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GoPro Hero 3 - Firmware Update and Stability Issues

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After a hyped release and what looked on paper to be an outstanding action camera, the GoPro Hero 3 has come under all kinds of scrutiny since its release late last year. While there appears to be a large number of users who are happy with their purchase, there is also a fair sized pool of users who are not happy with their product.

A page on the Gethypoxic website dedicated to listing each of the GoPro Hero 3's issues, as well as potential workarounds has seen comments from a vast amount of users who feel as though their purchase of the Hero 3 was a mistake, many of whom recommend that those with GoPro Hero 2s avoid the upgrade to the Hero 3, citing that the GoPro Hero 2 offers a more stable and in turn, better user experience. One user who claims to have more than 20 years of software experience, suggests that the Hero 3 was rushed out too quickly in order to meet seasonal demands. He goes on to cite the need for an 'out of the box' update requirement.

The Issues

One of the more noted problems with the GoPro Hero 3, is the lack of continuous exposure adjustment when using the 'Photo Every Second' mode, which takes a still photo every second. The Hero 3 Black will set the exposure when it is turned on and fail to then adjust to allow for still images to be properly exposed, should one move from a dark to a light environment. Instead the exposure is locked to the automatic exposure setting based on the lighting when the camera is first turned on. Of course this means that skydivers, who will be exiting into much lighter conditions, will almost always end up with washed out images. This renders the 'Photo Every Second' mode virtually useless to skydivers. One would have to start the camera once one had already exited, a less than desirable action to have to do.

The GoPro Hero 3 has also been known to turn off at unexpected times, often during connection to a television display or when using the USB cable to download. The cause for these shutdowns are not known, but there is the assumption that it may be related to an overheating problem.

There have been many accounts of cameras freezing or locking up during filming.

Several other small and more isolated issues also exist with the GoPro Hero 3 range.

A number of other issues were present at the time of the camera's release, though updates released by GoPro since then have managed to fix many of them. Is it all a bit late though?

With the current action camera market seemingly exploding, steps such as releasing a camera before sufficient testing can prove dangerous. One thing that has to go to GoPro is that they are generally quite quick to release updates to fix certain issues. We are however surprised that the exposure issue, which proves to render an entire feature useless for a certain market - has not yet been fixed.

Good News

The good news for GoPro fans or those with the Hero 3 that are still encountering the exposure lock issue, is that GoPro have responded to the bug, which as it turns out - isn't a bug at all.

A forum user posted the following response from GoPro regarding this issue:

"Sorry about the problems with exposure locking in the two shortest time lapse intervals. Would you believe that was intended as a feature and it's not a bug? My understanding is that some folks in the skydiving community asked for it, but since then we've heard lots of complaints from other skydivers, so we've asked the engineering folks to make it an option you can turn on or off.

For now be aware that in the two shortest time lapse modes, 0.5 and 1.0 seconds, the exposure will latch on to the values encountered at the first frame. For time lapse intervals of 2.0 seconds and longer each frame will be imaged using auto exposure.
Remember that if auto-exposure results in flickering you can improve and smooth out the assembled video by invoking the De-flicker filter from the Advanced Settings menu of our free Cineform Studio software.

Keep an eye on the forums and check in to the firmware update page every few weeks for when the update hits.
Thank you so much for your feedback."

GOPRO HERO 3 Black Firmware revision 02.37

While the above quote seemed to suggest that there would be a fix for the exposure lock in the latest firmware upgrade, it seems that the new GoPro Hero 3 Black upgrade did not contain a fix to the problem. Rumours are now that the adjustment of the exposure lock issue will happen with the next update. The fact that GoPro are aware of this issue and seemingly aiming to solve it, it is a fair assumption that it won't be long before they release a new upgrade that will take care of this. As for now though, there's a lot of frustrated skydivers who were hoping that this new update would solve some of their problems.

While GoPro do not have the changelog available on their site yet for the new firmware update, the following changelog has been published elsewhere.

HERO3: Black Edition

Current firmware version: HD3.03.02.37
Wi-Fi version:
Release date: 04/03/2012

Feature Enhancements:
FW version # is now visible on upon startup.
Narrow FOV 1080p30/1080p60 (Protune)
Narrow FOV 720p60 (Protune)
Medium FOV 720p60 (Protune)
Default start-up mode is now 960p48

At this point it seems to be a wait and see scenario with regards to the fixing of many of the Hero 3's bugs, but we have no doubts that GoPro are working hard to solve these issues and that sooner rather than later, we'll see these issues being addressed in coming updates.

