Tuesday, March 6, 2012

GoProHD Hero1 vs Lumix TS3

This is not going to be a technical discussion, but rather hands on in simple terms as to which one you should decide to purchase, if you want to snap videos whilst riding your motorcycle. One is not necessary better than the other, but your choice should be based upon your budget & how you plan to use your camera. Each camera has limitations. I bought my GoProHD Hero Model 1 two years ago


to mount on my Suzuki V-strom. I thought it would be safer to record video instead of using that precarious left handed method while rolling down the highway. I use RAM mounts which would be the subject of a different discussion.

The GoProHD does have a serious flaw, which has been addressed in their newly released HERO2. As a base videocam the GoProHD is mainly a videocam, but is able to snap still photos and do time lapse. The LCD screen is available at optional cost. You don't really need to be able to see where it is "aimed" due to the 170° wide angle FOV: Field of view, but sometimes you may wish to view what you have recorded, or to show others. For viewing you would have to download the files to a Laptop.

The FLAW is that you don't really know if it is ON or not, and also you can't see if it is recording or not as the status LCD is "on the front" of the unit, and when you are riding your motorcycle, you are looking at the back. Many times I have arrived home only to find that the GoProHD was not ON, and last week I thought I had lots of good video but I had inadvertently changed modes. It is easy to change modes as if you hold the ON button for a millisecond too long, it will cycle away from "film" (video) mode.

These flaws have been corrected in the new HERO2. There are status LEDs on the rear where you are able to see what it is doing. In Canada the Hero2 sells for $350., plus the new LCD screen with remote control is another $120., so including our HST tax this comes to $526.00, enough to put a serious dent in your man-purse

(VStar Lady wanted me to post this photo)

The Panasonic Lumix TS3 was on sale recently at a $100. discounted price, so it cost $280. plus HST = $314.00 , which was over $200. less expensive than the Hero2 and has a LCD screen, was shockproof, waterproof and dustproof and it also takes regular 12 MP photos with zoom, and also recorded fullHD 1080p video, so I thought it would be perfect for my motorcycle. I wanted to have two videocams on the bike for front & rear views.

A couple of weeks ago, I mounted the Lumix TS3 on my bike and did some tests. I was a bit disappointed with the results as it kept hunting for focus and there was lots of vibration from my windshield mount. When I compiled my video, I left all this stuff IN so you can see what it does "out of the box" . The Lumix TS3 is mainly an automatic P&S with few manual controls. I could not turn the AF off, and I didn't have much choice in recording formats. You only have two "resolutions"; 1280x720p30, or 1920x1080p30 and AVCHD or .mp4

The older GoProHD Hero1 can record 1280x720p60 which is double the frame rate of the Lumix and it really makes your video smoother. My second test video has not yet been edited, but I changed the mount location and managed to find a scene mode which disables the AutoFocus and the results are much better. Part of my video was recorded in the rain, but due to the design of the Lumix TS3 the lens has a flat glass filter/protector and raindrops stick to the glass and blurs your image. The Hero1 has an oval lens protector where the wind can "blow" the rain away

There also seems to be a lot of wind noise with the Lumix TS3, and I had the WindCut set to "ON"

if you were thinking of the Lumix TS3, don't be discouraged YET. The next video is much better. A lot of retailers are discounting the TS4 because the new Lumix TS4 has been announced. They are basically the same camera, except that the TS4 has time-lapse mode, which I wished that I had


  1. Hi Uncle Bob,

    Your new camera is better than the GO Pro I think, the image is not distorted like the go pro and theres much less clicking sound. I shall have a look in our local stolen electrical things shop and see if the have one, seems the perfect motorbike camera to me!!

    1. Uncle Dave:

      the old Hero1 only has 170° FOV, the new Hero2 has multiple FOV's changeable with different resolutions. The Lumix TS3 is 28mm equiv but I really prefer 24mm equiv. Hope you find a suitable camera and get rid of that China one with the Canon sticker, and does this mean you are looking for another bike, Hurrah ! finally, it's been a long time.

  2. That looks like a really good option. Maybe I should start shopping around. Is this one mounted on a RAM mount on the handlebars?

    1. Richard:

      Yes, if you go back a couple of posts (RAM mounts), you can see my setup. I even mentioned the parts, but depends on your bike as to where you wish to mount it. I also have the RAM C-clamp so I can put it nearly anywhere, even on my rear luggage rail. The Lumix TS3 is being discounted right now, because the new TS4 is just arriving. Right now you can find the TS3 for $100. off.

      The next video test is much smoother as I changed some settings, and moved it to the handlebars. It is easy to turn ON & OFF with gloves on, and you can easily see if it is recording or not, which is hard to do with the Hero1. I prefer cameras with AVCHD codec as it is more efficient, but only SONY & Panasonic have it because they jointly developed it, that's also why I bought the SONY NEX-5n for its 1080p30 fullHD mode