GoPro's HERO HD is certainly one of the most popular actioncams on the market, perhaps more so now that its long-awaited LCD viewfinder/playback screen is available. As is the case with other digital cameras, however, the glare of direct sunlight can make it difficult to see what's on that screen. Also, as we noted in an actioncam video comparison, the HERO's underwater shots tend to be a little on the soft-focus side. Well, two new products from camera gizmo-maker XSories are designed to address both of these situations.
First up is the Hooded Silicone Cover.
Available in a variety of colors, it simply stretches over the existing housing of an LCD-screen-equipped HERO HD. An open-backed box on the rear allows users to view the screen, while helping to shield it from extraneous light. Cut-outs let the lens remain unobstructed, while also providing access to the camera and screen controls.
The cover also protects the housing from scratches and impacts, and (if one of the brighter colors is chosen) should help users to locate the camera if they loose hold of it in the water - a little surprisingly, however, it doesn't come in bright yellow. Additionally, the company claims that users have reported up to 25 percent longer battery life in cold conditions, when using the cover.
Addressing the underwater focus issue is the Scuba Flat Lens.
It replaces the existing domed lens on the regular HERO housing, reportedly resulting in a "brilliant focused image." A color-correction filter is included with the lens, to compensate for the bluish quality of underwater sunlight. Should users wish to use the lens on the land, the filter can simply be removed.
Presumably, use of this lens will diminish the wide field of view made possible by the housing's stock domed lens. Also, although it is possible to swap lenses on the HERO, constantly going back and forth between a domed and a flat lens is likely just inviting a leak to occur - users who plan on doing a lot of underwater shooting would probably be better off just buying a second housing, and leaving the flat lens on it full-time.
The Hooded Silicone Cover is presently available for pre-order on the XSories website, at a price of US$29.99. Users who don't have an LCD screen can buy the existing non-hooded version, for $19.99. The Scuba Flat Lens sells for $49.99 in glass, while a less expensive plastic version goes for $39.99.