Gopro-Pros and Cons (1 Viewer)

benjysirois

Professional knob twiddler and sound anarchist
Joined
Apr 18, 2013
Messages
95
Age
28
Location
Toronto
Hey everyone,

So I was wondering about some folks opinions on the Gopro cameras? What are the pros and cons?
I'm thinking of getting one so I can strap it on to my pack and to use as a general purpose video/still camera.
@Matt Derrick you have some experience/knowledge about them right?
 
Click here to buy the Anarchist's Guide to Travel!
P

Paranoid

I closed my account
I'm curious about this too, just started checking out prices.
 

Matt Derrick

Permanent Wanderer
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
10,416
Location
Austin, TX
Website
youtube.com
ok, having owned the hero 2, and done extensive studies on the newer 3/3+, I can tell you quite a lot about them, since I've developed a small obsession with them.

first off, it really depends on how you want to use it. for capturing general b-roll footage or action shots that don't require sound/dialogue, they're the best. i can't tell you what a difference it made in my videos just being able to capture video in/under water. also, having a cheaper camera that will go places your big expensive camera won't is a pretty big deal.

yeah, the battery life isn't phenomenal, but you'll get an hour or so out of one battery. the good thing is that there's a great set of generic batteries for the gopro here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AAIPT76/

you get two batteries and a charger for the same price as one 'branded' gopro battery (about 20 bucks), and they work as good if not better than the original batteries.

huge drawback: no lcd screen. that makes it incredibly hard and/or impossible to line up your shots. i never had one and just guessed and my shots were more often than not at a weird angle. getting the lcd backpack is highly recommended for the hero 2.

the hero 3 has built in wifi, so you can pair it with your phone/tablet (definitely) and laptop (i think?) and use the gopro app to view a live feed of what the camera is seeing/recording. works pretty well from what i've seen, though there's a bit of delay in the feed. also eats up more battery. there's an lcd backpack for the hero 3 as well, but you could probably just get away with the app if you have a smartphone/tablet.

the accessories get expensive. and believe me, you're going to want the accessories. lcd backpacks, chest mounts, head mounts, handle bar mounts, suction cup mounts, sticky mounts, extension poles, etc, etc. I recommend getting the 'floaty' back door if you're going to be using it in water. this will keep you from losing your camera to the bottom of the ocean (makes it float).

to get an idea of the accessories you want, watch a bunch of the videos on the gopro youtube channel. keep asking yourself, "how are they getting that shot?" is it a gopro on a pole? head mount? etc. also, keep in mind part of the reason gopro videos look so incredible is not just because of the camera, but also because of camera jibs, sliders, stabilizers, aerial drones, and an team of color correctors in post making that shit look dank. you might want to look up some amateur gopro vids to see what it looks like filming out of the box.

one last thing, keep the camera and waterproof housing in a bag or case of some kind. getting a scratch on the lens fucking spoils everything. i got a minor scratch in the lens area of the plastic waterproof housing, and it started showing up in every one of my shots, even underwater, which was a pain. also, when using it underwater, make sure to wipe off the plastic area in front of the lens between each shot, otherwise you have a good chance of having a water droplet right in the middle of your shot blocking everything.

anyways, that's enough for now. let me know if you have any other questions.
 

Matt Derrick

Permanent Wanderer
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
10,416
Location
Austin, TX
Website
youtube.com
oh i forgot about sound. the sound on the hero 2 is decent, but not great. once the housing is on, the sound gets super muddled. there's a reason you never hear the sound from the camera in the gopro videos (unless they're on land). the hero 3 has siginificantly better sound, you could use it for recording a conversation if the background noise isn't too bad (again, with the waterproof case, it gets really muddy). if you're going to use it to interview people, get an external mic.

oh and last thing (i swear). the hero 2 takes SD cards, and the hero 3 takes microSD cards. so keep that in mind. and always, always, always, get a class 10 or higher sd card (minimum 10mb/sec). any lower and the card won't be able to save the video to itself fast enough, causing video corruption or jittery video with missing frames (very bad).
 

Matt Derrick

Permanent Wanderer
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
10,416
Location
Austin, TX
Website
youtube.com
arg i can't stop, my fingers hurt. here's a timelapse video i did with the hero 2, which turned out pretty well (shot this with no lcd, so just kinda guessed on the camera angle - got lucky). definitely watch in hd.

