reason shooting at 1080p for 1080p output isn't ideal.

The Hero 4 @4K-30fps with ProTune (60Mbps) can crap over an hour of footage on a modest 32G card, which cost about £20.
It takes quite a while to edit 1 hour of footage, and most people may find it hard to have 1 hour's worth of interesting things happen in a day wink
If you shoot 1 hour a day for a ski holiday of 7 days to produce a video of say 3.5 minutes, that's a shooting ratio of 120:1.
A smaller shooting ratio would leave more time for beer drinking.
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@philwig, that's where you have to think about why you're making the video. Is it for an interesting video to show a wide audience, or is it just a sort of video album for yourself and close friends/family?
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philwig wrote:
blacksheep wrote:
... 4K needs some serious PC power if you want to properly edit it. It also eats into your SD card more quickly. Consider that most of what you view on HD TV is max 1080, aspect and bitrate of the video contribute a lot more to the quality of a video than just pixels IMO....

It's a mistake to assume people would shoot at 4k to produce output at 4k. For the same reason shooting at 1080p for 1080p output isn't ideal.

The Hero 4 @4K-30fps with ProTune (60Mbps) can crap over an hour of footage on a modest 32G card, which cost about £20.
It takes quite a while to edit 1 hour of footage, and most people may find it hard to have 1 hour's worth of interesting things happen in a day wink
If you shoot 1 hour a day for a ski holiday of 7 days to produce a video of say 3.5 minutes, that's a shooting ratio of 120:1.
A smaller shooting ratio would leave more time for beer drinking.


The point I was trying to make is that you need some serious PC power to crunch 4K video. I appreciate what you're saying, I assume you want to shoot at a higher resolution to crop the video? If you have 4k video and want to edit it then depending on your PC I was trying to flag up the OP should consider this in their decision.

I shot way more than 1 hour a day Embarassed It took me a Saturday to work through and pick out the bits I wanted. Anyway this is the result, 10 minutes of footage that I imagine only myself and a few others from the trip will find interesting. At least it shows the OP what the Bandit can produce. Keep in mind this is uploaded to YT so quality will be compromised.



http://youtube.com/v/scG61n_ZlJM
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks for the replies so far guys, I'm really not that fantastic a skier, I'd rate myself as an intermediate level intermediate! - so not likely to be making any exciting videos of big jumps and such, more along the lines of a video/photo album for myself, and to post on facebook for friends and family, that sort of thing. I will most likely keep the camera in a pocket or in my bag mostly, and and then clip it on and start it to record a particular run, then turn it off again. I never thought of the mobile phone portable charger things, that could be a solution to give me ample battery life for a days skiing.

I'm not really savvy on video and video editing (having never made any videos before), but it sounds like if you record on the 4k or 1080 setting, you don't necessarily get 4k or 1080 video output when you watch it back, or have I misunderstood?

To be honest, the footage from both the bandit and session above both look good, much better and clearer than my previous veho muvi. I suppose it's gonna come down to mountability and look really, could those with the bandit tell me how big the mounting pad is? I have a smith vantage helmet, which has lots of vent and a kind of vent and ridge along the sides, so there isnt a lot of big areas to stick a mounting pad to; from looking at pictures on the internet, the gopro pad looks smaller and might be easier to find a place on my helmet, but I've not managed to find a bandit in a shop to see it in real life yet.
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Quote:

but it sounds like if you record on the 4k or 1080 setting, you don't necessarily get 4k or 1080 video output


Not quite, if you record in 2.7/4k if you need to crop/zoom/stabilise in edit you will still be left with 1080.

Abe K (gopro editor in cheif) is the man to learn from.

http://abekislevitz.com/gopro-tutorial-fisheye-removal/
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Mr bee wrote:
Thanks for the replies so far guys, I'm really not that fantastic a skier, I'd rate myself as an intermediate level intermediate! - so not likely to be making any exciting videos of big jumps and such, more along the lines of a video/photo album for myself, and to post on facebook for friends and family, that sort of thing. I will most likely keep the camera in a pocket or in my bag mostly, and and then clip it on and start it to record a particular run, then turn it off again. I never thought of the mobile phone portable charger things, that could be a solution to give me ample battery life for a days skiing.

I'm not really savvy on video and video editing (having never made any videos before), but it sounds like if you record on the 4k or 1080 setting, you don't necessarily get 4k or 1080 video output when you watch it back, or have I misunderstood?

To be honest, the footage from both the bandit and session above both look good, much better and clearer than my previous veho muvi. I suppose it's gonna come down to mountability and look really, could those with the bandit tell me how big the mounting pad is? I have a smith vantage helmet, which has lots of vent and a kind of vent and ridge along the sides, so there isnt a lot of big areas to stick a mounting pad to; from looking at pictures on the internet, the gopro pad looks smaller and might be easier to find a place on my helmet, but I've not managed to find a bandit in a shop to see it in real life yet.


It's funny because the phone editing software is great, meaning you can create and upload stuff so easily on the go yet the PC software I found limiting. Even old Microsoft Movie Maker was better!

I'd say, from what I've seen of GoPros, that the Bandits mounting system is so much quicker and easier. Just snaps on and off. I was a bit worried about how secure it was but once it's clicked on, it's pretty blooming secure. I took a few tumbles with mine on and it was fine.

As for battery life, I ran out a couple of days but I got a good 3-4 hours of pretty high quality recording out of it. Then just charged it up for the next day at night. I took a spare memory card, which again is nice and easy to swap over when one is full up.

