GoPro Hero 3 Review

Great news for all action lovers, the new GoPro Hero 3 has arrived!

The camera comes in three versions: White Edition, Silver Edition and the most advanced model. Black Edition.

The top version of GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition is equIPped with a 12-megapixel sensor (the previous version was 11MP), the fastest image processor and amazing shooting quality: it is capable of shooting in 4K (17: 9), 4K (16: 9), 1440p (4 : 3), and 1080p at 60fps (previous version 1080p at 30fps).

Photo speed trIPled
The speed of photography has increased 3 times. You will get 30 high-resolution shots (12 megapixels) in just a second, unlike the GoPro 2, where you could take pictures NOT more than 10 frames per second. Photo quality in low light conditions has also improved significantly.

sharpness, less distortion
The Black Edition camera lens is composed of 6 parts and features a powerful aspherical lens. This lens allows for minimal distortion. Users can choose the angle of view based on personal preference or desired image perspective. The redesigned flat lens and waterproof housing allows you to shoot both on land and in the water, without fear of image quality or possible damage to the camera. This is a very important point. Now you don’t need additional devices together to get high quality underwater.

Improved audio recording system
Finally, the developers have listened to another important issue. sound quality. In the new version, GoPro engineers have worked on the audio capabilities of the camera. Now in the process of shooting, you can catch the subtle sounds of nature or the voices of people. Also, special settings help to reduce the overall noise level in a headwind, for example, when driving at high speed.

Wi-Fi module included.
The version of HERO3: Black Edition has a pre-installed Wi-Fi Remote Key Ring module, which allows you to remotely control up to 50 cameras at the same time with one click of a button, as well as remotely View previews. Live broadcast and manage settings from IPhone and Android phones and tablets using a special program. By the way, the remote control is waterproof.

The GoPro 3 can be used with all previously released GoPro mounting accessories. But it’s worth noting that the camera differs in size and shape from its less-than-perfect counterparts. Therefore, the arm mount must be purchased separately. In addition, the camera requires a separate purchase of the box and 3D kit.

And, of course, the most interesting thing. the new Killer, filmed with GoPro 3. As they say, it’s better to see once

-overview (so far in English):

Most Advanced Camera. GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. GoPro Hero 3 Silver Edition comes next on the “cool” scale. This camera boasts 1080p HD 30fps shooting, and 11MP photography with a maximum of 10fps. It also has built-in Wi-Fi, but there is no remote control, there is no shooting in high resolution for this and the price is less.

Last on the list is the GoPro Hero 3 White Edition. But don’t let the seat of honor fool you, in addition to built-in Wi-Fi, this model can capture 1080p HD at 30fps, and there are many slow motion modes as well. For those who don’t care about high resolution photos, this might be ideal as it is cheaper. Photo is limited to 5MP with a maximum shooting speed of 3 frames per second.

Extreme cameras GoPro HD Hero and GoPro HD Hero 2

We say “extreme camera”. we mean GoPro. And vice versa. This trademark has long and firmly rooted in the minds of the masses as a synonym for a camera designed for shooting in conditions where a conventional camera is absolutely useless. Shocks, dust and dirt, watery environments, low or high temperatures are almost guaranteed to kill a standard camera. While the heroes of today’s review, THESE conditions simply will not notice. If, of course, EquIPped with special protective devices.

  • Design, technical characteristics
  • / photography
  • Comparative testing

Design, technical characteristics

For a long time we have been waiting for such an occasion to receive two THESE devices at once. Finally, the wishes came true, and both cameras are in front of us. Let’s agree: in all the following photos and in the tables on the left there will always be a new model. Hero2.

The camera bodies are made of durable polycarbonate combined with stainless steel to reinforce the structure. A burning question: are there any differences in the design of the devices? Yes, it was not without them. So, Hero2 has two more LEDs that signal the camera’s operating mode. The first newbie is located on the top of the case, next to the ShutterSelect button. The material from which the control buttons are made has changed. now they are rubber. The location of the built-in microphone remains the same, it still hides under three holes.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer DOES NOT provide explanatory information about the used optics or processor, limiting itself to the beautiful marketing templates “Lens. Sharp” and “Low Light. Professional”. So, it is argued that the version of Hero2 uses optics that allow you to Get twice as clear picture as in Hero (remember this), and twice as powerful processor. It is difficult to judge the actual characteristics by such vague definitions, and not knowing the initial values.

