Karting is an action-packed sport. As a driver, you always want to be capturing the action in the best possible quality. To do this, you need a good karting camera. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know what the best cameras are for go-kart racing.
The 7 best cameras for go-kart racing are:
- GoPro Hero 9 Black Edition
- GoPro Hero 8 Black Edition
- Insta360 GO 2
- GoPro Hero 7 Silver Edition
- DJI Osmo Action
- Sony RX0 II
- GoPro Fusion
Racing drivers need to promote themselves in order to impress teams and agents to progress their careers. Having a high-quality camera to capture footage is the number one way to do that. Before we talk about the best cameras for kart racing, let’s take a closer look at why you need one.
Why Do You Need A Camera For Kart Racing?
Many karting drivers have cameras for various reasons. However, there are several reasons you should get a camera. These reasons are not only relevant to aspiring professional racing drivers, but also to the hobbyist karting driver.
The first reason to get a camera for your karting ventures is for coaching. Using a camera can help you easily identify which areas of your driving are weakest and need the most work. While you’re in the kart, fueled with adrenaline and focusing on setting the fastest lap, it can be difficult to spot those small areas that can help you gain crucial tenths of a second.
Having a camera attached to your kart will help you to identify those small areas where improvements could be made. Perhaps it might involve taking a better line through the corner or braking a little bit later. Using your footage, you can carefully analyze your driving.
Improve Your Racing
Not only will it help you improve your overall lap time, but it can also help you in racing situations. Perhaps you had a bad start and lost multiple places during the first corner. It’s tough to look back at the first corner and see what went wrong after enduring a long and difficult race.
However, if you have a camera, you can review your own footage and work out what went wrong much easier. You can start to spot the gaps in between your competitors and start to form a better strategy for your race starts. This can be especially useful in between heats.
A camera is also extremely useful when you have a driving coach. A coach will sit trackside and monitor your driving from the outside. However, it can be difficult to fully analyze a driver’s performance and mistakes from the outside.
An onboard camera will significantly help a driving coach see where you can improve your driving and where you are making mistakes. The footage will also help the coach to help you perfect your setup for your specific driving style.
Using onboard cameras will also be a huge help for marketing yourself. This is crucial for young drivers looking to progress in their career. However, it can still be useful for those who are taking up karting just as a hobby.
Promoting yourself is key when you’re fighting for a spot in a team. Having a lot of onboard footage is a great advantage. If you are applying to teams, you need a significant amount of impressive footage to show them, especially if they haven’t heard of you before. Always ensure that you have snippets of your best moments at the ready, whether it’s overtakes, fastest laps, or great saves.
Teams have a number of criteria that they look for in a driver, and if they have a collection of footage to look through, it will help them tick off their checklist much quicker and easier. Also, if there are other drivers applying for the same team, it’s almost guaranteed that they will also have footage to show them, so this at least ensures there’s an even playing field.
What Teams Look At
Racing teams look at potential first and foremost. In these criteria they will analyze your raw speed and driving abilities. Your racing lines, how late you are on the brakes, your driving style, and how you construct your full lap will all be carefully analyzed. It doesn’t need to be perfect, because there’s always room for improvement, but they’re looking for potential.
Teams will also need to see your racecraft. Racecraft includes your ability to overtake other karts, your race starts, your endurance and how you handle the pressure of a full race. In some cases, they also like to see some defending maneuvers as well.
Finally, race teams look at your personality as a driver. While you can’t necessarily get this on camera (unless you are vlogging), it does come through in your driving style. If you’re too passive or too aggressive in your overtakes, it might put them off. In addition, your behavior in some situations, such as when you’re being overtaken, spinning out or even crashing, will be carefully analyzed.
How You Come Across As A Driver
These are a lot of different elements to this, but it all forms part of what racing teams look for in their drivers. None of these elements need to be perfect, but you need to show potential and a positive attitude to make a good impression.
If you are putting your footage onto an online platform such as YouTube, you have a chance of being scouted by a team as well. With the correct tags and thumbnails, you can attract the attention of teams that are looking for new drivers. However, even if you are trying to get into a racing team, you will still need the finances to pay for your drive. The best way to do so is to get sponsorship.