When I get home, I'll show you how I have mounted my Bandit. My first attempt with the curved pad failed as I mounted it too far forward meaning that all my footage was of the ground unless I went around craning my neck up! I then used the flat mounting pad on the side of my helmet which wasn't ideal as I could get a complete fitting due to the curve of the helmet however it still stuck like glue and worked fine. Before my next trip, I plan on taking them off and buying a couple of new ones to attach again. My helmet also isn't the most "mount friendly" similar to yours.
They also have a 360 mount which I would consider getting. That way, if you make a mistake like me with the mounting pad, it doesn't matter!

They do two lenses. The splash proof and water proof. I only have the splash proof, which has 2 small holes underneath the lens which I was worried moisture could enter through but it was fine. I also used the microphone brush thing with it which helped.
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@Mr bee, one of the advantages of filming in 4K is that you can export an individual frame from the video which provides a reasonably decent digital photo at a reasonably high resolution. Given that you have the choice of 25 such frames each second you can choose with great precision a photo which captures the action as you want to portray it. These photos were taken by exporting a 4K frame from a GoPro Session 5 attached to a ski tip or to my wrist. Filming in 1080 wouldn't have allowed a decent quality image to be exported from the video.



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Can the gopro's lens be changed if it gets damaged?
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I don't know, because I've ridden with a lot of people using a lot of GoPros and never had anyone break a lens. What were you planning on doing with it? wink

I use the "frame mount" for snow, which means *no* water proofing, and a small "lens protector". That all works fine, and weighs less than alternative approaches. They're pretty solid things.
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You know it makes sense.
WASHOUT wrote:
Can the gopro's lens be changed if it gets damaged?


Certainly can with the main hero models and have done so myself (not from damage), but to put a different lens system on one, not heard of a session lens replacement thus far, but can ask those who would know.
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Another disadvantage for the Bandit is the lack of a chest mount.
You are pretty much stuck with helmet, wrist (which is pretty cool actually) or as some have done, fixed it to a ski. Unless you get creative with your mounts.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@philwig nothing extreme I am just careless and felt the old housing gave the lense a extra protection but if they are changeable then no major problem. I am interested in the hero 5 with the feiyu g5 gimbol. Has anybody any experience with using a handheld style gimbol skiing other than using it as a selfie stick. Can it be attached to ski, chest mount etc?
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@WASHOUT, in terms of changing lenses gopro don't do it, but there are plenty of other companies that do. Personally I prefer to on the whole keep the camera in the housing if I'm doing something where the lens is at serious risk, but for skiing/snowboarding that risk is pretty minimal. The gimbal attachment depends on the gimbal. For example the karma grip has a special attachment to mount on a harness but I mostly use it hand held or the on the Karma drone with the hero5. Mounting on a ski is trickier as generally the form factor (mainly the power side) and weight doesn't lend itself to that type of mounting but I have seen them fudge mounted in some strange places with some adapted power rigs.
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WASHOUT wrote:
@philwig nothing extreme I am just careless and felt the old housing gave the lense a extra protection but if they are changeable then no major problem. I am interested in the hero 5 with the feiyu g5 gimbol. Has anybody any experience with using a handheld style gimbol skiing other than using it as a selfie stick. Can it be attached to ski, chest mount etc?
Difficult to mount the G5 gimbal, it's really a handheld device. Feiyu also offer the WG wearable gimbal which is smaller than the G5 and has a standard GoPro prong mount on it, so can be attached to a wide range of mounts and accessories. It's just about small and light enough to fit to the front of a ski helmet and can give super smooth video or easily stuck on a chest mount. The Feiyu WG comes in two versions, one for a standard GoPro (any of them, up to and including the 5) or one designed for the GoPro Session.
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Much appreciated on gimbal advice.
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@ rob@rar
what fitttings did you use for attaching the camera to your ski?

Pulled the trigger on the gopro hero 5 and g5 gimbal but realised my desktop pc (cheapest basic dell from their range 8 years ago) is woefully inadequate for 4k editing but my friend tells me the gopro app is fine for basic editing. What does everybody else use for editing?
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You can download & editing applications for free, for a while, although some have considerable learning curves. I'd start with what's free and then follow your nose. Most people won't do much other than trim clips and stitch them together.

An 8 year old low specification machine... doesn't sound like a good choice for video editing.
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WASHOUT wrote:
@ rob@rar
what fitttings did you use for attaching the camera to your ski?
The Surfboard mount I think it's called. It's like a standard flat stick-on mount, but a bit more surface area. Obviously the ski tip vibrates a huge amount, so I didn't have the GoPro attached to it all day long, just for a couple of occasions when I wanted to grab some footage.
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You're going to need a new PC and one with half decent spec to do any serious video editing of 4K. Not trying to be mr doom and gloom! Very Happy
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WASHOUT wrote:
@ rob@rar
what fitttings did you use for attaching the camera to your ski?

Pulled the trigger on the gopro hero 5 and g5 gimbal but realised my desktop pc (cheapest basic dell from their range 8 years ago) is woefully inadequate for 4k editing but my friend tells me the gopro app is fine for basic editing. What does everybody else use for editing?


I'm using an iMac with an i5 processor and 24gb of Ram. It can still take a couple of hours to process 10 minutes of 4K footage using Virb edit.

Here's some Virb footage at 1080. Image stabilisation and lens correction were both on. Ignore the quality of the filming and editing. The out takes may make you laugh though.


http://youtube.com/v/XfhvzwdP644
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Just a wee update, just back from majorca with the hero5 black. VERY happy with it and it so much more user friendly with the screen (old camera was a hero2 which I never really used) . New computer should be middle of week! Didnt use the gimbal that much so will need to play about with it a bit more before verdict.
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Quote:

The out takes may make me want to make sure I'm never downhill from you.


FIFY
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Laughing Laughing Laughing
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