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Featuring a single record button, a very small form factor, Waterproof and robustness, GoPro has since their launch completely dominated the action sports camera market. With a very sturdy design and a host of mounts and accessories to plug the camera virtually anywhere, GoPro has revolutionized the amateur sport arena.

But it also  is becoming a household name, as evident by how many of our friends are sharing footage on social media and the like. Whether you’re merely filming your dog on a hike, catching footage of your summer vacation, riding your bike  or surf board, having a GoPro camera definitely comes in handy.

Do you have a Gopro camera already? you know what we’re talking about!
You don’t yet have a Gopro camera? You probably wonder what is the best Gopro camera for you, especially as there is a host of new cameras since the release of the Gopro Hero 4. Read on to help you decide which Gopro to Buy:

A bunch of Gopro Cameras

Following the release of the latest Gopro Hero camera in October, Gopro expanded their portfolio, letting us choose from 5 different models:

Camera
Price
Pixels
Key features
our verdict
Gopro Hero4 Black
Gopro Hero 4 black
$ 499
12 MP
4K video at 30fps
1080p120 fps
Burst Photo 30fps
Continuous Photo
Time Lapse
Simultaneous Video and Photo
Wi-Fi + Bluetooth®
gopro_3.5 stars While 4K video is nice, it is for most not necessary. Overall camera is too expensive.

Check Amazon reviews
Gopro Hero4 Silver
Gopro Hero4 Silver
$ 399
12 MP
1080p60 / 720p120 fps
Photo
Burst Photo 30fps
Continuous Photo
Time Lapse
Simultaneous Video and Photo
Built-in Touch Display
Wi-Fi + Bluetooth®
gopro 4 starsonly for those who really need an LCD screen on the camera. very few added features relative to the Gopro Hero3+.

Check Amazon reviews
Gopro Hero3+ Silver
Gopro Hero3+ Silver
$ 299
10 MP
1080p60 / 960p60 fps
720p @ 120fps
Photo
Burst Photo 10fps
Time Lapse
Wi-Fi
The Hero3+ Silver is the best overall value, and a proven popular choice.

check Amazon reviews
Gopro Hero3 white
Gopro Hero3 white
$ 189
5MP
Wi-Fi for app control and sharing
1080p30 / 960p30 fps
Photo
Burst Photo 3fps
gopro_3.5 starsOf significance is only the wifi functionality.
If you are on a budget, but wifi is critical, this might be the camera for you.
check Amazon reviews
New Gopro Hero
New Gopro Hero
$ 129
5MP
Auto Low Light
SuperView™
1080p30 / 720p60 fps
Photo
Burst Photo 5fps
NO wifi
The unexpected winner of our roundup:
Cheap enough to buy several together, it provides the Gopro experience at a very affordable price.
check Amazon reviews

A full comparison roundup of the cameras can be found at the Gopro site, here we describe the most relevant features for you, and look at what each camera offers versus the others.

Most importantly, all cameras are compatible with the accessories developed for the Hero 3 and Hero3+, so you will not need to spend more money on those items, once you upgrade your camera. let’s jump into each camera features pros and cons:

Gopro cameras in the sky

gopros in the sky (photo by GuruStunts GoPro)

 Gopro Hero4 Black

We reviewed this camera as it was released at the beginning of October.  This is the first amateur camera to shoot 4K at 30 frames per second, delivering stunning photo and video shooting, but at a hefty cost. Beyond the fact that you will part from almost $500, it will eat up your batteries in minutes, as opposed to hours. Be ready to invest in several battery replacements if you want to use your camera outdoors for more than half an hour at a time…

Our conclusions stay:

  • Expensive camera.
  • 4K is a very nice feature to have, but not tremendously useful in the amateur sport shooting scene. Not to mention that you will need a strong enough computer to handle editing of such a memory and computing power consuming video format.
  • One would hope for slow-motion shooting, especially 240frames per seconds at 720p video format. It is however suspiciously absent, and we expect a future firmware release.

