GoPro Hero3 Black Edition Review

I can sum my review up in one word, “FUN!”

4hourcourse

If I had to sum the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition camera in to one word it would FUN!

I loved getting angles that would have been a bear with my Canon 5D3, like going really low and running with it.

I just liked putting in places that would have been harmful to the 5D3.

I have never had a lens this wide, while I could have corrected the distortion I didn’t want to because for right now I think it looks cool. I’m sure that will wear off after a while.

GoPro Makes You Think Differently

  • My girls and other people respond differently to this camera compared to 5d. I asked strangers if I could go close on their sunglasses and they had no issues with that, they seemed very relaxed.
  • Great for vacations when you want to experience it in the moment without looking through a viewfinder or the back of a camera but watch it in real life!
  • My wife told me we need two of them for next time because I missed a lot of the stuff she saw.
  • Using this camera is a great exercise to find better composition and put it in different places I never thought of. So small and light I can just hang it over the edge and get the underside of the boat.
  • This video was taken from three boat trips with Trilogy Excursions out of Maui.
GoPro Hero3 Black Edition

GoPro Hero3 Find Price

GoPro HERO3 Mountain Bike Ride

Big Picture from a Tiny Camera

  • Protune feels a little like a Cinestyle, a bit desaturated, definitely flat, and perhaps a little un-sharpened. But I think I like it better than CineStyle or Neutral with contrast all the way down to be honest. Look at this shot with my oldest, to me that is the prefect flat image, I can definitely work with this in post. So much detail in the shadows.
  • The GoPro seems to have white balance issues outside it would go from spot on to warm all of sudden without any change in light, never had a problem with DSLR with WB outside before. I think when you have some clouds going in a out might be the cause to that. But you can manual adjust and fix the WB to the temp that you want.
  • I find it works great outside, but inside the quality quickly goes down hill, I had a hard time getting any of my shots with indoor lighting to look awesome. Even with indoor pools I had issues getting a awesome image out of it.
  • I didn’t do low light test because it was pretty evident that it is not a low light performer. Get my best results with lots of natural sun light.
  • I like to saturate the hell out if these images to make them fun. Once the sun goes all the way down the quality goes quickly with it. The noise looks nasty compared to a DSLR.
  • Check out James Drake’s review for resolution tests between all the GoPro cameras which I didn’t do.
  • Time lapses are fun and easy to do with it, blown away that at 2.8 everything is in focus.

Tips for Using it

  • Keep your fingers far away from the lens as I learned.
  • Finding something to slide it on, that works well. Like on sand.
  • Twisting at you torso worked really well for smooth pans.
  • Since it’s so small you can physically attach it to something like the side about airplane window and get much better smooth shots. Compare to 5D3 which it hard to anchor to the plane. If you lock the camera off on a subject like a car that takes up at least a 1/4 of the frame it doesn’t matter how jittery the other part of the frame is, the cars are being stationary anchors the shot.
  • I found when getting water on the port that just blowing on it when I didn’t have anything to dry it off with worked OK.
  • Forgot my pole on the last boat trip! I so wanted to dip it in the water when we had the dolphins with us.
  • Thanks to Thomas Brent for providing his underwater footage of the whales and dolphins since I forgot my pole. He was using the GoPro Hero3 White edition.

Strap it down

Auto Everything!

  • Auto exposure, which is a good thing in some cases in sports everything changes so fast!
  • The exposure on this thing is so quick and pretty seamless. But not perfect all the time however, in this tunnel shot it worked fine, but not in this tunnel shot.

Windshield mounting

Fast Shutter Speed, ISO and Aperture Numbers

  • Does not follow the 180 shutter rule. Much faster. Shutter (30 to 2,000?).
  • Waiting to hear back what the range of the shutter is.
  • Not a big fan of how some of my clips with the fast shutter do not mix well with ones with smoother motion blur.
  • You can get ND filters to slow down the shutter speed.
  • 100-400 ISO.
  • Fixed at f2.8 all the time!

Slow Motion at 240fps!

  • Lot of fun with this on the slide at 60fps at 720p.
  • If you think you can’t use the low resolution that the 240fps gives you, you can always do a tile picture-in-picture like this, which is fun.

Not a Comparison Review – Is this something I would Use?

  • Not a comparison video like my other reviews. Not going to compare it to the Sony or Contour or even my iPhone. I just want to see if this type of camera is worth owning. Would I use it enough or would it sit in my camera bag unused after the novelty wore off?