Having action packed footage of your driving can help you find sponsors as well. While it’s not all about the driving and your past experiences, most, if not all sponsors want to know what they’re getting into before they spend their money.
Potential sponsors are a bit different to racing teams in that they will not be looking at the same criteria in your videos. In most cases they are rarely interested in your ability as a driver, but more interested in the marketing opportunities available to them.
Once again, having a highlights reel of your best moments will come in handy here. As much as you might love watching yourself driving around a racetrack, most sponsors will not sit through hours of footage.
What Sponsors Want To See
In fact, most of them will not be interested in watching more than ten minutes. All they are interested in seeing is what you do and how it will help their business generate more money. The footage serves as a way to show them what they can expect to see from you at a race weekend.
If you’re putting together a highlights reel for potential sponsors you need to try and get some extra footage of the event itself. Show them how many spectators there are, potential areas where they can market and the general vibe of the event. But having a karting camera isn’t just about helping your karting career, as you can also use it as a direct way to make money.
Buying a camera to record your karting footage can also serve as an investment. YouTube can pay a lot of money for content creators. The trick is to create engaging content that will keep viewers coming back to your channel every time you upload a new video. There’s a lot of editing and learning involved, but it can definitely be worth it.
If your videos are successful, the money you make from YouTube could fund your entire karting career. However, you will need to gain a following, upload regularly and work hard on editing your videos properly.
A Lot Of Hard Work
It’s worth noting though that if you want to be successful on YouTube you need to be fully committed. You will need to focus on constantly growing your channel, not only in terms of subscribers but also in the quality of the content that you are producing.
Karting is a very underexploited niche at the moment, however there are some big channels that have a lot of views. There is quite a big market for karting, and it is growing year on year. While it’s not a guaranteed way to make some money, it could serve as just another good reason to invest in a good karting camera.
How To Find Good Quality Cameras For Karting
Image quality is crucial for all types of video content. However, when it comes to karting, it is even more important. Due to the fast-paced nature of the sport, you need to have a high-quality image in order to make your footage look good. Your footage needs to be at least 1080p, and ideally 4K or even 8K if you have the budget.
Frames Per Second
Frames per second is a measure of how smooth the footage is. This is arguably more important than quality, because karting involves a lot of motion, and smoother footage is always better. For karting you should aim for at least 60 frames per second or higher.
In general terms, if cameras record at higher quality, the frames per second tend to drop. For example, if you record at 1080p you might get 60 frames per second. However, if you turn the quality up to 4K, you might only get 30 frames per second.
Cameras are expensive, and karting can be physically tough on them. It is possible for a camera to get knocked off your kart. If that happens at 80 mph, it could destroy the expensive camera that you just bought. You want to invest in a camera that will be able to endure these circumstances and last a long time.
Sound quality is very important when it comes to motorsport. People love hearing the engine noise. In karting, there are lots of different sound elements to listen out for in your footage. Being able to hear when you are on and off the throttle, pressing the brakes, and the tire squeal around corners is key.
This is important for coaching as you can see and hear where you are braking and accelerating which will help you to figure out your reference points and fine tune them.
Some cameras are bulky and awkward. You need to make sure that you have a camera that you can comfortably mount on different areas of your kart. In most cases, cameras will be small enough, but what you need to look at is the mounting options available for the camera as well. The more mounting options the camera has the more recording angles you have at your disposal.
Kart engines give off a lot of vibrations which can ruin image quality and smoothness. In addition, bumpy circuits can also cause some distortion of your footage. You need to ensure that your camera has good stability and vibration cancelation options.
We’re not including price here because we are mostly concerned about the quality of the footage in this section. As with any piece of karting equipment, you should always go for the best option you can afford.
The 7 Best Cameras For Go-Kart Racing
1. GoPro Hero 9 Black
Weight: 158 grams | Quality: 1080p-5K
The GoPro Hero 9 Black Edition is the best camera for karting. It’s one of the most expensive cameras on the market, but GoPro has been making action cameras for years and they are one of the leading companies in the industry.
