After months of anticipation, GoPro announced three new cameras today, from $129 on up. There is the budget-oriented Hero ($129), the Hero4 Silver ($400), and the Hero4 Black Edition ($500).
Hero4 Black — Touting “two times the performance” of the previous model, the Hero4 Black has some pretty staggering stats for a tiny video camera: It shoots 1080p resolution at 120 frames per second, 27K at 50 fps, and super high resolution “cinema quality” 4k at 30 fps.
But this $500, top-of-the-line unit doesn’t have a screen, while the lower-price-point Silver (below) does.
Strange? Maybe. But with this camera likely going straight into the hands of pros and serious amateurs, I’m guessing GoPro thinks they won’t worry about instant feedback, or else they have an app that allows real-time viewing via a phone or tablet.
For serious videography, sound is a serious concern even though most GoPro-style videos end up covered by a music-laden soundtrack. GoPro claims this new model has twice the audio range of previous models, as well as improved low-light performance and easier controls.
Other notable specs: You can extract 8.3 megapixel video stills to use as photos from 4k setting; 12MP “magazine cover quality” photos shot at 30 photos per second burst; 50% faster Wi-Fi combined with Bluetooth for GoPro App use.
These specs are remarkable, but the price is hefty for many amateur videographers. And while high frame rates and resolution are wonderful for those with capable computers, the memory and storage requirements to edit this footage might take the unfamiliar by surprise.
Hero4 Silver — This camera has a lower price and adds a built-in touch LCD screen for shot framing.
For most people, the 2.7K 30fps, 1080p 60fps and 720p 120fps video settings (and 12MP, 30-photos-per-second still bursts) will be more than sufficient.
At $100 less, and with the ability to watch video right on the camera without an additional screen, this should be a popular option.
Hero — A third new model, the HERO is marketed as an entry-level camera designed for simplicity.
This is a camera for the masses, built directly into a tough waterproof housing. It will retail for just $129, shoots 1080p at 30fps, and 720p at 60fps, which is enough camera for many weekend warriors who want to document their ski trips, cliff jumps and dog park adventures.