January 22, 2021
Many motorcyclists these days are also keen photographers who not only enjoy the ride themselves but want to share it with others. With the advent of Social Media as well as the propagation of affordable motorcycle action cameras it has never been easier to take great riding shots and share them with friends and family.
Over the last ten years Digital Reflex Cameras (DSLR) have come down in price and now even the most modest budget cameras feature many professional level features. This is great should you wish to take a stunning landscape shot on your way through the Alps or take a picture of your bike in front of a famous landmark but not so useful for shooting Point-of-view shots or video due to their size and awkwardness.
That is where motorcycle action cameras come into their own. Their small form factor and weatherproof design allow them to be easily attached to a motorcyclists helmet or even to different parts of the riders motorcycle to get many different shots that were previously very difficult or impossible with camcorders or DSLR’s.
otorcycle action cameras are primarily designed to get reasonable quality video that can be edited into smaller clips for Facebook or Instagram or into much longer videos that can be shared to social video platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo.
However they are also capable of taking nice Point-Of-View Photos using some clever techniques which we will cover in a future blog.
Luckily for the keen motorcyclist there are a number of different brands that offer their own features and also fall into different price categories which should fit any rider's budget.
Gopro Hero 9 Black
The original and arguably the best motorcycle action camera for capturing the most extreme footage. Even the Previous Hero 8 Black is an extremely strong contender for the best overall Action Camera.
The Gopro Hero 8 Black packs in the most features as well as the all important Hyper Smooth stabilization. Another clear advantage which has plagued other cameras is the Superview feature which gives the Gopro the widest possible view which is much needed for the small cockpit area on a motorcycle and ensures you get not only the road and background details but also the bikes handlebars in the shot.
There is also the upcoming addition of a new lens attachment known as “Max Lens Mod” which will allow an even wider field of view.
Although the Gopro Hero 9 Black features the most versatile features that can result in the sharpest and most stabilized features it is the most expensive motorcycle action camera in the list and also requires the purchase of optional extras to include features such as external microphone input that add bulk and extra cost to the already expensive camera.
A new feature that is welcomed with the newer GoPro models is the lack of a waterproof or supporting case as the GoPro attachment system is built into the bottom of the camera and simply folds out when you need to attach it to your helmet or handlebars.
Base price from GoPro UK:
Insta 360 One R
The Insta 360 One R 1" sensor caused quite a stir when it was released due to its modular nature that let you convert it between a 360 camera, an action camera or a full frame action camera for those professional level shots.
However in comparison to the Gopro Hero 8 and 9 models the modular system has its benefits but then also some failings.
With the 360 module it allows you to shoot the entire 360 degree environment and then choose your shot afterwards. This is great as you can never point your camera at the wrong angle by accident and it allows you to change your shot as if the camera is on a dolly.
However this technological marvel does come at a quality cost. The Insta 360 module shoots video in 5.2k however that is for the 360 degree video feed and by the time you choose your shot the final output is not much higher than 1080p.
The 4k module adds the closest features to a traditional motorcycle action camera. It provides high quality 4k footage with stabilization but unfortunately it's shot width is not comparable to Superview on the Gopro Models which is incredibly important for getting the full Point-of-view riding experience.
1" Sensor Mod
The 1" sensor mod adds the same sensor size as is found in professional level Digital Reflex Cameras and adds it to the small form factor of the Action Camera. For the Insta 360 One R this is where it's photographic prowess tops the other cameras in the list due to the power of the sensor.
For video there are definite improvements in low light performance but field of view is still below that of the Superview on the Gopro Hero 8 and 9.
However due to the sensor size the Insta 360 One R produces excellent quality photos that easily equal most mirrorless system digital photo cameras.
Due to the modular nature of the Insta 360 One camera system it is possible to purchase the camera alone with each mod or as a pack.
However when we look just at the 1" sensor Mod Insta 360 One R it retails for an eye watering £499.00 which makes it by far the most expensive option.
DJI Osmo Action
With prices in the UK as low as £250.00 for a brand new DJI Osmo Action it is by far the most budget friendly option.
The DJI Osmo lacks hard core features such as Superview but has an excellent stabilization and is capable of many of the same features of the more expensive camera such as hyperlapse and HDR Video.
It does have some restrictions such as the relatively tight field of view and low battery life compared to both the Gopro and Insta 360 One R.
It also requires accessories for external microphone input as well as a cage to allow it to be attached to existing GoPro style attachments whether that be on your helmet or on your handle bars.
One thing to note with all motorcycle action cameras is their limited battery life. Due to their small form factor there is only limited space for a battery pack and this results in reduced battery life.
However there is evidence available that shows that with 4k continuous shooting the Insta360 One R 1" Sensor battery out lasts both the Gopro Hero 8 Black and DJI Osmo Action in similar shooting conditions.
There are some reviews that believe the GoPro to actually have the worst battery life of the action cameras in the list.
It is clear that the Gopro Hero 9 Black, Insta 360 One R and DJI Osmo share many features. What is also clear is that each camera has it's place that sets it aside from it's competition.
For the best POV riding video footage we would always choose the Gopro Hero 9 Black. It's mix of Hypersmooth stabilization and Superview give it an unprecedented advantage in catching the best Point-of-view riding footage as its ultra wide shot captures everything. It is also exciting at the prospect of adding the "Max lens mod" in future for even bigger possibilities.
For riding photography it is hard to beat the image quality and low light performance of the Insta 360 One R 1" sensor however the extreme price tag can be hard to swallow. It is also great that you can purchase the extra mods and convert the action camera between a 360 camera and a normal action camera with the 4K mod.
For value for money we always come back to the DJI Osmo Action. Although the limited field of view is a turn off the entry level pricing is a great plus and makes the camera perfect for anyone who just want to experiment and start out getting some nice quality 4k video and photos for their social media platforms.
Should you upload your photos to Instagram of Facebook please remember to either tag @Ultimateaddons or use #Ultimaeaddons so we can reshare your great shots!
Click here if you would like to know more about the Ultimateaddons Chin Mount for Action Cameras
Click here if you would like to know more about our Action Camera attachments for GoPro
Click here if you would like to know more about our Action Camera attachments for Insta360
Click here if you would like to know more about our Action Camera attachments for DJI Osmo Action
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