Camera Locks Up – Freezes

  • After a whale breached 3 times in front of the boat, my wife comes to find me and said you got that right? I said no, and she said ahhh, how could you miss that?
  • Does lock up. Take battery out.
  • Lock up when you turn it on and see the movie icon an that’s it, can’t do anything including turning it off. Pain to pull the battery, wait for 10 seconds while missing a bunch of shots, try doing this when it is freezing on a ski slope with gloves on. If I didn’t turn it off and let it run it would be fine, but if I turned it off to save the battery it might or might not work when I go to turn it on.

Call support, talked to Collin from GoPro, he said the locking up issue can be cause my three things.

  1. Firmware not up to date, but mine was: {
    “info version”:”1.1″,
    “firmware version”:”HD3.03.02.00″,
    “wifi version”:”3.4.2.9″,
    “wifi bootloader version”:”0.2.2″,
    “camera type”:”Hero3-Black Edition”,
    }
  2. Not formatting the card, but I think I was, when you ‘delete all’ it formats the card
  3. Or low quality Micro SD card, but my was a good one he told me.

If not those 3 above then it could be “faulty hardware”. My guess is I need to reformat each time, now that I know how.

Where is the Battery Life!

  • With Wi-Fi turned on it is very disheartening to see the first battery bar disappear in what seems just minutes after turning it on.
  • One hour and 15 minute time lapse with the Wi-Fi turned off.
  • When the GoPro is charging you have no indication out how far along it is in terms of the charge, seems to take forever to charge too. With the GoPro BacPac battery back I was getting about 100 to 150 20 sec clips before it would die which was perfect leaving it on for 2 hours straight.
  • Oh there’s a cool shot I want to do. Oh bummer the battery still not charged. 3 sometime 4 hours!

Wi-Fi Remote and iPhone App

  • The iphone app is awesome because you can change settings so quickly without fumbling around all the menus. It is also great for framing up your shots if you need to.
  • Amazing that the Wi-Fi can pass no problem thru multiple walls in my house but can’t do more than an inch underwater.
  • The GoPro also comes with WiFi remote, I didn’t get the kit. I never used it.

GoPro Pole Mount

Suction Cup Mount

  • GoPro Suction Cup Mount
  • I didn’t trust this thing, because after mounting really well on a clean super smooth surface, some 15 minutes later it would fall off.

GoPro Car Mount

Chesty Mount

  • Chest Mount
  • I used it mountain biking
  • Used it snorkeling.
  • This worked really well.

Ride and Pole Mount

  • I really used the GoPro ride mount a lot.
  • Doesn’t have a tripod mount on the camera itself. Mistake.
  • I need a better pole than the little monopod I have because the camera would swivel when in moving water.

Timelapse on sand.

Optional LCD Touch BacPac

  • I also got to test out the optional GoPro LCD touch BacPac.
  • The only place I use the GoPro is out in bright daylight and that is the one place you can’t see the screen. Polarized sunglasses didn’t help either.
  • Unfortunately you can’t see the back of the image no screen the Wi-Fi during a time lapse when you need it most. Can’t see the battery life because if you look at the front of the camera it’s so wide you’ll be in the frame.
  • I liked actually not using it, it was kind of like film, you didn’t know what you got until later which I think works great for vacations where you want to be present in the moment.
  • Much rather use the extra battery pack than the LCD any day so I know it wouldn’t die on me  after a short time.

GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition

Helmet Mount

  • I never used it for some reason, I should have tried the helmet mount but I just didn’t have time.

Hard to edit with than Red Footage

  • My computer has a tough time with footage. Like playing it backwards.

Misc

  • You can damage it if you fly with it within it’s case, when I opened it I hear a vacuum.
  • The hero3 is a perfect match for the DJI Phantom quadrocopter which costs about $700.
  • SD card so small, terrified I will lose it.  Port cover so easy to lose.

Audio

  • Audio is useless you, are going to need some good background music for you videos. But kind of works for sync audio.
  • For audio with the GoPro Hero3 which I didn’t test check out Chad Johnson’s video.

So Will I Buy One?

  • So should I be a hero and buy one?
  • $400 is a lot, but it is such a very powerful tool in such a tiny package.
  • Yes I want one! But I don’t want this one I reviewed because it has issues, I guess I will wait until they fix the locking up issue, or keep buying them until I find one that doesn’t lock up. When I go to NAB next month I will stop by their booth and ask how they are coming fixing these issues.
  • The GoPro is not a DSLR but it’s a good supplement for your cameras  package. Crazy idea instead of buying 16mm 35 l lens by GoPro don’t have enough money. But this thought processes only applies outside shooting of course.

Quick GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition Test

From my GoPro Review Video Opening

Wave at Big Beach Maui - Fail

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GoPro Hero3 Black Edition

GoPro Hero3 Black Edition