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 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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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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This is the best single-lens action cam you can get from GoPro at the moment in features and performance. Compared with the Hero 7 Black, there are a lot of feature tweaks and updates that make it just generally easier to use and a better camera, regardless of what you're shooting. But for those who use a GoPro regularly, things like the redesigned waterproof body that allows you to attach the camera directly to GoPro mounts, a customizable interface with shooting presets and improved image stabilization all add up to a worthwhile update. The lens is now made with Gorilla Glass that's twice as impact-resistant as the glass on past Hero models. Read about the GoPro Hero 8 Black.

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.

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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.

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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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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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.

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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.

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