When you first get the GoPro HD Hero in your hands it takes just a split second to see that something is missing – something really essential. Yes, it lacks a LCD monitor! Without a monitor you pretty much fumble around in the blind when it comes to composition, and it makes it much harder to use the camera setup than it has to be. Of course when you use an action camera (!) you often have your hands full of other things to focus on than composition, like flying your hang glider, controlling your motorcycle, etc etc. But other times, when you’re finished with the filming-with-the-camera-on-the-helmet, and want to be creative you’ll want to know what you’re doing. That’s when the GoPro LCD BacPac comes in handy.
With a size of 59mm x 41mm x 11mm and weighing 40 gram (monitor plus increased door weight) the LCD BacPac doesn’t come light or small. The increased size and weight are something you’ll have to consider in relation to your use, to determine if it is acceptable or not. The unit comes with four new doors for the housing. Two of the doors are for the regular housing and two doors are for the HD Wrist Housing. Each of the housings has one door that is waterproof and one that is open for better sound recording. On the right side of the LCD BacPac you have one button and a loudspeaker. Is not clear what the resolution of the monitor is. It’s not stated in the manual or on the netsite. However, it doesn’t matter. You can’t easily destinguish a pixel from its neighbour, and that’s the point isn’t it?
How to hook it up with your camera
The GoPro LCD BacPac is incredibly easy to attach to the camera unit. On the LCD BacPac there is a kind of hinge on the right side that slips into a track on the camera unit. When you have this in place the connector on the LCD BacPac just falls into place. Even if you succed with this step do not expect the screen to work immediately. Most likely you’ll have a black screen resulting in frustration, pulling of hair and a series of curses. Open the manual, and see that your unit has to get new firmware. You can download the new firmware here at the gopro homepage.
Pressing the button on the LCD BacPac turns the monitor on or off. If you press and hold the LCD button for two seconds you enter the LCD menu. There you have three choices: video, photo and brightness. You switch between the three with the front button on the camera unit. Choose one of the three with the shutter button. Just as you do in the camera menu. The video and photo options are for playback of what you have recorded. The brightness option is of course for regulating the screen brightness. There isn’t more to it, but hey – it’s just one new button.
Going through the camera setup is much easier with the LCD monitor on than without. Press the front button three times and enter the camera setup menu by pressing the shutter button once. Go through each camera option by pressing the front button. There is a new option available letting you choose between having the monitor on at all times and turning the monitor off 60 seconds after the last button was pressed. This is a great option since the screen drains your battery really fast.
The picture isn’t great when you view the monitor at an angle. So you shouldn’t gather a crowd, and expect everyone to be happy when watching your epic one hour long movies on that two inch screen. It can be a pain to watch the screen in bright surroundings, such as in a slalom slope at a clear sunny day. That said – it’s not bad, but it’s not as great as the LCD on my Nikon DSLR. The new loudspeaker on the right side of the LCD monitor is a nice new addition. You can adjust the volume by pressing the LCD button during playback.
As earlier said the battery really drains fast when using the LCD screen. The battery lasted for 1.5 hours during my test. Without the LCD monitor the battery last for about 2.5 hours of recording. So be sure to set the option for automatic monitor shut down after 60 seconds to ON.
Price and where to buy
The LCD BacPac cost US$ 79.99. If you are in Scandinavia and buy directly from GoPro be sure to ship the unit through a carrier, such as JetCarrier. GoPro charges more for shipping to Norway than the value of the unit if self, while shipping through JetCarrier only cost US$ 40 (total shipping from GoPro to Norway). It might happen that some local store sell the LCD BacPac unit for less, so you should google to find the best price close to you. Use the Google search bar below to find the best prices for GoPro LCD BacPac.