Why Every Parent Needs a GoPro

This is not an endorsement, I have not been provided any product or monetary incentive to write this. This is simply a dad having an epiphany on the value of recording video of his ever growing baby, and I just so happen to use a GoPro Hero.

 

I suppose the title of this post should be “Why Every Parent Needs to Video Record their Kid”, but that for some reason sounds a little pervy – so here’s Why Every Parent Needs a GoPro.

Front ShotSince the start of summer, I have ventured into the world of video making. No, I have not become a vlogger – my life is far too uninteresting and I do not have the charisma and youthful energy for it. But instead I have made an effort in recording and editing home videos of my family.

I already capture my day-to-day life as a new dad through my instagram feed and this blog. But I discovered recently the wonders of recording video – and that got me realizing that this is something all new moms and dads should do. I don’t intend to make this post a GoPro Hero review, but because it’s been what I’ve been using – so I’ll throw in some thoughts about it.

I purchased the base model GoPro Hero for my recordings and obviously it doesn’t have to be the GoPro brand. In fact it can be of any action-cam variety like Sony’s FDR line or the Xiaomi Yi cameras. It really doesn’t matter the brand, and  I think  most parents who are looking into buy a camera would do enough homework ahead of time.

For instance, my three major criteria for buying an action camera in general are simplicity, affordability, and durability. The GoPro Hero that I purchased just so happened to fit these requirements.

Simplicity

I would say I’m pretty tech savvy. But if I wasn’t, I would still be able to figure out how to use this camera. 

Some would say missing LCD, I would say calculated simplicity
Some would say missing LCD, I would say Calculated Simplicity

And I think that’s the whole point of these action camera, they want to be as user-friendly as possible so that you can focus on shooting.

Although for the uninitiated, I did find for some people (hi wife!) that they pointed the camera the wrong way the first time they used it- which naturally lead to some hilarious close up videos. But truthfully, it would take a regular person maybe 10 minutes to figure out how to turn it on, record, and turn off.

Straight off the bat, you’ll notice that the GoPro Hero does not have a LCD display to view your videos. At first I thought would be disappointed without this feature, but I quickly realized that by not having a display, it allowed me to focus on recording my baby while keeping the camera steady.

With an ultra wide-angle lens shooting at 170 degrees, all I really need to do is to ensure the camera is centred. I simply learned to trust that the camera would capture what I want it to capture – and for the most part it does it’s job.

More importantly, by a simple press of a button, I am able to quickly record whatever is happening.  This has been especially useful, as I been capturing all of those “first-time” moments with my daughter.

Durability and Handling

I’ve taken the GoPro underwater in a lake, let the sun and wind blow at it while driving 100 km/hour, I’ve dropped, slammed, and kicked the device and it’s still going strong. In a bigger endurance test, the GoPro has even been pitted against my 10 month old’s mouth.

The Ultimate Endurance Test
The Ultimate Endurance Test: A 10 Month Old

This speaks to the purpose of this device. In contrast, I have an enormous Galaxy Note 5 as a phone, and to add to my struggle: I have butter fingers. Pulling out my phone with one hand and recording a video sideways is pretty difficult, and often times I risk dropping the phone. With having a dedicated device to record videos while I’m chasing a baby around, I can afford to fumble and drop the GoPro without worrying about a cracked screen.

The ability to start recording with a press of a button is refreshingly simple, and in my dad realm, I need all the simplicity in life, with how complicated life can be as a new dad.

I Got Butter Fingers
I Got Butter Fingers

Affordability

Yes, this is was an older model, and but I still think I got a pretty good deal for it at under $150 CAD. For it’s price, if I ever did break it, or lose it, I won’t be losing too much sleep over it – compared to say losing my X100T, or my Canon DSLR.

These kids are expensive – and we parents need to be fiscally responsible, I simply can’t afford to spend too much on a video camera, and the price point actually fits my needs. In other words: I’m a cheap dad.

By nature of this camera being a base model, it actually works to my advantage, as when it’s time to edit these videos, my three year old computer has enough resources to actually edit the videos at a decent pace.

The newer models record in 4K with image stabilization etc…but if I were to realistically edit those type of videos, I would immediately need a computer upgrade to keep up with the specs. Right now, my videos are recorded at 720P 60FPS and my system handles it just fine.

