The winter holidays are fast approaching and people, even in Beijing, are scratching their heads and wondering what to buy for friends, family, and people they have no choice but to give gifts too. What’s a person to buy? This year, more people are contemplating buying GoPro cameras. I know this because people are asking me if they should buy them (it’s the kind of thing people like to ask a photographer).
GoPro cameras are sturdy little devices designed to be used while doing all manner of über cool sports or other exciting activities that users want to capture and (this is important) share with their friends/fans/family/strangers via social media. These cameras can be attached to a person’s helmet, chest, bike, surfboard, raft, umbrella, wheelchair, etc. They come in shockproof, waterproof, and other proofs that allow people to capture photos and videos the likes of which used to belong exclusively to professional photographers. All for around USD 500 or less, depending on which model you purchase.
So on the face of it, buying a GoPro camera sounds like a no-brainer. Who doesn’t need one of these cool HD cameras with built in wifi? Well, for one, me. As a professional photographer, I’ve got plenty of gear that can serve me well in a variety of shooting situations. However, when it comes to the camera that I own that negates my need for a GoPro, I look no farther than my smart phone.
Don’t get me wrong, GoPro cameras are tough, well designed, and by all accounts, great cameras. However, I’m not so cool that I need to document my athletic adventures with stunning HD video. I love to hike, but I don’t need to relive a hike with friends via a video camera strapped to my chest. However, it is easy to take a few shots from key vantage points that I can later share on social media or (yawn) via email. I might even shoot a bit of video, just not the entire day.
My point is that a smart phone is the one piece of tech that people almost always have with them and the cameras in these continue to get better and better. If you or your loved one is an über cool surfer, skier, sky diver, or skateboarder then perhaps a GoPro would make the perfect gift. But if they are like most of us, buy a smart phone with a better camera. Odds are, it will get a lot more use.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons