The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition – My Review

Hi Nikki here,

Thanks for visiting my website. This is my uncensored review for the GoPro Hero3+ Black edition camera.

I will be covering all the essential details of the Hero3+ you need to know before you get it. I will be talking about the new features of the GoPro Hero3+ compared to the GoPro Hero3. Also, I will point out its biggest flaws which frustrated a lot of GoPro customers.

This is a review site.

To take a look at the GoPro Hero3+ on Amazon click here.

What is the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition?

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The GoPro Hero3+ is the successor of the GoPro Hero3. The GoPro Hero series are tough small HD cameras/camcorders specifically designed to be used in the most extreme conditions. Over the past few years the GoPro brand has proven to be one of the best in the extreme sports/adventure camera market.

The reason why the Hero3+ isn’t called the Hero4 is that the main core specification is the same as the Hero3. The Hero3+ Black Edition still uses the 12Mpixel CMOS to offer 4k resolution at 12.5 or 15 fps and 4k Cinema with 17:9 aspect resolution of 4096 x 2160 at 12 fps.

And of course there are the 2.7k cinema option at 30fps, 1440p at up to 48 fps and 1080p at 60 fps. Nevertheless, the Hero3+ has a number of significant improvements and alterations, for which GoPro customers have been asking ever since the release of the Hero3.

The improvements:

Hero3plus Black 1

-  A new mode of shooting, called the Superview mode. This mode is available when shooting 1080p or 720p footage. It provides a wider angle than the normal setting, avoiding the usual fisheye distortion that appeared in previous versions of the Hero.

- Smaller and lighter waterproof case. The camera itself is the same size and weight but the waterproof housing is now 20% lighter and 30% smaller. Moreover, the Safety switch on the housing has been simplified, making it easier to open the case.

- 30% longer battery life – GoPro has managed to increase the battery life by adding a bigger battery and tweaking the camera software for better energy optimization. The new battery is 1180mAH compared to the Hero3 1050mAh battery.

The old battery is compatible with the Hero3+, so if you have the Hero3 you can use its battery with the Hero3+ as well for some extra shooting time.

- Faster WiFi – 4x faster transfer and playback speeds to your mobile device. Also, the streaming preview, which enables you to see what the camera is seeing on your mobile device real-time has a longer range.

GoPro claims that you can get a signal from up to 182m/600ft with the new WiFi but on field testing shows these numbers are about 46m/150ft compared to the Hero3’s 14m/45ft. Although it’s not as much as GoPro claims, it’s definitely an improvement. And there is still the 1-2 seconds delay on the preview which is a little bit annoying.

- Improved image quality – Color and detail are noticeably improved over the Hero3, especially in low light conditions.

This is so because of the camera’s better lens and auto low light mode, which means when you shoot in dark conditions the camera auto-adjusts to compensate.

What are the bad things about the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition?

As great as the GoPro Hero3+ might look, there are several flaws worth mentioning.

1. Blurry images – A lot of people have noticed that when taking pictures with the Hero3+ that objects closer than 10ft look sharper, but objects farther away are blurrier than the Hero3. It looks like when GoPro said that image quality is improved they forgot to specify that it’s only for objects up to 10ft away. Nevertheless, many stated that they didn’t notice such a problem with the Hero3+, so it maybe a case of defect copies.

2. Contrast is too high – There are many complaints that contrast in Hero3+ is set too high, causing some loss in detail in shadows. This problem is fixable with firmware update, if GoPro decides to do it.

3. The new smaller waterproof case supports only 40m in depth, compared to the Hero3 case of 60m.  Anyway, this change only affects people who use the camera for deep underwater shooting. If you are one of these people, the good news for you is that the Hero3+ camera is compatible with the old case and vice versa. So, if you already have the Hero3 you can use the old case with the Hero3+ for some underwater action.

What are the good things?

Now let’s take a look at the most significant advantages of the GoPro Hero3+ Black edition.

1. Hero3+ doesn’t freeze up – One of the biggest complaints about the Hero3 is that it often freezes up unexpectedly resulting in lost footage, which is very frustrating to everyone.

GoPro banner

No one likes to mount the camera on their head, go skiing, diving, motorcycling etc. and afterwards to see that the camera froze up and most of the action was never recorded. Fortunately GoPro took care of that problem with the Hero3+.

2. Battery life is increased more than 30% – In Hero 3 you would normally get about 20-30 min of recording time before the battery dies. In Hero3+ you get a little more than 2 hours! That’s more than 200% increase. Now you can record a lot more footage without worrying about the camera dying.

3. Case buttons are bigger and more sensitive – Another annoying thing about the Hero3 was that the external case buttons were very small and hard to use in the middle of action. For example if you have skiing gloves on, or if you are underwater etc. The GoPro has made the Hero3+ buttons bigger and easier to use.

4. Improved microphone/audio recording – The cracking background noises you would usually hear when recording with the Hero3 are gone in the in the Hero3+, giving an overall better audio quality.

These are the most noticeable changes, improvements and flaws of the GoPro Hero3+ Black edition.

Final verdict

GoPro Hero3+ Alone

The main changes GoPro has made with the Hero3+ are with the casing, the battery life, the WiFi and the lens. And even though the GoPro Hero3+ isn’t as big leap as the Hero3 was compared to the Hero2 its improvements are still worthy of recognition.

The Hero3+ is basically the Hero3 perfected, its most annoying downsides fixed with a couple of new features. So, if you are wondering between the Hero3 and Hero3+ I strongly recommend the Hero3+.

All the updates and fixes are definitely worth the extra $70, in my opinion.

And if you already have the Hero3, you are satisfied with it and the improvements of the Hero3+ don’t impress you much, then I recommend you wait for the Hero4.

But if you are annoyed with all the Hero3’s flaws and are looking for a camera that resolves these issues then you should seriously think about purchasing the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition.

Click here to check out the GoPro Hero3+ on Amazon.

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The New Addition to the GoPro Series – the Hero3+

GoPro be a hero motherfaka

If you were thinking it’s that time of the year that we might see a new GoPro, then you’re right.

The king of the adventure/action cams has just revealed the GoPro Hero3+.

The Black edition is now 20% smaller. There are also improvements to the optics, that GoPro claims it has a 33% increase in image quality, while reducing artifacts by a factor or two.

Among the new features there’s a new 1080p “SuperView” mode which shoots footage from 4:3 aspect ratio and presents it in 16:9 view.

Other improvements include the new auto-low light mode that adjusts the frame rate on the fly, increase audio quality, 4x faster WiFi and wireless camera updates via your mobile device. Despite all these additions, GoPro claims that the Hero3+ has up to 30% extra battery life too.

The Silver Edition is not far behind, with 1080p now possible at 60fps and 720p at 120fps. So, all that’s left is for you to get 30% better at your activity of choice for 30% longer and we’re all even.

GoPro is allowing people to record and share life experiences in a way which was never before possible.

GoPro bike

Before GoPro is was very difficult for anybody to capture content of themselves doing anything without the help of somebody else to shoot them.

GoPro has enabled a new era of self-documentation where people can easily wear or mount small ultra wide angle GoPro cameras to record themselves doing just about anything, anywhere, at any time.

The result is a surge of user-generated and professional content made possible by the flexibility and affordability of GoPro cameras and accessories.

GoPro surfing

An average of about three GoPro “tagged” videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute and GoPro is used by the world’s leading production companies to help make some of today’s most engaging film and television footage.

Apart from being the best-selling camera world-wide in consumer markets, the GoPro Hero3 camera is also the best-selling camera to professional production companies, on a volume basis.

The Hero 3+ Black Edition – The most advanced GoPro Hero camera yet.

GoPro snowboard

- New innovative housing yield 20% smaller and lighter overall package when camera is put into housing. (waterproof 40m)

- 30% longer battery life.

- SuperView – a new video mode that captures the world’s most wide-angle perspective

- A new lens for improved image quality and sharper video.

- Auto Low light mode, which automatically adjusts frame rate when lighting conditions change.

The GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition – 2x more powerful

- 2x faster image processor than the Hero3 Silver Edition

- Enables 1080p60fps and 720p120fps video

- 4x faster WiFi for quicker transfer and playback of photos and videos from the camera to your mobile device, using the GoPro app.

- New mounts, more flexibility, better content

gopro-jaws-flex-clamp-swimming

GoPro is the world’s 2nd largest camera accessory brand, thanks to its industry-leading series of wearable and mountable accessories. Mounts and accessories are key to allowing the life-capture creativity of millions of GoPro customers worldwide. GoPro has announced several new mounts:

Jaws: Flex Clamp – It enables you to stick your camera to a variety of surfaces quickly. Try the optional opposable neck to allow for a wide range of camera positioning.

Thanks to its innovative design, Jaws can securely hold on to irregular shapes and slim objects.

GoPro kid chest strap

The Junior Chesty (Chest Harness)  – This is the child version of the adult Chest Harness.

Ideal for kids aged 3+, the Junior Chesty is great for capturing footage of a child’s world from their point of view, from slide and swings to skiing and skateboarding.
GoPro Headstrap Clip

Head strap + QuickClip  – The QuickClip is a brand new accessory the comes combined with the GoPro’s Headstrap.

The QuickClip allow for slow-profile, ultra compact mounting to baseball hats, belts and other objects ranging from 3 to 10mm in thickness.

Awesome Edits Made Easy: GoPro Studio 2.0

While Hero3+ cameras and accessories make it easy to capture amazing footage, the GoPro Studio 2.0 makes it easy to edit and share amazing videos. New in Studio 2.0 are the GoPro Edit Templates – templates that allow customization of some of GoPro’s finest videos, now available for free.

It’s as easy as choosing out a GoPro film you like and putting your own GoPro clips into the pre-made template for editing. Awesome soundtracks are included and all the edits are timed to the music by GoPro’s production team. Anyone can now easily create professional-looking videos, making it funnier than ever to GoPro.

GoPro studio 2.0

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The GoPro Hero3+ what more can you ask for?

After we’ve reviewed the Hero3+ and compared it to its predecessor, it’s time to take a closer look at the technical aspects of the Hero3+.

GoPro Hero3+ vs Hero3

If you think the Hero3+ looks a lot like the regular Hero3, well that’s because it does. Actually, there are almost completely identical.

I did mention in my review that the Hero3+ is 30% smaller and 20% lighter. But that is the waterproof housing, the camera itself is the same size.

A positive side effect for Hero3 owners is that they can buy the new housing only and reap the same benefit, since the new housing is compatible with the Hero3 and vice versa.

So, it’s a little misleading – when they read this at first people think that the actual camera is smaller, but most of the time when we use a GoPro camera it’s in conditions, which require the waterproof housing anyway.

The main functional change is that the slimmer case is now waterproof to 40m. The old, heavier one is now rebranded as a dive case for people who wish to dive up to 60m.

Apart from the size, there are some more notable changes to the housing that are worth mentioning. If you like small buttons, then this is bad news for you, as the new housing has bigger ones that are much easier to push, especially when wearing gloves.

The two-stage latch from the old housing has been replaced with a much simpler, one pop latch. If this seems less secure, then it may well be, but so far nobody has reported any problems with it. The only other significant difference is the black frame around the lens. The old housing has rivets and is bigger, while the new one is smaller, without any decoration.

GoPro Hero3+ vs Hero3 v2

As with the old one the actions LEDs and the power button are on the front. The shutter control is on the top along with one more LED and the WiFi switch is on the left side when you look at the lens.

On the other side you’ll find the micro-HDMI/mini USB connections and the micro SD slot. On the back you’ll find the battery cover hiding the 1180mAh cell and the Hero port for use with any of the relevant accessories.

On the inside is the same sensor as before, which grabs footage in a dizzying assortment of modes and frame rates.

You can start with 4k and go down to 2.7k, 1440p, 1080p, 960p, 720p up to WVGA. As a rule, as the resolution goes up, the frames per second go down. For instance, in WVGA, you can grab 240 fps, while the 1080p can provide 24,30,48 and 60 fps(for NTSC) or 24, 25, 48 and 50 (for PAL)

And by the time you get up to 4k, your choice for frames per second has diminished to 15 or 12.5 depending on your NTSC/PAL requirements. There are also a few varying aspect ratio options. If you’re shooting in 4k or 2.7k you can choose between 17:9 or 16:9 (that’s 2704 x 1440 in 2.7k or 4096 x 2160 in 4k).

There is even the good old 4:3 when shooting in 1440p. Moreover, there are also a number of field of view settings to choose from, with Ultra Wide available across the board, medium when shooting between 2.7k and 720p and narrow for 1080p and 720p only.

There are also the Superview and the Auto Low Light modes, which I both briefly talked about in my review.

The Superview mode basically takes the more inclusive, broader view of 4:3 and formats it in 16:9. GoPro claims it’s the “most immersive wide angle perspective”, but in lay terms, that’s all the footage you’d get in 4:3, just a little bit more TV-friendly (bigger view, no black bars).

The Auto Low Light Mode basically sacrifices frames per second in poor lighting conditions in exchange for a more exposed shot.

And if you want to take a break from the video setting menu, you can always go to the photo options. There’s less change here, with 5, 7 and 12MP modes and time lapse options from half a second up to once a minute.

GoPro accessories

The burst mode is little more flexible with the Hero3+, with 30 pictures per second and being joined by a host of other options – 30 per 2 seconds, 10 per second, right down to 5 or 3 per second.

Accessories that go with the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition.

If you are buying the Black Edition, you will get the waterproof housing we talked about above, a WiFi remote (worth $80 on its own), two sticky mounts (one flat, one curved), two quick release buckles, a three-way pivot arm and a charging USB cable.

This bundle is not as extensive as some of the old ones but even so, it should be enough to get you going.

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How GoPro changed the camera market

In a time when cellphones put video cameras into everyone’s pockets, GoPro is experiencing a steady growth in sales. Why? Maybe because of its line of extreme action video cameras. Video cameras that make ordinary people movie stars of their own self-shot action videos.

goPro logo black

The Secret of GoPro’s success: a series of mounts that enables its cameras to be attached to almost anything from ski and bike helmets to surfing boards.

GoPro’s cameras have also started winning the hearts and minds of professionals, who have used the cameras and their accessories to shoot swimming underwater alongside whales and burrow into rabbit dens for nature shows.

GoPro’s parent company, Woodman Labs Inc. has received a substantial amount of funding from outside investors. These investors, like Steamboat Ventures and Walt Disney Co., have seen the potential of GoPro’s unique approach to the market.

GoPro’s cameras are a part of a sub niche in the camera market, known as pocket camcorders. Even with the rising popularity of video cameras inside mobile devices (Apple, Samsung), the sub niche is seeing an increase in demand each passing day. The mobile device cameras are more convenient to use than traditional camcorders but lack many of the gadgets and extras, i.e. powerful zoom lenses.

In 2009, sales of pocket camcorders world-wide were just over $2 billion, growing 21% in volume sales to 13.6 million units in 2010 from the previous year, according to IDC research, which doesn’t have a dollar calculation for 2010.

Pure Digital – the producer of the best known pocket camcorder, the Flip was acquired by Cisco Systems Inc. in May 2009 for 590 million dollars. Steamboat Ventures, one of GoPro’s biggest investors was also an investor in Pure Digital.

The Steamboat managing director Beau Laskey, said that his company plans to assist in GoPro’s campaign to expand in the professional market.

Mobile phones and Flip cameras are most commonly used to record parties and other everyday events, while GoPro’s cameras are favored by sports enthusiasts for their unique ability to be attached to almost anything and withstand extremely harsh conditions.

woodmanjacket The founder and chief executive of GoPro – Nick Woodman, said that a big part of the camera’s charisma is that people can aim the camera at themselves while doing their favorite hobby and share the experience on YouTube, Facebook etc. The name of GoPro’s cameras – The Heroes is a hint to the notion it’s trying to appeal to.

