Motorcycle mounted Action Cameras

Video cameras are getting much better, but in general they are still disappointing when mounted to a motorcycle.

in 2014 we strapped GoPro HERO 3+ black and silver editions all over our bikes and went out for a 4,000+ mile trip to see what would happen. What we found out is the GoPro’s were a pain to use, the remote control was worthless and splattered bugs covered the lens which required constant cleaning.

The one cool video from all that was captured is of Mosquito Pass, however the video doesn’t actually capture how steep this road actually is.

2014 Hero 3 Silver @ Mosquito Pass

In 2019 I tried action cameras again and picked up the “DJI Osmo Action” because, its waterproof (not just a waterproof case), has 4K video, as well as front and back playback screens. The video is better, its easier to make sure its off or on and quickly test playback.

2019 DJI Osmo Action

The newer cameras are much better but they still suck and don’t capture the effect of an over-landing motorcycles perspective. The small aperture and focal point is good for selfie sticks or zip lining or scuba diving. If you want your face in frame while the background moves around you, then they are the right size. However if you want to share what you experience as a rider it is very limited. You will not be able to capture far off horizon focal points or anything at speed, because the objects move into and out of the best focus too quickly.

Lean and grade angles get lost when the camera is mounted to the frame of the bike. It all appears much flatter and inline with the bike then it actually is. Maybe if there was a gimbal keeping the camera at the level of the horizon it would be better but mounted to a bike going up a 15% grade it looks like your just going straight down the road.

I have decided the addition of the action camera is worth packing for the next long over-landing trip. The Camera is small uses the same memory as the drone, and the SLR camera, while the batteries can be charged off the same USB cable and I might just capture something good. The video is better when the camera is up front, but the camera is out of reach and therefore much harder to manipulate. A compromise is to move the camera towards the middle of bike so all you have to do is stop the bike, reach over and turn the camera on making it much quicker to setup and actually use. The video captured is then from the very right side of the bike instead of the front center. I feel I am far more likely to actually use the camera in this configuration and thus a better chance of maybe getting some good video.

If its something really worth getting a picture of, I will get off the bike and use the full sized SLR camera, and launch the drone to get some perceptive video. I am still not sold that small action cameras are actually any good for over-landing.

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