Comparing GoPro specifications against the competition isn’t the be all and end all, but a top level understanding can certainly help
Specification sheets are great but what does it mean in plain English. We all know that the Black ones the best but what if the numbers just don’t mean anything to you? Do you really need the Black Edition or are the others OK for what you want? And with the Contour having bit the dust (at least until it’s supposed 2014 relaunch!) and out of the picture, (pardon the Cliché), how does the Sony measure up at this price point.
GoPro: White and Silver Editions have a sharp image. The HD Hero 2 had a sharp image and technology is not going backwards; yet.
3 Black Edition had 2 x sharper.
3+ Black Edition boasts 33% sharper that the original Black.
Low light capability:
Hero White Edition is the normal consumer quality, which is pretty good these days.
Hero Silver Edition is better than a standard camera, but not as good as a professional camera.
Hero Black Edition is a professional standard camera.
Contour +2 had: Unknown
Sony ActionCam: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar – Sony do have quite a long history in the camcorder industry, so you would expect the lens and processor to be strong points.
Lens angle adjustments:
GoPro: Choices of Narrow, Medium, Ultra Wide and now SuperView, varying dependant on shooting mode.
Contour +2 had: Wide (Fixed 170°).
Sony ActionCam: Wide without SteadyShot(170°), Medium with SteadyShot (120°).
GoPro Hero White Edition: 5 megapixels – 3 shots/second which is OK.
GoPro Hero Silver Edition: 11 megapixels – 10 shots/second which is pretty good.
GoPro Hero Black Edition: 12 megapixels – 30 shots/second which is exceptional.
Contour +2 had: 5 megapixels – No multishot
Sony ActionCam: 2 megapixels – No multishot
All Hero Editions: have the same capacity – 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 second intervals.
Contour 2+ had: 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, or 60 second intervals.
Sony ActionCam: 5, 10, 30, or 60 second intervals.
Only the Hero Black Edition has 4k, 2.7K and 1440p (which gives you 4:3 screen size instead of 16:9). It can be useful but will eat your computer’s drive and RAM when editing.
Hero Black Edition has an advantage over the Silver Edition in terms of frame-rate, which means it will produce superior slow-motion video afterwards.
Contour +2 had:
Full HD -1080p (1920 x 1080) @ 30/25fps
Tall HD – 960p (1280 x 960) @ 30/25fps
Action HD – 720p (1280 x 720) @ 60/50 or 30/25fps
Slow Motion – 480p (854 x 480) @ 120/100, 60/50, or 30/25fps
Video Resolution : 1920×1080/30P (HQ), 1280×720/30P (STD,SLOW,SSLOW), 680×480/30P (VGA)
Hero: All have built in Wi-Fi so you can use Smartphone APP and remote controls with them. The Hero 3 Black Edition is the only model that is sold with the remote control.
Contour 2+ had: Smartphone APP control
Sony ActionCam: Smartphone APP control
Protune mode: Hero White Edition is not compatible with Protune. Protune works on both the Silver and Black Editions.
Simultaneous Video and Photo:
Only the Hero Black Edition has this function.
Video Bitrate Capture
Hero Black Edition has the highest capture rate and the other two are progressively lower.
Why does this matter? Basically the higher the bitrate the better the quality, but we’ll discuss that elsewhere. The knock on effect is that your SD card will need to be of a higher Class and hence more expensive, so bear this in mind in your overall budget.
Talking About 4K Resolution…
Don’t get dragged into the 4K debate. This is new to the market and currently only works at 15fps – that’s 10 frames per second down on PAL and half that of NTSC. There’s more than enough for your computer to deal with rendering 1080 and 1440 resolutions, so unless your equipped you’ll need the software and the processor power to deal with it if you intend to use these settings on the Black Edition.
There will be more data to churn, so spare batteries are also a good bet when ordering your kit, but bear in mind that good battery conditioning with regular cycling (flattening to zero and fully recharging) will go a long way to resolving disappointing battery episodes.
The traditional forums will be a thing of the past here. We’ll going to be bringing you the best solutions we’ve found to save you cruising 1500 threads on the same subject. So whether you’re a full-time GoPro fanatic or someone just thinking about a purchase we hope you’ll find something of interest.
As GoproTimes is about the experience and GoPro is just one of the tools, don’t forget the video editing software/hardware sections are just as relevant.
With careful consideration, a little imagination, and the expertise of P.O.V. lovers like yourself (who’ve already made mistakes, and claimed some victories) there’s no reason why we can’t all be turning out content that gets the audience feeling like they’re sat in your seat, whatever the style of film you decide to turn out.