GoPro Hero3 black edition

Discussion in 'Paddling Photography' started by mikec, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. mikec

    mikec Paddler

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    Sept-Îles, QC
    Anyone using this yet?

    Am looking at purchasing in immediate future, the bluetooth enabled wireless control via Ipad or IPhone for up to 50 cameras at 600 feet just seems.....out of this world interesting.

    THR crew in the mix on this?
     
  2. Philip.AK

    Philip.AK Paddler

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    Kodiak, Alaska
    I have a gopro 2 with the wifi backpack. The new gopro 3 basically just incorporates the wifi internally. Otherwise the function is roughly the same.

    When the wifi system first shipped, all was good. Operating the camera via the remote was great. 600 feet seems very optimistic to me, even line of sight, but if the camera went out of range it would continue doing what it was doing last (recording, idle, etc) until it picked up the signal again. That was good.

    Then gopro finally, after promising for about a year, finally released the iOS app. The app pretty much sucks. It feels beta. You can't do much with the camera using it. The 'live view' has about a 4 second delay. The camera freezes and crashes when using the wifi remote or the app to control the camera now thanks to a half-baked firmware update. You have to pull the battery out of the camera to release it from its zombie state. The camera also freezes when it loses wifi signal.

    Anyway, things will probably improve over time with future firmware and software updates, but for now it's all been rushed out the door in beta form to keep holiday shoppers from buying Contour cameras instead. Apparently whole orders of early Blacks needed to be recalled because they were totally defective. I am going to buy one, but I may wait a month or two in order to let gopro get their stuff sorted.
     
  3. mstoc.co

    mstoc.co Paddler

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    Location:
    Victoria
    The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition has been one of the best and worst purchases I have made. Here is my 2 cents after using it since April, 2013.

    The good:
    The reason I purchased it was to help me become a better paddler. It was suggested to me, after completing my PC Level 1 course by my instructor, to use it as a tool to see myself, my edging, my body position, etc, when practicing the different stokes taught in the course. Over the spring/summer, I even used it to teach myself how to roll.

    When I compare my footage to my friend's older GoPro, the lens on the Hero3 Black Edition has the same very wide field of view with far less fisheye effect. The footage is more realistic, especially in the centre of the frame.

    The waterproof case is really that good and there are a number of good options for mounting the camera.


    The bad:
    Battery life on the Black Edition is down right terrible. A little over an hour recording time is what I typically get without using the WiFi. I have since purchased a second battery ($25)

    The WiFi is unreliable when using the either the GoPro Remote or the iOS app on an iPhone. The moment you roll and the unit is underwater, the WiFi connection is lost and when you are back upright (seconds later) it takes nearly a minute to re-establish its peering (if it ever does). The distance between these units is from my cockpit to the just past the hatch cover on my bow; not a long distance for a wireless signal.

    There have been a number of firmware updates; all have been beta quality. Although the iOS App is the best so far, there is no way that I have found to update the firmware on the WiFi Remote that is packaged with the Hero3.

    The WiFi Remote was a selling feature but is next to useless for me. The design allows me to easily strap it to my paddle shaft where it sits unobtrusive but that is its only redeeming quality. The unit does not charge with its proprietary cable unless I take the tip of a knife and scratch the dirt or corrosion off of the two, tiny brass contacts. I am very diligent at rinsing the salt off of my gear too. When I finally get the WiFi Remote to accept a charge, it puts itself immediately into scanning mode. If the camera is in the vicinity when I charge the remote, it turns on the camera, burning through the precious battery life the camera has. Who designs this stuff?

    The video in the iOS app is delayed by 4 seconds. Really? There is a ton of bandwidth in the WiFi spec to provide near real time video (evidence by apps like Skype and FaceTime).


    My conclusion:
    Other than the upgraded lens, the pieces that I like in the good column are qualities that could apply to any other GoPro camera, Sony Action Cam, Contour, et al. The Black Edition can be easily found for (retail) $130 less than when I first purchased less than 7 months ago. In releasing this product, GoPro, the company, has done Zero (with a capitol Z) to earn my business again.
     
  4. Philip.AK

    Philip.AK Paddler

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    Kodiak, Alaska
    I will add that I bought a Hero3 Black and hated it. The colors had a strong red shift and the exposure was consistently dark with very poor shadow detail compared with the Hero2. There was also considerable fall off in sharpness near the edges. The Black supposedly has better optics, but after shooting test pattern stills I concluded that the opposite was true. I then bought a Hero3 Silver, and while it had better optics and exposure than the Black, the color fidelity was still lacking. Other than the size of the units, the new Hero3 cameras are a step back in quality in every regard.
     
  5. Tatlow

    Tatlow Paddler

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    Nanoose Bay
    I seldom regret a purchase. The Hero 3 Black was money not well spent for me. Two big issues for me: poor battery life (if not poor then terrible) and it is not user friendly for those of us with weak IT skills. Have gone back to taking vignettes on my waterproof camera.
     
  6. chodups

    chodups Paddler

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    This is a very helpful thread. Thanks to all for their candor.
     
  7. Outsider

    Outsider Paddler

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    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Has anyone tried out the new GoPro Hero 3+ yet? Just wondering if the concerns that are being expressed by you folks have been addressed in this latest issue. Plan to buy such a camera soon.