In an ideal world I would love to record and capture at the highest resolution – but again, I’m trying to be a fiscally responsible parent here. Plus, I don’t think my wife would appreciate me falling down the gear and gadget rabbit hole of… “well now that I have this, I need that to work with it… then I’ll need to buy that!

She ain’t buying it, and therefore neither will I.  ?

Learning Stuff: Video Editing 

The superwide lens means, distorted but unique captures.
The super-wide lens means, distorted but unique captures.

Another totally unexpected thing with recording home videos was the amount of knowledge I gained from trying to figure how to edit the footage. If you were to tell me a year ago that I would know how to produce a short movie with video effects, text, and music synced along the way, I would not have believed you. The fact that I was able to learn and develop video editing skills was pretty awesome. In a generation dominated by YouTube and Snapchat – videos are here to stay. So why not pick up on these skills, so that you can at least try to help your kids when they eventually try to create something with videos down the line?

Granted my baby is only 10 months old, by the time she’s old enough to do this kind of stuff, I’m pretty sure she’ll be doing holodeck-like VR stuff. And I’ll be the cranky old man saying stuff like, “Back in my day,  we recorded in 4K!!”

Conclusion

I honestly did not think I would ever become a “video” person. Whenever I watched videos of people I thought, “Who the heck cares about this bozo in front of the camera?” But you know what? Now I care about the bozo and the baby bozo in front of the camera, and videos have become a thing when it comes to family outings and excursions. I love the ability of reliving the day, or better yet compare my baby’s cheek sizes from one movie to another.

I also get the added bonus of having the future of option comparing my receding hairline from year-to-year. The way I see it is, I might as well put in some work now, so that I won’t regret not doing it.

Hairline aside, I feel very fortunate to realize the benefits of video recording these little and big moments, cause even now I get to compare how fast my daughter is growing up.

So if you’re a parent who is on the fence about whether or not you should do home videos of your kids, there’s no better time to start now. Pick up a camera and start making movies, cause before you know it your kids will grow up faster than your hairline recedes.

Work Sample:

I guess it wouldn’t be a post about a video camera, without video. Here’s proof of the video editing stuff that I was talking about:

 

Feeding time is extra cool when she busts out these moves. ?

A video posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

 


I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos in this post. If you are interested in seeing my other photos (I also shoot with a Canon 6D and FujiFilm X100T), do check out my Instagram feed where I post daily.

Thanks again for reading this review, now if you excuse me I have to toddler to chase. ?

A Dad’s Review of the FujiFilm x100T: Great Camera, Just Not Great With Kids

This is a long overdue review of the FujiFilm x100T from a dad’s perspective. I’ve had this camera for well over a year and a half now, using it for street photography, landscape, portraits, and basically as an everyday camera. But with the arrival of our daughter, she became the centre of my focus (#dadjoke), and this camera has become the go to device when it comes to documenting my tiny human.

I know on the Web there are numerous x100T reviews out there, but how many of them have parents in mind?

So for the tiny population out there who wondered whether the Fujifilm x100T a good camera to take pictures of their kids, I’ll try to answer that question with this post.

For those who don’t like to read here’s the TL:DR:

If your main goal is to take exceptional pictures of your kids straight out of camera: get this camera.  

But for the price you are paying for subpar autofocus, and unforgiving video capabilities, it is hard for me to recommend this camera to dad’s and mom’s out there who want to capture those precious moments.

For the rest of you who wants a little more detail, read on and I’ll explain why I feel this way by highlighting three points about this camera.

First, confession time: I bought this camera because of how flipping cool it looked. I mean just look at how well it accessorizes!

I remember browsing through someone’s instagram feed one day and the original Fujifilm x100 caught my attention. I thought to myself, “Damn that camera looks cool. I must have it.”

Basically it was the poor-man’s Leica. But at over $1000, it’s still a hefty price for a fixed lens camera. In fact when I was talking to another dad about cameras and told him I shoot with a x100T, he quipped:

“Isn’t that camera really expensive for a fixed lens camera?”

I remember looking at him with a blank and defeated look and simply said:

“Yeah….so..?

This was yet another example, of my lifelong pursuit of being a closet hipster. But despite that, I’ve stuck with this camera and have not regretted the purchase of it one bit.

Just something for your to consider I would consider myself as a user with some pre-existing photography knowledge and technical know-how. My photography history includes shooting with various point-and-shoot cameras as well as film and DSLR equipment. 