All in all, we feel several features are missing from this camera to justify the steep price increase over the Hero3+ Black. Stay tuned for both a price drop (probably after Xmas) and a firmware update unlocking some cool shooting options, especially in image stabilization and slow motion (or a Hero4+?).

 Gopro Hero4 Silver

Gopro hero 4 silver (photo- Dave Jone)

Gopro hero 4 silver (photo- Dave Jone)

This hybrid camera is somewhat of a surprise. It was rumored to come for a long time already, yet most Gopro fans use the waterproof squeleton, sometimes in combination with the floaty backdoor (an essential accessory for those using Gopro on/in water). These render the LCD touchscreen completely useless.

So this camera is probably not geared toward the sport fan, rather the vacationer/casual shooter. You get the versatility of a Gopro camera (underwater, accessories), quality shooting, and an LCD screen for everyday use. This is an interesting compromise, but at $399 it is worth checking if there are some other alternatives (stay tuned, more on that in a future post).

Gopro hero 4 silver opened (photo - Dave Jone)

Gopro hero 4 silver opened (photo – Dave Jone)

Note that both the Hero4 Black and Silver are available as “surf” or “music” edition, featuring either the waterproof frame or the sleeker frame for low mounting. We feel that while the Black edition makes sense to be used in harsh environments, the Silver edition should be used in more “standard” situations, where the LCD touchscreen is usable and useful. If you are inclined to buy the Hero4 Silver, we recommend opting for the Music edition.

 Gopro Hero3+ Silver

This camera is on the market for a year already, and has proven very popular among Gopro fans. With a very sensible 10Megapixels it is not far feature-wise from the Hero4 Silver, the main difference being just the LCD touchscreen. At a $299 it is very sensibly priced.

Notably, 1080p at 60 frames per seconds, and for 720p it is possible to shoot at120fps (This feature avaialble as well on the Gopro Hero4, allows you to do some slow motion editing – a very cool effect). On the photo side, it can manage bursts of ten 10MP shots per seconds.

gopro hero3+

THe Gopro Hero3+ – our favorite Gopro camera

It features as well wifi connectivity, so camera controls and video check can be done via the Gopro app on your smartphone. The Gopro Hero4 features as well Bluetooth, but it is yet to be seen what advantages if any there is versus wifi.

Time lapse options can be chosen from a half second interval to 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 and 60 seconds. The improved low light performance and image sharpness deliver excellent quality outputs. Other notable features include ultra wide angle FOV, f/2.8 aperture and ultra-sharp six element glass lens.

Overall, the Gopro Hero3+ has most features of its bigger sisters, but sits comfortably below $300. You can guess, it is our favorite.

 The New Gopro Hero

No, this camera is not the best Gopro ever, it is also not the most featured. But at $129 it is the cheapest.  Stripped from all peripheral functions, it concentrate on the purest form of video shooting in  1080p at 30 frames per seconds, and 5 frames per seconds in photo burst mode.

Built directly into the known rugged waterproof housing, the Hero delivers the same immersive footage of it’s bigger sisters, in a simplified experience that’s easy for everyone. If you want to initiate your kid to easy video shooting and editing, this is a great X-mas present!

The budget price (and arguably the simple video format for editing) renders this camera also a perfect candidate for shooting your exploits from multiple angles simultaneously. In our view a really winning combination.

The sensible price allows to use multiple Gopro Hero cameras simultaneously

The sensible price allows to use multiple Gopro cameras simultaneously

So which Gopro camera is best, and which gopro to buy?

Good question. The best camera from our point of view is not the most expensive or the most feature-packed, rather the most useful.

We are still mourning the Gopro Hero 3+ Black edition going out of stock. It was featuring a lot of video and photo shooting controls and especially was including the wifi remote (a really essential accessory when positioning your camera in inaccessible places). Appealing especially was the sensible price at $ 349.

