Although obvious, I put this here first because this is one of the most important factors when purchasing your camera. The HERO3 has three editions (white, silver and black), ranging from $199 - $399 (prices continue to drop annually as newer versions are released -- we'll keep you updated on those). The HERO2's are at the bottom of this gap, but aren't as "new" and lack some features the 3's have (they're discontinued at this point but can be found on the net here and there).

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Versatility is a more subtle aspect to focus on when purchasing a camera, but it is vital to know what accessories you can use with your GoPro. The devices are known for their mix-and-match capabilities, and that means you need to be able to switch add-ons in and out when you see fit. There are many ways to enhance your underwater experience. Make sure your camera can handle them all.
Also note that their newest line of cameras, the HERO3+ (plus) are only smaller in size and lighter in weight. As of now, the Black Edition for both Hero3 and Hero3+ are only a few dollars different in terms of price, so go for the plus! And now that the HERO4's are out, check the prices of previous versions as they'll be dropping slowly. Unless of course you want the newest of the new, check out their HERO4!

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And sure, those options could include your waterproof and crack-resistant smartphone, but keep in mind that the best action camera is designed for this kind of shooting. Plus, just because your phone is tougher, it doesn't mean you should risk losing or damaging the thing that keeps you connected to work, family and friends. It's also way easier to mount one of these to your body, car, bike or anything else than your phone. 

Can a GoPro zoom?


Some GoPro cameras have user-replaceable batteries, and some don’t. If you need a camera for camping or several days away from home, you’re going to want the former. If you buy a GoPro camera with a swappable battery, you can keep extras with you, so you’ll never miss filming the perfect moment. On the other hand, if you’ll only be using your camera for an hour or two at a time, you can save money by getting a model without a user-replaceable battery.

What kind of SD cards do GoPros use?


This is the best single-lens action cam you can get from GoPro at the moment in features and performance. Compared with the Hero 7 Black, there are a lot of feature tweaks and updates that make it just generally easier to use and a better camera, regardless of what you're shooting. But for those who use a GoPro regularly, things like the redesigned waterproof body that allows you to attach the camera directly to GoPro mounts, a customizable interface with shooting presets and improved image stabilization all add up to a worthwhile update. The lens is now made with Gorilla Glass that's twice as impact-resistant as the glass on past Hero models. Read about the GoPro Hero 8 Black.
The GoPro Hero 5 is a fantastic underwater camera. However, there is a catch. The device cannot submerge on its own. Rather, it requires a Super Suit Dive Housing (also from GoPro) to get wet. Even so, that accessory turns it into one of the best diving cameras around. The device is able to go down to 196 feet and comes with a bright 2-inch touchscreen display that is easy to use while swimming. The ultra-wide angle lens, 4k recording capabilities, and 12MP image resolution bring it all together.

What is the best action camera?


Much like Band-Aids or Kleenex, GoPro makes products so good that their brand name is synonymous with the product itself. GoPro’s portable video cameras set the standard for action cameras: they’re durable enough to withstand just about any outdoor activity, they’re easy enough for anyone to use, and they include features typically reserved for far pricier cameras. 

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Some GoPro cameras have user-replaceable batteries, and some don’t. If you need a camera for camping or several days away from home, you’re going to want the former. If you buy a GoPro camera with a swappable battery, you can keep extras with you, so you’ll never miss filming the perfect moment. On the other hand, if you’ll only be using your camera for an hour or two at a time, you can save money by getting a model without a user-replaceable battery.

What kind of SD cards do GoPros use?


Image quality, while good for a small action camera, is another area where a camcorder or interchangeable lens camera will come out ahead. Mirrorless cameras and DSLRs use significantly larger imaging sensors, which capture more light and thus lead to superior image quality, particularly when you have to shoot in low light conditions. But even small-sensor camcorders benefit from built-in zoom lenses, which offer a variety of perspectives without cropping the image, as a GoPro does when selecting narrower fields of view.

What comes with the GoPro 7?


Don’t let its size fool you. The GoPro HERO5 Session may be small, but as a camera, it’s mighty. It focuses on portability without sacrificing power: it’s only an inch and a half tall, but it records in 4K and it’s completely waterproof. While it doesn’t have the touchscreen interface that other GoPro cameras do, it’s the only GoPro that can fit in your pocket.

How much is a GoPro 7?


GoPro cameras are great for hands-free, point-of-view recording — but that doesn’t mean they can replace a camcorder or larger DSLR or mirrorless camera. For advanced users, a GoPro’s lack of fully manual control may be problematic (you can set exposure compensation using the Protune feature, but you have no direct control over aperture and shutter speed). The lack of buttons and dials also means you’ll have to rely on the touchscreen or your smartphone to make changes, which is fine for set-it-and-forget-it adventure filming, but isn’t great if you need to make adjustments on the fly.
Nearly as good as the GoPro Hero 7 Black in features and video quality, but it's just $220 with a waterproof dive housing included. Its electronic image stabilization isn't quite as good as GoPro's HyperSmooth, but it's definitely better than nothing. You also get shooting options like 4K video at 60 fps (with image stabilization at 30 fps), slow-motion video at 1080p at 120 fps or 720p at 240 fps, time-lapse photos and videos, live streaming and raw photo capture. You don't get anything more than the camera, a battery, the housing and charging and external mic cables, but if your main concern is getting good photos and video for less than a GoPro, this is a safe bet. Read more about the Yi 4K Plus.

GoPro cameras are great for hands-free, point-of-view recording — but that doesn’t mean they can replace a camcorder or larger DSLR or mirrorless camera. For advanced users, a GoPro’s lack of fully manual control may be problematic (you can set exposure compensation using the Protune feature, but you have no direct control over aperture and shutter speed). The lack of buttons and dials also means you’ll have to rely on the touchscreen or your smartphone to make changes, which is fine for set-it-and-forget-it adventure filming, but isn’t great if you need to make adjustments on the fly.

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Though the Hero 8 Black has all the latest and greatest features, in the end it's not a huge leap forward from what you'll get with the less expensive Hero 7 Black. It's last year's model and has almost all the same features -- including HyperSmooth image stabilization, the killer feature for this model. There are a handful of other differences like a better user interface, more shooting options such as 1080p at 240 frames per second, vertical video and livestreaming straight from the camera. That said, the differences between the Hero 7 Black and discontinued Hero 6 Black aren't that great either, so you might want to keep an eye out for deals on that as the holidays approach. Read our GoPro Hero7 Black preview. 

Which GoPro should I buy 2019?


A. Not without some extra gear. All GoPros have a waterproof rating that’s expressed as a depth; for example, most of them are rated as waterproof to ten meters, meaning you could swim about 30 feet down with your GoPro camera and it would still work. However, some users want to push those limits even farther, and for them, GoPro makes the “Super Suit,” a reinforced plastic housing designed to withstand water depths to 60 meters. If you’re shopping for equipment for deep-sea photography, plan on getting a Super Suit for your GoPro.​​​​​​​

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