The miniature LCD screen in the new camera model looks a little different. indeed, it is different here, and allows you to display more characters. The backlight, unfortunately, did not appear. Changed to increase the size of the recording LED located in the center of the front of the cameras.

The left side of the case looks the same, but this is a misconception. The assignment of the I / O ports has changed here, and significantly. Except, perhaps, the USB port. it still supports version 2.0, but flIPped 180 °. The rest of the differences can be seen in the table below.

GoPro Comparison

The back of the cases is almost identical, with the exception of one more, already the third in a row, LED recording indicator, which was added to Hero2. This indicator is located above the proprietary Hero Bus port. Thus, the new Hero2 with its three bulbs became like a Christmas tree.

The next most important difference is the HDMI port, which is built into the Hero2. It is located next to the memory card slot. For this reason, Hero2 had to move a miniature beeper (sound alarm) to the bottom of the camera body.

The bottom of the Hero2 is significantly different from its predecessor camera; here we see the fourth (!) LED indicator and three holes, under which the same beeper is hidden, which beep-beep when the buttons are pressed.

The design of the battery cover lifted, as did the camera’s 3.7V 100mAh Li-ion battery 4.07Wh.

Perhaps it would make sense to talk about the many accessories recommended for use with the cameras under study. However, to do this within the framework of this article, to put it mildly, is difficult, since there are simply an awful number of such accessories. any promoted brand would be envious. By the way, the cost of the gadgets suggests that the GoPro brand is not profitable by selling the cameras themselves. So, only one underwater box for GoPro is estimated by the seller at 2,000 rubles. Perceptible? Certainly. We can only be glad that the company that develops cameras and accessories for them has not yet thought of changing the form factor of the devices to such an extent that their new versions will become incompatible with accessories intended for the previous versions of the GoPro HD Hero. At the same time, we hope that the representatives of the trademark will not read the previous sentence, otherwise. who knows! they will take and embody.

/ photography

First of all, I would like to take advantage of the presence of two almost identical cameras, combining them into a pair for stereoscopic shooting (nowadays it is fashionable to call it 3D). But to do this is not as easy as it might seem to an uninformed person. it is absolutely not enough to place two cameras on the bar, each with masking tape. The fact is that in stereoscopic photography there is such a concept as a point of convergence: stereoscopic lenses, like human eyes, must be oriented to this point. Quite complicated and fine tuning is obtained, requiring long and serious preparation. Filmed without such preparation, it is unlikely that anyone will delight. So, something with a hint of pseudo-volume.

Apparently, we, with our tramp trick, were NOT the first. the developer of GoPro cameras has already announced its new development, another accessory. 3D Hero System. Indeed, with the help of such a “holder” users will be able to reliably fix the cameras at a “competent” angle, which in total may well give a “correct” stereo.

Due to the absence of any mechanics in the optical system of the camera, the lens moves, the angle is changed by software: for shooting at 170 °, all 11 megapixels of the matrix are used, at 127 °, 8 megapixels are used, and at 90 °, 5 megapixels are used. Let’s see how the character of the image changes when shooting with the Hero2 camera with different viewing angles:

By all appearances, we actually have a kind of electronic zoom. However, unlike electronic zoom in cameras with small matrices, the image resolution does not suffer here, since the number of pixels is excessive even when shooting with a 90 ° angle. But excuse me, because recording even at its maximum resolution of 1920 × 1080 requires only two and a few megapixels. Why more?

Here we are faced with a well-known trick that is used absolutely in all cameras and some cameras: thinning the term, or the colander effect. Look at the surroundings through its holes, and mentally SWEDA all these holes in one frame. you will get the desired picture. It is in this way that the information taken from the matrix is ​​recorded: we take one line, throw out two. Etc. As a result of such GoPro-cutting, the well-known “steps” on inclined objects are observed in the frame (steps appear especially brightly on the wires). By the way, in the previous version of the camera. Hero. there are almost no such steps:

In theory, this thinning also increases the effect named Rolling shutter, are inevitable in MOS matrices. the more pixels on the matrix, the stronger it is.

One more moment of your attention: let’s try to compare. Shot by our cameras with the same viewing angle (127 °) in 1920 × 1080 mode. So are they the same, these angles?

Everything is more interesting and curious. The reader must have felt agony due to vague doubts. Well, it does NOT look like in both cases the cameras shoot from the same angle of view. Take a look at the edges of the frames. Hero2 shoots clearly from a lower angle. Okay, but if we set up the Hero2 to shoot at 170 ° and compare it to shooting the Hero at its default 127 °, what we see?

