GoPro have launched their latest action camera, the GoPro HERO3 which they say will be available to the public by mid-November 2012.
There are three models in the range: the HERO3 Black Edition (US$399.99/£359.99), HERO3 Silver Edition (US$299.99/£279.99) and budget HERO3 White Edition (US$199.99/£199.99). They all feature the same housing, which GoPro say makes the cameras 30 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than the HERO2, with a claimed weight of just 2.6 Oz (73g).
That should make them easier to mount and they will be compatible with current GoPro mounts. The downside of this downsizing is that they now only take micro SD cards instead of standard ones.
All three cameras feature built in Wi-Fi, which means you won't need a BacPac accessory to stream your footage to a computer, smartphone or tablet.
GoPro HERO3 Black Edition
The top of the range HERO3 Black Edition ($399.99/£359.99) is the first action camera to boast 4K video. That means a horizontal resolution of up to 4096 pixels, which is considered cinematic quality and actually double the maximum resolution you can stream on YouTube at the moment. However, you can only shoot at 15 fps (frames per second) at this resolution, which won't give you very smooth footage on the bike. It's a bit like being given a top end sports car but only being able to drive it at 30mph. Still, we're sure that the fps rate will improve in future and the HERO3 Black Edition represents another step along the path to cinematic quality commuting footage.
GoPro HERO3 Black Edition features (courtesy: GoPro)
What the HERO3 Black Edition will allow you to do is shoot at 720p at 120 fps. This is double the power of the GoPro HERO2 and means you should get better footage in low light and you can slo-mo to your heart's content without losing too much quality.
GoPro say that the lens has been improved on the HERO3 to reduce distortion at close range and that the audio quality has been beefed up, although it's not specified how.
The camera's built-in Wi-Fi means you can stream footage to a computer, smartphone or tablet, and if you've got the GoPro App you can control the camera from those devices. The HERO3 includes a Wi-Fi remote (normally $79.99), which enables you to control up to 50 Wi-Fi enabled cameras at a range of 600 feet.
Video: GoPro HERO3 Black Edition footage. Change to HD to get the best quality (courtesy: GoPro)
GoPro HERO3 Silver Edition
Video: GoPro HERO3 Silver Edition footage at various frame rates and resolutiions
The HERO3 Silver Edition ($299.99/£279.99) is essentially the HD HERO2 in a smaller housing but with built in Wi-Fi, the improved lower distortion lens and audio. It's the same price as the HERO2 as well.
The Silver Edition can film at 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps, as well as a lower quality WVGA (848x480px) at 120fps. As a stills camera it can do 11 megapixel shots at 10 fps.
Screengrab of 1080 HD footage
GoPro HERO3 White Edition
The budget camera in the new HERO3 range is the $199.99/£199.99 White Edition. At a glance, this looks to be just about as good as the Silver, but with a reduced capability for stills: only 5 megapixel shots at 3 photos per second. It does have built in Wi-Fi, as well as the improved lens and audio.
Want to see more footage from the GoPro HERO3? Then visit ChopMTB.com.
The opinion of our video team: the HERO3 Black Edition sets the new standard for action cameras, being the first to be able to handle 4K video. But it'll take some time for the rest of the camera technology to catch up in order to get the full benefits from this resolution.
The White and Silver Editions are improvements on the existing HERO2 but at apparently no extra cost, which will be nice for the consumer.
HERO3 Black, Silver and White editions at a glance (courtesy: GoPro)