GoPro HERO3 Black Edition Review

by Brian Mullin on March 10, 2013

The
GoPro HERO3 Black Edition has quite a few excellent features on top of
its already outstanding functionality, the most prominent being the 12
megapixel sensor, which is accompanied by a sharper glass lens, both of
which result in photos and videos with increased clarity and sharpness
and more vibrant colors. It has built-in Wi-Fi, a wearable Wi-Fi remote
with an LCD screen and buttons to emulate the camera, and Wi-Fi
smartphone App capabilities, which give full camera control and scene
preview. The camera is encased in their waterproof and durable housing,
and has a plethora of mounting accessories, so that it can be attached
to just about anything. It records in a vast array of high-definition
video resolutions, frame rates, and viewing angles, making for an
incredibly versatile camera. It now includes professional-level
resolutions and frame rates and modes, which will be useful for post
editing by videographer’s.

The HERO3 comes in three incarnations,
the top of the line Black Edition, the middle-of-the-road Silver Editor
and the entry level White Edition, retailing for $399.99, $299.99 and
$199.99 respectively. Each of the cameras has built-in Wi-Fi, so there
is no need for an additional BacPac, and they’re 3o% smaller and 25%
lighter than their predecessors.

GoPro HERO3
The HERO3 Black Edition is a POV (point of view) high-definition sports
camera, which uses a 12MP CMOS sensor that can record video footage in
1080p, 960p, 720p and SD formats, and photos in several modes, including
still, time lapse, burst and continuous. In addition, the Black can
record at 4K, 2.7K and 1440p. It uses a ƒ/2.8 aperture and six element
aspherical lens, which is fixed focus and has a 170º viewing angle. It
records data onto a microSD card up to 64GB in size, and is powered with
an internal rechargeable Li-Ion battery (swappable) that gives one to
two hours of recording time depending on load and air temperature. The
camera has a built-in Wi-Fi to wirelessly converse with the GoPro remote
or GoPro App on iOS and Android based mobile devices. The Wi-Fi remote
and App interfaces allow camera settings and resolutions and modes to be
changed, and with the mobile device, the viewpoint can be previewed. It
has ports for a mini USB for computer connection and recharging and
external microphone, a mini HDMI for live streaming to a TV or other
source. The small and light camera is mostly made of plastic, and is
encased within a tough and robust polycarbonate waterproof housing,
which protects the fragile camera from impacts, shocks, and the
environment. The housing attaches to an assortment of mounts, including a
seatpost, curved and flat surface, wrist, tripod, vented helmet, and
handlebar, and others, and usually snaps into the mounts using their
proprietary quick-release buckle. It’s convenient that the HERO3 has the
same height and width size as their older models, so mount systems, and
BacPac’s are all interchangeable.

The
HERO3 Black Edition kit comes with the HERO3 Black camera, a waterproof
housing with optional slotted backdoor, a rechargeable 3.7V 1050mAh
Li-Ion Battery, a USB cable, curved and flat surface mounts, a three-way
pivot arm, J-Hook and QR buckles, Wi-Fi remote with USB cable, and a
vibration plug.
Weight:

  • 51 grams – camera
  • 25 grams – battery
  • 76 grams – camera with battery
  • 19 grams – quick-release buckle
  • 106 grams – waterproof housing with quick-release buckle
  • 182 grams – total

Size:

  • 60mm x 40mm x 20mm – camera size
  • 72mm x 65mm x 37mm – housing size
  • 13mm x 16mm – LCD screen size

