Above: my first test shoot with the GoPro HD Hero 2. Sadly this YouTube clip does not do the footage any justice; it really is super sharp when viewed in full HD. I'll rather burn this to Blu-ray... 

I've wanted one of these for a long time. Whenever you see footage of skydiving, basejumping or any other adrenaline-fueled occupation, chances are it was filmed by someone wearing one of these strapped somewhere to themselves or their gear.There are a number of action cameras available at the moment but in terms of price and accessories GoPro seems to be the leading choice.

Above: Yes, it really is that small. The standard GoPro camera without its waterproof housing

I recently had the opportunity to strap one of these to a motorbike and a kayak and I’m really blow away by the quality. In addition to NTSC and PAL modes the HD Hero 2 offers 1080p, 960p (4:3) and 720p HD recordings, as well as a WVGA mode for super slo-mo. The fixed focus lens offers a ultra-wide 170 degree, semi-wide 127 degree and “narrow” angle lens setting in 1080p mode. I found that the ultra-wide angle was the most useful setting in most conditions, although you would have to take the extreme wide-angle lens distortion into account when setting up a shot.

GoPro offers plenty of optional extras and mounts. The standard camera has no viewfinder so you’ll probably need the optional LCD unit if you plan to set up shots accurately. It does however use a lot of the battery power so you’d probably want to leave it off the camera for long duration shoots.  The mounts use super-adhesive 3M backings to fix to your gear. I used the 3-way pivot arm to fix the camera to the side of my helmet and even at 120km/h it wasn’t moving an inch.

Above and below: the Motorsport Edition comes standard with a range of attachments that will allow you to fit the camera to vehicles and bikes.

I used the surfboard mount to fix the camera to my kayak and after I made sure to tighten the screw at the bottom of the waterproof housing properly, it stood up to any size wave that came crashing over the deck. I did manage to break a J-hook attachment but that was only because it took a very hard direct hit from the paddle. The mounts really are super-strong.

Above and below: The camera fitted to the kayak with GoPro's optional surfboard attachment. Fixed like this the camera stood up to a huge amount of abuse from the ocean.

The HD Hero 2 records easy-to-use H.264 files onto SD card. I found that a Class 10 16GB card and a single battery gave me exactly the same recording time at 720p/25, so I’ll probably stick to that size recording media in future.

In short – I absolutely love the GoPro! The only con I can think of is the profile when mounted to the side or top of a motorcycle helmet (cameras like the Contour are tube-shaped), but really that is a minor issue.

Check out www.gopro.com