GoPro HD Hero 3 AnnouncedBy Bryn De Kocks on 2012-10-17
GoPro have just unveiled the specifications for their new generation of mounted sports cameras. The GoPro Hero 3 will likely grab an even tighter hold of the already dominated market, where GoPro have found themselves leading over the past few years. Other companies have tried to revitalize their products in order to keep up with the ever popular GoPros, but ultimately have not yet managed to capture the power, functionality and quality that GoPro manage to pack into their cameras.
The HD Hero 3 looks to focus on creating a smaller and lighter camera, while at the same time increasing the features and enhancing both video and photo quality. It's difficult not to be impressed by the Hero 3 by looking at what it provides, at least on paper. The Hero 3 range is said to be at least 30 percent smaller than the HD Hero 2, and 25 percent lighter. They have also included built in wifi, which while of limited use to some, is a huge positive advancement for many others. The processor of the camera is claimed to be twice as fast as it's predecessor, this makes the camera able to handle higher quality video at higher frame rates. The higher end of the Hero 3 range allows for 4k resolution video at 15 FPS, while supporting 60fps at 1080p, 100fps at 960p and 120fps at 720p. This is a vast improvement from the Hero 2 which recorded at a maximum of 48fps at 960p and 30fps at 1080p. This information would support the claim that the Hero 3 can in fact double the performance of it's predecessor, the HD Hero 2.
The design of the GoPro Hero 3 is similar to that of the Hero 2, though slightly slimmer. It's good to see GoPro sticking to a design that has proven to be successful, while only making minor cosmetic changes, most of which are due to design enhancements, one of which is a new, flatter lens. There are currently 3 models in the range, the entry level model which is referred to as the 'White Edition', the intermediate model which is called the 'Silver Edition', and then the top of the market model which has all the bells and whistles - the 'Black Edition'. Another impressive feature is the ability to control up to 50 cameras from a distance of up to 600ft using a remote. This remote is included in the Black Edition, while can be purchased separately for the other Hero 3 models for around $80.
Due to the fact that the Hero 3 has only been announced hours ago, there aren't really any performance tests out yet and will likely come in at a later stage, though the claims are that the Hero 3 (Black Edition) is twice as sharp, twice as powerful as before when under low light conditions and all models also have received a reduction in the wide angel distortion.
The photographic specifications on the GoPro HD Hero 3 are slightly enhanced from the Hero 2, in specific models. The entry level model, as with the Hero 2, comes with a 5 megapixel sensor, while the intermediate model has been bumped up from an 8 megapixel to an 11 megapixel sensor, while finally - the top of the line model has been bumped up from an 11 megapixel sensor to 12 megapixels. All three models have the ability for burst shots, with the White Edition offering a maximum of 3 shots per second, the Silver Edition providing up to 10 shots per second with its burst mode feature, while the Black Edition takes the cake with an amazing 30 shots per second burst firing option.
GoPro HD Hero 3 - Specifications
GoPro HD Hero 3 (White Edition)
GoPro HD Hero 3 (Silver Edition)
GoPro HD Hero 3 (Black Edition)
The waterproof housing for the Hero 3 has been developed to be smaller and fit close to the new flatter lens. Lens distortion under water is often a factor in wide angle underwater photography or filming, and it may have been one of the driving forces behind the decision to adopt a flatter lens in their design.
The storage and ports have changed slightly since the previous releases and now contains a mini-USB for syncing and charging, while having micro HDMI for video output. The Hero 3 will use a micro SD card, as opposed to the regular SD cards used in previous versions.
The big question for many GoPro owners is going to be whether it is worth them upgrading their current setup for the new Hero 3. For the most part the White and Silver editions are along the same lines as the Hero 2, the Silver Edition just having a few new tweaks and enhancements, which may be enough for some to consider the upgrade. But from what we've seen on paper, the Hero 3 Black Edition looks to be a different beast and we have high expectations for the results of any tests that are going to be performed with this camera in the near future.
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