Video Resolutions
The HERO3 Black can shoot in High Definition, in six video resolutions
and multiple frame rates, which are all recorded at 12MP. It can shoot
in widescreen 1080p at 60, 48, 30 or 24 fps (frames per second), full
frame 960p at 100 or 48 fps, widescreen 720p at 120 or 60 fps, and SD at
240 fps. The faster frame rates allow for slow motion playback, which
gives more interesting footage. It has new professional resolutions of
4K at 15 fps, 4K Cinema at 12 fps, 2.7K at 30 fps, 2.7K Cinema at 24
fps, and 1440p at 48, 30 or 24 fps. These higher resolutions are meant
for professional videographers, as these settings allow more leeway in
post production editing that will eventually be downrezzed. They also
added a Protune mode, which offers high data rate captures with less
compression, a neutral color profile and optional 24 fps which give the
ability to intercut with other sources without a frame rate conversion.
In the video mode, two new interesting features are the Looping Video
which records a continuously looping video that overwrites itself within
a selectable time window, until you press the stop button, and the
Simultaneous Video and Photo mode, which allows simultaneously capturing
of both videos and photos. Each of the video resolutions is captured at
different bit rates, which entails varying recording times and storage
requirements, meaning greater resources are needed for the higher usage
formats. The resolution settings are done within the camera’s menu
system, which is managed by its two buttons, the remote or a mobile
device. In fact, any of the programmable features and settings can be
done through the menus, allowing for in the field changes as required.
The camera records in different viewing angles or FOV (field of view),
including an ultra wide 170º, a wide 127º, and a narrow 90º FOV, and
each of them is unique to specific video resolutions. The 1080p has
three FOVs, 170º, 127º and 90º, the 720p has 170º and 90º, while the 4K,
2.7K, 1440p, 960p and SD only use 170º. It uses the H.264 video codec,
AAC audio compression, and a .mp4 file type. Everything defaults to the
NTSC standard, but it can optionally record PAL video.

Photos
The HERO3 Black can shoot still pictures in Manual, Continuous, Photo
Burst and Time Lapse modes, with resolutions of 5, 7 or 12MP. In the
Manual mode, it shoots a single photo, in Continuous it shoots 3, 5 or
10 shots per second, while in Time Lapse, it continuously captures a
series of photos at 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60-second intervals until
stopped. In Photo Burst, it takes multiple photos over an allocated time
interval; 3 photos in 1 second, 5 photos in 1s, 10 photos in 1s, 10
photos in 2s, 30 photos in 1s, 30 photos in 2s or 30 photos in 3
seconds. The ability to do some sports specific action shots in the
Continuous and Time Lapse and Photo Burst mode, should provide for some
interesting shots and more versatility.

Camera Features
On the front of the HERO3 is the power/mode button, which turns the
camera on and off, and makes changes for its recording modes and
setting’s menu. It works in conjunction with the top located
shutter/select button, and together they perform all the cameras modal
and setting changes. The shutter/select button starts and stops the
video recording, initiates picture taking and does selections in the
menu system. There are three LED recording lights, located on the front,
top and bottom, which quickly flash when turning the camera or
recording on and off, and they’ll slowly pulse during actual recording.
On the back is the connection port for their optional BacPac’s, and a
latched door for accessing the battery. The front LCD status screen
displays a variety of icons, numbers and language-based data, which
gives mode information, menu items and camera configuration settings.
There is a small speaker located on the right side, which beeps during
shutter and power initiation, and a microphone on each side that picks
up audio. On the left-hand side, there’s the microSD card slot, a mini
HDMI video and USB port.

Remote
The remote control unit communicates to the camera via Wi-Fi and has a
600-foot range, and can operate up to 50 cameras at a time. The remote
has an LCD screen which mirrors the camera’s LCD status screen, and two
buttons that emulate the cameras, so you can change settings,
resolutions and modes, and start and stop recording. It uses an internal
5V 5o0mAH rechargeable Li-Ion battery for power. It’s waterproof to 10
feet, and attaches to clothing, packs, wrist and more, using various
optional accessories. The remote simplified resolution and mode changes,
and stopping and starting recording, and the indicator light gave great
feedback that recording was occurring.

