Monday, May 12, 2014

If Its Not Reliable, Who Cares

A boat that leaks ? not good. A light weight paddle that breaks ? useless. How about a camera with unreliable batteries ? not so good, but guess which one I and the rest of us put up with ? I have to say bracing into a tight turn in fast current is no place to have gear failure. At the very least getting wet in cold water is no fun, but it could also turn out a lot worse as well.

The shot above is one of the last frames my GoPro Hero3 took before the battery quit. In timelapse mode it normally runs at least two hours  but on this trip it only made it about an hour from what I can tell. Battery reliability with H3's has really been a problem for me. It had been charged a few days ago, temps where 65 degrees, the LCD was off. I did get some good shots, but thats not the point, I should of gotten a lot more shots ! I just never know if I'm going to get a full run or a short one with these batteries. I charge in the camera, I have a 3rd party wall charger, 3 batteries, it doesn't matter. In fact when I need to do timelapse reliably for more than 30 minutes I always put the cameras on a USB power supply on wall power or a big battery. Also let me say, a week ago on a corporate shoot, the battery said 1/3 left but rolled video for 30 minutes anyway. It ran well over what was needed. I think it comes down to the batteries just have some QC problems and I'm going to have to start tracking which ones are reliable. None of them are more than 9 months old nor do they have a lot of charge cycles on them. Where's my label maker !

Realistically I hope the Hero4 goes back to the old camera size if for only one single thing : a larger reliable battery again ! If they are really gonna do 4K 30fps a big battery is going to be a requirement.