I’ve been fortunate enough to have a GoPro Hero3 to test and take photos and video with the past few months and have had a blast incorporating it into my day to day activities, as I am out surfing or swimming every day more-so than taking photos. I would never replace my DSLR set-up for one of these, but for the times when having a huge camera in the water isn’t necessary, the GoPro is a perfect and convenient solution.
Though my evaluation of the GoPro Hero3 might be a bit premature and not 100% complete, here are my initial thoughts about my experience using one for photos, from December’12 – March’13. I still have yet to test the video settings, remote, and mobile GoPro app.
UPDATE: Check out some photos taken on the new GoPro Hero 4!
- Small and mountable anywhere. Sometimes I’ll carry it around with me on land and use it like a “point and shoot” camera.
- It’s one of those things that’s allowed me to have fun in the water and capture images at the same time. So while out surfing and in-between sets, it’s been rad to ditch the board and capture images of friends and of what’s happening below. I stick mine in a hip pack … not so fashionable but it works!
- Quality is AMAZING. It’s not perfect, but a huge step-up from the Hero2 and most waterproof point-and-shoot cameras.
- Fogging: Not so bad! The Hero2 was a nightmare.
- LCD BacPac: is touchscreen! I love it … when it doesn’t freeze up.
- Freezes up: Often when I use the LCD bacpac on the GoPro, the entire unit freezes up and won’t turn off… the only way to unfreeze is to take GoPro out of housing, take out battery, and turn it back on. I’m sure they’ll fix this in a firmware update, if they haven’t already… there’s also issues with recharging it, but again, just take out the battery and try again.
- Chromatic aberration. It can be pretty intense, especially in low-light situations where highlights are blasted. If you’re not a professional photographer and are just using your photos for low-res social media like instagram or facebook, don’t worry about this too much.
- Battery life: Buy a Battery BacPac, it helps heaps.
The GoPro Hero3 is a great and affordable way to start, and honestly, unless you’re willing to invest thousands into a DSLR set-up, or risk it with cheaper housing set-ups, get a GoPro and save those thousands for a trip or two to Indo… and bring me with you, ha ha.
Favourite setting for photo:12 megapixels, 30fps on a 2 second interval, wide (15mm) or medium (20mm) angle of view.
Favourite setting for video: 1080p, 60fps, medium angle of view (equivalent to a 20mm lens on a 35mm camera), protune.
Read more about GoPro settings, here.
All of these photos were taken on the Hero 3, Black Edition at 12MPX. Basic colour + contrast correction applied in Adobe Lightroom. You can check out photos I’ve taken on the GoPro Hero2 here.
I receive numerous emails on a daily basis, inquiring about what gear I use, what gear I suggest using for someone wanting to get into water photography, what are the most affordable options, etc. For many, I think the GoPro HD HERO3: Black Edition is just what you need. If you have any tech questions about using one, PLEASE check out GoPro forums or just google it first before sending me an email. 😉