Woodman has declined to reveal sales figure yet, but said that the company has been profitable ever since it was founded in 2002.

GoPro’s most unanticipated customers are television cameraman. GoPro claims its cameras have been used in more than 60 tv shows like – “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” and “Mythbusters”.

Andy B. Casagrande, a freelance photographer for Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, said that the simple design and affordable price of GoPro cameras have enabled him to film shots that were never before possible.

Casagrande has attached the cameras to a seal decoy in the waters off the coast of South Africa, so that he can shoot the inside of a shark’s mouth. He’s filmed similar inside “mouth shots” from tigers and grizzly bears. Furthermore he said that some of the cameras were eaten but the sharks spit them up eventually, without any harm to the cameras.

Ernie Montagna, equipment manager for “Original Productions”, the company behind “deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers”, has used GoPro cameras to film scenes that had long evaded him: crabs going into a crab pot on the sea bottom.

Nikki

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GoPro Hero3 vs Sony HDR-AS15

After talking so much about the GoPro Hero3 and Hero3+, I think is proper to make a comparison between the leader in the action camera market and its main counterpart. So, I will give you a side by side review of The GoPro Hero3 and its main competitor out there – The Sony HDR-AS15.

GoPro has been number one in the action camera market for some time and now Sony is attempting to challenge GoPro for the top spot with the HDR-AS15.

GoPro Hero3 YAAAA

Okay, now let’s look at the GoPro Hero3. The Hero3 has three variations – black, silver and white edition. All 3 have WiFi and are compatible with the same accessories but they differ a lot of in other areas.

The most basic is the White Edition, the Silver is designed to be a replacement of the Hero2 HD and on top we have Black Edition, which has a WiFi remote app included.

The Hero3 is about 30% smaller and 25% lighter compared to its predecessor the Hero2. Moreover it has a new designed lens system that allow for much better quality images during underwater shooting.

The buttons have also been improved – they are easier to use, even with the camera inside the waterproof case. The connections now are on the right side of the camera. The WiFi comes with an app for your mobile device, which you can use to control the camera from a distance and see live footage from the camera on your phone. It’s done very well and can be useful in many situations.

Now the Sony HDR-AS15 – what does it have?

Sony HDR AS15

This is Sony’s first action camera and is nicely built as one would expect. The fact that it’s a first generation camera means that Sony doesn’t have the ton of feedback that GoPro has received from their previous models to build on. And this can be seen once you take a closer look at it.

The HDR-AS15 has WiFi, just like the Hero3, but watch out when purchasing it as Sony has a non WiFi version as well. And it comes with a remote control app, again like the Hero3, which due to the poor design of the menu system turns it into more of a necessity than a perk.

But it does have one feature which makes it shine – it has inbuilt image stabilization and the Hero3 doesn’t. Although it’s not optical, it takes care of most of the low level vibration and works great.

Furthermore the Sony battery is better than that of the GoPro. Sony claims the camera can endure 13 hours at 1080p before dying, which is awesome for people who are shooting somewhere when they can’t charge the battery quickly. The waterproof case of the Sony relies on you removing the front cover off to put the camera inside.

The issue here is that the front cover is attached to the rest of the case by just a plastic strip with two small barbs. It’s likely that a lot of people will drop the cover off accidentally and lose it. On the other hand the case has a standard tripod mount, which doesn’t hurt.

Now let’s put the two cameras head to head:

GoPro Hero 3 vs Sony HDR-AS15 – Controls

The Hero3 control system is based on 4 buttons. It works nice and it’s easy to operate underwater or with gloves etc. GoPro also provides an alternative touch screen, which is not waterproof up to 60m it can be used up to 3m and it’s even easier to operate than the button system.

On the other hand the Sony camera has a control system that can be described with just one word – horrible.

Sony HDR AS15 Naked

When the camera is inside the waterproof case it has only one usable button. It would be fine if the menu could be navigated with that one button, but it isn’t. To alter any settings you need to rely on the two buttons on the side of the camera, but they’re unusable with the waterproof case on.It’s far from perfect.

