Snowboarding, surfing, skydiving. These are all extreme sports we all can’t get enough of. They produce the highest quality memories and experiences. The only hard part is to accurately record and document these events. Meet GoPro, a high-definition camcorder, used mostly to film extreme-action video photography. Watch almost any high quality extreme sport video today, and you’ll definitely see the little box attached to the vehicle in motion. Today we’ll do a GoPro Hero 3 review.
The story behind the camera
We don’t usually bring business into the picture, but GoPro actually has one of the most inspiring stories behind its founding. The company was founded in 2002 by Nick Woodman. Woodman started the company following a 2002 surf trip to Australia in which he was hoping to capture quality action photos of his surfing, but could not because amateur photographers could not get close enough, or obtain quality equipment at reasonable prices. His desire for a camera system that could capture the professional angles inspired the ‘GoPro’ name. In 2004, the company sold its first unit. Fast forward 11 year, GoPro is worth an estimated $2.2 billion dollars.
The GoPro Hero 3 version:
|Lens||f/2.8 6-element aspherical glass lens|
|Memory||Micro SD class 10 or higher – supports up to 64GB|
|LCD Screen||Optional LCD Touch BacPac £79.99 – 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Video resolution||WVGA | 720p | 960p | 1080p | 1440p | 2.7K | 2.7K Cin | 4K | 4K Cin|
|Max burst rate||30fps at 11MP|
|Shutter speeds||Up to 240 fps (848 x 480 pixels)|
|Dimensions||1.7 x 1.5 x 2.2 cm|
|Power supply||Li-ion 3.7V 1050mAh 3.885Wh|
The GoPro Hero 3 is nicely designed with a durable feeling to it. The GoPro pictured above is the unit I’ve had for about a year, using it for several snowboarding and skydiving trips, has some wear n’ tear, but is still working perfectly. The camera itself is withheld within a clear plastic case, protecting it from water, wind and most importantly, being dropped.
The camera itself, without it’s plastic covering, is pictured below. It is much smaller than the actual device. But isn’t recommended to use in this state as it’s fragile.
The camera itself has only three buttons. Only two of these are used in the daily uses. Below you can see the functions of each of the buttons:
1) Power / Mode switch: this button turns on and off the device when long clicked. While on, this button toggles between the different modes of the GoPro: camera, video, timed-camera, burst photo and settings.
2) OK / Photo: runs the core action of the current mode. When selecting modes, this button switches the camera to the new mode.
3) Wireless: Toggles the GoPro Wifi feature of the camera
The GoPro is famous for it’s fish-eye camera effect, which is due to the wide angle lens on the camera. It’s actually called a barrel distortion, which is a result of having the 170 degree lens. This curve/barrel distortion allows for the 170 degree ultra wide angle shots that GoPro is known for. This is amazing for many situations but less gives a less “professional” vibe to the results. The fisheye is available both on the camera mode and on the videos themselves. Here is a small example to show the the fisheye effects, vs regular image.
The GoPro Hero battery is average timespan. It can film around 2 hours worth of video, which is either a lot of very little, depending on your requirements. Some uses such as capturing static frames for a long duration and later fast forwarding (sunsets) won’t be possible with this as the battery won’t last.
Probably the best way to see the power of GoPro is to just view some real life videos:
Video #1 – Scuba Diving in the Philippines
A video I shot myself last year while diving on the island of Malapascua in the Philippines. The video was recorded around 30 meters below the surface. This depth removes many of the red colors from the video, so the feed is a bit blue/greeney.
Video #2 – Turtle strapped GoPro (Mashable)
One of the best action video cameras in terms of pricing, video quality, photo quality durability and ease of use. Using the GoPro is fun, though strangers might have a hard time using it. Downsides: battery life and poor audio when filiming through case