What's What in camera flying for 2017

Posted by Mark Kirschenbaum on

What's the latest Trunk?

The season is starting and new Action Cams, Still Cameras, and Camcorders are hitting the shelves. I'll talk about what we're seeing, my recommendations, and solutions that enable you to capture the best shots possible.

HYPEYE Alpha Shipped!

The HYPEYE Alpha Indication and Control System for the latest Sony Action Cams, Camcorders, and Still Cameras shipped this week.

Learn more about this awesome new product on the HYPEYE Alpha's product page. Quantities are limited so order before they're gone for the season! 

Pilots Kirby Chamblis, Amielle Abshite, and Kevin Coleman crush the sit train exit

Action Cameras

I get asked daily. Should I get the GoPro HERO5 Black or the Sony X3000? As with any tool, it's all dependent upon your application. For Tandem Videographers, in the action camera class, I would go with the $249 GoPro HERO4 Silver. The reasons being easy card access, the audio is cleaner (without the case), and they are going for wicked cheap refurbished directly from GoPro. 

If you have a bit more budget, I would go with the Sony X3000 for it's optical stabilization and image quality. It's a bit difficult to mount on non-camera helmets, but cameraflyers can mount the X3000 like they would any old camcorder. The Sony has the best audio for interviewing tandems but comes with the downside of a bottom loading MicroSD.  

The GoPro HERO5 Black has slightly better image quality than the GoPro HERO4, but the two have the same image processor and sensor. IMHO, it's not really worth the $150 price difference for the EIS stabilization & GPS. Personally, I would choose the Sony X3000r over the GoPro HERO5 Black for work jumps. With that said, it may take some practice framing landings and interviews without an LCD.

The HERO5 Session is a great rock-solid vacation camera and I bring it on all my trips. The H5 Session is also good for weekend fun jumpers because of its small profile. My only wish is it had HDMI out. I do not care for the HERO4 SESSION since it lacks enough dynamic range for pretty much everything we shoot.

All-In-all, I feel the GoPro HERO5 Black just missed the bus, the Sony X3000 is the best for jumping, and there is no reason to upgrade from a GoPro HERO4 if you already own one or are on a budget.
At $339, the YI 4k+ is a very nice camera. The first Action Camera to shoots at 4K@60 and it has the latest Ambarella H2 Quad Core Processor (months before the GoPro HERO6). The camera itself needs a bit better calibration and overall it seems a bit "weak". I'm saddened by the lack of a HDMI port. It will be interesting to follow Yi since I feel they'll continue to fix these small nuances and will soon be a huge contender. 

Still Cameras

We are seeing a wave of the industry move to the lightweight Sony a5100, a6000, a6300 and a6500 from a traditional SLR. All these bodies work extremely well. As always, with still photography, you are better off buying a better lens than investing more money on the body. I personally shoot with the Sony a6000 and Sigma 19mm/f2.8 and have produced close to 20 publications including 3 centerfolds. The 20mm, 16mm pancake and kit lens also work well. 

Read more about the Mirrorless Sony Cameras for Skydiving

Traditional Camcorders

I currently fly the Sony AX53 on all my outside video jobs. You can't beat these Sony Camcorders for its B.O.S.S. stabilization, but it does add considerable weight and size. The Sony AX53 weighs in at 1.5lbs, so it's significant now-a-days. With that said, if you are shooting Head Up or Artistic, you'll want a camcorder with B.O.S.S. Currently, we're seeing people go with the Sony CX675, AX33, and AX53. Paired with the new HYPEYE Alpha, you'll be a rockstar!

Turned On for GoPro HERO5

No, we do not have a Turned On for the GoPro HERO5. Currently, we're not going to go down this route for many reasons. For starters, GoPro is not doing well as a company, the Sony Action Cam is kicking their butts, they don't listen to their customers, they ousted vendors who created their eco-system, and they can change technology in their Developer Program without any forewarning and make your inventory worthless.</endrant> At this point its not a smart road for us to go down. Especially with our small market.

Turned On now only $79!

The GoPro HERO4 is still the industry workhorse. This season, don't miss the shot. Get Turned On by HYPOXIC for $79 from us or your favorite dealership. 

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