Update 10/02/2013: GoPro Releases Hero 3+ Black Edition and White Edition!!
The GoPro Hero 3+ comes in three editions: Black Edition ($400), Black Edition Surf ($400- identical to Black Edition but with a surfing mount) and Silver Edition ($300). According to GoPro, the Hero 3+ is 20% lighter and 20% smaller than the most recent model, the Hero 3. It’s battery life has also been increased to 1.5-2 hours per charge from 1-1.5 hours per charge. Overall, the Hero 3+ looks to be a nice, albeit minor, upgrade to the Hero 3. For more in-depth Reviews, try:
- GoPro HERO3+: Black Edition Amazon Review
- GoPro HERO3+: Silver Edition Review on Amazon
Below is my GoPro Buyers Guide. If you aren’t interested in buying a GoPro but are interested in the history of the product, you will probably find our rags to riches ($30 Billion!) History of the GoPro fascinating. You might want to check out the GoPro Wikipedia Article for more background information.
If you want to jump immediately to an overview of the most recent models, the GoPro HERO3 White Edition, Silver Edition, and Black Edition, click here.
If you are interested in older GoPro models, keep reading downwards, as this Buyers Guide organizes all GoPro models in order of their release.
What to look for when buying a GoPro?You know you want a rugged camera capable of withstanding the hits that your extreme lifestyle brings on a daily basis. But which one? The short answer is that, unless you are on a budget, you will probably want to buy a GoPro HERO3 model, which is the most recent GoPro version released. But do you go with the Black Edition, White Edition, or Silver Edition, each of which has different capabilities? Our job is to help you answer this question and get the GoPro that will allow you to best capture your lifestyle.
And if you are interested in earlier version of the GoPro, don’t worry- we cover all of those below as well!
When buying a GoPro, the most important things to consider will be:
- Image Quality: Ranges from 720 pixels to 1080 pixels. The more pixels, the more clear the image quality.
- Field of Vision (FOV): Field of Vision ranges from 127 to 170 degrees. The FOV indicates how wide an image the camera can capture.
- Cost: Ranges from $199 for the GoPro White Edition to $329 to the GoPro Black Edition
The first GoProThe first camera released by GoPro was the GoPro HERO 35mm, which was introduced on April 13, 2005. The 200g, 2.5 by 3 inch device came with a clear case, adapter lash and camera strap. It was usable on the fly and to a depth of about 15 feet underwater. Termed the reusable wrist camera, the GoPro HERO used 24 exposure Kodak (RIP Kodak) 400 film. The HERO was followed by the Digital HERO 3 in 2007, Digital HERO 5 in 2008 and HD HERO 960 in 2010. These cameras featured 3MP, 5MP and 960p shooting modes respectively. All of these are considered to be the first generation of GoPro, and acted as starting points for the future HD cameras that would be produced by GoPro.
To Buy or Not to Buy Original GoPro Cameras?
Our verdict is DON’T BUY unless you are a serious collector, as these film-reliant cameras are outdated in 2013.
The Second Generation of GoPro:The second generation of GoPro cameras started with the HD HERO Naked, which was the first GoPro camera to feature a 1080p mode. Released in 2012, this camera has a 5MP sensor and supports different types of mounts. The HD HERO Naked’s successor is the not-so-cleverly-named HD HERO2. With an 11 megapixel sensor, the HERO2 introduced 120 frames-per-second shooting and also came equipped with low-light capability. The HERO2 is available in three different packages – Surf Edition (Surf Edition Reviews), Outdoor Edition (Outdoor Edition Reviews) and the Motorsports Edition (Motorsports Edition Reviews).
The HD HERO Naked and HERO 2
A lot of users get confused with the difference between the Surf version and the regular versions of the HD Hero2, but it is actually very simple- the only difference between these two versions is the accessories that come with them. While all GoPro cameras come equipped with a battery, waterproof case, mounting hardware and USB cable, the surf edition includes a larger sticky mount for easily attaching the camera to a surfboard. The surfboard mounts are also available as separate packages if you want to turn your regular version into a Surf Edition.
Buy GoPro HERO Naked or HD Hero 2?
If you are looking to save some cash, we recommend the GoPro Hero 2 as a STRONG BUY.
If you are a collector or just looking for a serious bargain and don’t need the high tech wizardry of a more modern GoPro camera, this is also a great choice.
