The Next Small Thing: GoPro HERO3 Black Edition

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I stumbled upon an awesome video when I was researching about skydiving. I was about to puke, the footage spun like crazy and there was an irksome blast blowing on the mic. So, I clicked the last few seconds of the video and saw a guy picking up the camera and giving it back to the owner. Yes, it was still filming and the camera was free falling. There are tons of videos uploaded on the internet like this now. I’m uncertain if they are accidents or publicity stunts. Nevertheless, GoPro cameras are light weight that gives you more flexibility and freedom to move yet absolutely tough.




Despite its small size, this camera can shoot both high and low resolution videos. Recorded videos are at 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 120fps, 1440p at 48fps, 4kp at 15fps, 2.7kp at 30fps and WVGA at 240fps. Slow motion captures look incredible. It’s also able to capture 30fps in burst mode for 12mp. Another new feature is recording a video while capturing still photos every 5, 10, 30 or 60 seconds without pausingthe video.


The downside is the muffled audio recording sound from its internal microphone. If aiming for a clear audio, there’s a 3.5mm mic adapter for $20 that can be bought separately.


HERO3 Black Edition has built-in WiFi and the $80 waterproof remote is now included in the package. It can snap photos, start and stop recordings, and change settings. It can be paired with 50 GoPros at the same time as long as WiFi is on. The remote is functional up to 600 feet.


The image quality on the touchscreen display is not that outstanding. Sometimes, the screen is non-reactive and stubby fingers mighthave a bit of trouble pressing the buttons. Touch functions fail to work underwater. Even so, the touchscreen is very helpful to see your composition on a monitor and know information from your settings.


Since it has built-in WiFi, When GoPro App is installed on WiFi tablets or phones, the camera can be fully controlled without a remote. Preview mode of the live view can be seen through those devices. It is choppy and has a 2-second delay when previewed. Another setback is, once you hit record, it indicates “preview not supported” and playback is also not available even if firmware and app are the latest versions.


Sizes and shapes of the GoPro cameras differ; hence, other housings don’t fit. HERO2 has bubble spherical lens while HERO3 has flat lens housing. It comes with a backdoor which has 2 big holes so audio is more audible.. This can replace the water tight solid case when not underwater or doesn’t need the camera to be protected from water.


HERO3 Black Edition is compatible with its other predecessor’s accessories. GoPros are wearable and can be mounted on gears. It has a ski pole mount when going downhill in winter. It can also be mounted on a helmet while trail biking in summer. Head and chest straps are available to capture running footages; the runner would feel like the camera is part of his body.


HERO3 is one of the best adventure cameras out there when it comes to low light sensitivity. It has upgraded sensors and there’s a new setting called ProTune that makes it remarkable in shooting in limited brightness. This, of course, adds noise and reduces the color so the image needs to be post processed. Nonetheless, ProTune stretches the capability of the camera when needed.

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