GoPro cameras capture footage from unique angles that might be impossible otherwise. The more active you are, the most you stand to gain from having a GoPro in your camera bag. There are a number of different models that offer a range of functions, some of which you don’t need and really don’t need to pay extra to have.
The two most important questions to ask are how are you going to use the GoPro and what do you want to do with the footage? The latter question is easier to answer and use to make selections.
Video Quality – How Will You Use the Footage?
With the two most recent types of GoPro cameras, the Hero2 and Hero3, you have two maximum video resolution settings: 1080p/30 fps on nearly everything, and 4k Cinema/15 fps on the Hero3 Black and Hero3+ Black, black being the top of the line right now. The Hero3 White also has the fewest megapixels at five, while the Silver has 11 with a 10 fps burst mode option, and the Black has 12 mp plus 30 fps burst mode. The Black is also about $120 more than the Silver, which is roughly $30 more than the White, coming in at around $200. So to get the kind of video quality that you can blow up onto a large screen for a movie, you need the Black. If you want the most dramatic slow-motion shots, you need the higher fps of the black.
However, if you are only going to be viewing these videos on your computer and sharing them with friends on smaller televisions, the Silver is more than serviceable. This applies to nearly any kind of videography and photography. The White’s only downside on video quality is the lower number of megapixels, but at five megapixels you could still expand photos and video to 11” x 14” and maintain excellent quality, meaning no noticeable pixilation.
Performance – How and Where Are You Going to Use Your GoPro?
Uses range from the relatively normal, such as just wanting a hand-held camera you can take in the water on vacations and maybe mount on your dog when you take a hike, to the extreme, including mounting them on surf boards, skis, and dirt bikes. The more extreme the use, the more robust the kit of accessories you need in your GoPro camera bag. The higher-end models come with more accessories, and you can find a range of different packages. These include the standard waterproof housing and a wrist mount, handlebar and seatpost mounts, specialized mounts for various boards, and other unique accessories. The Hero2 and Hero3 Black are also available with specific packages, such as the Adventure, Motorsports, and Outdoors editions.
The basic package that comes with the White and Silver Hero3 includes waterproof housing, a quick release buckle, and a pair of adhesive mounts. Silver affords you a three-way pivot arm. This is enough for most people. One caveat: buying the more expensive Hero3 with a special edition is cheaper than buying the less expensive option and purchasing extra equipment later. So you have to weigh the chances of that against saving money now if you don’t currently need extreme use accessories.
GoPro cameras make a range of interesting photography and videography possible. If you already have a nice DSLR kit and want to maximize the effectiveness of your budget, answer these questions to determine which GoPro is right for you.