 

Autofocus

The autofocus on this camera is okay at best. In low light or really bright light I find that it struggles a bit with fast focusing. With a kid constantly moving all over the place the focus can be a bit frustrating, especially if you miss that “perfect” shot of your little one. Comparing to my DSLR (Canon 6D), it’s just simply not as quick and accurate.

Perhaps a firmware upgrade could correct this, but you’ll find that you’ll be missing a few shots because the autofocus is simply not there yet on this mirrorless camera.

The AF can get frustrating sometimes, and it takes a little getting used to
The AF can get frustrating sometimes, and it takes a little getting used to

 

Video Capabilities

I’m not a big video guy. But with the recent purchase of a GoPro Hero I’ve been pulled into the video side of capturing moments. With the x100T, the video quality looks quite nice, capable of recording at full 1080p HD at 60FPS. However, what killed it for me was a lack of refocusing option when recording.

You're better off with scenic and landscape videos than to constantly have to refocus on an active kid
You’re better off with scenic and landscape videos than to constantly have to refocus on an active kid

As I mentioned above with the photo taking autofocus, it’s very difficult to keep focus on a moving target and the video is practically unusable because of this, unless you get really good at manual focus. But seriously, which parent has time to sacrifice both their hands on using a device? We need that extra hand to do stuff like catching baby or blocking their barf and pee.

This then brings me to the next point…

 

Size and Handling

This camera is solidly built, but if you’re thinking of one-handing this thing, you’ll need a thumb grip and proper strap. The feel can get a little slippery and you would hate to lose your grip on such an expensive camera. While chasing around a kid, not having a proper handle on the camera is a disaster waiting to happen.

Nothing comical about the price of this camera at $1400CAD
Nothing comical about the price of this camera at $1400CAD

 

Imagine Quality

This is where it matters most for photography aficionados: the quality.

When you get the right light, the IQ is quite spectacular
When you get the right light, the IQ is quite spectacular

And boy do the photos jump out in a great way. If you’re able to mix the right light with your pictures, some shots are pretty amazing. At the end of the day, if you simply care about taking great shots straight out if the camera, you could probably overlook all of the other faults that I’ve mentioned above.

And that’s the beauty of this camera, and it’s a luxury that I have having purchased this prior to having my daughter.

Would I have spent so much for this type of camera simply to take pictures of my kid?

Probably not.

But if you’re parent who enjoys photography as much as taking great photos of your kid, then this camera might be something to consider.

 

Conclusion

I really really enjoy shooting with this camera as a photography fanatic simple because of the images that come out of this straight out of the camera.

But now as a dad chasing around a nine month old, I really need something that is quick and easy. With over a year of practice, I’ve slowly begun to know about the nuisances and subtleties of the camera to get those great shots of my daughter.

But most parents do not have the time or resources to do so. At close to $1400 CAD, this is a price most parents are not willing to pay, despite the images quality.

This is why I cannot recommend the Fujifilm x100T as a parent-friendly camera to take pictures of their kids.

 


I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos in this post. If you are interested in seeing more XT-2 photos or my other photos (I also shoot with a Canon 6D and FujiFilm X100T), do check out my Instagram feed where I post daily.

Thanks again for reading this review, now if you excuse me I have to toddler to chase. 🙂

7 Tips to Help You Take Better Photo’s of your Baby With Just your Phone Camera

When I check out mommy/daddy blogs/Instagram accounts, and see photos of their cute babies and toddlers, most of them are pretty good. I do say most of them, some of them are kind of lacklustre and don’t do their kid’s justice. I mean it shouldn’t really matter if they’re not professionally done, but I always think in my head, “well I think they could do a little better.”

I am by no means an expert (a photo snob – yes), but I feel that I have been quite successful in capturing some of my daughters moments and expressions.

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

 This shot was taken with an iPhone

The purpose of this post is to share some of the techniques and knowledge that I use when I take pictures, and hopefully this can help improve the quality of the photos that you take of your kids.

So if you ever asked “How do I take better photo’s of my baby?” I hope this post can offer you some guidance and put you on the right track. It is safe to assume that most people reading this already have a phone with photo taking capabilities so that is why my tips focus on taking good pictures with just a cellphone, not a fancy DSLR or expensive Mirrorless camera. I mean, having children is expensive enough, I’m not going to advise you to spend more money on some stupid camera when you have everything you need already.

Continue reading “7 Tips to Help You Take Better Photo’s of your Baby With Just your Phone Camera”