All GoPro cameras cover the basics of action cameras: they’re portable, waterproof, and rugged enough to tag along on any outdoor adventure, and they also take high-quality video. Beyond that, however, there are some big differences across the product line, including some features that are worth paying extra for. Here are the GoPro camera capabilities to consider keeping on your short list.
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When attempting to choose what GoPro cam is right for you, be sure to keep these three aspects into consideration. Is the price right for you? Are the features necessary for your activities? Which mounts/accessories do you need for the conditions/environment/sports you will be partaking in? Be sure to post some videos you guys take, we're always interested in your uses of GoPro cams!
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!
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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.
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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.
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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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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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.
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).
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.