I had someone message me last week asking about GoPro models, and thought to myself “self, surely there’s other people that are curious about this!”
So if you don’t have a GoPro and have thought about buying one for upcoming summer family trips, here’s some simplified thoughts on the current models, starting from the cheapest and most basic, to the most current/ most expensive:
*Hero – Entry Level ($129)
Unlike some of the others: It’s built in to the case, so it’s not as versatile, but a great starter go pro for use just once in a while. this is for you if you want to capture some moments on vacation, random trips, etc. Not a ton of footage options – very basic, good for beginner who won’t use it very often. Note: no screen on back of camera OR wireless connectivity.
*Hero 3 White ($199)
One step above the Entry level model. Originally released in 2013. Biggest difference: Wifi built in, which lets you view images from your iPhone or Android once you connect to the camera wirelessly. Again, no screen on back of camera..but solved with connectivity to your phone for preview purposes.
*Hero 3+ Silver ($299)
Basically a little slimmer and smaller than the 3White, and gives you a few more footage and photo options. Adds 60FPS, which allows for good action shots and slow-mo…10Megapixel camera. Now we’re getting a little more advanced, this is for you if…you want to take it on trips a few times a year, and have it around the house for fun with the kids. You maybe want to try your hand editing some of the footage, and getting fancy with photos and action effects. **Still no screen on back of camera, but does sync with your phone like the White.
*Hero 4 Silver ($399)
Now we’re getting to the latest model – released late 2014. This is for you if you want to use it ALL THE TIME. It’s the first model that has a built in touch LCD screen, so you can view images directly on the device, OR sync to your phone. Same advanced footage options of the 3+, but better 12MP camera for photos.
*Hero 4 Black ($499)
The BIG DADDY Go Pro. Same 12MP photo camera & touch screen back, but even more upgrades for video footage. Awesome slomo footage features (does require editing with free included software for Mac or PC), new NIGHT FOOTAGE option that does great low-light footage, and recently updated option for NARROW VIEW…basically means you have the option to record without the distorted wide/fisheye view. Also gives you 4K recording! This is for you if you’re more of a video nerd, and want to really get fancy, or even use it for more professional purposes. Or you just have the $$ to splurge and get the fanciest model…even if you don’t want to mess with all the options.
- I personally have the 3 Black – equivalent of the 3+silver – and it meets my needs for the amount of time I use it. If I was buying TODAY, I would probably get the 4 Silver, because it has the touch screen back and gives me all the footage options I need. Few things to note:
- The camera by itself does not come with a memory card. you’ll need a Micro-SD…you can get a good 32 GB (make sure it’s class 10) or higher on amazon for around $20 http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Memory-Adapter–SDSDQUAN-032G-G4A-Version/dp/B00M55C0NS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431362620&sr=8-1&keywords=32+gb+micro+sd
- They also do not come with a ton of options for the mounts, if you buy just the camera. You can buy accessories as you need, or if you buy a Surf Pack, it comes with a bunch of random stickies and mounts you can use primarily for the beach. I bought the Surf edition, then bought a GoPole, Chesty mount, and Head mount on Amazon. TIP: Budget an extra $100 for SD cards and mounts, to really get the fun ones.
- GoPro traditionally releases new models in the fall or late summer – Good news: this means current models will be cheaper, and new updated models will sell at the $399 range. Bad news: if you want one for the summer, you’ll be buying one just a few months before they update. Like buying an iPhone 5 right before they release the 6… Just know that, it’s not guaranteed that new ones will come out in the fall, but it’s been their company pattern and current rumors about the Hero5 support this. (I bought my 3Black for a crazy good Black Friday deal in 2013).
Hope this helps! I am not the only “Go Pro geek” out there so I’m sure you can find other thoughts and opinions, but I do enjoy their products and believe that it’s a great thing to have in your travel arsenal if you can spare a few hundred dollars.