Memory and Battery
The camera can use up to a 64GB microSD card, and a class 10 or higher
is required due to the fast and higher-level modes. The camera uses an
internal rechargeable Lithium Ion 3.7V 1050mAh battery, which is charged
via a USB cable. The battery lasts 1-2 hours per charge, but its life
varies depending on the ambient air temperature, chosen resolution,
whether Wi-Fi is enabled, if interfacing through the remote or mobile
App, and if a LCD BacPac is used. There is an optional battery BacPac,
which gives twice the battery life, but I haven’t tested it for
verification of any statistics. I try to carry a spare battery on any
rides, just in case of any unforeseen issues. The new battery has an
extremely useful pull tab on its back, so it’s easier to extract from
the compartment, though the door can be stubborn on occasion, and it
requires a slight tap of the camera to get it to pop off.
Battery time vs. resolutions (measured): 1080p/60fps @ 1.3 hours, 960p/48fps @ 1.5 hours, 720p/120 fps @ 1.3 hours.

Housing
The clear plastic housing is a nice unit, that is rugged, durable,
resists contamination and is waterproof to 60 meters/197 feet. The
housing is made of polycarbonate and has a replaceable front lens, and a
door that swings on stainless steel hinge pins. The back door has a
tough waterproof gasket and is removable, so that the optional slotted
skeleton door can be installed for better sound quality, with an obvious
loss of waterproofness. Once the camera is placed in the housing, close
the door and hook the latch on it, and clamp it down tight. They
improved the latch system, and it’s no longer temperamental, and it
won’t be accidentally opened. I have used the camera kayaking, and
biking in the rain and mud, and can attest to its tight seals and the
protection it affords. On the bottom of the housing is a two toothed or
slotted connector, which attaches up to their mounting system or
quick-release buckle via a thumb screw. The housing has three springs
loaded buttons, which interface to the camera’s shutter/select and
power/mode and Wi-Fi buttons, so all camera functions can be
accomplished from the outside.

They have a new optional mount
called the Frame ($39.99), which is sort of a naked housing. The Frame
is sleek, low profile, and lets in fuller sound and the clearest picture
since the lens is unencumbered, though it’s not optimized for extreme
conditions, as it leaves the camera exposed. It does come with a rubber
lens cap for protection when the camera isn’t being used, and remember
to remove when recording (did that once).

User Interface/LCD Status Screen
The LCD screen is where you see the current status, such as the battery
level, video or photo resolution settings, shooting mode (video, photo,
burst, time lapse), picture or video count, etc. As you navigate
through the menu system, using the power/mode and shutter/select
buttons, various icons, numbers and language are highlighted on the LCD
screen, allowing multiple camera options and parameters to be set.

The
power/mode button moves you linearly through the camera mode screens,
which include the video, photo, burst, time lapse, and finally settings,
which allows entrance to the menu system to change the camera’s
configurations. Within the setting’s menu, you use the power/mode to
move through the main screens, and use the shutter/select to go into a
subscreen, and use the power/mode to move through the parameters in the
subscreen, and shutter/select to accept the change. Using the
combination of the two buttons in that manner, any allowable
configuration permutation can be obtained.

The UI is really nice,
and changes can be easily made without having to resort to the user
manual. It’s still a bit cumbersome and too linear in its usage, and
isn’t quite up to the user interface of normal cameras. I think what you
see on the main mode screens when not in the configuration system is
the handiest, it’s easy to read and provides very pertinent information,
such as an actual numeric video mode value and its fps, recording mode
icons, along with a remaining battery count and microSD card resources.

