Hello there. This is a review of two gadgets: the GoPro HERO2 and the Patima Case for GoPro Hero cameras. Watch the (short) video below to see it in action. This footage was taken near Secret Bay, Anilao.
A couple of weeks ago I found out that Dan’s Bike Shop in La Fuerza was the official distributor of GoPro in the Philippines. At around the same time, Jovic from Splash UW Imaging (my underwater equipment supplier) told me that he had a special “heavy duty” aluminum housing for the Hero 2. This initially struck me as odd because GoPro’s stock package already includes an EVERYTHING-PROOF case which you can mount (1) onto a bike / car, (2) your head and (3) your arm. There are several configurations depending on your thrill-seeking needs. As it turns out the maximum rated depth for the GoPro stock case is also pretty deep at 60 meters. In fact, GoPro even stocks a dedicated UW housing for professional photographers and videographers.
Although the SCUBA / snorkel housing is adequate for recreational divers, Patima’s aluminum housing is by far more robust. From the looks alone, you can tell that this case is categorically impossible to flood. Many months ago I reviewed the Patima housing for the iPhone 4 / 4s and I can conclusively say that in terms of design, there are similarities to the way Patima has constructed both cases. First off, there is very little room for air pockets unlike most underwater housings which makes condensation in the lens area non-existent. The Patima housing has allotted space at the back of the battery to allow you to add the LCD BacPac so you don’t need to purchase another case.
The Patima housing essentially contains the negatively buoyant aluminum housing, silica gel and two screws. All the GoPro accessories fit into the aluminum seamlessly. Because this configuration is heavier, you may need to tighten the knobs when fixing the camera onto your head. In the video above, the camera kept on falling into my mask whenever I would tilt down but once underwater, weight was not a problem anymore. SAFETY NOTE: Do not do a back roll into the ocean with the housing on your head. Have the boatman hand it over when you’re in the water.
Patima has included two screws that secure the two locks. From experience, the locks tend to slip when attaching the front and back pieces together but once they’re in place, the housing is pretty tight. The screws are there IMHO to reassure the diver that everything will stay secure.
In terms of video quality (I didn’t take photos as from previous experience, lighting has always been a problem with stills and I didn’t have a torch with me) I have no complaints about the 1080p resolution delivers decent quality. I don’t aim to shoot in 1080p output as most of the videos I take are re-scaled to YouTube. The HERO2 can accommodate up to 32GB of external memory so I highly suggest you put in at least 8GB if you want to be filming at least 720p. If you’re wondering what the differences between the HERO and HERO2 are, refer to this chart.
Parting Shot: I look like Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell.