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The answer of course, is "it depends". The cheapest you can get for a GoPro that does 4k video is the GoPro Hero 3+ Black. You can find them lightly used or refurbed on eBay for about $80.

The GoPro Hero 5 changed the camera body and made it waterproof without a special housing. The waterproofing also killed the audio quality.

If you don't care about image stabilization, the GoPro Hero 3+ Black is by far the best bang for the buck. If you want to vlog with the GoPro (i.e. talk to it while filming yourself), then go with the Hero 4 Black. For stabilization look at the 6 or 7 black, though these are more expensive.

There was a separate GoPro line (now discontinued) called the Session that is a small cube instead of a rectangular camera body. The GoPro Session 5 is a decent camera and probably the best compromise between stability, image quality, and price.

Also, go on Amazon and look at cameras from a company called Yi, specifically the Yi Lite and Yi 4k. I have a Yi Lite. It's video looks better than my GoPro Hero 7 White, and it was only $75 or so. I use it for shots where I might risk losing or damaging the camera, like mounting it on my sliders, putting it on the trail and driving over top of it, hanging it off the side with a suction cup while on shelf roads, and so on. It does a great job and if I break it I'm not out much money.

As far as mounting, the possibilities are endless. In the next day or two I'll put up some photos and a video of different mounting options.

Finally, look into dash cams. I have a cheap dashcam that does surprisingly good 1080p video and often outperforms my GoPros for video quality.

Just FYI, I have a Hero 3+ Silver, 3+ Black, Hero 7 White, and 2 Hero 7 Blacks. I also have the Yi Lite and front and rear dashcams. The Hero 3's can take an external microphone so I often put the 3 Silver on the rear of my FJ with a small lavalier microphone attached that hangs down by the tailpipe. This records the engine noise and the sound of the tires rolling on dirt and gravel that really adds to the videos.
 

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Dude (@crazysanman) does it again. Thanks, man!

So yeah, I'd like stable photos, 4k, waterproof isn't an issue (I don't think), and decent audio - or a cheap aftermarket mic(?).

Still think the The GoPro Session 5 is the best bet?

Those Yi cameras are intriguing. Would I get my wanted features with a Yi?

Oh, and you mention dash cams. I have an iPhone X mounted on the dash... That's only 1080 though, right? And is that not the same bc it doesn't have the fish-eye'ish lense? As you can tell, I'm quite the novice.
 

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Here is the way out of Metberry Gulch recorded on a 360 degree camera attached to the back of my FJ. At 13:55 you can see me trying to make room for 3 Jeeps to pass me while 2 different groups of motorcycles attempt to pass all of us. Good times!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-1plJTrtz0&t=421s
I love my Insta360 One X

Best camera I have ever owned and I have owned almost all of the action cams out there.
 

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Flew my Dad out in April for a camping trip to Kentucky. This was the first time he has seen my FJ. He took this video from his phone while I was crossing a creek. He was nuts about the FJ, and apparently has been telling everyone and showing this video since. He's a believer!!:rocker:

[url]https://i.imgur.com/1CnUPef.mp4[/URL]
 

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I have 2 Hero 3+ Blacks, use them for everything. They do get used the most in winter attached to our helmets when sledding.

Was just checking out the 7 Black for livestreaming capabilities.....apparently there are enough friends and family who would lover to watch us donkeys on our sleds and the shenanigans we get into.
 

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Another Death Valley video - Butte Valley & Warm Springs Rd.

 

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My buddy is letting me borrow his GoPro Session (Hero 5?) camera and he said I should get the suction cup mount for my FJ. Is this all you guys recommend in order for me to take decent videos while in Moab and Ouray next week?

Is there a better mount? Do I need an additional mic? Anything else?

FWIW I don't have a roof rack, and have stock bumpers for mounting.
 

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Exceptionally good image stability in this vid, near perfect isolation from vehicle movement.

That's the hardware setup? In-camera image stabilization, gimbal mount, or something else?
Thanks!

It's a GoPro Hero 7 Black on the roof facing forward using only it's built in stabilization.

A GoPro Hero 7 White on the roof facing backward unstabilized.

A Insta360 One X mounted on it's invisible selfie stick on the stinger bumper using it's built in stabilization. You can see the shadow of the One X and it's selfie stick on the ground but the camera and stick are removed from the video by the camera's software.
 

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Thanks!

It's a GoPro Hero 7 Black on the roof facing forward using only it's built in stabilization.

A GoPro Hero 7 White on the roof facing backward unstabilized.

A Insta360 One X mounted on it's invisible selfie stick on the stinger bumper using it's built in stabilization. You can see the shadow of the One X and it's selfie stick on the ground but the camera and stick are removed from the video by the camera's software.
csm - Not sure I understand, this is an area where I have no familiarity, but I’m eager to learn.