 
P

Paranoid

I closed my account
arg i can't stop, my fingers hurt. here's a timelapse video i did with the hero 2, which turned out pretty well (shot this with no lcd, so just kinda guessed on the camera angle - got lucky). definitely watch in hd.

was this over 1 hour?
 

wizehop

Chasing the Darkness
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
1,621
Location
Montreal, Canada
I recently got the gopro hero 3 as a bday gift. Pretty happy with it but haven't used it overly much yet. I brought it to Brazil with me and love the few shots I got with it. I really wish I used it more. I bought the chest mount for it which was a lot cheaper than I would have expected. It was small and looked flimsy, but in the field it preformed perfectly.
The no screen business didn't bother too much as the main reason I wanted to use it was for action shots where you don't have time to watch what your doing, and need free hands. For that reason I wouldn't have it as my primary camera, but its size and durability it really is a go to cam for action.
I also like the lens warp you get from the wide screen, it creates a different feel that compliments action and or switching things up from a normal cam. Again I still see those features as a secondary thing if your actually making something of consequence.
I felt the accessories were cheap, but I could see how you could get carried away. My regular camera I film with came with a 1 hour battery (which fucked me so many times while travelling and even more so on cold tours), I looked into a better battery which lasted up to five hours and it was $450..WTF. Gopro batteries are significantly cheaper, in the late 40's I beleive.

I haven't edited with it yet, or worked on mixing the footage with other aspect ratios but I don't think it will be to difficult.

All in all I thinks its an amazing piece of gear at a great price all things considered. If your looking for a camera to capture action while you are focused on staying alive its by far your best bet. If you want to set up shots and plan out what your filming you may want to find something else.
 

briancray

Vagabond
Joined
Aug 3, 2013
Messages
359
Location
Albion, NY
Website
www.bikethe.us
I bought a GoPRO Hero 3 and I am happy with the footage, but there are probably better cameras out there for way cheaper. The main drawback is unless you have a LED Backpack you can't see wtf you are taking a video of. The battery life kind of blows imo (especially if WiFi is one) which make sure you turn that shit off because if you turn off your camera, but it's still blinking blue it will kill your battery. I don't like the mounts for the GoPRO. I bought a chest mount thinking shit, maybe this will be great for climbing things, cycling and skiing...but the shit points down at your feet? You have to rig it so it can look forward. The bicycle mount got in the way of my hand positioning while touring. Helmet mount would probably be the way to go, but if you wear a helmet everywhere people will probably think you are weird.

Another downfall, the android software to transfer GoPRO movies from GoPRO to android phone or tablet only transfers Low Quality videos, which sucks balls. I don't have a computer and cannot transfer the HD videos I shoot....it only transfers them in low definition.

These are all things you should consider before purchasing a Hero 3. Don't get me wrong I love this technology and it caught a lot of my tour from DE to CO on bicycle of me climbing shit and seeing all different sorts of things, but it's better to know all the facts before buying one. I really enjoy the FishEye and the quality in HD is stunning. If in the case you will need to talk louder to hear sound, but most footage you are shooting is probably of placehacking, climbing shit, cycling, urbex or other stuff that it won't really be necessary for audio. Hope that helps bud.
 

benjysirois

Professional knob twiddler and sound anarchist
Joined
Apr 18, 2013
Messages
95
Age
28
Location
Toronto
GUYS THIS IS EPIC INFO! :D
Thanks so much. It's helped a lot. I'm still not sure about them though...are there any other options that do basically the same thing but are a bit better on battery life, have an lcd screen and shoot in the same(if not better) quality?
 

Matt Derrick

Permanent Wanderer
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
10,416
Location
Austin, TX
Website
youtube.com
not really. there's a reason they're the 1# company in that field. despite all the drawbacks, its the best camera out there for this kinda thing. i'm personally in love with them, i watch all the videos on their youtube channel like it's cinematographer porn.

their only real competition was http://contour.com/, but i heard they recently declared bankruptcy.
 

tobepxt

Wanderer
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
279
Age
29
Location
im in Louisville Kentucky
Website
wastedlandz.tumblr.com
gopro really seems to be the best out there, but i like the contours too. great quality, and simple to use. battery life is similar, but because of the one slidey button for turning it on and filming its less of a hassle to use the thing thus you get more use before it dies.. hmm.. maybe not contour is likely going under i can score a good deal on one.
 

wizehop

Chasing the Darkness
Joined
Jan 4, 2009
Messages
1,621
Location
Montreal, Canada
i'm personally in love with them, i watch all the videos on their youtube channel like it's cinematographer porn.

Ahahaha dude my buddy does the same. I always rass him because he gets up every morning and watches their vids and gets all googly eyed. They do have amazing vids on their channel.