In 2012, GoPro announced the HD HERO3, which is the most powerful device of the company to date. The 25% lighter and 30% smaller HERO3 comes equipped with comes with built-in WiFi and comes in three editions- White, Silver, and Black.
To Buy or Not to Buy GoPro Hero3 Cameras?
BUY! The question is simply- which one? Below, we will give you a short breakdown of each of the three types of GoPro Hero3- in White, Silver, and Black. If you want a more detailed description of a particular type of Hero3, simply click the link below its name to get more information about it.
The GoPro HERO 3 in WhiteThis edition is priced at $199.99, making it the least expensive HERO3, and comes with a waterproof encasement capable of going as low as 160 feet underwater. The white edition of HERO3 provides a normal frame rate for shooting videos, which is ideal for directly playing on a television or computer without converting or editing. Shooting still images is possible, but there are not as many photo modes in the white edition as Silver and Black Editions.
The GoPro HERO 3 in SilverThe Silver Edition is priced at $299.99, making more expensive than the White Edition but not as expsensive as the Black Edition. The HERO3 Silver Edition provides a 60fps shooting mode along with Pro Tune firmware. They provide decent quality video footage, which are perfect for everyday use, but not are as good as the black edition. The Silver Edition has a burst mode which allows a user to take up to 10 photos in only a second!
The GoPro HERO3 Black Black EditionThe Black Edition is priced at $329.99, making it the highest priced GoPro. It provides very high frame rates, which users can slow down and color correct by using an updated version of Pro Tune firmware. If you plan on regularly editing video using your GoPro, this is the best choice for you. A fast micro SD card along with a reasonably powerful PC will be needed for playing and editing the videos captured by the HERO HD3 black edition. The Black Edition also features burst mode, which shoots 30 still images in a second! This is yet another reason we love the Black Edition- we find it perfect for capturing the fast-pace of our lifestyles. This edition also comes with a WiFi remote control, which provides full control of the camera and makes it very convenient for situations when the camera is out of reach.
Which GoPro Should I Buy?If you want to edit your recorded videos and take a lot of still images, its worth paying the extra money for the Black Edition. The Black Edition will also sync with your Android phone or iPhone through a remote app and will capture the highest quality footage if you spend a lot of time shooting underwater footage while diving or snorkeling. On the other hand, if you don’t want to bother yourself with editing videos or do not plan to take a lot of photos, you may compromise with the Silver Edition. If you are tight on budget, but still fancy a wearable camera, you may consider the HERO3 White Edition.
What Accessories Do I Need for my GoPro?The short answer is, it depends on what you want to do with it. Popular activities that people capture using the GoPro include:
One of the biggest advantage of the GoPro cameras is they are mountable to almost anything. The downside, is that you have to buy the mounts yourself- they typically aren’t included with the camera. If you are looking for a series of Mounts, you might want to check out this GoPro Grab Bag of Mounts for HERO Cameras. If you want to use your camera for underwater recording, you should find a stable platform for your camera and the supporting light. Another thing to remember is color absorption. While you dive deeper, colors such as red will look faded, which can affect the video quality. Luckily, polar pro filters are available as a solution to this problem.
GoPro started using micro SD cards from the HERO3 on, meaning that, if you have bought a HERO3, you will need a micro SD card for it. All the previous models support regular sized memory cards. If you are going to buy a HERO3 black edition, make sure you are buying a micro SD card of at least class 10, which will allow you to take full advantage of the burst mode and high frame rates. Try to buy bigger memory cards. Due to the high frame rate and excellent video quality of the HERO3, you will run out of memory if you have bought a tiny one.
Remember that it might be worth it to wait for the next GoPro launch before you purchase one. After all, what is the point in buying a bunch of accessories to enhance the market’s current model when you could wait a mere 3 months and buy a better GoPro out of the box for less money than it would take you to purchase the accessories you need. As is often said, you don’t just buy a GoPro- you are also committing to the extra accessories that enable people to achieve awesome things with GoPro video cameras. That stellar footage you recently saw that encouraged you to go and buy a GoPro in the first place- yeah, we guarantee you that look was achieved using a lot more than the GoPro’s usual out-of-the box functionality.
Where Can I Buy a GoPro?
The short answer is that buy a GoPro depends on which country you are in. If you are in the US, you can use GoPro’s handy Store Locator to find out the nearest place to make your purchase.