GoPro are famous the world over for their action video cameras, having been used to capture a variety of outdoor activities and extreme sports. In November 2012 GoPro released their latest in the Hero line of HD video cameras, the GoPro Hero3. The Hero3 is available in 3 varieties, White, Silver and Black, with the Black version including all the features and best quality (at the highest price point) and then dropping features, image quality and price down to the White version at the bottom of the range.
I’ve been using the GoPro Hero3 Black for a couple of months now and here is my review of the product. The Hero3 is much smaller and lighter than it predecessor the Hero2, and features a flatter lens for less image distortion, adds built-in WiFi connectivity and improved audio across the entire range. It also features a MicroSD for storage and an easily expandable (with the battery bacpac accessory)/replace battery to keep you recording while your out and about. GoPro have also used the same mounting systems as with the previous Hero cameras so most of the accessories will continue to work if your upgrading your existing GoPro.
What I Like
You do get great image quality both in photo and video modes on the Hero3 Black, 12MP photos (in either single shooting or time-lapse modes look great) and the ability to shoot 4k UltraHD video looks spectacular (even if its only at 15fps). But where the Hero3 Black differentiates itself from its competition is the Full HD 1080p at 60fps mode… This mode gives great slow motion capabilities when capturing your favourite action sports. GoPro have also included ProTune which gives your photos and videos a bit extra colour definition, but can subtract a bit from the quality.
The LCD 2 button interface on the front of the device is really easy to use and makes changing modes out on the road with the waterproof case firmly seal really easy. But what I like the most is the addition of WiFi and the addition of the free iOS and Android apps, either of these allow you to change the settings and give a live (well live-ish) viewfinder so you can line up your camera and capture your perfect frame. The apps or Wi-Fi (I’m not sure which is at fault here) aren’t perfect as it can be a little bit laggy on the viewfinder but I like the concept and I’m sure this can be resolved in future software updates.
What I Didn’t Like
This first thing that caught me off guard with the Hero3 Black was the software bugs, I know most of these have now been fixed in a subsequent update and it’s probably part of the price you pay for being one of the first to rush out and buy one, but I found myself having to remove the battery several times (which can be a bit of a pain in the waterproof housing) to reset the device because it wouldn’t turn off. A couple more trade offs with the waterproof housing is the heat generated by the camera, it get nice and toasty in the housing, and the sound quality is better that previous versions but still isn’t great. I know some of these thing can be fixed with open housing that GoPro offer but that retracts from the versatility of the device.
Check out these samples recorded on the GoPro Hero3 HD, make sure you run them in HD.
GoPro Hero3 – Promotional Video
I really like the new features in the GoPro Hero3, it’s not perfect and I think there are still a few more things GoPro can improve upon (hopefully with some future software updates to both the camera and the iOS and Android apps) but all in all it is a very versatile camera allowing you to capture some stunning video anywhere in all conditions. For more information and details specifications of the GoPro Hero3 Black (and the rest of the range) head to GoPro’s website - http://gopro.com
If you’ve got a GoPro Hero3 Black we’d love to hear your thoughts about it with a comment below.