Review: Go Pro Hero 3
By now you’ve probably seen some recorded footage of a daredevil stunt that makes you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat. Do you wonder just how someone made that happen?
That would be courtesy of a nifty little camera (also known as an action camera) that is attached via a little box to a car, helmet, or anywhere else you can attach one.
The Go Pro Hero 3 is designed to go where other cameras can’t and it allows you to experience exactly what the stunt performer is doing.
What is a Go Pro Hero 3?
The simplest description is that the Go Pro Hero 3 is a powerfully tough piece of equipment in a smaller package. You can use this camera in just about any condition – from scaling Mt. Everest to swimming with dolphins in the Bahamas.
GoPro has been a major force in the industry for the past ten years and has built up a reputation for developing a sports and adventure action camera. As leaders, they continue to hold on to their mantle and push forward as pioneers in this particular line of cameras.
There are three lines of the Go Pro Hero 3 camera – Black, Silver, and White editions. Each one is just a bit different with a range of megapixel counts as well as frame rate differences between them. The top model is the Black while the one with the least megapixels and frame rates is the White. There is also a Surf Edition that is designed for mounting the camera to a surfboard.
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Go Pro Hero 3 Features
They all come with built-in Wifi and a case that will allow you to go underwater without needing a new casing. Other perks of the new Hero 3 include the lighter weight compared to the previous Hero 2 as well as its overall reduced size.
Each Go Pro Hero 3 also has a microSD memory slot to add plenty of storage space to hold on to those memories that you’re making. Everything is securely held within the plastic housing, too.
You can drop the case, submerge it, and toss it around without worrying about whether or not you’re going to break it. Of course, you don’t want to do that repeatedly, but if it happens, your camera will still be fine.
If you have an older model, you won’t need to buy a new mount, either, because they’re compatible with the latest version. You might even say the newest version has been improved by design because they have bigger buttons, making it easier to handle.
The LCD touchscreen option makes using the Go Pro Hero 3 much more user-friendly when you want to do a quick check on the footage you’ve already recorded. The easy to navigate camera is also compatible with both the Android and iOS platforms.
When comparing the different editions, you’ll find that the Black Edition has a higher resolution at 12 megapixels while the Silver has 11 megapixels and the White has only 5 megapixels. If you opted for the Black, then you’d also be able to choose to shoot at 7 or 5 megapixels if you needed to do so.
The Black edition also has an impressive level of frames per second, or fps, with varying speeds available on the different models. With the Black Edition, you can expect up to 30 fps with options to go with lower speeds if desired.
The Silver edition goes up to 10 fps, and the White is 3 fps to capture a large number of burst shots over a shorter period of time. If you’re more interested in video quality, then you’re going to love the choices you have available to you.
Both the White and Silver models offer 1080p video at 25 fps which provides fantastic resolution. The Black Edition, however, provides 1080p Full HD video quality that is captured in a choice of 50/48/25 fps. You can also choose to record video at 720p for high definition slow motion playback.
What Makes the Go Pro Hero 3 Unique?
Image: Go Pro Hero 3 used with permission from Youtube.
Go Pro has been at the helm of action cameras for quite some time now. They keep making changes and innovations to their line as time goes on.
Depending on where you choose to use the Go Pro, the accessories that you can find to go with it are exemplary. Go Pro makes sure that you can attach your camera to pretty much anywhere you can think of from a surfboard to a helmet to the top of your car.
The addition of the LCD screen helps to make it easier to navigate the menus, too, although you may struggle a bit if you’ve got gloves on.
Do keep in mind that the Go Pro Hero 3 is no longer available directly from Go Pro, so you’ll have to do some searching if you’ve got your heart set on this model. The more recent models are available for purchase on their website as well as authorized resellers. You’ll need to check first though to see if they’re in stock.
Pricing varies by outlet and by package selected. Go Pro does not actually make this model anymore with the most recent ones being the Hero 5 and Hero 6, so you’ll have to go through a third-party seller.
You can find the Black Edition at Walmart for around $200, and the package available includes a ton of extra accessories, so you’ll get plenty of quality pieces for the price you’ll pay.
If you wanted to look for a lower price tag, you could find the Silver or White Editions for anywhere from $160 to $180 depending on what comes with it.
You can also find the Go Pro Hero 3 in all editions on Amazon. If you go to Amazon to make your purchase, be prepared to pay quite a bit more for it.
Keep in mind that the only warranties available for this particular camera are going to be extended warranties provided by the sellers. The only way for the camera to be under manufacturer warranty is if it happens to be purchased as a certified refurbished unit
Real Reviews from Real People
The best place to find reviews is going to on sites like Amazon. There are plenty of positive and negative reviews, although the majority are overwhelmingly in favor of the Go Pro Hero 3.
James Alexander states that “my first action came I bought and I am happy to say that I do not regret purchasing it! Crisp clean photos and nice color balance. Only down fall is the audio quality. You may want to invest in a better-quality mic because when the case is on especially there is lots of distortion in the audio.”
A. Johnson left a few words, too. “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.”
S. Danielson wrote, “Don’t expect the sound or low light recording to be very good. That’s not what this camera is for, so I’m not going to dock any stars for that…. however, I have to dock a star for how it names video files. Understandably, it splits videos into 20 minute segments, creating separate video files, which is fine. The problem starts when you have more than one video, each with multiple segments. When in this situation, the fil names don’t organize in the correct order, so they have to be sorted and renamed to keep them organized in proper order.”
Another Amazon Customer who prefers to remain anonymous stated, “I got my refurbished GoPro after my other one stopped working. It looks brand new. The sound and video quality is perfect, and everything seems to be working great. I can’t register it on GoPros site, but that doesn’t really bother me so long as I can upload videos. I would definitely recommend this seller if you need a GoPro replacement quick and don’t have the money to buy a new one immediately.”
Britishpete207 also had a positive experience. “The camera works great! I had a hiccup at first because the battery came with it lasted 40-45 minutes with 1080p 30fps with no wifi. The lady Meagan was very nice and I explained to her what I did with the camera. They couldn’t get hold of me later in the day. Though I had a surprise mail from them with another battery brand new. So the customer service was above average and now I will continue with the good experience. Now the review of the camera is great. I have no issues but it’s old camera and you may have an issue with replacement batteries down the road. Doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack, but I got this as a 2nd camera.”
How the Go Pro Hero 3 Compares to Other Cameras
You may be wondering if spending the amount that the Go Pro Hero 3 costs is really worth the price tag. If you can find it for a cheaper deal like at Walmart, then sure, the price is worth it.
If you do not see it for less than about $100 for where you’re at, then compare it to other models that are comparable in features and abilities.
The Sony HDR-AS15 also has Wifi built in as well as a frame rate with the same specifications. Originally, these cameras from Sony were less expensive than the Hero 3’s, but since they have been out for quite some time, you shouldn’t have any problems finding decent pricing.
If you’re a professional that expects a variety of resolution features and options, then you’re going to be happy to know that the Black Edition offers what you’re looking for. You can’t beat the portability for the price and available features.
Yes, there are more options that are newer like the Hero 5 and Hero 6, but the reality is that if you’re starting out or don’t want to spend much, then you’re going to be happy with the Go Pro Hero 3.
What We Think About the Go Pro Hero 3
We think that the high-end resolution options for the Black Edition are fantastic. The range in frame rate is excellent and gives you high variability.
The only thing we’re not crazy about is the way that the Hero 3 doesn’t exactly do its best work in low-light conditions. You’re going to be limited to places that are well-lit to get the best pictures, regardless of the edition you choose to purchase.