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Kitecams and helmet cams

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Details cameras and rigs for taking action photos and video from your kite.
There are four main options for setting up and using a kitecam while kitesurfing.

 OptionPros Cons
1. Mount the camera in your kite
  • Can get great footage from an aerial perspective
  • Set and forget 
  • Kites move around a lot - much of the video/photos may be poor
  • The camera can damage the kite if you have a big crash and it dislodges
  • No control over camera - it just keeps on going - so you get lots of footage/photos to edit. 
2. Mount the camera on your helmet. 
  • You can point the camera where you want it
  • You can turn it off and on 
  • Hard to get smooth footage - the motion is often jumpy.
  • Need to wear a helmet to mount the camera.
  • Video cameras with helmet mounts can't take stills.
 
3. Mount the camera on your kite lines 
  • Fairly quick and easy to mount
  • Close up shots of person
  • Camera and mount can get tangled in lines if you crash the kite, making relaunch difficult
4. Hold the camera in your hand    
  • Direct control over camera angle 
  • Can use handstrap or camera on a short stick to get include some of board & rider
  • Good close up shots possible
  • You might drop the camera and lose it
  • Can detract from your kiting as you direct attention to the camera and its direction
5. Board mount    
  • Camera is out of the way
  • Close up shots of action
  • Set and forget - easy to operate
  • Need to glue mount to board - people have lost cameras when mounts come off
  • Lots of water pressure -  a waterproof housing for the camera is recommended to protect it
6. Backpack mount 
  • Camera is out of the way
  • Close up shots - including rider and perspective
  • Set and forget
  • Standard mount not available, you need to make one
  • Pole sticking up behind rider could get tangled or snagged in lines if you crash the kite and end up swimming.

Kitecam Hampton Melbourne Australia  Kitecam Black Rock Cerberus Melbourne
Kitesurfing at Hampton Beach and The Cerberus, Half Moon Bay, Melbourne, Australia,

Mounts

Here is a mount you can buy online from Seabreaze.  It is designed to take a compact Waterproof Digital Camera.

Seabreeze kitecam rig
"Camrig" Kitecam mount


Kitehero line mount 

Photo taken with Kitehero line mount

Cameras 

I have used a Pentax Optio W80 which has both interval ("photo every 10 seconds") and video modes.  It can take SDHC cards up to 16 Gig.  This leaked when snorkelling and was ruined.  I have replaced it with a Pentax Optio W90, which has now also leaked.

Pentax Optio W80
Pentax Option W80 (SD Card)

I used the W80 for about year, but water got inside the battery compartment when snorkelling (not diving). I flushed it out with freshwater and dried it thoroughly.  It came back to life 3 months later, but has subsequently died.

Pentax Option W90
Pentax Optio W90 (SD card)

I bought a W90 to replace the W80 and used it for about 6 months, but water got inside the battery compartment when canoeing. I flushed it out with freshwater and dried it thoroughly.  It came back to life but not properly.  Pentax replaced it under warranty and I am still using this camera. It has been superseded by the Optio 

Casio Exilim EX-G1
Casio Exilim EX-G1 (Micro SD card)

Third time lucky.  I have purchased a Casio EX-G1 to try it out.  Its cheaper - about A$200 - and the seals appear to be more robust and effective than those on the Pentax Optio models.  The side one has a thumb screw to cinch it in. So far so good, but I haven't yet got it wet.  However, this camera only takes 30 minutes of interval shots and you cannot delay the start time (e.g. 10 minutes) like you can on the Pentax models.  It is no longer available.

Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS
Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS  (SD card)

The latest Pentax camera is the Optio WG-2 which sports an improved CMOS sensor (better for low light conditions) and an improved waterproof rating of 30m.  The WG-2 GPS model includes a GPS. I haven't tried this camera yet.  For more information see PENTAX Optio WG-2 GPS Review (Steve Digicams)


Video cameras

We use and recommend the Contour Roam that can be set to take either HD video or still photographs at intervals. 

Contour Roam action camera


GoPro video cameras are also popular for kitesurfing.   They have a wide angle video lens and a separate waterproof housing.

The Oregon Scientific ATC-2K comes with both rubber mount straps and a brackets for helmets and bicycles.  You get about 1h 640X480 video footage on a 2 gig SD card.  More recent models can take larger cards.

Oregon Scientific ATC-2K video camera
Oregon Scientific ATC-2K

Video camera mounted in kite    Video camera mount close up
Video camera mount close ups, note safety line to kite securing loop


Videos

Kitesurfing at Port Melbourne with water starts

Taken with Contour Roam camera in waterproof housing with Kitehero line mount

Downwinder - Pretty Beach to Port Douglas

Taken with helmet mounted Oregon ATK-Contour Roam camera in waterproof housing with Kitehero line mount

Kitesurfing Hampton to Ricketts Point board cam

Taken with Contour ROAM with board mount

Kitesurfing Hampton in bay surf with helmetcam


Taken with Contour ROAM with helmet mount


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