Some kind of nonsense. Is 170 ° in Hero2’s view slightly more than 127 ° in Hero’s performance? Of course, during the test shooting, the cameras were NOT oriented to one point. this cannot be done, because the devices do not have screens. Also, Spherical distortions, which Hero2 suffers from, make their corrections to the incorrect representation of angles. See how close these twin road signs are in the Hero2 shot. But the shooting was carried out from one point, the cameras actually touched each other by their sides.

Perhaps the most accurate measurements should be taken. True, we have at our disposal a large empty hall, the walls of which we could disfigure by graduation, turning it into a giant protractor. Therefore, we will use the shooting from the window, superimposed it on the satellite image, kindly provided by the Google mapping service. Simple work in a graphics editor. and here it is, the result. The yellow circle shows the shooting point, red lines. the “firing sector”, the angle obtained when shooting. Inside this sector there is a number indicating the exact degree of the resulting view.

As you can see in the picture, instead of the declared 127 °, the GoPro HD Hero is gaining no more than 105 °. What does the GoPro HD Hero2 tell us about this? Let’s take a look.

Comment? Perhaps we can draw the following conclusion: each developer of any technique has its own method of testing the resulting products. One thing is certain. our method of determining the viewing angle is fundamentally different from the method used by GoPro engineers.

However, one should not forget about one important parameter, which prevents an absolutely accurate Comparative measurement: in Hero2, the fish-eye effect is expressed much more clearly in comparison with Hero. Enough Trace the apparent distance to road signs, or Trace the curvature of electrical wires to understand: in the previous version of the camera, the lens straightens the image quite well (the closer to the edge of the frame, the more the image tries to straighten), while the Hero2 carefree continues to twist the picture in scope.

Below are still images and original clIPs taken with both cameras in some of the most typical modes. Thumbnails are 100% crop taken from stills. Clicking on a thumbnail will open the full frame.

GoPro HD Hero2
1920 × 1080 25p, movie 1280 × 720 25p, movie 1280 × 720 50p, movie
1280 × 960 25p, movie 1280 × 960 50p, movie 848 × 480 100p, movie
1920 × 1080 25p 90 °, movie 1920 × 1080 25p 127 °, movie 1920 × 1080 25p 170 °, movie
GoPro HD Hero

, filmed by Hero2 has a sharp, aggressive character. In contrast, the Hero looks smoother due to the use of lenses with less contrast than the Hero2. The following will show the objective difference between these two shots:

As for the detailing, it is too early to draw conclusions yet. They will definitely be there, but at the end of the article.

Enough about corners and quality. Let’s take a look at what kind of shooting you can get from different angles, with the introduction of various methods of mounting cameras. On the left side of the, the camera is mounted on the operator’s chest, on the right side, the camera is on the head.

Here it may seem more preferable option when the camera is fixed on the operator’s chest, and not on the head. The dangling chair introduces a little more chaotic movement, while the torso acts as a kind of steadicam.

Separately, I would like to consider the ability of the GoPro HD Hero2 camera to shoot at a rate of 100 frames per second. Unfortunately, when shooting at this frequency, the frame resolution is limited to an indistinct 848 × 480. Nevertheless, this can be painlessly slowed down four times!

To prove that cameras need light, light, and more light, here’s a shot in a gym, lit by dim fluorescent lamps.

Colored noise is annoying, disfiguring the picture. This clearly needs careful cleaning. By the way, at first this shooting was carried out in the NTSC standard, as a result the owner of the cameras was perplexed about the flicker that had come from nowhere. But the box just opened: for shooting and Europe, the cameras must be converted to the PAL standard, and any flickering will disappear.

During testing, we managed to take pictures underwater, albeit again in low light conditions. The cameras were located in underwater boxes, which were attached to the diving head. This clearly shows the difference in the sensitivity of the Hero and Hero2 cameras.

Finally, consider the photographic abilities of cameras. The table of technical characteristics of the devices provides a list of modes in which the devices are capable of shooting. In the Hero2 camera, this list is slightly wider; in particular, a new frequency has been added to the interval shooting mode. 0.5 sec. The batch photography mode has also been expanded: the new camera is able to take 10 shots in one second, while its predecessors will only master three shots. The following shows the result of interval photography, and sample shots can be downloaded below.