Saturday, July 19, 2014

GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition-Initial impressions

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This post explains my experience and observations on GoPro Hero 3 Black edition camera, after spending about 10 days with it.

As I'd explained in this post, my original thought was to buy a wide angle lens- an 8-16mm one, but since that lens costed as much as the camera itself, I had second thoughts. When I learnt about GoPro, its versatility was tempting and I went for it, though I am not into adventure big time.

Past 10 days I used it along with my Nikon to take some photos and make some videos. Below is what I feel about investing in a goPro

What I like in GoPro:
1. Light compact design- easily fits into front shirt pocket. Had it not been for red light, could be used for spy missions.
2. Can take it to places where carrying a DSLR is not viable (either because it adds to luggage or DSLRs draw unwanted attention or when you don’t want to carry big bags around)
3. Wide angle view looks very nice. I am glad I didn’t buy a 8-16mm wide angle lens instead of this.
4. Initially it was inconvenient to get a proper frame, as there's no viewfinder. Had to click on guess. But eventually managed to connect the camera to its android app, so it is now very easy to control camera setting or frame through the phone.
5. Photo quality at par with DSLR.
6. Enables taking photos and videos through an angle/perspective otherwise not possible.

What I didn’t like/Possible improvements:
1. No internal memory and no memory card shipped. Given that camera has no internal memory, it would have been nice on part of GoPro to include a small capacity memory card. A 4GB micro SD card costs less than $5. Adding it to the kit will save the trouble for consumer to scramble for a memory card once they realize that camera won’t work without a Micro SD Card. I had to take a micro SD card from a mobile phone to take first few pictures/videos from the GoPro.
2. A standalone charger would have been nice. At present, to charge the battery, I need to put it inside the camera and then connect the camera to power. This has following disadvantages, forcing me to buy a separate charger:
o   Even if I have a secondary battery I can’t use the camera with it while the other battery gets charged.
o   It is very risky to leave a $400 camera by the power socket while battery is getting charged
3.  Inability of the GoPro website to indicate what will be the approx. customs charge for the shipment- makes comparison and decision difficult.
4. A few soft pouches for the camera would have been nice, to carry it around without suffering scratches or other damages. Default packaging can't be used regularly, I am currently using a bubble wrap to cover it.
5. The cap for ports is likely to fall off, since it is not attached to the camera
6. No DVD/CD with some video editing software. Cameras usually come with a software that lets manage the camera or its content. GoPro doesn’t come with any. Of course they have an app which is free for download. But a good video editing software would have been nicer. It is not very convenient to edit videos on a small screen phone- it is much more convenient to do it in a computer.
7. Quality of photo/video during night is reasonably poor compared to DSLR
8.  No service centres, support in India. If it fails, it fails. Buy another one.
9. Changing from one mount to another takes time because of screwing. (there're a few clip based mounts)
10. Absolutely no Zoom capability. 

Photo Samples
Safari clicked using gopro- being able to capture wide skies makes this photo more beautiful.

Curved effect of a road, though it is a straight road.
Bulged effect on an extra closeup shot- wheels of Merc E Class and wheel arch appear more curvy than they are
Wide angle view of the room (Park Avenue)- Photo of same place, clicked using Nikon 18-55 lens is given next to it.
Wide angle view of the dashboard. 18-55 can't capture this wide and limits to a small part of the dashboard

Below photo is clicked by Shande on kit lens, some after effects added
Below are a few videos taken using goPro
Of course the contents are not great, watch it only to observe the quality.


magiceye said...

I have a white edition and agree with most of your points.
But I do have a GoPro studio for editing.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Deepak for sharing your experience.

Let me try the goPro studio software