Hitting the market with three different editions of their latest product simultaneously, GoPro is hoping that the HD HERO3 can capture the interest of every outdoor enthusiast, regardless of which level they're looking to buy. It's an interesting tactic - and certainly different from the way that most camera manufacturers look at the market. Instead of releasing three cameras with three different sets of capabilities under three different model names, GoPro is putting all of its eggs under the HD HERO3 umbrella, and offering different 'editions' of the same.
It's a good way to build brand recognition, since any customers can claim that they used an HD HERO3 to capture their footage, regardless of which level it is.
By default, all of the new models come with a waterproof housing that's stable down to a whopping 60m - which is very nearly 200 feet. They've also got Wi-Fi built in, and are compatible with GoPro's new Wi-Fi remote control, which lets you trigger the camera from a distance without requiring line of sight...but that's where the similarities end.
The new GoPro HD HERO3 is hitting the market with three different models: the HD HERO3 White Edition, for $199, the HD HERO3 Silver Edition, for $299, and the king-of-the-hill, the HD HERO3 Black Edition, which will retail for $399.
What separates the Black from the Silver from the White? The sensor's capabilities - the sensor's glorious capabilities.
GoPro isn't looking to shake up just the outdoor enthusiast camcorder market with the new HD HERO3: they're looking to shake up the camera market as a whole. The White Edition will be able to shoot 5MP with a 3fps burst mode - nothing too crazy. It'll be able to shoot 720p video @ 60fps, which isn't half bad. It'll also manage 960p and 1080p at 30fps. It comes with Wi-Fi, but not a remote: you'll need to pick one of those up separately (it's $80).
The new Silver Edition of the HERO3 kicks things up a notch: it's capable of 11MP stills at a much better 10fps burst rate, but the video has been improved, too - 720p is still at 60fps, and the 1080p is still at 30, but the intermediate 960p can be shot at a more fluid 48fps. The same news about the remote holds true here.
Those two cameras sound fun and all, but it's the new HD HERO3 Black Edition that's making everyone sit up and take notice. It's got Wi-Fi, and this time the remote gets included. It's got solid low-light performance, but so do lots of other cameras. It can take 12MP images...at a whopping thirty frames per second. Crazy! But the news doesn't stop there. This guy can shoot 720p video at a stunning 120 frames per second, which means that shooters will be able to capture slow-motion video at better rates than ever before.
It can do 1080p at 60fps, which means fluid HD video, or smoother HD slo-mos. And it doesn't stop there! 1440p video can be captured at 48fps. 2700p can be captured at 30 frames per second! And if you don't mind things getting a little jerky, the HD HERO3 Black Edition can even capture 4K video at 12 frames per second. That's a stunning achievement for a $400 camera, and when you add in all the other capabilities, GoPro really seems to have knocked one out of the park.
Of course, the proof is in the pudding, so we're looking forward to getting our paws on one for an in-house review. If you can't wait, however, the new cameras are available now.