| January 9, 2024

The Fly Camera We Have All Been Waiting For

Fly fishers are pretty easy to please in the visual world. Heck, where do I start with that one? Fly fish chicks? No. Film tours? No.

What I am actually talking about is the cameras WE carry with us through thick-and-thin to document our fly fishing outings. And we have come a long way haven’t we baby? I was shooting these little Sanyo cameras that were shaped like the handle of a revolver. I was shooting Panasonic’s little point and shoot cameras – just because they were little, not waterproof. The Panasonic was waterproof, and I was shooting splitshots in 2008 with it. But everything was bleeding edge, whether it was the cameras or the codecs at YouTube.

Of course we know the phone revolutionized the photography world, and while a phone is still a phone, and a camera is still a camera? The vast majority of fly fishing folks are perfectly content with their waterproof, insured and multi-purpose phones. By all accounts, they do the job at a certain level, and passed up early cameras years ago.

But! And there it is – the BIG BUT! Cameras have outpaced phones by a large exponent in that same time that the phones saw their rise. Today’s cameras are complete killers. And I have been a pro photographer for a little while now … what, 36-years … in the blink of an eye and the click of a shutter. I have to remind myself again – there is no shutter in my Nikon Z9!

While the “normal” photography industry has enjoyed the revolution, the sports and blogging and vlogging and social media world has also reaped huge gains in imaging quality. Some leap, and some tiptoe when it comes to progress though.

GoPro Does Tiptoe

I bought the second version of GoPro camera before they actually had numbers. The company probably wasn’t sure they were even going to make it way back then. I rode it out, with all its quirks, to the HERO 4, which was when the company started to get some notice, and gain its footing. The GoPro 4 still needed to be in a case (housing) to be waterproof, and the plastic shell on mine (camera body) cracked pretty quickly. However the Hero 4 belongs in the videography museum. It is the camera that really “started it all,” and one people still talk about in reverence.

My illness and lack of focusing on the possibilities of having a YouTube Channel, all allowed me to skip a bunch of generations of GoPro until I bought back in with the HERO 8, and now a second code – “Black” meant something as well. GoPro was on the tracks and the train was running … and chugging out new numbers that were the tiniest improvements over the previous version. You may as well be shooting GoPro progress in time lapse – they moved that slow.

The problems were mounting. Unreliable firmware, overheating and battery life made the crowd start to grumble … loudly. But so many had “bought in” to GoPro – mounts, accessories and everything GoPro, including their own image online (literally) as a GoPro user.

Me? I had been getting tired of all the problems for awhile. Sure, I was one of the first people to publish a “fix” for the overheating – full knowing it would be a viral video, and it was, and is my only viral sensation (so far). Firmware updates didn’t fix much. Expectations rose online for the NEXT GoPro; maybe it would fix all the problems, have a righteous sensor size … and people bought with high hopes and low expectations.

The Battle is Joined

I had been looking for a GoPro alternative for at least a year when up pops the Insta 360 AcePro. My alarm bells went off at the word, “Leica lens,” and it became a two alarm with, “1.13-inch” sensor. For reference, the sensor in the iPhone 15 is a whopping 8X6-millimeters. If my calculations are correct? That would be a few thousandths over 7/100-ths. of an inch.

So as you will see in the video about the unboxing of the AcePro, I have one in hand now. While I like new cameras, the goal is to bring you better and more creative video – really to show you things you may not have ever seen in the way I am putting them out there.

Learning the functions of this AcePro is pretty straight forward, and if you can operate a GoPro, you will feel pretty comfortable with the Insta AcePro. It’s better though. Getting to and through the menus doesn’t take mouse toes, literally the toes of a mouse, to touch and open. And that makes the camera feel more comfortable for a fly fisher right away.

Add to that – fast charging and reliable batteries, and the fact that the mount comes with an adapting mount to fit anything you have that is GoPro. The mutiny begins.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any tips for using fly fishing cameras! I am also struggling for topics that involve fish slime right now, so if you have fish that need to be caught? Let me know!


I actually taught photography way back in the film days, and I have always loved the bleeding edge of this historic time in photography and videography. If you want to learn more about your camera, what it will do for you, and what you have to do for it? Be sure to contact me. I offer online ZOOM-like classroom learning, and in-person instruction as well. It can be groups, or it can be an individual lesson. I promise you’ll learn something, and so will I.

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Category: Adventure, Fly Fishing Video, Photography

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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