From the current lineup:

  •  we consider the Gopro Hero4 Black to be too expensive for the added features. It has great photo and video shooting options, and the 4K quality is impressive, so for those not on a budget, this is definitely not a bad decision.
  • the Gopro Hero4 Silver is for a specific audience: the LCD backscreen being not too useful for sport video shooting, however it fits really well the traveler that wants easy view of his shots, with occasional sporty shooting.
  • The Gopro Hero3+ Silver, at a full $ 100 cheaper than the Hero4 silver, is a gem. Featuring wifi, most shooting options and 10 megapixels, this offer is the most value pack.

The last two cameras cannot be directly compared, as they do not stand in the same league regarding either image quality or functions. They do deserve a special mention, as they provide at a budget the same Gopro experience (simple record button, waterproof squeleton, large host of possible mounts and accessories, Gopro editing software). The biggest difference between the Gopro Hero3 White and the new Gopro Hero is really only the wifi functionality. at $60 price difference, it is simply put not worth it. Either invest in the Gopro Hero3+ Silver, or stay with the purest form of the new Gopro Hero at $129.

So which Gopro to buy? which is the one best for you? anyone of the Gopro camera in this lineup are worthy to be evaluated, and have merits of their own.

Depending on your budget and the functions you are seeking, you might opt for either and would not do a mistake in any case. We feel however that there are clear best buy winners:

           and      

the Gopro Hero3+ Silver                               the New Gopro Hero

Buy on Amazon                                      Buy on Amazon

What is your choice? Share with us in the comments!

 

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Comments

  1. Jeffrey says

    Any thoughts on the widely discussed 3+ infinity focus issue? I’m aware of the popular mod for fixing this (that voids the warranty), but what are yall’s thoughts?

    • Michael says

      Jeffrey, the infinity focus issue is generally a “feature” of earlier batches of the Hero3+. Later batches seem to not be afflicted with this issue. If you experience it with your new camera, the best option is to contact GoPro for an exchange.

      Side note: the infinity focus topic is not one that can be solved by firmware, rather a pure physical position of the lens.

      However, GoPro is coming with a firmware update to the GoPro Hero 4, allowing to shoot 720p at 240fps. This feature alone is a great reason to upgrade to the Hero4 Black edition. Look for some voucher to get it a bit cheaper :)

  2. Stacy says

    I found a review that talks about the battery life for the Go Pro Hero $129. It states that the battery is not covered under the extended warranty and that when the battery fails to hold a charge the camera is dead (trash)…time to buy a new one? The review was on walmarts site . Are you familiar with this and would you advise going with the Gopro silver 3+ just for the battery warranty? The go pro hero reviews stated only 50% would recommend to a friend vs. the go pro silver 3+ has 90% + would recommend. I’m buying this for my kids to use in the pool, ocean. They are young and amateurs. Just want to avoid having to replace the camera so quickly. thank you!

    • Michael says

      We used several Gopro Hero in really abusive conditions, they don’t seem to be able to get destroyed.
      Just remember this is a relatively cheap camera, so also functionality is a bit limited.

      But we compared it with different cameras similarly priced, especially for kids, and none were up to the task of simply delivering good quality video and photos at 100$, regardless of amounts of megapixels.

      On the other hand, the 3+ silver is a bit expensive for kids, so the new Hero really fulfills the need as expected. I would not worry about battery, even if it might die in 2 years (the camera is not long enough on the market to evaluate this).

  3. Rifen says

    I just discover this review. Really awesome and very much important information you put on this review. I found a great in depth view of gopro camera’s. Thanks for the review. :)

  4. says

    One of my friend has GoPro HERO3+: Silver Edition and he has some good opinion about the camera, but the new version of this camera is not worth it as it has some negative reviews.

  5. Michael says

    Hi Murzith,

    the Gopro Hero3+ silver is the same as when it came out in October 2013. The device has same SKU and to our knowledge no components were changed.

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