The Smallest, Lightest Go Pro to Date (Plus New Free App Update)
Go Pro’s Latest Model for 2013 is a Relatively Small Update…Why?
Go Pro have today released details of the latest in the increasingly popular HD Hero range of point of view cameras…the Go Pro HD Hero 3+.
I for one am quite surprised as I was expecting a full blown HD Hero 4 but like Apple, they have decided to go for a smaller upgrade in between models.
Is this because the HD Hero 4 isn’t ready yet and they at least want to produce something to catch the Christmas rush? Should you wait a few more months for the Go Pro HD Hero 4 (if there is such a thing waiting in the wings)?
Read the full spec of the Black Edition below and make up your mind and I will give you my opinion at the end.
Go Pro HD Hero 3+ – Size
According to Go Pro, the new HD Hero 3+ is 20% smaller than its predecessor the HD Hero 3. This means that once again, you have a smaller case which is fantastic news for POV fans and people like myself who like to put them in far out places such as a bride’s bouquet!
However, once again it means that if you want to buy The Frame or Skeleton Housing, you are going to have to stump up even more cash.
Edit: I have since learned that the camera is actually the same size and it is just the case that has changed so it will still work with older cases. The downside is that because the case is smaller, it will only be waterproof to 40 metres. It appears to have a better locking system and the buttons are apparently easier to use.
Regardless, it does look pretty neat…and pretty!
The video quality of the HD Hero 3 Black Edition is nothing other than amazing. I recently used it alongside the Sony PMW EX1 (a £5000+ camera) to film a wedding. When I was editing the first dance footage which was in relatively low light, I noticed that the Go Pro really stood its ground and in some parts looked cleaner than the Sony…incredible!
Go Pro are saying that the quality of the HD Hero 3+ takes it up yet another notch.
It seems that the sizes and frame rates (including the 4k modes) remain the same though which leads me to believe there is another, way more powerful camera waiting in the wings after all the rumours of a more powerful camera with faster frame rates at 4k.
Edit: Upon reading a review and susequent replies on Amazon, it appears that the focussing on the new + camera may be an issue for some. Read this excerpt from Amazon and make up your own mind. Me, I don’t like it:
“Be aware when purchasing that there are some aspects to the new “improved” lens that may not be for everyone. This week it has been fairly well documented (and confirmed by GoPro) that while the new lens produces much sharper images under 4′, they are blurrier at distances greater than 4′. It does NOT focus at infinity.
For reasons not fully explained, they moved the focal point of the lens in close and sacrificed distance clarity. You will get great shots under 4′ and soft focus beyond that. Depending on what you want it for, this camera may not be for you and the regular H3 might be a better bet. Since this is an effect of the lens it applies to both stills and video.
On the other hand, it’s still a great small action camera, and if you take a lot of video in motion you may not notice this at all. For YouTube uploads and streaming it may not matter, I haven’t tested this myself. I personally will play with it this week before deciding if I should return it.
It boggles the mind that they have produced a camera that claims to have a better lens and ignored the fact that it is in fact worse for 90% of what you’ll be filming. Great clarity on your handlebars but not so good on the scenery.“
Edit 2: After posting the above review, a reader of ours (thanks to John Hooton) found the following video which I think clears the whole matter up. I was quite surprised and may now have changed my mind…watch at 1080p for best results.
One way in which they have made a significant upgrade is in the viewing angle with the new “Super View” mode. This adds even more reach than the already wide setting on the Go Pro HD Hero 3 to allow even more footage to be captured in the frame.
This is great for skydivers, wing suit loons, climbers, bikers and anyone else that puts the Go Pro in close proximity. As long as the other modes are still available and great quality, I’m all up for it!
According to the spec sheet on Go Pro’s website, there are still just three viewing angles:
- Ultra Wide (which I assume is “Super View”)
So if you don’t like the new Super View mode, you are going to have to settle for narrow as the old “Wide” mode is gone.
Auto Light Mode
Another welcome addition is the Auto Low Light Mode. This appeals to me as I use the Go Pros when filming weddings in dark churches and low ambient light reception venues.
According to Go Pro, you get crisper, clearer footage with reduced distortion, a 33% increase in image sharpness (new lens) and 2x reduction in those pesky imaging artefacts.
A huge and noticeable difference when upgrading from the Hero 2 to the HD Hero 3 was the audio quality. The sound from the Hero 3 is remarkable considering its size and I for one was mightily impressed.
I am glad to see they have made even more improvements in sound because I love using the Go Pros to pick up ambient sounds and talking as well as having quality sound to sync with other camera clips. They have also improved the wind-noise reduction…yay!
From Go Pro’s website:
- Increased audio range by approx. 10dB compared to HERO3: Black Edition
- Handles approx. 2x greater volume without distortion compared to HERO3: Black Edition
Whilst I would have liked to have seen a much bigger improvement in battery life, Go Pro are stating that they have squeezed an extra 30% of power into the battery…I still don’t know whether it is the same size or not.
I will be pretty miffed if the size has changed as I have a few spares for the Go Pro HD Hero 3.
Go Pro reckon I will get 1h 30m from the new battery when filming in 1080 60fps (my favourite general mode) with Wi-Fi off. 1080 30fps will get you 2 hours and 720 120fps will get you 1h 55m which is pretty cool (but could still be better).
I am already pretty happy with the Wi-Fi on the Hero 3 but at the same time, it could do with being improved and lo and behold, they have!
The HD Hero 3+ now has 4x faster Wi-Fi connectivity when using the Go Pro App with one of the BIGGEST benefits to me is being able to preview content in “near real time”.
This will hopefully cut a lot of the 4 second lag on the previous models.
So, to sum up, do you think Go Pro releasing this minor update to:
a) Catch the Christmas traffic and
b) Test a few things such as Super View on the buying public to get feedback before releasing the HD Hero 4?
For a first time buyer or for someone upgrading from the HD Hero 2, this is a worthwhile purchase but for me, I think I am going to hold out for a few months to see what happens as I am currently more than happy with the HD Hero 3 (although I do need extra power available most of the time).
HD Hero 3 – Software Update as of October 1st
There is a new software update as of October 1st available to Hero 3 owners, check it out below:
Go Pro App
Last month, Go Pro released the new app update for your Smartphone or tablet (see link below). The main features of this update are:
- View photos and play back videos*
- Copy photos and videos* to a GoPro album on your Smartphone or tablet
- Share photos and videos* via email, text, Instagram, Facebook or other app
- Browse and delete files on the camera’s memory card
*Compatibility varies by device. Content playback, sharing and access to the camera’s memory card is not available on Windows Phone.
All in all, a worthy update!
Go Pro’s Used in “Breaking Bad” Series Conclusion
Check out how many times the Go Pro cameras were used in this compilation…great angles and very inspirational:
Other New Products Coming Soon
- New LCD Touch BacPac
- New Battery BacPac
Go Pro LCD Touch BacPac – Compatible with HERO3 & HERO3+ Cameras