The Hero 9 is the latest flagship model from the action camera giants. It offers some fantastic features such as 1080p livestreaming, image stabilization, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and much more.
The Hero 9 Black Edition is our top pick simply because it is packed with features, it’s reliable and it does an excellent job with recording footage. With up to 5K resolution recording, it’s an excellent option for those really looking to show off their footage. It’s also waterproof to 10m, so it’s ideal for wet weather racing.
2. GoPro Hero 8 Black
Weight: 126 grams | Quality: 1080p-4K
The GoPro Hero 8 Black Edition is our second choice. It’s the previous generation’s flagship camera, but it’s still packed with incredible features and offers amazing image quality. If the Hero 9 is out of your budget, this could be the perfect option for you as it’s a fair bit cheaper.
The Hero 8 has many of the same features as the Hero 9, but the only features you will be missing out on are the 5K video mode and slightly better battery life. The rest of it is all pretty much the same, and it is still an awesome camera for karting at a much lower price tag.
3. Insta360 GO 2
Weight: 26.5 grams | Quality: 1080p-1440p
This is a clever action camera in the sense that it comes standard with a charging case that doubles as a tripod. This is especially ideal for karting, as you can easily set it up on your kart for some onboard laps. When the battery runs low you can set it up on the charging tripod and get some shots trackside.
It’s also advertised as the world’s smallest action camera, so it can comfortably fit in different spots around your kart that will allow you to get nice cinematic angles.
In terms of image quality and stabilization it doesn’t come anywhere close to the GoPros, however it ranks highly on our list thanks to its size, versatility, and clever features.
4. GoPro Hero 7 Silver
Weight: 118 grams | Quality: 1080p-4K
Yet another GoPro makes the list, and this time it’s the 7th generation. This generation still features livestreaming and 4K shooting quality, although at 4K you’ll be sacrificing some framerate, which you wouldn’t need to sacrifice with the 8th generation and higher.
The image stabilization GoPro uses, called ‘HyperSmooth,’ was still in its beginning stages here, so you can expect to have some camera shake in the footage, especially if it’s attached directly onto a kart.
The Hero 7 is an excellent option if you’re a beginner user of action cameras and don’t want to spend too much on a camera but still want a decent option that will last a long time. It’s one of the cheapest cameras on this list.
5. DJI Osmo Action
Weight: 134 grams | Quality: 1080p-4K
DJI are well known for building drones, however they also make some great action cameras. The Osmo has a feature that no GoPro has, which gives it an advantage. That feature is a front facing display, making it ideal for those who want to try out vlogging while karting.
If you’re going to use your videos as vlogs on YouTube this camera is the ideal choice. You won’t need to buy two different cameras, as the Osmo can double as a vlogging and an action camera. The image stabilization isn’t as good as that of the GoPros, but its image quality is right up there.
6. Sony RX0 II
Weight: 132 grams | Quality: 1080p-4K
This is the most expensive camera on this list, and for good reason. Not only is this an awesome action camera, it’s also a fantastic still image camera. This makes it useful if you enjoy photography and getting interesting still images of your kart or the circuit.
What’s impressive about this camera is that it can shoot 1080p at 120 frames per second. That means that you can get some impressive slow motion footage too. It’s not quite as good as the GoPro Hero 9, but it’s very impressive, nonetheless.
On this camera you can find a tilting LCD screen and a Zeiss wide-angle lens on a box that can fit in your pocket. This camera is great, and is packed with amazing features, but its price brings it down toward the bottom of the list.
7. GoPro Fusion
Weight: 163 grams | Quality: 1440p-5.6K
The GoPro Fusion offers spherical recording which is how you create those awesome interactive 360o videos. It’s great if you’re trying to capture your karting from all angles, and it can make for some truly versatile footage.
It comes with software that allows you to reframe the videos back to 2D after you capture them. What this means is that you can convert a specific part of your 360o video back to ‘normal.’ If you’re overtaking another kart for example, you can reframe the video to only show the front view whilst your behind, and the only show the rear view whilst you’re in front.
