For a while I’ve lusted after a GoPro – tiny little self-contained wide-angle HD video cameras which can be strapped to cars, bikes, helmets, all sorts of things. They’re the cameras used for programmes like Top Gear, or where they’re strapped to some bloke skydiving out of a plane to get a point-of-view film; fun stuff and with my impending projects involving music videos I could sort-of justify it.

The GoPro Hero 3HD though has got horrendous reviews: from heat issues to random reboots or even just resembling a very expensive brick (you just need to look at Amazon for a litany of woe), so I wasn’t going to fork out the thick end of £400 for the setup I’d like (including the waterproof case et al).

Anyway, a week ago I went to Focus On Imaging, the big pro-sumer photography show at Birmingham NEC. Among the stands exhibiting was a dealer who were selling the Jobo JIB4 action camera – essentially a GoPro clone – which piqued my curiosity. I spent a while discussing with the dealer and came away with one including waterproof case, a pile of mounts, extra battery booster, a remote control and a lens cloth for a penny shy of £200. Winner.

So what’s it like? Tiny and fun! It’ll do 50fps at 1080p PAL (and a higher framerate of 120fps at WXGA), 170-degree wide-angle, and on exploring the menu system I discovered it had a time-lapse feature which automatically welds sequential JPEGs together to output an MP4 movie: I can squish about an hour’s capture into just under two and a half minutes.

Experiment time! I’ve spent a couple of commutes from home to work (and back) tweaking but this morning I had the first day of decent weather across the M62. So then, here you go – Wrenthorpe to Salford in 4 minutes:

(Just in case you can’t see that, there’s a link to the YouTube video here)

I think I probably need to clamp it to the roof-rack in its waterproof case – that way I’m not having to wash the windscreen all the time; I don’t feel quite brave enough for that yet! More experiments to follow, no doubt…