Also the buttons are difficult to press wearing gloves, make everything even worse. You can use the remote control app to operate the camera but, getting out your phone when raining for example, is not a good idea. The Hero3+ clearly wins this round.

GoPro Hero 3 vs Sony HDR-AS15 – Image quality

The Hero3 really stands out here. The camera is able to produce amazing quality footage which is very close to DSLR quality. It’s incredible for a camera of this size to be capable of doing that. The Siler Edition also provides some good quality video, which is noticeably better than the previous generations of the Hero, but it’s worth mentioning that it suffers from rolling shutter sometimes.

The Image quality of the Sony is close to that of the Hero3 Silver, the levels of detail and ISO noise are similar. The image stabilization trump card of the Sony works great. It won’t be able to absorb the worst bumps, but it handles low level vibration just fine. The downside here is that the image stabilization decreases the field of view from 170 to 120 degrees, but the tradeoff is worth it unless you plan on shooting with super wide field of view. Unfortunately, the image stabilization is the only feature the makes the Sony shine above the GoPro Hero3 Silver.

The Sony’s waterproof case also has some downsides. The curved lens captures blurry and low definition footage. There is a special lens available for underwater, but given the fact the GoPro is so much ahead of Sony in that department, it doesn’t seem reasonable to pay extra for a decent underwater lens for the Sony camera.

GoPro Hero 3 vs Sony HDR-AS15 – Sound

We can’t really expect outstanding sound quality from this kind of cameras, especially if it’s windy when shooting, but I can definitely say the quality is decent. The sound in Hero3 is a huge improvement over Hero2. Sony is okay, it records good enough audio for most situations.

The thing here is that Sony’s sound system doesn’t record audio in the usual 60/120fps modes, which could be bad news for some people. If you really insist on excellent sound quality, then you should look for an external microphone for the camera, there are some really good ones out there.

GoPro Hero 3 vs Sony HDR-AS15 – The Accessories

Hero3 offers many accessories, which will provide something for almost any situation. The Hero3 doesn’t have a standard tripod mount, but in most cases you won’t need one.

Sony also has a wide range of accessories for its camera and their numbers continue to grow as the camera advances. Unlike The Hero3 Sony does have the usual tripod mount.

Both cameras have LCD screens available, with the Sony you need to remove the case to operate it but with the GoPro you won’t need to and GoPro’s is waterproof up to 3m depth.

GoPro Hero 3 vs Sony HDR-AS15 – Which one should you choose?

GoPro vs Sony

Well, The Hero3 Black Edition is the obvious winner. The quality it delivers is amazing for its size. It’s more expensive than the Sony, but it’s worth it.

If you can’t afford the Black Edition, it’s a little more complicated. The Sony has better image stabilization and battery life. The image quality is decent but not outstanding and the waterproof curved lens delivers mediocre results.

But the biggest flaw of the Sony is that terrible menu system. Although the Hero3 Silver doesn’t have the image stabilization, it has a better menu system and the case works great underwater. And the image quality… well there is not much to say here – the Hero3 Silver is just better.

So it’s up to you which one you choose.

Nikki

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The new Eye Mirro Gp 360 – an awesome gadget for your GoPro

After doing my GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition review and several other articles about the hero3+ accessories, I just found a new gadget that I know you guys are going to love – the Eye Mirror GP36o.

gp360 gopro panormic virtual tour camera-718x500

It can be attached to the front of a GoPro, DSLR and other video cameras. It captures 360 degree video and stills. You can then watch the footage on your PC or mobile phone and share it on the Eye Mirror website.

The GP360 has been tested down to 60 meters underwater, at up to 160 miles per hour during skydiving and in extreme arctic conditions. And that’s pretty impressive.

The product’s website has a lot more info, including links to demos that let you move the view around 360 degrees, while the video plays.

There are different variations of the lens, for different cameras. The lens in the picture above is specifically for a GoPro camera. If you are using it with a Black Edition you can take advantage of the modified firmware allowing you to capture footage equivalent of quad HD vertical resolution 2042×2042  in 24 fps.

Click Here to visit the official Eye Mirror Website.

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition Review

Nikki

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