We were able to get our hands on the new Go Pro Hero3 video camera right before it emerged on the market. Here is the first test of this highly anticipated camera.
A much expected replacement to the Hero 2, the new Go Pro Hero 3 arrives with improved performance. The model we have tried is the high end ‘Black Edition’ which features better performance, more accessories and a remote control to drive the camera. The company announces a better image quality (1080p at 60fps), an improved photo (sensor 12 M px) function and the best sound recording so far.
At the opening of the box, we see immediately this new Hero3 is much thinner and lighter than its predecessor (see photo gallery). Those who already have the old model (Hero or Hero 2) will be delighted to learn that the optional screen mounts on the Hero3, as well as the rear part of the plastic housing. Only the front part is different. The planar lens allows to no longer scratch the camera even when it’s reversed and improves the quality of the image underwater (not really useful for bikers, it’s true…). As for accessories, see here the most suitable and affordable gimbals.
The operation is simple with two buttons to control different menus (the instructions are found on the official Go Pro site). A third button located on the side is used for the Wi-Fi feature. Indeed, it is possible to set the camera in combination with the remote control to turn it on and turn it off remotely. Those who have no screen (or who do not wish to spend an extra $79) may also use their smartphone or their tablet. Thanks to the Wi-Fi function, it is possible to use the phone as a screen, to turn the camera on and off.
Simply download the GoPro application (soon available on Android). For this first test, we set the camera in ‘Biker’ mode. That is a mounted view. The progress is obvious. The image quality is starkly improved, with much better backlight management (see the video below) and with an amazing performance for a camera of this size. It is also possible to shoot in high definition and in slow motion (up to 240 images per second!) very easily, provided you get a miniSD card (not supplied) with enough memory.
With regard to improvements in low light, we agree partially with the GoPro. The camera is actually more efficient with low light if it does not see a strong light source. On an unlit road, the lights of a car disturb the image a lot. But overall the Go Pro Hero 3 convinced us. The improvements brought to the size and weight, and the ease of use of the camera are excellent. But for recreational use (rides with friends, output circuit, etc.) without mounts, the high price ($459) is not justified for an amateur videographer. In this case, better turn to the ‘Silver’ ($359) or ‘White’ ($259) editions, which will suit well for this purpose.