I recently purchased a GoPro2 camera, and have to say it’s the most aweful piece of hardware I’ve purchased in a long time. Below is a copy of a letter I’ve just sent to Go Pro – I’m really hoping their customer service is of a much higher standard than their products.
I have submitted a query on the GoPro site on the 28th January 2013 and given them a link to this post on this blog as their form would not allow me to fully post what has gone wrong with my GoPro 2.
(If you are reading this at GoPro, please reply to the email I provided on the form of your website through the support ticket after reading my post. Thank you.)
28th January 2013
Having seen your GoPro2 on several TV programmes, many videos on youtube, and the huge exposure of your products through your marketing effort carried out by your company, 10 days ago I decided to purchase a GoPro2 before taking it on a dream snow boarding holiday in Meribel, France last week (20th to 27th January 2013).
I have to admit I was very much considering the Contour camera but I guess, at the end of the day, was swayed by your marketing and overall company image. Unfortunately I think I made a very big mistake and really should have done my research more thoroughly before purchasing a GoPro camera. Indeed, a simple search on google with keywords such as “File corrupt GoPro” versus “File corrupt Contour” reveals some very disturbing differences between your product and the Contour. Indeed, had I done that, I would have soon realised the Contour is an infinitely better product in that, in the very least, it actually works.
I have been working in I.T. on and off for the past 20 years and have to say this is one of the worst products I’ve ever dealt with. I naively, assumed that GoPro was ‘THE’ company for small mobile portable cameras that worked because of your marketing exposure, but to me, clearly, GoPro should be spending more money on developing hardware and firmware that actually works, rather than spending masses on marketing exposure and clearly relatively little on the actual product being sold.
Here’s exactly what has happened (and does happen) with my GoPro2.
The GoPro2 arrived during the week beginning the 14th January (2013) ready for myself and several friends going on holiday to Meribel on the 19th January. I decided to buy the very best SD card I could for it on the assumption that I wanted to capture as much footage of my holiday on my GoPro2. I intended to take mostly 60fps footage at 720p but also thought that some 1080p footage might be nice. So I purchased a “SanDisk Ultra 32GB SDHC Class 10” SD card. I formatted it as per instruction manual within the GoPro2 (and turned it off and on and took a photo as described in the manual). I also did the latest firmware update as per instructions through the downloaded Cineform Studio software downloaded from your site which went very smoothly.
On holiday in Meribel, with absolutely dream filming conditions (blue skies, amazing snow), on full battery charge, I used the helmet mount and set my camera on 1 click.
During the first day, I noticed several things that were very odd.
1) My GoPro2 would just stop recording occasionally with no explanation why. The battery was very firmly in the camera. The GoPro2 was dry as a bone (I used the full waterproof housing). Furthermore, it was not a particularly cold day.
2) Then, during the day, and icon appeared, which looking at the manual, was the “File Repair Icon” Icon.
Looking at the Go Pro 2 manual (page 36), it says:
“If you see the File Repair Icon… press any button and the camera will repair the file”.
The GoPro2 does not repair the file when any button is pressed, and has NEVER repaired the file at the many subsequent times this icon has appeared. Indeed, all that happens is the GoPro2 completely freezes. The only solution ultimately is to remove the battery, replace it, and turn the GoPro2 back on, resulting in NOTHING other than the “File Repair Icon” appearing again. The only solution is to connect the GoPro2 to the computer, drag what files there are on it, and format the SD card again.
When I then plug the GoPro2 into my computer, and I drag the files off it, what am a left with?
I am left with a few videos of my holiday, all of which terminated at random points because the GoPro2 decided to stop recording whenever IT wanted to (seemingly random points) and then a corrupted file. With my 32GB card, the sum of the randomly terminated files was about 4 to 6 GB, far from the 32GB the SD card is able to carry.
I spent quite an amount of time on holiday trying to work out what was wrong, although I have to be honest, DOING MY I.T. JOB ON HOLIDAY WAS THE LAST THING I WANTED TO BE DOING. After some googling and reading on your GoPro forum, it became evident of just how bad a product GoPro actually is.
There are hundreds if not thousands of pages on forums with people giving various ‘solutions’ to fixing the corrupt mp4 file. Ranging from scripts, to changing the headers of the mp4 files, running chkdisk on the file… the ‘solutions’, none of which work I’ll add, are endless. Furthermore, these ‘solutions’ are in particular reference to “GoPro” cameras – it’s clear file corruption and other similar problems is commonplace with GoPro cameras which is very poor indeed, furthermore, by simple Googling, it’s clear the Contour genuinely suffers from much fewer problems and unlike the GoPro, the Contour’s problems are the exception, not the rule. Suffice to say, I should have done my Googling before trusting your marketing.
