Traveler's Gear Box: The Vivitar DVR 787HD Sports Camera

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The Vivitar Sports Camera.

As a professional photographer I've used a lot of equipment over four decades and recently had a chance to try out the new Vivitar Sports Camera (DVR787HD, $49.99). I've used the GoPro sports cameras for video projects for the past few years, and I was curious if a camera at one-eighth of the price was worth even that.

At first glance it looks a lot just like the ubiquitous GoPro; silver color, same size (2.5 x 2.2 x 1.2"), and waterproof case. It has a built-in viewfinder, unlike the extra add-on for the GoPro. The controls are simple: an on/off switch, a shutter release, and a button to turn off the display (2.4").

It records to a 32G Micro SD card, Class X (not included) and the audio quality is just fine. But the best part is the touch screen for easy review, programming, and selection of resolution. I was impressed with that. Plus, I better mention the remote control.

This is not a professional-grade camera, but rather one more along the line of recording family and/or friend outings. Still, it records at 12.1 megapixels resolution, and 1080p video at 60 fps (frames per second), and output is through either the USB cord, or an HDMI port. It has a 4x digital zoom. Charging takes place through the USB, and the lithium battery is good for about 45 minutes (I wish it was more).

On a recent spring skiing trip to the Grand Targhee Resort on the backside of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming I had a chance to shoot some action video with my son (who doubled as technical advisor). It was a lot of fun as we took turns holding the camera.

The screen let us see what we were getting, and we slipped through 18" of powder below the cliffs of Peaked Peak. The camera comes with the waterproof case, helmet bracket and strap, (arm bracket and strap are extra), USB cord, and a disc of image management software.

The mounting hardware is not interchangeable with the GoPro naturally, but the enclosed mounts can be made to work just fine. It's a nice little camera, especially for the price, to record your adventures and misadventures.