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.
How much does the GoPro cost?
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.
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).
The GoPro camera was originally designed by current CEO Nick Woodman as a compact means to capture photos and videos of him surfing. While the devices are often still used for this purpose, the company has come a long way in the 15 years since its initial inception, and GoPro cameras are now used by all manner of extreme athletes and adventurers, in addition to more casual users.
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.
The reason I ask what you will be using it for is to determine which set of features you need. If you're going to be using it for simpler activities, don't go all out for a Black edition with a 60fps, 1080p cam (all HERO3's are 1080p, anyways). The reason the Black Edition is so expensive is because of the crazy quality it has, and if you're using it for a more simple basis I wouldn't worry about the difference. The Silver or even White is perfectly fine for you. The main difference between these two is the white's camera has a 5 megapixels with 3fps burst while the silver is 11 megapixels with a 10 fps burst -- is that worth $100 to you?
Is GoPro still the best action camera?
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.
How do I protect my GoPro?
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.