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Westerly

Heavy DSLRs on your helmet?

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I dont get it. I see camera guys with large DSLRs on their helmets. Sometimes even two or three DSLRs. I have to think to myself what would happen if they had a very hard opening with that much weight on their head. I suspect it would be lethal.

Makes me question why take the risk? There are plenty of action sports cameras that can shoot 15 megapixles+ and 4k video. It seems unnecessary to put a DSLR on your head considering the risks that even a moderately hard opening could result in serious neck injuries with that much weight.

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15 megapixels means nothing at that level. The added value of having a really good stills camera with a good sensor, aperture, high-quality lens and equal image stabilization is enormous. Same for video. Action cameras are getting pretty good nowadays, but full-sized video cameras are still that much better. Also, when you're getting paid big bucks for video/stills (maybe some sort of one-shot promotional event), you can't have camera failure as an excuse for not having the shot. So you bring two cameras.

Plus, a very hard opening can kill you. At some point, it doesn't matter anymore how much weight is on your helmet. And I see videographers more often than not make canopy choices specific to their situation. Some canopies are known for hard openings, some are known for having a cup of coffee in between linestretch and full inflations. Dacron lines also help, as they are more elastic than microline or vectran. Slider choice and pilot chute choice also influences the force of opening.

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Smaller cameras are getting better. But there are basic physics involved in sensor sizes and potential results. A Sony action cam sensor measures about 6.2 x 4.5 mm. A full frame sensor is 24 x 36 mm. There are many sizes in between, but as a rule a larger sensor has greater abilities.

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I randomly saw this in my quora feed today - there is an example here of just the difference between a cheaper lens and an expensive lens - small sports cams can't even compare - print out an 8x10 and the difference will be obvious. https://www.quora.com/?digest_story=78777368

That being said when I jump my heavy video helmet I only do it with canopies that ALWAYS open soft. I have some that I have more of a worry whether it will open at all than if it will open hard. Most videographers use similar canopy choices..

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Westerly

I dont get it. I see camera guys with large DSLRs on their helmets. Sometimes even two or three DSLRs. I have to think to myself what would happen if they had a very hard opening with that much weight on their head. I suspect it would be lethal.

Makes me question why take the risk? There are plenty of action sports cameras that can shoot 15 megapixles+ and 4k video. It seems unnecessary to put a DSLR on your head considering the risks that even a moderately hard opening could result in serious neck injuries with that much weight.



As other people have pointed out, you pick a canopy to suit what you are doing. Have thousands of camera jumps with a SLR (not DSLR but old enough to make the weights comparable). Plus a digital TRV17. Never an issue with my St 120 (and then Velocity) that I was jumping. As is normal you do get the unexplained slammer once in awhile, no broken necks that I am aware of.

I did take a break from video until my neck recovered from a BASE slammer. When I re-started it was not quite fully back to normal but close enough.

To be clear I did not do this with a "oh well WTF hope I don't break my neck" attitude. You should do whatever you can to mitigate the risk even with a slower opening canopy. If you can't pack your canopy to consistently open nicely when it comes out of the bag, learn to pack. If someone doesn't understand that the main thing that will hurt them is inadequate line stow tension and they pack microline in single stow large rubber bands, that's on them.

Also, what you do with your head during opening plays a role. I never looked up at the opening, just kept head still looking at horizon, until / unless it was taking an inordinate amount of time open and I decided I had to see wtf was going on. Also at times when I had to borrow a rig with someone's Sabre 150 in it to make a load, I might toss the PC and then bring both arms in to brace against my chin, elbows down, for just in case purposes.

You are in "solution in search of a problem" territory here.

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What would Vic Mackey do?

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>Makes me question why take the risk?

For image quality. The lens is what makes the difference, and it is very hard to make good lenses without much glass (and glass is heavy.)

For years I used a T5i as my primary still camera. For training jumps I'd leave it on the ground. To get 'fun' pictures I'd use the 18-55 kit lens, which uses plastic lenses and was fairly light. Quality was OK, more than good enough for Facebook or for sending to team members. For more serious pictures (big way attempts) I'd use a 10-18 or a fixed 15mm glass lens. With those I got images I could print in large formats.

If all your picture taking is "for fun" (i.e. posting on the Net, giving to friends) no reason to use a heavy lens; one of the many action cameras will be plenty good enough for you.

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Westerly

I dont get it. I see camera guys with large DSLRs on their helmets. Sometimes even two or three DSLRs. I have to think to myself what would happen if they had a very hard opening with that much weight on their head. I suspect it would be lethal.

Makes me question why take the risk? There are plenty of action sports cameras that can shoot 15 megapixles+ and 4k video. It seems unnecessary to put a DSLR on your head considering the risks that even a moderately hard opening could result in serious neck injuries with that much weight.



Just keep your eyes open for older setups. A couple of DLSRs is nothing compared to what camera flyers used to jump with at a time when there were not as many soft opening canopies. That said, camera flying is not just another skydive even with a small action camera. THAT is the issue being missed more and more.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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Sure, except it's pretty easy to just reach up and rip a go pro off. You cant rip a DSLR off very easy. That's the argument I hear anyway as to why people dont put cutaways on a GoPro. It's just a sticker holding the camera on so it would not be hard to rip it off with your hand (supposedly).

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Did you try to rip off a go pro from your helmet on the ground?
It isn´t as easy as you might think.Add the stress and lack of time in case of a high speed malfunction and you find yourself in a pretty nasty situation.
Cutaway systems on most helmets doesn´t cost much and should be used by anyone jumping with a camera.

