19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
The Finest Action Camera Money Can Buy!,
This review is from: GoPro Hero 3 Edition Camcorder - Black (12 MP) (Camera)
I'm a photographer by trade and my pet hate is poorly-constructed hardware with unintuitive UI. Fortunately the GoPro swerves these pitfalls admirably, it's well-built, well-designed and very easy to use!
Whether it's sports, people-watching or simply as a dashcam in car, the GoPro succeeds. The video options are miles ahead of my Nikon D800 with 1440p, 4K and even 240 FPS modes available, which is fantastic for super slo-mo sequences.
The all-round pseudo fisheye lens is quirky and has even more central distortion than an SLR fisheye which makes face-up close shots of people and animals very interesting indeed. Optical quality is very good though colour aberration, particularly blue-fringing is evident against areas of contrast. All round sharpness is amazing and has almost infinite depth-of-field in sunlight.
For me, the Protune option is what makes this a professional piece of kit. At the cost of slightly shortened battery life (due to some heavy realtime processing required), photos and video, regardless of size and framerate are dynamically compressed to capture as much low and high range data as possible leaving it up to the editor to decide whether to expand a certain range of contrast in post-processing. This really shows its worth in low-light or high-contrast scenes with clouds captured in detail even on a bright, sunny day, while retaining shadow detail.
If you've tried those woeful £20 minicams from eBay then you will be blown away by the all-round quality of the GoPro Hero 3 Black.
GoPro tend to recycle their higher end cams to become medium and low end options of new versions so it will be some time before this edition's hardware is rotated out. 4K video does work but is limited to 15FPS so if that's your thing, you may be disappointed. But GoPro have included that as a nod toward future versions and of course 1:1 playback of 4K video is rather limited in 2013 anyway so that can be seen as a bonus preview really.
I've yet to try the supplied-as-standard underwater kit but am looking forward to the options this will give me. Underwater kits for SLRs cost upwards of 3 times the cost of this!
This is the first mini camera which can proudly sit alongside my professional Nikon gear and actually have a useful role to play rather than be a gimmicky second view. There are some shots which phones and SLRs just can't get. If you think the latest smartphone cameras have come a long way then within 5 minutes of trying a GoPro you will see just how far from state-of-the-art they actually are.
If capturing the moment means anything to you, buy a GoPro. Worth every penny even at UK rip-off rates!