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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At its core, a GoPro is a small camera the takes the best qualities of point-and-shoots and camcorders and packs them into a rugged frame that’s smaller, waterproof, and virtually indestructible. Inside the cuboid design is an image sensor, processor, ultra wide-angle lens, and up to three microphones for recording audio in different conditions. The users interface is made up of just two or three buttons, and the Hero5 Black and Hero6 Black models feature touchscreens for more control.
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But it’s not only the lens lending credit to the impressive video GoPros capture. GoPro’s new Hero6 Black captures 4K video at 60 frames per second (fps) and Full HD 1080 at up to 240 fps. This isn’t just impressive for such a small camera — few interchangeable lens models have achieved 4K/60, with the $2,000 Panasonic Lumix GH5 being the first. As for still photography, the Hero6 shoots 12-megapixel images with features such as WDR (wide-dynamic range, GoPro’s lingo for high-dynamic range or HDR) and RAW file capture. And a new image processor — a first for GoPro cameras — helps improve performance and image stabilization. GoPro has managed to put all of this into a camera that’s not much larger than most DSLR batteries.
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Look online for GoPro videos. If you’re having trouble deciding between GoPro cameras, look online for sample videos posted by current owners. GoPro owners frequently post demo videos on various video-sharing sites, giving you an opportunity to see what video quality is like under real-world conditions. Watch as many sample videos as you can to get a sense of what each model is capable of.
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.