GoPro is leading the charge toward consumer-created virtual reality (VR) environments, and their first VR-ready cameras make it happen with what they’ve dubbed “spherical capture,” which is pretty accurate, given the 360° field of view they record. VR is still a nascent technology, but it’s definitely the future. If you’re an early adopter, you’ll want to pick up a GoPro with spherical capture.

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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.
Sign up for a cloud-based service. All GoPro cameras are set up to transfer photo and video files to your computer or smartphone, but if you’re serious about backing up your content, consider subscribing to a cloud-based backup service. Cloud-based services, such as GoPro Plus, safely keep copies of your media files and allow you to access them from other devices as needed, which can be a lot more convenient than carrying all of your content around with you on your phone.

What is the best GoPro App?


Although not necessarily the most important component, a defining element of a GoPro is its lens. Rather than using a standard lens, GoPros — like many other action cams — use an extremely wide lens. What this does is increase the amount of scenery you capture in the frame, making it easy to frame your shot. Mount it to your handlebars or the side of your helmet, and you can rest assured that it sees just about anything that happens in front of you.

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Inexpensive: Between $200 and $300, you’ll find GoPro cameras that are perfect for most people. There are great 1080p models and some decent 4K models in this price range, and if you’re willing to look at last-generation models, you’ll find a lot to like here. If you absolutely need bleeding-edge features like spherical capture or live streaming, you’ll need to look at more expensive models, but if you just want an action camera that can take gorgeous video and go just about anywhere, you don’t need to spend more than $300.

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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.

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I have been getting a lot of questions about which type of GoPro camera one should buy if interested. I first think it is great that you're looking into finally getting one, especially after watching the latest events on TV and all of the great camera angles they were able to capture of the professionals. I've had mine for 2 years and could not be any happier. Just last weekend I attached it to my dog on our hike and posted it to Facebook and got some likes from a few cute girls (because likes mean everything, right!?). I'll post the video later this week. I digress, and provide you with some tips when deciding to purchase your GoPro. We also highlighted the difference between the GoPro Hero 4 and 3+ cameras, so be sure to read that for some more help!

For a company known for its camera drones, DJI got a lot right with its first action cam. One of its stand-out features is its front color screen. It might be small, but it's enough to make sure you're centered in the shot when the camera lens is facing you. The view can be switched with a voice control. It's also waterproof and rugged with removable lens covers, it has great electronic image stabilization, shoots HDR video and has customizable presets so you can get to the shooting modes you want without diving into menus. Read our DJI Osmo Action preview.

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GoPro cameras are known for their premium shooting capabilities, but not all of them hold up underwater. Some options are a bit blurry, while others lack great depth. Always ensure the GoPro you take diving is able to shoot as well underwater as it can on land. A bit of quality difference is not the end of the world, but you want your videos to be as clear as possible.

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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.

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There’s really only one criteria that should matter when it comes to buying GoPro accessories such as the ones profiled here and that is this: does it enhance the quality of your adventure footage? Just as fashion accessories like a bracelet or broach will activate an outfit or the right lens will help you get the most out of your DSLR, GoPro accessories should allow you to get more from your adventure cam. They should open up new documentary as well as expressive pathways and present your activities in new and unexpected contexts that conjure the much sought after “Oh wow!” response from your audience.
GoPros can be used as standalone cameras, but thanks to a great mobile app, they also pair perfectly with Android and iOS devices, allowing you to add more functionality and versatility. Using built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, users gain full control over their GoPro camera and can even display a live feed of what’s being captured right on their mobile device.

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The HERO4's come with only a few mounts and do not come with Wi-Fi accessories because it's built-in! If you're looking at getting a brand new GoPro and the best of the best, the HERO4 is what you need to look at. In our opinion, the Black Edition at $500 retail is a bit steep and is geared more towards movie makers and professional studios. What we found interesting was the fact that the Silver Edition has a built-in LCD but the Black does not. Is this important to you? Also, the 4K cinema at 30fps with the Black Edition is crazy; however, it eats up a lot of battery. The Silver Edition films in perfect 1080p which is the standard for most playback devices, so going with the Silver as opposed to the Black is more recommended in our opinion.
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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Ensure you can easily use your camera before purchase. This is an aspect many people overlook when getting a new GoPro, and it can cost them down the line. There are many bells and whistles tied to cameras. Though they might look great, you don’t want a model you aren’t able to operate. That does not mean you have to get the simplest model out there, but you should get one that is in your comfort zone.

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