The much-anticipated HERO3 from GoPro was designed to preserve the company’s position as the Hoover of the helmet cam world.
Straight away, the 3’s diminutive size and weight is noticeable – it’s 30 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than its predecessor. The menu interface has been sharpened up too, and is a lot more intuitive and easy to navigate compared to the clunky toggle system of old.
Flipping between four camera modes is a lot simpler, even when you’re using the chest mount (sold separately). And the reduced weight is noticeable when you’re riding - not that the older spec was ever that inhibiting.
The slightly longer mounting bracket and smaller waterproof housing allow you to tilt the camera further back for a better angle too. No more flipping upside down or faffing about.
Once home and plugged into your HDMI-equipped telly or laptop, it becomes clear that GoPro are still the kings of helmet cams. Full 1080p/30fps mode shows great improvement and and offers super-slick recording, and the light transition (already the best in the segment) is buttery smooth even when shooting out of dim woods into bright winter skies.
The 960p/48fps mode is our favourite, however, as the increased clarity of the faster frame rate melds well with the slightly lower contrast, capturing speed more crisply, especially in lower light.
The camera also has a Protune mode, which increases the data rate slightly, making it more adaptable for editing. One thing worth bearing in mind, though, is that the HERO3 requires its own specific USB to Firewire cable to charge.
In 11MP stills mode, the HERO3 shoots more than decent photos. But if you’re serious about capturing epic riding vistas, you probably won’t throw out your DSLR. Impressively, the photo burst feature allows you to capture 10 images in just one second.
Our time with the new GoPro has been limited so far, but it’s impressed us. Image quality, ease of editing and usability have all improved over the previous model’s, and we’ll report back with a full BikeRadar score after we’ve spent some more time with the camera.
In the meantime, take a look at some of the initial video footage we’ve captured with the GoPro HERO3.