Camera Operation
Before using the camera, insert a microSD card in the camera’s slot,
and charge the battery and update the firmware. To turn the camera on,
just push the front power button, and it announces itself with three
beeps and LED flashes. After choosing the desired resolution and
recording mode from the menu system, you push the top shutter button to
start the recording. The camera beeps once, and the indicator lights
begin to pulse or blink. To stop the recording, push the shutter button
again, and it beeps three times, and the lights stop blinking. I did
appreciate the increased volume level of the beeps compared to the
pre-HERO2, as they are now loud enough to hear over environmental
background noise (though still not loud enough). To turn the camera off,
press and hold the power button for 2 seconds, and it will shut down,
ending with seven quick LED flashes and beeps.
When you’re using
the helmet mount, it was difficult to know if it was actually recording,
and the only method to verify its operation was to remove your helmet
and see the recording lights or status screen, ask a compatriot, or stop
and restart footage. When using the remote, it does show recording
status. When mounted anywhere else, the top and bottom indicator lights
assist with ascertaining its operational mode. Cameras with a more
mechanical on/off lever alleviate that issue.

Depending on where
the camera is mounted, you can use the LCD BacPac to align the viewpoint
or record a short video, and play it back to check what you were
capturing, and then make any tuning alterations, or use the mobile App
preview screen for live action interfacing. I found the additions of the
new louder modal beeps and two led indicator lights to be highly
beneficial to the usage factor of the unit, and greatly assisted knowing
its current operational status.

Interface to Computer/TV Viewing
To download or view the videos or pictures you recorded, take the HERO3
out of the housing, and using the supplied USB cable, connect the mini
USB to the camera and the other end of the connector to a computer USB
port, and turn on the camera. The unit will appear as a Removable Disk,
and just navigate down to the appropriate directory (example:
F:Removable DiskDCIM100GOPRO) and either download or view the video
straight from the camera. For faster downloads, use a standalone microSD
card reader, and bypass the camera as the downloading interface.

The
recorded footage can also be viewed on a TV by using the HDMI or USB
(composite video) ports of the camera, using the buttons to tab through,
and start each of the videos stored on the microSD card. The controls
are very rudimentary, but the results are quite impressive on a larger
screen.

Mounts
In the grand scheme of things, GoPro has the best mounting system and
the largest assortment of mounts of the sport POV camera manufacturers.
They are extremely functional, and allow placement in just about any
location desired. The mounts, adapters and swivel arms can be set up to
shoot a lot of variations, attachment points and viewpoints, making for
some interesting footage. Everything fits together like a small tinker
toy set, with clamping and connection done by a plastic ended screw with
a nut, which are tightened by hand or screwdriver. The housing or the
new Frame mount can be attached directly to the quick-release buckle or
the arms, and the assortment of mounts for biking includes a
seatpost/handlebar, curved and flat surface, tripod, vented helmet, and
others. I predominately tested with helmet placements, which included
the vented strap and stick-on surface mounts. It does give the footage a
sort of floating in space viewpoint, but that was my preference. I
occasionally used the seatpost/handlebar mount and chest mounted harness
(aka The Chesty), the latter giving a unique vantage point. The
“Chesty” was pretty cool, and was excellent for skiing and kayaking,
where it ruled. I didn’t like it as much as most people, since I tend to
move around too much, and the saddle and other things got in the way.
The handlebar mounts gave an interesting perspective, and it kept the
camera out of my way. The seatpost setup was less than ideal for me, as I
tended to snag the camera when I hung out over the rear of the bike.

Overall,
their quick-release buckle is a well-thought-out unit, and it snaps
into any of their mounts, making it universal throughout their product
suite, and all it requires is a quick backwards push of the buckle into
any of the mounts, though it can be stubborn to get back off. Sometimes
this system can be sloppy, allowing the unit to flop vertically on its
axis, but it be remedied by using the vibration or locking plug (aka the
nose plug) or adding some strips of electrical tape on the mount’s
slider surface.
The mounts can also be tough to tighten down
properly without resorting to a screwdriver, although roughing up the
shiny arm joints with sandpaper can help. Even after doing the
workarounds, the camera can creep around during a ride, or get hit
accidentally and move out of position, ruining subsequent recorded
footage. The toaster shape of the housing means it’s tubby, and not
streamlined nor svelte in any manner, so it can get easily caught on
things, and it seems to suck tree branches into its vortex!