Regarding forward viewing only, for the first part of your Shafer 2 vid the POV seems to be near the center of the windshield, and there is nothing visible on your bumper’s center hoop.

Later, there is a vertical mast mounted on your center hoop, but the POV still seems to be from a camera mounted near the windshield, looking forward past the hood and bumper, well behind whatever is mounted on the hoop.

Please provide more detail for someone unfamiliar with action camera setups and functions.

I’m curious because your image stabilization appears better than any other off-road video capture I’ve seen. (Not that I’ve seen a lot.)
 

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csm - Not sure I understand, this is an area where I have no familiarity, but I’m eager to learn.

Regarding forward viewing only, for the first part of your Shafer 2 vid the POV seems to be near the center of the windshield, and there is nothing visible on your bumper’s center hoop.

Later, there is a vertical mast mounted on your center hoop, but the POV still seems to be from a camera mounted near the windshield, looking forward past the hood and bumper, well behind whatever is mounted on the hoop.

Please provide more detail for someone unfamiliar with action camera setups and functions.

I’m curious because your image stabilization appears better than any other off-road video capture I’ve seen. (Not that I’ve seen a lot.)
I have one of the sticky GoPro mounts on the roof of the FJ, in the center. These are the plastic mounts that come with the camera and use 3M double sided tape to stick to things. I always use a short piece of 550 cord and tie the camera to the roof rack just in case the tape fails, but it's been there through several years worth of Colorado winters and Utah and Arizona summers and is still stuck on there. I had a GoPro Hero 7 Black mounted there for the Shafer Trail 2 video. The 7 Black has stupid good stabilization built into it. There are no gimbals or gliding mounts or anything there, just the GoPro 7 black. It actually records a slightly larger video, then the software in the camera and the sensors in the camera determine where the horizon is and crop the video down to the final resolution keeping the horizon as level as possible. The result is that buttery smooth stabilization where it looks like the camera is perfectly still and the FJ is rocking and rolling under it. The beginning of the video, that shows the hood and stinger hoop of the front bumper, is recorded on this camera.

The Insta360 One X is a camera that records video 360 degrees around itself. I had it screwed into a selfie stick and then screwed the selfie stick into a 1/4" 20 tpi bolt on my stinger bumper bar. That is the video that is recorded when you see the entire front of the FJ. You can see me mounting it around 11:14 and at 11:55 I show that video. It almost looks like the video is shot from a drone flying in front of me, but it's recorded by that Insta360 One X camera. The Insta360 One X is about the size of a candy bar and has two camera lenses, one on each side. Each lens records a separate video, and each can see a little more than 180 degrees side to side and up and down. The software then takes the two videos and stitches them into one, so you have video that records a 360 degree sphere around the camera. However, the lenses are mounted closer to the top of the camera body than the bottom, so there is a small blind spot straight down from the lenses. This is where the selfie stick "hides". The camera's built in software removes the rest of the selfie stick when it stitches the two videos together. With the Insta360 One X you can have one video that plays and you can scroll around in it (or move your phone around in a sphere) to see different areas of the video. It's like when someone posts a panorama photo on Facebook and you can move your phone around to look at it, only this is video and you can go up, down, sideways, etc. Or, as I did in this video, you can use the built in software to "punch in" to 1080p size video and tell the software exactly what you want the video to show. So in the case of the Shafer Trail 2 video, I have the software only showing a 1080p resolution rectangle around the front of the FJ. The rest of the video that is recorded is discarded. At times, like at 13:40 in the video, I "pan" the 360 camera to show the two Jeeps that stopped and asked me for directions. The camera records a 360 degree sphere, I just tell it which parts of that sphere I want to see in the final video. Because the camera records in 360 degrees, you can actually flip it in the air so it spins several times but the end product video will be rock stable because you tell the software to only show you the video that is of a certain subject. Here is a blog post I wrote about the Insta360 One X, maybe it will help you understand the camera a lot better. The new 360 cameras are hard to wrap your head around, but once you get it you'll see just how amazing and groundbreaking they are.

The third camera I used is a GoPro 7 White that is mounted on a GoPro sticky mount above the rear door. That is the video that looks backwards, like at 3:10 in the video. The GoPro 7 White is like the entry level new GoPro. It only records in 1080p and doesn't have built in stabilization, doesn't have stereo sound, can't live stream, doesn't have a removable battery, and lacks many of the other features of the 7 Silver or 7 Black. However, you can find it cheap and I like to use it to look to the rear of the FJ, I mount it on a tiny tripod on the ground and drive over top of it, I mount it on the side of the FJ with suction cups or on the rock sliders with a tubular mount. Any time there is a risk the camera could get damaged I use the 7 White. I also have 5 year old GoPro 3+ silver and black cameras that I use in this manner. The 3+ black does 4k video but the 3+ silver only does 1080p so the 3+ silver is another good "disposable" camera that can get decent video but won't make me cry if it gets broken or lost.

