Looking at joining the Point of View (POV) phenomena that’s sweeping the World? Well GoPro has made it both easier and harder with the release of their newest Hero3 line. Where previously you really only had one model to choose from, GoPro now has three models; the White, Silver and Black editions. The form factor remains the same between the three models, much slimmer and lighter than the Hero 1 or 2, they all come with a waterproof housing (which now has a flat lense on it for better underwater video out of the box unlike the spherical lense for the Hero2) , but the specifications differ depending on the price point. So how do you decide which model’s right? Here’s a really quick guide of the major differences.
(p.s. if you can’t see videos in this article please turn off your ad block software, just don’t forget to turn it on again )
Lense - All three models use a F2.8, 6 element optics but the Silver Edition adds a aspherical lens and the Black edition adds a glass aspherical lense. Better quality lense means better image quality ultimately.
Low Light – This is something of interest to me however all GoPro tells you in the specs is the level is Consumer, Prosumer and Professional Grade respectively
Still Photos – 5 MP, 11 MP and 12 MP. More pixels, more detail, more options to enlarge your shots or crop them.
Burst Mode – The White Edition is restricted to 3 frames per second (3/1), the Silver adds 5/1 and 10/1 as well as a 10/2 second . To this the Black adds 30/1, 30/2 and 30/3. More frames per second or longer burst modes means that you’ve got a much better change of catching that “ultimate moment”.
Video Modes- This is where most people need to look if POV video’s their primary use:
- The White edition tops out at 1080p(16:9) and only supports Medium Field of View (FOV) in this mode and for slow motion it supports up to 60fps (720p).
- The Silver edition has 1080p (16:9) up to Ultra Wide FOV, up to 120fps (in WVGA) and also has Protune , a mode that makes for more flexibility in post-production for things like colour correction (kind of like RAW mode on a digital camera)
- The Black edition has all the bells and whistles with a maximum of 4K Cinema (17:9) , up to 120 fps (720p) and Protune Mode.
WiFi – Though all three editions now have Wi-Fi built in now, rather than via a separate BacPac,only the Black Edition comes with the Remote Control as standard. With the release of the Android and iOS Wifi apps however this may not be an advantage though the remote is 3m waterproof unlike most phones or tablets.
I’ve tried to cover all the major differences between the three models but it’s by no means an exhaustive comparison. Which model you go for really does depend on what you’re going to use your camera for, your level of experience and your video post-production workflow. Many people are comparing the White to the Hero 1 and the Silver to the Hero2 in terms of basic specification.
If you’re after fast and dirty videos or snapshots that you’re going to dump onto say Facebook with minimal post-production in lower resolutions then the White Edition may well do you just fine.
Those who are after more professional videos to load up in Full HD onto YouTube are probably better at looking at the Silver Edition as a minimum. It has much more flexible modes and Protune mode allows for much more flexible post-production work for more professional looking videos.
If you want true cinema production quality video or want to integrate with other professional video sources then the Black Edition is your unit of choice. One thing to note here is that as well as the additional cost of the camera, you’re going to need faster (and more expensive) micro-SD cards to support things like Cinema Mode and the higher burst modes and because of the file sizes created by some of these modes you’ll need much bigger cards as well.
The other thing to keep in mind is that while you can always take the Black Edition “down” in specs, you won’t be able to bring the White Edition “up”. So if you do have the money, the Black Edition will give you the most flexibility
This article is sponsored by GoPro.