Expansion Port/BacPac’s
The back of the camera has an expansion port, that will allow optional
expansion packs, or BacPac’s to be connected, which extend the
functionality of the camera. The current BacPac list is an LCD screen to
view videos/pictures, and a battery extender. The BacPac kits come with
the BacPac and an expanded back door, so that the fatter camera (camera
with attached BacPac) will fit inside the housing. To install it, just
hook one end of the BacPac onto the camera, and insert it into the
expansion port. Pop off the housing’s door and replace it with the
BacPac’s expanded waterproof or skeleton door, depending on your
requirements, and you’re ready to go. I liked the new LCD Touch BacPac
($79.99), which gives touch screen control, to frame shots, set
resolutions and modes, and preview recorded footage (even in slow
motion). It really adds a lot of versatility to the camera, so it’s
extremely easy to make changes, without having to use the normal UI or
enabling Wi-Fi for the remote or mobile App.

Smartphone Interface
The camera has built-in Wi-Fi to wirelessly converse with an iOS and
Android based mobile devices, and through their GoPro App, you can align
the camera, change settings, resolutions and modes, and delete recorded
footage. To make use of the mobile app, you’ll need to install the
GoPro App on the iOS or Android smartphone or mobile device, and then
pair the camera and device via the Wi-Fi connection. To check the
vertical alignment for proper video recording orientation, bring up the
App on your smartphone or mobile device. Using the preview screen on the
mobile device, just point the camera at your desired viewpoint, and
rotate the camera body until things line up. The Wi-Fi for viewfinder
might lag, but it works fine for the alignment purposes. It’s an icon
based menu system until you get to the setting’s screen, and then it
emulates the default smartphone setup, wherein lays a deep list of
alterable video, photo, capture and system-wide settings and parameters.
I do wish you could view already recorded footage in the App, but only
their LCD BacPac has that functionality.

Impressions
After using the camera, you become spoiled by the 12MP sensor and
sharper lens, and in comparison to some other manufacturers, the footage
has better clarity, colors and sharpness. Sometimes when bumping up the
pixel count into an extremely small sensor, the increased pixels per
inch (PPI) or pixel density can cause noise and loss of detail issues,
and the sharpness drops off, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with
the HERO3. It did well in bright light conditions, and never seemed to
wash out, keeping a nice uniform contrast level. It also did a great job
in variable light, and it didn’t get over-saturated when the footage
popped into the bright light from the shade. When the light got lower,
such is in the early evening, the clarity seemed to drop slightly, and
the footage got shakier, and unfortunately, the camera has no ability to
change the exposure and contrast settings. Pixelation was great, with a
mild amount of aliasing, and some slight edge artifacts. The framing
was smooth, but heavy shocks, and vibrations caused distortion. Although
the colors were pleasant, they were sometimes overly warm, and the reds
and yellows were especially more vibrant than real.

The improved
12MP sensor and lens also give some really nice photos, and I started to
use the photo features more often. You can switch the photo mode to the
lower 7MP and 5MP settings, which do have different FOV’s (12 is 170º, 7
is 170º or 127º, 5 is 170º), but you miss out on the stunning pictures
at the highest setting. The 1080p video footage had less jellovision and
shakiness than earlier models, but I still don’t like its results when
recording in average mountain biking conditions and terrain, even when
wearing a sturdier helmet. The new 127º and 90º FOV options for the
1080p  (and 90º for 720p) offers decreased fisheye and side distortions
(default is 170º). When it was static or mounted as solid as possible
the 1080p offered excellent FOV and clarity, but that just wasn’t
feasible for average riding. My favorite setting was the full frame 960p
100 fps resolution, as the tall viewpoint captures more of the trail,
and the addition of the 100 fps really gives it a smoother look, with
fewer transitions and choppiness. My secondary pick is the widescreen
720p at 120 fps, which depending on the terrain and trail, offers more
peripheral visibility and a panoramic field of view.