Do you own a GoPro Hero 3? Comment below and share your experience with using this camera.

By on 2013-04-09 | Last Modified on 2014-05-12

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.  | Votes: 4 | Comments: 14 | Views: 64760

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Juzzie  2013-04-09

I'll let you know how it goes...

missed out on approx 20+ jumps due to camera mal's

efs4ever  2013-04-10

I'm attempting a firmware upgrade and the camera is connected to computer. When the software starts it's looking for a wifi backback and does not report seeing my H3 Black.

ChipK3  2013-04-10

soooo not happy with my hero 3. i've missed out on multiple jump vids because of it. plug it in to charge overnight, wake up in the morning and the charge light is still on. it then has only 1 battery bar. battery life (when it does charge) is still horrible. shuts off on jumps randomly.
i updated it last night and will test it out this weekend. hope the issues go away but doubtful... worst $400 ever spent

Majed_3  2013-04-14

I was so close to buy the GoPro 3 black edition till i read many user review about freezing and camera stop working.... Also i found a lot of complain about customer service bad response .... Then i decide to wait more and explore another options

dmcculloch  2013-04-22

Since the latest update it is running fine, with the only exception being the white balance on time lapse mode of photo every 0.5 and 1 sec. Holds charge, got just over an hour run time on 2.7k 30fps wifi on. I was sceptical but took the plunge, (usually I am the one who always gets the dud product) but am very happy with the camera. 1080p 60fs is incredible. Have not had a problem with freezing, battery, it does get a little hot of running constant 1hr, but cools down quick also.

dmcculloch  2013-04-22

If it helps the update process was a pain in the ass. Flash didn't work properly so had to do the manual way, but once I figured it out all was good. :)

spencer  2013-05-02

It was myself that Gopro sent the above reply to. I have taken a refund for the black edition. Back to using the 2. There are so many things I liked about the back, but the .05 exposure lock I cant live with. Once they sort that out I will get another or I might wait for the hero 4, in the hope they have learnt there lesson

skykatherine  2013-05-06

What about the GoPro Silver ... do you get the same issues with white balance on the still frame photos? I just bought the Silver only for shooting skydiving Photos. I have the CX100 for video :)

kgimedia  2013-05-08

I'm not a Jumper but I am a Video professional. Can any body here explain why on earth you would willfully choose to record only 1 or .5 frames a second? I understand your issues with the exposure completely but the mode choice is mind boggling. I, and many other pros, on the other hand have been begging for exposure lock in video mode. I have even considered the $1000 GoPro hack that would give me that feature.

bk1411  2013-05-09

It's not 1 or .5 frames a second. It means it will take one picture per second or a picture every half second. It's for us who are using the hero3 as for tandem pictures. And exposure lock is useless for this because all of your photo's become whitewashed when you turn the camera on in the plane (and you certainly don't wanna be fiddling with it on the step when your doing the count)

kodymfk  2013-05-10

does the 1080p 60fps take forever to load videos up? and download?

vanakaru  2013-05-29

I am very happy with my HD3 as I have been with my HD2. No problems whatsoever. Since I have HD2 bacpacs I can use these with both cameras and battery bacpac for HD2 provides longer shoot time due to larger battery.
I one of these who wanted exposure lock at the first frame. When doing time lapse of cloudy sky there is no other way avoid constant washout of blue sky or clouds. This feature is absolute must for me and I am very happy that HD3 has it. But exposure lock option for video would be what I am looking forward to as well.

pernavia  2013-06-08

I have bought my GoPro Hero3 and after proceeding with the firmware update the vídeo watched on both LCD Display and PC is too dark like a night view display. It's also freezing all the time.
Because there's no support in Brazil It's difficult for me to fix this problem. Somebody know what can I do to fix it?

clusterit  2013-08-05

Current as of July 29, 2013

This camera software update provides the following additional features and fixes:
•Enables compatibility with new GoPro App features
•Corrects HDMI TV preview from low res to high res
•Fixes forced exposure lock on 0.5 and 1 second time-lapse intervals

I think this fix is what you all are talking about

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