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GoPro launches HERO3 line of actioncams, including a 4K model

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October 17, 2012

GoPro has launched its line of HERO3 actioncams, which includes one model that can shoot a...

GoPro has launched its line of HERO3 actioncams, which includes one model that can shoot at a resolution of 4K

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It may have been only a year ago that GoPro released its HERO2 actioncam, but the company isn’t content to just let things lie. Today, it announced the release of its HD HERO3 line of cameras. There will be three versions available, with the top-of-the-line model able to shoot at 4K resolution, which is four times the number of pixels provided by 1080p.

The three models of the HERO3 are known as the White, Silver and Black Editions, although they all actually sport the same GoPro color scheme – metallic silver camera body in a clear polycarbonate housing. They are all reportedly 30 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than any previous models, offer an improved audio recording system, a sharper camera lens that produces less distortion, a flat lens on the housing for sharper underwater images, and built-in Wi-Fi remote functionality.

Black Edition

The GoPro HERO3 Black Edition

This one sits at the top of the heap. According to the company, it has twice the image-processing power as the HERO2, along with better low-light performance. Additionally, it can capture 12-megapixel stills at a rate of up to 30 per second, and comes with a Wi-Fi remote control unit included.

... and yes, it can shoot in 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), albeit at a rate of 15 frames-per-second – or 12 fps in a 17:9 Cine mode (4,096 x 2,160 pixels). For people who don’t want such huge video files (keep in mind that you can’t post 4K videos on YouTube), it’s also possible to shoot at 2.7K (30/24 fps), 1440p (48/30/24 fps), 1080p (60/48/30/24 fps) and 720p (120/60 fps).

It’s available now for pre-order, at US$399.99.

Silver Edition

This model is still no slouch, offering resolutions of 1080p (30 fps), 960p (48/30 fps) and 720p (60/30 fps). It can manage ten still images per second, at a resolution of 11-MP.

It’s priced at $299.99 – the niche previously occupied by the HERO2.

White Edition

Although it’s the “lowest” model, this one will probably be more than sufficient for the needs of most non-professionals – it’s the replacement for the original HERO HD. It shoots at 1080p (30 fps), 960p (30 fps) and 720p (60/30 fps), and can bang off a maximum of three 5MP stills per second – 11-MP stills can be captured when not in Burst mode.

It’ll set you back $199.99.

As with previous models, all three HERO3s are watertight to a depth of 197 feet (60 meters), and record on a microSD card – record times will vary depending on the chosen resolution and frame rate.

Footage shot with the Black Edition can be seen in the video below.

Source: GoPro

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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4 Comments

Must have!!

Brian Maxwell
17th October, 2012 @ 06:16 pm PDT

Have the hero2 and love it. Can't justify the extra money for higher resolution against a reduced quality viewing experience though.

12-15 FPS is silent movie era quality.

It's unfortunate that it is necessary for companies to rush to market a product that is at 50% quality instead of being able to wait and bring a product with 100% quality to market. Of course first adopters will love it and scramble for it, seemingly ignoring the spec numbers, then complain when they see the first result of 4k choppy video.

Rt1583
17th October, 2012 @ 09:06 pm PDT

@Rt1583

I think you missed a number of other significant features. 60fps at 1080p and 120fps at 720p are a huge improvement for action sports! Can't wait to try it.

The built-in remote and app support without a add-on and its 30% smaller! That makes a big difference in mounting options and how I currently use my HERO2.

The 4k format is probably mostly for marketing but if you are shooting a time-lapse video you could get some crazy high resolution footage.

Now we just need to see if GoPro can deliver on its launch date and inevitable firmware problems. Currently it takes WAY too long for them to resolve problems and has made me a cautious early adopter of their new products.

Tom Hirschmann
18th October, 2012 @ 08:06 am PDT

The Hero3 black looks impressive. I agree with Rt1583 that 12 FPS kind of limits the usefulness of shooting 4k video but I think the intention has more to do with using the footage for stills and time lapse:

1080p is 1920×1080 so individual frames are roughly only 2.1 megapixels

720p (1280×720) is about 0.9 MP

4k is ~4096 x 2160 which works out to 8.8 megapixels

the 2.1 and 0.9 MP stills from 1080p and 720p doesn't leave you a lot to work with if you have to crop the picture (which is often for helmet/action cams) so that is where 4k would be useful. It is more like a fast continuous mode with audio.

With that said though the Hero3 White is more my budget. If I eat it on my motorcycle hopefully the people who scrape me off the pavement will be able to decipher what happened from the meager 1080p frames.

Daishi
18th October, 2012 @ 12:51 pm PDT
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