Sunday, December 25, 2011

Waffle House (Bowling Green, KY)

Bike:  Buell XB9R
Route:  Google Maps

This probably isn't what the fine folks at GoPro had in mind for their cameras and it's not what I planned on doing for Christmas lunch, but my lovely wife got me a HD Hero2 for Christmas and I have to test it out. Immediately. It's warm enough to ride and the only place I know to be open for lunch on Christmas day is Waffle House. So, I'm going to Waffle House.

We're quite fortunate to have two Waffle Houses within a half mile of each other here -- one on each side of I-65 Exit 22. And with absolutely no traffic on the city streets, it was kinda cool to ride around town for a few minutes making noise with the Buell. I threw the original HD Hero in my pocket so I could compare pics of food...

[NOTE:  If you plan on going to Waffle House on Christmas Day for some weird reason, plan on waiting for a seat! Business is good when you're the only business open.]

Christmas Traffic I.
Christmas Traffic II.
'Crossing The Bridge' = 'Going To Town'
Christmas Traffic IV.
If every day was Christmas, I'd come to town a lot more often.
Christmas Traffic V.
Christmas Traffic VI.
Christmas Traffic VII.
Here's a Waffle House, but it's not my Waffle House.
Here's my Waffle House on the other side of the bridge.
America... **** yeah!
Steak & Eggs + Scattered, Smothered, & Covered.
[GoPro HD Hero2]
Steak & Eggs + Scattered, Smothered, & Covered.
[GoPro HD Hero]

VERDICT:  No matter where you are, Waffle House is Waffle House!

I'm more interested in the camera than the food. After looking at these pictures I'm not sure what to think. My initial impressions are that the new camera produces a higher quality picture, but the field of view seems narrower and the colors less vibrant. I'm gonna have to play with it some more...

Old Scottsville Road features the best six miles of twists, turns, hills, and fence rows in Warren County.
This the end of The Esses.
Christmas Traffic VIII.

The Mid-Ohio Complex.

The Double Dipper.

Rolling hills of Kentucky.
Real Christmas Traffic!!!

Headin' home...


UPDATE (12/26/11):  I played with the cameras some more to better compare the shots from the GoPro HD Hero and the HD Hero2. There are three sets of unedited pictures below. The camera housing was set on a mini-tripod and I just swapped the cameras out, so the location and angle is exactly the same for each set. The Hero2 images were all taken in the 11MP Wide setting -- 5MP Wide offered the exact same field of view, while the 8MP Medium & 5MP Medium settings provided a progressively smaller field of view.

Three things occur to me:
  1. The field of view is wider on the Original Hero images. ***I don't know why, but it seems like more is cut off the right side of each Hero2 image than the left?
  2. The colors are more vibrant on the Original Hero images.
  3. As expected, the 11 megapixel Hero2 images are more detailed than the Original Hero's 5MP photos.

For those who understand photography (I don't -- that's why I love the GoPro), I did notice some differences in the image details between the two cameras. These things might explain the differences I noted above. If so, feel free to explain it to me!
  • F-stop:  f/3.6 (Hero) vs. f/2.8 (Hero2)
  • Max Aperture:  3.7 vs. 2.8
  • Focal Length:  5mm vs. 2mm

I don't really care about the difference in colors, as I like to pump color into the images later anyway. But I'm disappointed in the narrower picture. There were plenty of pictures from this Buell ride that didn't even show the sky. It might be OK for the KTM since the riding position is more upright, so I guess that'll be the next test.

I know most people use these cameras for video, and I haven't tested that so I have no opinion. I can say the Hero2 is a lot easier to use -- the menu settings are much easier to navigate and understand. I'm looking forward to seeing how the battery life compares, but it might be a few months before I have a long enough ride to figure that out.

Hero on the left.
Hero2 on the right.
Hero on the left.
Hero2 on the right.
Original Hero on the left.
Hero2 on the right.

UPDATE (1/27/12):  It's been acting like Winter lately, so no riding lately. Meanwhile... GoPro says the Hero2 handles low light conditions better and I've seen some videos that seem to support that assertion, so I thought I'd do a few more comparison photos from the same tripod in various environments. Once again, the Original Hero image is on the left and the Hero2 is on the right. Obviously, the Hero2 does not handle the low light conditions very well in photo mode...

Home Cafe's Fried Gator Po' Boy.
Home Cafe's Kung Pao Pizza (to go).
In good light the differences aren't so pronounced.

UPDATE (1/30/12):  It warmed up and I finally got a chance to test both cameras while riding in the same conditions. While I remain disappointed with the reduced field of view, the Hero2 definitely produces a clearer image while on the move...

GoPro HD Hero vs. HD Hero2.
GoPro HD Hero vs. HD Hero2.


  1. It looks like the Hero 2 has a slightly smaller field of view all the way around, not just on one side, assuming you shot from the exact same tripod mount. On the Max Aperture thing, just means it opens up wider letting in more light in situations where it's maybe starting to get dark or if you want to have a narrow depth of field. Like in the bottom photos you could have the little bearded dude in focus and everything in front of and behind him would be totally out of focus. Either way, these trips look like a lot of fun, keep riding!

  2. Thanks, Kelly. I've also noticed that the Hero2 image is rotated clockwise just a degree or two. In those shots I was using the same tripod and camera housing, so that's interesting. I played with the video modes yesterday and the Hero2 is way better than the Original! Pretty incredible little thing for the price (that's what I thought about the first one, too -- if they're smart, they'll improve it again for next Christmas!)