If you ever venture out to your local paintball field, it’s about guaranteed that you will see at least a couple of players with action cameras attached to their paintball markers. This trend can be seen in both competitive, tournament speedball as well as with recreational woodsball/scenario players. With so many different action cameras on the market, it can be a daunting task selecting which one is right for you to record your first-person view of the action on the field.
In 2015, GoPro released the GoProHero4 Session, which came with all of the features that were needed on the paintball field. In the article below, I will explain why the GoPro Hero4 Session is now the best action camera for first-person paintball recording.
The Hero4 Session is unique in the GoPro line in that it features one-touch operation. This means that the camera is powered off at all times unless the user is adjusting settings or recording. Simply press the record button, and after a couple second delay, the camera is powered up and begins to record. When finished, press the button again and the camera finishes recording and powers down. This has a couple of advantages on the paintball field.
First, it allows a single battery to last an entire day for tournament paintball. The Hero4 Session’s battery is rated for about 2 hours of recording, and does not drain when the camera is not recording since the unit powers itself off. By pressing the record button before the start of each point, and pressing it again after the flag is hung, a player’s entire tournament worth of play can be captured on a single charge.
The other advantage to the one-touch operation of the Hero4 Session is the simplicity of use. With previous GoPro models, the user would have to press and hold the power button, wait for the camera to power on, then cycle through the operation modes until “Video Recording” is selecting, and then finally press the record button. All of this is taken care of in one press of a button with the Hero4 Session.
Size and Design
The GoPro Hero4 Session is the smallest GoPro as of the time of its release. The shaved down dimensions are very noticeable when mounted on your barrel, especially if you choose to mount it upright, on top of the barrel. Previous GoPro cameras were significantly wider, which meant more of your vision was blocked when looking down the barrel while playing. The Hero4 Session is also narrow enough that it does not hit the ground when sliding and crawling with your marker sideways against the turf/grass. Maybe the most important aspect of its smaller size is the smaller target that the Session provides for your opponents.
The Hero4 Session also features a centered lens in its design. In other GoPro models and many other action cameras, the lens is placed off-center on the camera. The Session’s centered lens affords the camera an unobstructed view when snap shooting on both sides of a bunker, as well as viewing straight down the barrel instead of on a slight angle. The Session captures paint streams better than ever before because of this one easily overlooked feature.
Automatic Image Rotation
The GoPro Hero4 Session features Automatic Image Rotation. This means that when the camera begins a recording while it is upside-down, it will automatically correct the video to right-side-up. This saves quite a bit of time that would otherwise be spent manually rotating the videos in computer software or changing the camera’s orientation settings on other action cameras. This is an important feature for when the camera is mounted hanging below the barrel, allowing the player better vision down their barrel from above.
One of the most important features of the GoPro Hero4 session are its exposed microphone and case-less waterproof features. Since the camera is waterproof and shockproof without a fully enclosed plastic shell, the microphone remains exposed to open air. This results in superior sound clarity that was never able to be captured with previous generation GoPro cameras. Instead of just the muffled sounds of the marker firing, the Session records the voice of the player behind the camera as well as his/her teammates on the field. This feature alone puts the Hero4 Session above other action cameras.
The GoPro Hero4 Session comes in at a price point of $199. Compared to the other cameras in the Hero4 line, it is the most affordable below the Silver at $399 and the Black and $499. At the lowest price point, this camera still packs in features that the others do not that are essential to recording first-person paintball.
The most important consideration along with your camera is how to mount it to your paintball marker. Several aftermarket mounts exist that allow you to attach the camera to your paintball marker’s barrel, but one company has it figured out. Grizzly Mounts created the Extreme Pole Mount with paintball in mind. Grizzly Mounts is owned by Captain O-Ring LLC, a company known for supplying the rubber o-ring seals inside of your paintball gun. Their mount is constructed of GrizzTech Rubber Polymer and includes stainless steel hardware. It is essentially indestructible as a GoPro mount. The mount allows cameras to be mounted above or below your barrel to capture all of your kills. It’s semi-flexible construction does not crack when tightened or when the camera contacts the ground during a slide. It also can be torqued down tight without fear of scratching your barrel’s anodized surface. Best of all, this mount sells for under $20.
With the features brought forward with the GoPro Hero4 Session’s release, it easily makes itself a highly effective, while easy to operate action camera for capturing first-person action for paintball players. Coupled with Grizzly Mounts’ Extreme Pole Mount, it’s a foolproof method of capturing great paintball video.
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