Wednesday, December 5, 2012

GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition - First impression

I have been using the GoPro Hero for a long time. I used a company owned Hero - the last version before the first HD. I liked it. It ran on a AA battery (or was it AAA) and did a pretty good job. When I heard there was going to be an HD version I jumped on it. I literally bought the first one I could get my hands on.

Here is a little quick history. I used to work in the film industry in NY - before realizing that my life goals weren't the same as everyone else's! When I worked in film I had an opportunity to work with a company called REBO studio. They were one of the first companies in NY to work with HD. This was  late 80's early 90's. Back then an HD camera was the size of a full size studio camera, and it was attached to a truck. Every time you moved the camera you had to 're-register' it, which took around 30 minutes. When looking at the monitors in the truck I couldn't believe how sharp the video was. I had never seen HD before as it didn't really exist yet in the United States.

When I got my hands on the first HD hero I couldn't believe 20 years had shrunk the camera down to 3 ounces, and could be worn on a helmet. It still amazes me. I got a lot of use out of my Hero HD. I shot every video on this website, the videos for my book, and all of Paddle North. If my father was alive he would say, that camera doesn't owe you a dime, and he would be right.

I skipped the HD 2, but as soon as I saw the Hero 3, I knew it was the way to go. I also went for the black edition, as it came with the remote. This meant I could mount the camera to my bow, and control it with the remote from my wrist. It finally arrived today. After charging both the camera and the remote, I added a card. The 3 uses micro SD cards which means that a lot of my accessories from my HD1 wont work on the 3. That is a bit of a bummer, but I understand it. The first most striking thing is that this camera is actually about half the size of the HD Hero and the HD hero 2. And when you go to install the battery, you realize that half of the 'camera' is actually battery. (The batteries from my Hero 1 don't work on it either, and I have 8 of them!) The camera doesn't come with all the accessories that the HD1 and 2 came with. No vented helmet strap. No head strap. You get the Camera and remote. usb charging cables for both, and the remote cable is special. 1 curved and 1 flat baseplate (down from two each in previous models) 1 rubber thingy. 2 elbow joints, one quick release plate, and one front of helmet mount. You also get one vented back door - to be used when you need better audio, though when using it you of course lose waterproofness. With my previous camera, I didn't like putting the wear and tear on the housing, so I bought a skeleton case for it so I didn't have to change back doors. I will probably do the same thing this time. The housing - and camera underneath it - have an additional button compared to previous GoPro cameras. It is located on the side of the housing on the right side. More on this later.

The large flat baseplate that is used to hold the camera in the box is one of my favorite accessories, I use it under the bungies on my kayak. That is now glued into the box. Good thing I have three from previous cameras. So while you are getting fewer accessories in the box, you are still getting a fairly complete kit.

The first big hurdle is pairing the remote to the camera. I read the directions, and they didn't work. I found a video online, and that didn't help. I finally went to trouble shooting on the site, and got the two to pair. I am not exactly sure what I did differently reading through the directions, but as long as they paired I am not to worried.

The remote can do everything the cameras buttons do. There is a display on the remote, that shows what the display on the camera is showing. You can even turn it on, but in order to do that, you need to have the wifi on. That is where the new button the side comes in. This turns on the wifi and makes a little blue light flash. I will need to figure out how long it can be in wifi mode.

I also need to see how long the battery on the camera lasts compared to older GoPro cameras. So that is my first look, stay tuned for video.

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