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?


The GoPro HERO7 White is the company’s entry-level model, although the term “entry-level” is a little hard to apply to a camera so powerful. The HERO7 White has most of the same features as the other HERO7 models, with one big difference: the camera is limited to HD (1080p) video and doesn’t shoot in 4K. That’s not as big of a deal as it sounds. The resulting video is still excellent, and the price break more than justifies the concession in resolution. The GoPro HERO7 Silver is another good option for anyone looking for a good middle ground between the HERO7 White and HERO7 Black. It records in 4K at 30 fps, and it even has on-board GPS like its more expensive counterpart. If you need a dependable, affordable 4K camera and you don’t mind that the battery isn’t user-replaceable, the HERO7 Silver is your best option.
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.
Most GoPro cameras can film in 4K (3840 x 2160), but older models are limited to standard HD (1920 x 1080). Premium models can film in 4K at higher frame rates like 60 frames per second (fps), which results in smoother, more realistic video. If you need superior 4K video quality, you’ll need to look at the more expensive GoPro cameras, but if you need great but not amazing video, you can save a decent amount of money by getting a prior-generation model that records in HD.
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.

You get many of the same shooting modes you'd find on a GoPro device, such as time-lapse photos and videos and slow motion footage at 1080p at 240 fps, and there's even a Drive mode so you can use it as a dash cam when plugged into your car, automatically turning on when you start your car and off when you stop it. It's not waterproof on its own, but a dive housing is included as well as several mounts, two batteries and a charger that simultaneously powers up both packs. It also has built-in Wi-Fi so you can connect to a smartphone and use an app to control the camera and transfer your shots for sharing.

What accessories do you need with GoPro?


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?


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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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!

Are GoPro accessories interchangeable?


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).

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?


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.
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.

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?


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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