GoPro Hero 3+: First impressions and sample footage

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Californian action camera company GoPro has been synonymous with capturing the thrills and spills of extreme sports over the years – and this week the company released an improved version of its popular GoPro Hero 3+.

What made GoPro cameras so successful is how easy it is to attach the dinky little cameras to car windows, crash helmets, handlebars, surf boards, hats, belts – just about anything you can think of via a range of clever accessories. Before the days of GoPro, if you wanted to record yourself and your best evil kenevil impression you would probably have to have a cameraman to hand, and the last time we checked that’s not cheap.

With GoPro cameras, the Californian company ushered in new era of inexpensive self-documentation whereby thrill-seekers could wear the company’s cameras to record themselves doing just about anything, anywhere. And, unsurprisingly, they did. Several years later you’ll be hard pressed to find an extreme sports clip or epic fail on Youtube that wasn’t captured with a GoPro camera.

The company’s new Hero3+ features a bevy of improvements over last year’s version: it’s 20% smaller and lighter; battery life has been improved by 30%, lasting just over 2 hours on continuous record; Wi-Fi transfers are four times quicker using the GoPro App, and the camera is now waterproof to an impressive depth of 40 meters.

Gizmodo’s early hands-on with the camera noted that it produces significantly “sharper images” thanks to the improved lens, and colours were “better” balanced thanks for improvements with GoPro’s imaging software.

The GoPro Hero+ performs at its best when capturing footage at 1080p at a smooth 60fps. You can go up to 4K (3840 x 2160) but then the fps plummet to a choppy 15 fps – which is makes its 4K less than impressive. But the Hero 3+ can record high-speed/super-slow-motion 720p video at 120fps and 640 x 480 resolution video at 240fps.

Elsewhere there’s the inclusion of a new SuperView video mode that will no doubt please the diehards as it that allows for an even wider viewing angle, allowing users to capture more of their exploits and surroundings at the same time.

Check out some sample footage in this video:

As well as being tougher, lighter, and lasting longer on a single charge – the Hero 3+ has quite a few accessories to really help users get that perfect extreme shot. The Flex Clamp is a quick way to clamp a GoPro camera to a variety of objects. It comes with an optional opposable neck to achieve a wide range of camera positions. And the clamps jaws securely grip irregular shapes and slim objects thanks to its innovative design.

The Junior Chesty is a smaller version of our adult-sized Chest Harness. Perfect for kids ages 3+, the Junior Chest Harness is great for capturing footage of a child’s world from their perspective – from skiing and skateboarding to slides and swings.

There’s also a Head Strap & QuickClip; the QuickClip is a new accessory that now comes bundled with GoPro’s Head Strap. The QuickClip enables ultra-compact, low profile mounting to baseball hats, belts and other objects ranging in thickness from 3mm to 10mm.

The new GoPro Hero3+ come in three variations: the Hero3+ Black Edition is the flagship model, packing a 12-megapixel sensor, 4K video capture capabilities, the new low-light mode, and a remote. The identically priced Hero3+ Black Edition Surf is the same camera with surf mounts included. And the Hero3+ Silver Edition drops the price down but it has a lower-resolution 10-megapixel sensor, a slower burst mode that tops out at 10fps, and it lacks the 4K video mode and bundled remote.

 

Go Pro HD Hero2: An action-packed sequel

How do you sequel one of the toughest, ruggedest cameras on the market? With the HD Hero2 Camera, GoPro decided to just double everything – power, resolution and field-of-width (well, it’s a bit wider, but not double).

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The new Hero 2 uses a better camera sensor and a twice-as-powerful processor to capture Full HD video and photos at an impressive 11 megapixels.

GoPro also went back to the drawing board with the lens, making it a much more attractive wide-angle offering. It manages 170º at full-width, 127º at medium and 90º in its narrowest field-of-view in video recording. Photos operate at either the wide or medium offerings.

The new lens also uses a much better glass, which – continuing the pattern – is twice as sharp as before.

Video-wise, it’ll pull in an impressive 120fps in WVGA resolution (great for slow-motion), 60fps in a respectable 720p and 30fps in 1080p. The camera can fire 10 11MP photos a second in burst mode, or take a single 11MP photo every half a second in the time-lapse mode.

The Hero2 is all-set for professional videoing, with a 3.5mm external stereo microphone input and full compatibility with the Wi-Fi BacPac and Wi-Fi Remote, so you can control up to 50 GoPro cameras at once, or stream live videos and photos to the web.

GoPro are offering three editions – the Outdoor Edition, Motorsports Edition and the Surf Edition – each for £299.99. The different packs all feature the same camera, but you’ll find different accessories in each with mounts for each activity (unfortunately, you don’t find a racing strip on the motorsports edition).

You’ll get about two and a half hours of videoing from a single charge, which is insulated with a battery warmer to enable longer life in cold temperatures. You can also stick in an SD card for up to 32GB storage.