I have two gimbals, one for action cameras and one for phones, but with the crazy stabilization of the GoPro Hero 7 Black and the Insta360 One X i never use them anymore.

Here is an offroad video shot entirely with the Insta360 One X camera. In this one I used a triple suction cup mount on the rear window and attached the One X's selfie stick to that. In most of the video you can see the 3 suction cups on the rear window and you can see the shadow of the selfie stick, but the stick itself doesn't appear in the video because of that small blindspot when the camera looks straight down, and from the camera software removing whatever happens to be outside of that blind spot. At 2:20 I started playing around with "panning" the 360 cam, making a tiny planet and then "panning" the camera again to look behind me. The camera records everything is a 360 sphere around it, you just tell the software what part of that sphere you want the video to show.


Here is another video shot entirely with the Insta360 One X. In this one my son is holding the camera out the passenger window on a 9' long selfie stick. The stick is flexible at that length so when it bends and flexes you can sometimes see a bit of a black blob near his hand which is when the selfie stick bends and flexes out of the blind spot and the software has trouble identifying and removing it. But for the most part it looks like the video was recorded by a drone flying next to the FJ. I think my favorite part is between 1:20 and 1:50. My son is holding the camera straight forward like it's a lance and he's jousting. The FJ is bouncing and shaking, the 9' long selfie stick is flexing and bending like mad, yet the horizon does not move.


This was really long winded, I hope it helped you and didn't just confuse you more. Feel free to ask any more questions. I'll do my best to answer them.
 

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I have one of the sticky GoPro mounts on the roof of the FJ, in the center. These are the plastic mounts that come with the camera and use 3M double sided tape to stick to things. I always use a short piece of 550 cord and tie the camera to the roof rack just in case the tape fails, but it's been there through several years worth of Colorado winters and Utah and Arizona summers and is still stuck on there. I had a GoPro Hero 7 Black mounted there for the Shafer Trail 2 video. The 7 Black has stupid good stabilization built into it. There are no gimbals or gliding mounts or anything there, just the GoPro 7 black. It actually records a slightly larger video, then the software in the camera and the sensors in the camera determine where the horizon is and crop the video down to the final resolution keeping the horizon as level as possible. The result is that buttery smooth stabilization where it looks like the camera is perfectly still and the FJ is rocking and rolling under it. The beginning of the video, that shows the hood and stinger hoop of the front bumper, is recorded on this camera. (Big snip)
Got it, thanks for the comprehensive explanation of what's going on. Personally, I like the stabilized GoPro 7 Black footage best.

What resolution and frame rate were you recording at during the Shafer 2 vid?
 

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Got it, thanks for the comprehensive explanation of what's going on. Personally, I like the stabilized GoPro 7 Black footage best.

What resolution and frame rate were you recording at during the Shafer 2 vid?
For the 7 Black I record at 4k @ 30, but I make the final video 1080p. Adobe Premiere downgrades the 4k video to 1080p. I use 1080p for all the final videos because it's much smaller than a 4k video file to upload, the GoPro 7 White and Insta360 One X (and my DJI Spark drone) only do 1080p, and your eyes can't see in 4k anyway.
 

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For the 7 Black I record at 4k @ 30, but I make the final video 1080p. Adobe Premiere downgrades the 4k video to 1080p. I use 1080p for all the final videos because it's much smaller than a 4k video file to upload, the GoPro 7 White and Insta360 One X (and my DJI Spark drone) only do 1080p, and your eyes can't see in 4k anyway.
Can you detect much difference in final image quality in a vid shot at 4K and "down-rezzed" to 1080P vs shot at native 1080P?
 

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Can you detect much difference in final image quality in a vid shot at 4K and "down-rezzed" to 1080P vs shot at native 1080P?
I can't because:

1. I only have a 1080p monitor at home
2. My eyes get worse each year
3. A 4k resolution phone screen is too small to notice a difference on

You might see a difference if you were watching it on a 52" 4k monitor, but not on normal YouTube viewing devices. I use 4k when possible so that at some point in the future if I want to do something with the videos again they are still 4k. I'd rather have 720p video today than 640x480.
 

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I can't because:

1. I only have a 1080p monitor at home
2. My eyes get worse each year
3. A 4k resolution phone screen is too small to notice a difference on

You might see a difference if you were watching it on a 52" 4k monitor, but not on normal YouTube viewing devices. I use 4k when possible so that at some point in the future if I want to do something with the videos again they are still 4k. I'd rather have 720p video today than 640x480.
One last question re the Shafer 2 vid - what angle-of-view were you using on the forward-looking GP7?
 

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One last question re the Shafer 2 vid - what angle-of-view were you using on the forward-looking GP7?
I normally use flat because it doesn't have that rounded pin cushion distortion that you see on most GoPro videos.
 

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I found some GoPro video I'd forgotten about from our trip to Arches National Park about six years ago, so I made a little movie.

 
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