Ride and record with a helmet camera
Helmet cameras are an incredibly popular way for you to document and share your sporting adventures online. People are now tapping into the creative power of cameras more than ever before. While films of bike tricks and crashes will forever remain popular; more and more people are using the power of film to educate audiences about a wide range of topics such as personal safety, training methods and coaching.
We have created this helmet camera buying guide with the help of Wiggle’s accessories buyer Martin Mckinlay. The aim of this guide is to help simplify camera technology and explain the various mounting options and add-on accessories available at Wiggle.
Helmet cameras explained
Helmet cameras are designed to be rugged, durable and withstand impacts. They are often used in dynamic settings where they are exposed to dirt, water, cold and heavy vibration.
Cameras differ in image quality, with most on the market offering different settings to either boost definition or save memory. Full high definition (HD) or 1080p offers the crispest playback available, perfect for using on a TV. Tall high definition (HD) or 960p falls back slightly on the quality but in doing so lowers the file size allowing for a longer take. Standard mode on most cameras now comes in at 720p, still more than enough clarity to show off your latest trick or fall.
Some cameras come pre built with a minimal hard drive for direct saving however you will need a secure digital (SD) card to use a helmet camera to its full potential. A secure digital (SD) drive is also handy in that it will allow you to instantly transfer your data across to your PC, or alternatively use the USB cable provided. Higher spec’d models do offer Wi-Fi specification (either built in or bolt on) so that you can stream your film to either your computer or phone app.
Battery life is directly related to image quality so expect anything from one hour to three and a half hours depending on settings.
Ever wondered where that never ending descent was that you seem to pass on every rider? Top specced cameras have built in GPS so you can pinpoint the exact location you filmed. You can even use apps to watch a feed of your position alongside the footage.
- Camera mounts specifically for the bike include handlebar mounts (check on diameter), under seat and strap mounts which can be placed anywhere i.e. forks, tube, stem.
- Off the bike, helmet mounts come in either strapped or sticky varieties and for the hardcore downhiller, chest mounts offer an in your face view of your descent.
- If you happen to be filming a friend, tripods allow for shake free filming or the creative minds out there can wrap them around vantage points such as trees or posts.
- Waterproof housing – This allows you to take your camera into the water by surrounding the camera in high quality plastic that on average allows for 60m immersion.The biggest killer of cameras aside from falls is water, which is why all cameras on the market are IP rated to prevent unwanted damage.
- 3D Kit – Ever wanted to see that race in 3 dimensions? Use a 3D system that pairs two cameras together and couple with 3D glasses for a truly unbeatable experience.
- Wi-Fi Kit – Automatic downloads your footage to your PC or laptop and also allows you to use your phone as a view finder. Some come packaged with a remote control.
- LCD Bolt Ons – Not all cameras come with a built in screen. In absence of a Wi-Fi kit, this does the job. Be aware this may mean you cannot fit your device into a waterproof casing.
- Apps – Nearly all of the top models on the market have free to download apps which let you view and edit your settings on the go. Android and IoS versions are available.
Wiggle's top tips
- Stay Safe – Whilst videoing the fastest descent witnessed by man may seem like a great idea, know your limits.
- Charge your battery the night before and take a spare. There’s nothing more frustrating than being unable to record at the vital moment.
- Practice Practice Practice – Experiment with different settings, angles and editing effects.
- Check the manufacturer’s website for updates. They will keep your camera running smoothly and may add on additional features.