GoPro is, arguably, the camera brand that started the ‘wearable video’ movement and it has continually pushed what is possible to cram into its unflatteringly cuboid form. As the Hero has evolved from the original model, we’ve seen resolution increase (up to 4000p at a pokey 12fps or up to 120fps in 720 mode) and its size actually reduce. Gone is the curved lens on the case of old, replaced by a flat glass lens to give better clarity. The minimalists (and some would say the brave) can even get a skeleton case that just encircles the outside of the bare camera, with a little stick-on, scratch-preventing lens.
There are three buttons on the GoPro body: an on/off button, a ‘start shooting/choose menu item’ button and a button. Earlier cameras had unfathomable menus and the 3+ only just improves on this, giving you a series of icons and short words with which to work out what you’re doing. Some popular options (like being able to flip the picture upside down) sit at the bottom of two menus. Luckily (for those with a smartphone) the GoPro app is beautifully designed and very easy to use, giving fingertip control over everything from camera angle and resolution, to intervals. You can get a live view on your phone and even start/stop recording with it. Using decreases the 90min or so battery life, but it only needs to be on while setting up. If you have a spare battery, or are only on a short filming session, the live view is great for camera setup. If you want a separate remote, it’s £79 and gives wireless access to start/stop and shooting modes.
The best feature of the GoPro’s form is its suitability for chest-mounting, giving a great rider-eye view that is impossible with shaped cameras, though the helmet mounts will always make you look like a Tellytubby or a sci-fi film extra. There’s no provision for fitting it to goggles either. Given the GoPro’s ubiquitousness in the film and action sport industry, there’s a small world of aftermarket accessories available for it too, and it works well with seat rail mounts and bar mounts.
The camera is easy to use out of the box, and the quality of picture (and sound too) is great. Some studying of the manual is recommended to reach the finer points of the 3+, though. There’s even a Pro mode, which gives access to advanced filming settings, like colour balance, exposure compensation and raw footage capture.
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|Tested:||by David Hayward for|