May just throw in, you cant get near death vids as sexy as this if your busy looking through an kcd screen..meh then again

 
Last edited:

duderino

Rambler
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
83
Location
Newport, United States
Website
slothsbigadventure.wordpress.com
Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I am thinking about getting a gopro. Seeing how most of these posts are almost 4 years old, can anyone give me some up to date info on the gopro world? So far, the best deal I have seen and considered is a gopro hero 3+ silver edition for $179 used and it comes with a couple mounts as far as I can tell. I've looked into the knock offs, but most of the reviews on amazon are pretty bad for a lot of them. Some things I've read for the hero 3+ silvers say that they overheat easily. Is this true? I will be mostly using the camera from my bike either with a helmet or handlebar mount. Any advice or suggestions on what model to get? I don't want to spend more than $200, and I will probably be purchasing one from amazon since I have a store card and will leave the costs for my future self to worry about.
 

briancray

Vagabond
Joined
Aug 3, 2013
Messages
359
Location
Albion, NY
Website
www.bikethe.us
Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I am thinking about getting a gopro. Seeing how most of these posts are almost 4 years old, can anyone give me some up to date info on the gopro world? So far, the best deal I have seen and considered is a gopro hero 3+ silver edition for $179 used and it comes with a couple mounts as far as I can tell. I've looked into the knock offs, but most of the reviews on amazon are pretty bad for a lot of them. Some things I've read for the hero 3+ silvers say that they overheat easily. Is this true? I will be mostly using the camera from my bike either with a helmet or handlebar mount. Any advice or suggestions on what model to get? I don't want to spend more than $200, and I will probably be purchasing one from amazon since I have a store card and will leave the costs for my future self to worry about.

Do not buy a Hero 5. I hear they are shit because the case is built into it. If you're looking to buy this for documentary type footage you need to buy a Mic. I have a Hero 4 I nabbed at wholesale price before 3point5.com took them down and I like it. You can take some pretty cool night footage for photos. I have not tried it for night video, but the picture quality for daytime and train footage I've taken is top notch. You might wanna buy multiple batteries. I've found no matter how many new GoPros they release, the audio quality and battery life are pretty shitty.
 

Matt Derrick

Permanent Wanderer
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
10,416
Location
Austin, TX
Website
youtube.com
i am an avid gopro user, have been since the hero 2. i've also participated in a few beta projects for gopro. overall, gopro is the smallest, cheapest, high quality camera you can get. these days there are a TON of knockoffs, and some of them are really good. I own a $50 (yes, $50, with extra accessories) that i'm quite happy with, but if you're serious about making high quality videos, I would suggest getting a gopro and buying the knockoffs for situations in which you don't want to break your main camera or might loose it (underwater, attached to a car, etc).

to answer your question, the best gopro camera for most people is the hero 4 silver. it has everything the previous cameras have, but also has a screen so you can see what you're filming, which is going to make a huge difference. the only difference between the silver and black is that the black has slightly better slow motion and 4k recording, which unless you have a monster of a computer rig, you're never going to use the 4k.

there's a refurbished hero 4 silver on gopro's website right now for $229. i know that's slightly above your budget, but trust me, the investment would be worth it, especially since it comes with a 1 year warranty.

https://shop.gopro.com/refurbished/refurbished-hero4-silver/CHDNH-B10.html

if you have more questions, just let me know, i've done enough research and testing to practically be an expert on these things.

also, what kind of videos are you going to make? might make a difference in what camera you should get.
 

Matt Derrick

Permanent Wanderer
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
10,416
Location
Austin, TX
Website
youtube.com
Do not buy a Hero 5.

so far i haven't heard any good arguments against the 5, i kinda like the built in case personally.

I've found no matter how many new GoPros they release, the audio quality and battery life are pretty shitty.

yes, the audio on these cameras will always be shitty. i recommend getting an external mic like this:


also, the battery life is about an hour per battery, that's what i get when filming 1080p and using the wifi (gopro app on my phone). i use the smatree batteries here:


it's under $20, so i bought another set of two, so the total was around $35 and i now have 6 gopro batteries, which is plenty enough to shoot video all day long.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Support StP!

Donations go towards paying our monthly server fees, adding new features to the website, and occasionally putting a burrito in Matt's mouth.

Total amount
$35.00
Goal
$100.00

Monthly Goals

  1. Paying the Bills
    $35.00 of $50.00
    The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $35.00 of $75.00
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully this will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $35.00 of $100.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $35.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.