GoPro remains at the pinnacle of sports-oriented compact video cameras.
Watch any broadcast of a daredevil stunts show or extreme sport and you will doubtless spot a little box attached to an appendage or vehicle. GoPro is the go-to guy of sports cameras.
GoPro’s 2012 line up of HERO3 cameras has been split into three: the White, Silver and Black editions all sport different megapixel counts and frame rates. The Black Edition is the top dog with a twelve-megapixel sensor capable of shooting larger images and with enough processing power to snap bursts of 11MP images at 30 frames per second.
The HERO3 is also smaller and lighter by 25 grams. The weight reduction is very welcome for anyone that’s ridden with one atop their head.
Also down in size, but not capacity, are the battery and memory card slot, which now utilises microSD cards.
As with the previous models you have the option of recording video in PAL or NTSC. Shooting modes go from WVGA (848 x 480 pixels) at 240 frames per second through to the more common 720p and 1080p, up to 120fps and 60fps respectively.
The only things about the camera that have got bigger are the operational buttons for the menu and shutter activation: an improvement over the previous model, as it makes operating the camera inside and outside the housing easier.
GoPro HERO3 at a glance
Lens: f/2.8 6-element aspherical glass lens
Memory : Micro SD class 10 or higher, supports up to 64GB
LCD Screen: Optional LCD Touch BacPac £79.99, 3.5mm headphone jack
Video resolution: WVGA, 720p, 960p, 1080p, 1440p, 2.7K, 2.7K Cin, 4K, 4K Cin
ISO range ISO x-xx expandable to: Not stated
Focus modes: Auto
Max burst rate: 30fps at 11MP
Shutter speeds: Up to 240 fps (848 x 480 pixels)
Dimensions: 1.7 x 1.5 x 2.2 cm
Power supply: Li-ion 3.7V 1050mAh 3.885Wh. Charge via USB
The GoPro cameras have come a long way. Major motion picture producers use them. Hobbyists use them. They can be put places “regular” cameras cannot, yet they can do the same job as almost any other camera. I’ve used up to four GoPros when recording myself racing a car, but I’ve also used them to shoot BTS (Behind the scenes) for training purposes. They are what I like to call “set it and forget it” cameras. But with the addition of the GoPro Hero3 Black edition, there is now the opportunity to get near broadcast quality, and to add more interesting stop motion, time lapse and stills to the mix.
With a wide array of accessories, and wide availability (you can get GoPro stuff online, at any big camera store or even at Best Buy) there’s no doubt in my mind that GoPro will continue to dominate the market. It does have competitors, but none of them have the traction or loyalty that GoPro has.
The new GoPro Hero3 series is a revolutionary step for these cameras and if you can afford the black edition, you get everything you need to create some amazing stuff. Highly recommended.