Worse still, there is even a company who have written specific software that they charge for to rescue corrupt mp4 files created by GoPro cameras. This is very troubling because this problem is clearly SO ENDEMIC with GoPro cameras that 3rd party companies are actually profiting from the problems that GoPro cameras have! This clearly demonstrates that you, GoPro, as a company must be fully aware that your hardware is very substandard but are quite happy to let the public buy your produce even though the problems are evidently not isolated and are experienced by many of your customers. This is also evident by the apology from GoPro CEO Nicholas Woodman regarding problems with the GoPro3 published on your website. It seems the GoPro ‘quality’ continues?
As my research into why my GoPro2 was so rubbish continued, I read quite a lot about ‘fake’ SD cards. Even though I purchased my 32 GB card from a reputable source, I thought I’d give Go Pro the benefit for the doubt. So today went and purchased ANOTHER Sandisk card (this time a “SanDisk Ultra 16GB SDHC Class 10” SD card) from Tesco in the UK.
SAME PROBLEMS OCCURING. GoPro2 stops recording whenever it pleases and ultimately after some randomly ended videos have been recorded, the “File Repair Icon” appears. This is clearly not the SD card, this is very poor hardware/firmware.
Last but not least, and MOST DISTURBING OF ALL, it would seem your CEO Nick Woodman has now acknowledged there are major problems with the GoPro3, which presumably have carried over from the GoPro2. I came across his letter on your website beginning with;
“All of us at GoPro apologize that many of you have been frustrated by software bugs in early production HERO3 cameras.”
The latter part of his letter says;
“When I started GoPro I thought it would be just a small surf company making wrist cameras for surfers. But thanks to all of you…it’s now, well…GoPro, the world’s bestselling and most versatile camera company. But that means it should also have the world’s best customer service.”
Well, I’ve just spent a good portion of my holiday on the internet trying to fathom out WHY my GoPro2 was not working, and have come back to the UK with almost no footage of what I hoped would be videos of good memories, all thanks to GoPro. I wonder whether you have really fixed the problems in the GoPro3 camera, or whether 3rd party companies are now writing software to ‘fix’ problems with that camera too? It’s very clear you’ve moved on from the broken GoPro2, to GoPro3, without even making sure the GoPro2 is a quality product for your customers to buy.
Please don’t get me wrong, I want a GoPro, a WORKING GoPro. For me, I prefer the lense on the GoPro versus the Contour, and the overall ‘look’ of the film files it creates, but I need something that actually WORKS I’m sure you understand.
I reiterate from Nicholas Woodmans letter on your website:
“..But that means it [GoPro] should also have the world’s best customer service”
Let’s see whether you are true to your word on this. Do I return the camera to you for a working GoPro replacement (it’s clear the GoPro2 is not such a replacement) or just send it back to Amazon and get a full refund and purchase a Contour? Several friends of mine who were thinking about buying GoPro’s but are now waiting to see what happens here… I’m am waiting to hear from you.
PS. Not only is the CEO apologising a major concern with your new GoPro3, but it begs the question, don’t you TEST your products before expecting the public to pay for them? The GoPro is not a complex device, but it seems the most basic of testing isn’t done before release… like seeing if it actually records properly!? Just looking at the Amazon reviews for the GoPro3, it looks like the public are having an awful time with your latest camera too! Is GoPro just about ‘marketing’ with no care about the product? http://www.amazon.co.uk/GoPro-Black-Edition-Action-Camera/dp/B009TCD8V8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359395226&sr=8-2
30th January 2013 : Update
I phoned GoPro today and asked them to read the message above in this blog. I was told my GoPro2 was probably faulty and to send it back to where I purchased it from (Amazon). So I’m doing that today. I’ve decided, more out of curiosity than anything, to get it replaced with a new one. I’m interested to know whether these problems are as widespread as they appear to be when you Google problems with GoPro cameras, or whether it was just this one that is faulty. I guess I’ll have my replacement camera in a week or so and will update here…
31th January 2013 : Update
Received my replacement GoPro2 from Amazon today – it seems my other one was totally faulty. Just charged my new one and it recorded 720p (60fps) for well over and hour. I think the battery fully charged (first charge) allowed recoding of about 10GB of video. I’ve drained the battery now as the camera turned itself off automatically and there were no file corruptions during this process. I’m now going to do another full charge of the battery.
My advice, if you are experiencing any of the problems described above, your GoPro2 is FAULTY. Don’t bother spending loads of time on the internet trying to find fixes and work-a-rounds, as your unit if faulty. Return it and get a new one. Mine, so far (fingers crossed), seems fine now. It’s working as I would expect it to.