The camera’s
normal UI based menu system is useful, but it is still convoluted and
much too linear for quick changes, especially to switch resolutions, but
at least the main mode screens offer excellent information, so you know
the exact resolution, FOV, battery and SD card resources. After some
usage, you get proficient at making changes, so it speeds up
alterations. The status indicator beeps were usually loud enough in
typical outdoor conditions to hear what the camera was doing, but when
it was windy, it was sometimes difficult to discern, and perhaps a
larger speaker might help with perception issues. Along with the louder
beeps, the additional recording LEDs greatly benefits the usage factor
of the camera, making it much easier to know its status. The wearable
Wi-Fi remote was a nice unit, and it allowed simple and quick changes to
the camera’s resolutions and modes. It was useful to have the start and
stop recording buttons located someplace easy to reach, though I found
that the buttons were hard to hit and initiate on the fly, and having
the Wi-Fi enabled used up the camera’s battery quicker. The biggest
issue I had with the remote was that it’s battery gave up the ghost
regularly, so even though it was a very functional tool, it wasn’t
always dependable, so I didn’t use it all that much. I found that the
smartphone interface was incredibly useful for performing the alignment
activity, and then I would turn off the Wi-Fi and go back to normal
usage. The App allows you to do any of the typical menus related
functions, such as resolution, mode and system changes. Its big downfall
is not having the ability to view recorded footage, so the optional LCD
BacPac is required. I didn’t find the mobile interface the most useful
for starting and stopping recording, since it required that the
smartphone was easily accessible, and in addition, the Wi-Fi used up
battery resources of both the camera and phone. The battery life for the
camera is mediocre at best, and tends to only last around 1.3 to 1.5
hours, and it gets worse with cooler temperatures, so a backup battery
is essential.

I
liked the handlebars or the helmet mounts myself, which worked the best
for my riding style, and also gathered footage that I preferred. With
the vast assortment of mounts, you can come up with some unique footage
and viewing angles, and perspectives, which make for more pleasurable
and interesting videos (meaning less boring). The Chesty harness
certainly adds flavor to footage, and I did use it on occasion for
variety. I have become quite lazy after countless hours of recording
video footage, and I’m not as industrious and inquisitive as I once was
in taking and getting unique and varying perspectives. Consider my
default helmet approach as plain Jane, lacking ingenuity, but at least
conveying the camera’s capabilities and the trails that I am riding
technicality and beauty. I still don’t like the tubby form factor of its
toaster oven shape, and although the Chesty mount keeps it tightly
against the body, all the other mounts leave it out to be hit by trees,
branches, bushes and other obstacles. It can be tough to tighten down
the thumb screws for the quick-release and pivots, else the housing can
creep out of position or can be easily dislodged.

One of my
favorite new accessories is the LCD Touch BacPac, which really opens up a
world of versatility to the camera. It makes setting resolutions and
modes simple and intuitive, and being able to view previously recorded
footage is very useful. The new Frame mount (a.k.a. The Naked Housing)
was my go-to camera holding system, as I liked its lightness, ease of
camera usage, and that the raw camera gave slightly better sound and
picture quality (perceived).

Using the HDMI connection, you can
stream live or record video to a display (TV) or external capture
device. It was nice to be able to watch previously recorded footage on a
big-screen TV, seeing things with exceptional clarity, spaciousness and
sharpness.

How
does it compare against the competition? The HERO3 still has the best
video clarity, though it has overly warm colors, followed by the HD
Ghost and then the Contour+2 and Replay XD. The HD Ghost has the best
usage factor, followed closely by the Contour+2, then the Replay XD,
with the HERO3 way behind in this category. We’ll have a six camera
shootout out shortly, which will help rough compare each model against
each other.