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Westerly

Sure, except it's pretty easy to just reach up and rip a go pro off. You cant rip a DSLR off very easy. That's the argument I hear anyway as to why people dont put cutaways on a GoPro. It's just a sticker holding the camera on so it would not be hard to rip it off with your hand (supposedly).



You're 100% wrong about this. If it were so easy you'd lose one every other jump you went on. They take way bigger hits in the course of a skydive and normal handling.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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DJL

***Sure, except it's pretty easy to just reach up and rip a go pro off. You cant rip a DSLR off very easy. That's the argument I hear anyway as to why people dont put cutaways on a GoPro. It's just a sticker holding the camera on so it would not be hard to rip it off with your hand (supposedly).



You're 100% wrong about this. If it were so easy you'd lose one every other jump you went on. They take way bigger hits in the course of a skydive and normal handling.

They are not wrong. The gopro is pretty easy to intentionally brake off a helmet. Even more so when you have longer attachments.

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LeeroyJenkins

******Sure, except it's pretty easy to just reach up and rip a go pro off. You cant rip a DSLR off very easy. That's the argument I hear anyway as to why people dont put cutaways on a GoPro. It's just a sticker holding the camera on so it would not be hard to rip it off with your hand (supposedly).



You're 100% wrong about this. If it were so easy you'd lose one every other jump you went on. They take way bigger hits in the course of a skydive and normal handling.

They are not wrong. The gopro is pretty easy to intentionally brake off a helmet. Even more so when you have longer attachments.

That's absolutely not something you want to depend on when you're in the middle of an entanglement at 2000ft. Do we really need to press this point sitting in front of our laptops?
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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LeeroyJenkins

******Sure, except it's pretty easy to just reach up and rip a go pro off. You cant rip a DSLR off very easy. That's the argument I hear anyway as to why people dont put cutaways on a GoPro. It's just a sticker holding the camera on so it would not be hard to rip it off with your hand (supposedly).



You're 100% wrong about this. If it were so easy you'd lose one every other jump you went on. They take way bigger hits in the course of a skydive and normal handling.

They are not wrong. The gopro is pretty easy to intentionally brake off a helmet. Even more so when you have longer attachments.

Sure they will.

They break off really easily.

Quickly too.

Note: 7 seconds at terminal velocity (belly speeds) is around 1200'.

Remember that the adhesive on those 'stickers' is strong enough to hold trim pieces onto cars. The glue pulls loose pretty easily at first, but let it set for 24 hours and try again (this is in the instructions on the adhesive).
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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There's video somewhere of someone trying to pull one off of his head in freefall and I think he finally gets it but his effort was to explain how your own neck is the leverage for breaking it off and a Go-Pro sitting a foot above your neck makes for a very poor leverage relationship. You can dig your chin into your chest to help but in the realistic scenario you're also fighting against whatever the camera is entangled with.

Ironically, the mounts that have the worst snag hazards are the easiest to remove and the ones with smooth sides are entirely impossible to remove.

So, this isn't to say that when it comes down to it you can't break it off but seriously, people, don't let that be your argument for a fuck-all attitude about putting a camera on your head.

Edit: Yeah, 7 seconds at deployment altitude goes fast.
"I encourage all awesome dangerous behavior." - Jeffro Fincher

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Westerly

Sure, except it's pretty easy to just reach up and rip a go pro off. You cant rip a DSLR off very easy. That's the argument I hear anyway as to why people dont put cutaways on a GoPro. It's just a sticker holding the camera on so it would not be hard to rip it off with your hand (supposedly).



This is the lazy person's excuse for being too lazy to invest about 3-4 jump tickets worth of money into a snag free mount or cutaway system.
And of course, being lazy, they are too lazy to test their own theory and try and break it off on the ground.

All to justify not spending $100 on safety in a sport that costs thousands.

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I think there are quite a few mounts available that make it more snag-resistant. No camera mount is fully snag-free, and for that matter no helmet is fully snag-free!

I got in a wrap (CRW) a while ago, where the lines of the other guy's canopy got stuck in my neck behind my half-shell helmet, not even on the camera mount. Since I had a camera on it, I had a cutaway system on it as well. And because I was able to cut away the helmet, we could solve the wrap without the bottom guy chopping.

Don't rely on adhesive mounts to break off in case of shit happening. Rely instead on some system that is DESIGNED to release easily and quickly when necessary.

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When I jumped video I got a ration of sh*t from other video folks for continuing to jump a crappy old ProTec video helmet.

Was it marginally more snaggy than the high-speed $250 helmets they were jumping? Yeah. I taped the crap out of it to try to minimize. But I had ditched the neck strap and only relied on the externally snapped chin-cup type strap, and could ditch the whole mess with either hand in milliseconds, which was way more than could be said for some of the set-ups in vogue at the time. Were I to get back into it I would jump the same ghetto set-up, even if I was just jumping a go-pro.

Was it conceivable that I could lose my whole set up on accident if something came unsnapped? Sure (but never did in a couple thousand camera jumps). I was happy to live with that risk if it meant I could pretty much instantly be rid of the whole affair if there was some entanglement.

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What would Vic Mackey do?

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Quote

Was it marginally more snaggy than the high-speed $250 helmets they were jumping? Yeah. I taped the crap out of it to try to minimize. But I had ditched the neck strap and only relied on the externally snapped chin-cup type strap, and could ditch the whole mess with either hand in milliseconds, which was way more than could be said for some of the set-ups in vogue at the time.


I don't know of any video helmets that do not have a quick release system available.

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