The camera also features the best audio out of all the GoPro cameras, so that is a great bonus too. In addition, it features extra mounting fingers, so you’ll be able to easily attach it to anything on your kart.
However, it does come with a few disadvantages. When recording 2D video, the Fusion does struggle, and the image quality drops significantly. If you’re only planning on using the 360o view once or twice and using it mostly for 2D recording, you’re better off with the standard GoPro cameras.
How To Mount Your Camera
Many people wonder where to mount their camera on a kart. Karts do not have a lot of bodywork, which makes it a bit difficult. However, you can still get some fantastic angles for your footage if you know where to place your camera.
Unfortunately, the popular helmet camera has already been banned at many circuits around the world, and it will most likely be banned at all karting circuits in the near future. In unofficial practices you could still use it, however they’re usually not allowed on a race weekend.
The front fairing is now the most popular view as it gives a direct view of the front of the kart. You can’t see much of the kart itself, but it’s a great view for overtakes and for general lap footage.
The rear bumper is also a great place for a camera, especially during a race. This shows the karts behind you from a great perspective, and it can be great to check where you leave gaps for other drivers to overtake you.
Engine Mounts And Radiator
Other than that, the engine mounts and radiator are also good if you want to get some of your own kart in the footage. You can mount a camera underneath your front fairing to get some good angles of your throttle and brake usage, however you can’t see much other than that.
You can get creative for cinematic shots. For example, you could have a camera pointing back towards you whilst driving. The pedal camera, tire camera, and engine mount camera angles are also great for cinematic shots. The more angles you shoot from, the more footage you have to play with when it comes to putting it all together.
How To Protect Your Karting Camera
Most action cameras are built with a strong casing which protects it from falls and impacts. However, it is always a great idea to get some extra protection for your cameras in the form of external casing.
While it can survive impacts, you should still always handle your camera with care. It’s best to handle it gently to prevent any accidental damage. You could damage the microphone or the lens if you don’t handle the camera properly.
You need to ensure that your camera is always clean too. Cameras can build up a lot of dirt from karting, and you need to clean your camera properly after every day you use it on the kart. A buildup of dirt can damage the lens or microphone, so make sure you keep it clean. Now that you know what to look for and how to take care of your karting camera, which one should you buy?
Recording Tips For Karting
If you are planning on uploading your footage to YouTube, there are some tips you can use in order to get the best possible videos. You can also use these tips to make better videos for your sponsors or race team applications.
Make It Cinematic
A good way to show off your abilities and get people to subscribe to your channel is to make it cinematic. There are a number of techniques you can use to do this, and it is completely up to you on how you want your videos to look.
At the end of the day, people don’t want to sit and watch raw footage of you going around a racetrack for every video. Each video you upload needs to be unique and it needs to add something new.
For example, you can use cinematic shots of the track, the other drivers, or even of you and your own kart. People love seeing beautifully crafted footage, so get creative and mix up your footage. People also like seeing different views. Try not to use the same view constantly, and if you have more than one camera you can shoot different angles at one time and cut between them in your video.
While people love hearing the engine sounds, it can become monotonous and boring. It’s important to bring in another element that will keep users engaged. That element is commentary, and you can also add in some music, but don’t make it a music video! You can commentate on your own race, give your thoughts on what is happening on screen, or even talk viewers through a lap of your local racetrack.
Tell A Story
Story telling can be difficult in racing and karting, but don’t think of it as a literal story. You can do it in a visual way. Progress your video from waking up in the morning, having your pre-race meal, getting ready to get on track, and then showing the on-track action.
You can finish off the video by showing what happens after a race. Perhaps you were on the podium, or you’re having post-race interviews. Try to incorporate all these different elements of what makes a race day in karting so enjoyable for you.
There are a lot of great action cameras for karting on the market. The best options is the GoPro Hero 9, but depending on your needs, there may be other options you may also want to consider. It’s important to look around and always do your research before buying, and you should consider what you value in a camera, be it FPS or image quality, before you choose which one to get.
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