Bottom Line
The GoPro HERO3 Black Edition is an outstanding camera, and the
addition of the 12MB sensor and sharper lens, greatly increases the
clarity, vividness, and the colors that are captured. The colors were
warm and vibrant, although the reds and yellows were overtly so. It does
an excellent job in bright and variable light conditions, with a slight
drop in quality in subdued light, and it unfortunately lacks the
capabilities to adjust exposure or contrast for lower light conditions.
It has a plethora of useful and functional features, including a
built-in Wi-Fi, a remote with indicator light and LCD status screen, and
a tough waterproof housing, and a superb mounting system. The UI is
intuitive, and it’s easy to perform configuration settings and modal
changes, with the highlight being the main mode screen, which offers
lots of information, including resolution, FOV, and battery and SD
resource constraints. The menu system is still cumbersome and too
linear, albeit it’s at least effective. The built-in Wi-Fi lets the
camera wirelessly converse with mobile devices using the GoPro App to
align the camera, change settings and modes, and delete recorded
footage. I found the App to be extremely useful for alignment and mode
configurations, and then reverted to the normal buttons to start and
stop recording. The remote was quite functional, and its LCD screen and
two buttons emulated the camera, and although it was nice to have the
start and stop located on my wrist, the battery life wasn’t very long,
and it frequently would be a dead-on arrival unless the unit was always
juiced up.

It has a nice suite of video resolution settings,
including 1080p at 60, 48, 30 or 24 fps, 960p at 100 or 48 fps, 720p at
120 or 60 fps, and SD at 240 fps. It also has new professional
resolutions of 4K at 15 fps, 4K Cinema at 12 fps, 2.7K at 30 fps, 2.7K
Cinema at 24 fps, and 1440p at 48, 30 or 24 fps, and a Protune mode. The
1080p has three FOVs, 170º, 127º and 90º, the 720p has 170º and 90º,
while the 4K, 2.7K, 1440p, 960p and SD only use 170º. The highlight for
me was the new 960p 100fps, and it was my favorite resolution mode,
offering great coverage of the trail and smooth transitions and flow
with the slow mode setting. I didn’t really use any of the professional
resolutions or modes, and kept footage in basic raw or unedited formats.
I think professional and technical amateur videographers will find the
new resolutions and Protune mode extremely useful, and will give them a
lot more functionalities for the post editing process.

The
mounting system is excellent, and the vast assortment of mounts and
connectors, allows attachments and placements in almost in any desired
location. The quick-release buckle is easy to use and works universally
within their system, although the interface between it and the slider
mount can be sloppy without some minor modifications. The smooth arm
pivots can slip on each other unless some force is applied to the thumb
screws, usually using a screw driver, otherwise things move around too
easily. The camera and housing are tubby, and sit up perched high on
your head and bike, and tend to get knocked out of position, especially
if riding in the woods.

Final Thoughts
GoPro has a superb new
camera on their hands with the HERO3 Black Edition, and their excellent
mounting system, is joined by a mobile App, built-in Wi-Fi, a remote
that emulates the camera’s screen and buttons, and a slew of new
resolutions and frame rates that make for a great overall package. The
highlight of the camera is the 12MP sensor, sharper lens and faster
processor who work in synergy to create stunning footage.

Pros

  • 12MB sensor
  • Image and color quality
  • User-Interface
  • Bright and variable light sensitivity
  • Sharper lens
  • HDMI output
  • Professional resolutions – 4k, 2.7k, 1440p and Protune
  • Mounts
  • Remote
  • Wi-Fi
  • GoPro mobile App

Cons

  • Housing is tubby, aka the Toaster
  • Slight drop in footage quality in subdued light
  • No exposure and contrast adjustments
  • UI is greatly improved, but cumbersome and too linear
  • Red and yellows are too vibrant
  • Mediocre battery life – 1.3 to 1.5 hours
  • Mediocre battery life for remote
  • You can’t view recorded footage in GoPro mobile App
  • Quick-release buckle can be sloppy
  • Mounts can be difficult to tighten
  • Housing can creep or get knocked out of position

MSRP: $399.99

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Visit the GoPro HERO3 Black Edition Website

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