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GoPro has unveiled two updated cameras… the Hero3+ Black and Silver editions.  We’ve got one on order and should have some test footage up in a few days.  Here are the highlights of what’s new (and a few myth busters for marketing hype).

  • It’s Smaller. GoPro boasts that the Black is 20% smaller and the Silver is 15% smaller.  The press release says “Innovative new housing yields a 20% smaller and lighter overall package when camera is installed in housing (waterproof to 40m).” We’ll see. Sounds like the CASE is smaller… not the camera. When I look at mounts on their website (particularly the most difficult underwater wrist mount).  I’ve yet to see a side-by-side photo outside of the waterproof case (which I think is what makes it smaller).

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  • 30% Longer Battery Life. I look forward to testing this claim. Batteries claim to be the same (thank goodness). But they do claim better battery performance.  Ranges look to be one and a half to two hours for recording (depending on frame rate and frame size).  This drop down to as low as one hour as you add WiFi, remotes, or LCDs (to be expected).
  • Improved Lens. The HERO3+ Black Edition promises a 33% increase in image sharpness t and 2x reduction in imaging artifacts.  I look forward to some side-by-side testing this weekend.
  • 4x Faster Built-in Wi-Fi. The camera’s improved Wi-Fi looks to support better remote monitoring with the GoPro app. This means faster transfers and potentially better live video monitoring. GoPro promises a 1 second latency as opposed to the previous 4 second lag.
  • Wider Shots. With a new feature called SuperView, you are supposed to be able to capture a wider angle shot.  This should be great for sports and action, but does lead to a more distorted image.  I don’t see this feature helping most users who care about image quality.
  • Auto Low Light mode.  I consider this one to be a bit deceptive.  They didn’t seem to actually improve the sensor, rather the camera automatically switched to a half frame rate when lighting gets too low.  Useful yes…  but you need to know how the camera achieves this trick.
  • 12MP photos up to 30 frames per second. As a burst camera, I love to use the GoPro remotely.  It’s useful for capturing action as well as remote or hard to get shots.

Our recommendation, spend the extra hundred dollars on the GoPro Black.  At $399 its a great deal.  The photo performance of the Black also makes it a worthwhile remote camera.  Once I put the camera’s head to head (I own the Black and Silver models of previous edition) I’ll make recommendations on the upgrade.

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Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Awesome! I’ll be looking for your footage as I was just going to buy the Hero 3 Black edition and the clerk told me the new one was coming out any day now.

    Reply
  2. Reblogged this on JustLeon.net | Random thoughts, Musings and Ideas and commented:
    I can’t wait to see the footage from the new Hero 3. I am so stoked.

    Reply
  3. […] and Black. It got me thinking how these new Heros will actually differ from the previous version. Photofocus does a good job at analyzing the technical specs. I’m looking forward to seeing some side by […]

    Reply
  4. The camera is identical size to H3. Case is smaller.
    Improvement in battery life is actually *much* better, because H3 Black never could come close to claimed record time. H3+ Black will achieve claimed runtime. “Faster Wifi” does not appear to improve the massive preview lag in the GoPro phone/tablet app one bit. SuperView does not make the image wider. It takes a full frame image shot at 4:3 ratio and then squishes it vertically back down into 16:9. You see more, but everything looks a little shorter/flatter/fatter..

    Reply

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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.

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