GoPro Introduces the Hero 3+

Lighter, Smaller and Sharper: Will it Live up to the Hype?
By Brent Durand

GoPro just released their most advanced camera to date: the Hero 3+ Black Edition. Like the Hero 3, the Hero 3+ features video resolutions up to 4k, 12MP photos with a variety of timelapse and burst modes (up to 30 frames/second), built-in wifi, excellent low-light capability and a waterproof housing rated to 130 feet. The Hero 3+ is 20% smaller, lighter, sharper and has faster wifi - all excellent upgrades.

I bought a Hero 3 Black a few months ago and love the versatility. I've used it to shoot video underwater at the same time as still photos with my DSLR, mounted it to kayak paddles, crashed it on my mountain bike and held it in many breaking waves. It's great as an entry-level video camera and has filters available for underwater use. I also took comfort knowing it was a backup camera in case anything happened to my DSLR on a recent dive trip to Northern California.

Thinking about an upgrade? Read our GoPro HERO5 Black review and our GoPro Hero4 Review.

 

Hero 3 Black Edition capturing fast-moving detail in low light. The Hero 3+ should do even better, producing sharper images.

 

 

What's New with the Hero 3+ Black Edition?

  • 20% smaller and lighter than previous models

  • New SuperView mode that captures immersive wide-angle video

  • Auto Low Light mode for stunning low-light performance

  • 30% longer battery life (battery life was a downside to predecessor)

  • 33% increase in image sharpness

  • 40% faster built-in wifi (you can turn the camera on and off and see what you're shooting with the phone app!)

  • Improved audio recording

 

 

Side by Side with the Hero 3 Black

The camera body is the same size as the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition, however the new housing is smaller though. The smaller volume means there is less air inside the housing and less likelihood of fogging during a dive. Below are a few phone snapshots of the cameras:

 

GoPro Hero 3 and Hero 3+ Comparison

GoPro Hero 3 and Hero 3+ Comparison

GoPro Hero 3 and Hero 3+ Housing Comparison

 

 

GoPro Hero 3+ Black for Underwater Video

The Hero 3+ is a versatile camera for underwater video. While it won't compare to the manual controls available when recording video with a DSLR or dedicated video camera, the compact size and ease of use make it a winner.

The Hero 3+ underwater housing has also been designed with larger buttons that are more comfortable to press and the latch system has less moving parts to get clogged with sand. Also, the accessories for the Hero 3 will work with the Hero 3+ black edition, which is great news for those planning an upgrade. High quality glass filters (red, magenta, etc) from several brands will be available soon.

 

 

Accessories for Underwater Video

Underwater Filters

GoPro filters help improve your underwater video in a number of ways. A red filter will bring the reds and more contrast back into the scene (since red is the first color lost when descending in water). A macro filter will allow you to shoot very small subjects from close distances. Other options are also available.

Be sure to read the Complete Guide to GoPro Filters for Underwater Video.

 

Video Lights

A strong video light (and preferably two) will bring vivid color back into the reef, especially when at depth. The GoPro is mounted to a tray with handles, to which the lights attach.

 

Visit the GoPro Buyers Guide on our sister site, Bluewater Photo for more info on underwater video accessories.

 

 

Editing Your GoPro Underwater Video

The easiest way to edit GoPro video is with their free software, GoPro Studio 2.0. Using the software is very intuitive, and even has templates that help you to create "GoPro-Style Videos" with fast cuts, slow motion and other cool effects.

Tutorial:  

Editing Your Video with GoPro Studio 2.0

 

 

Sample Video from GoPro Hero 3+ straight out of camera:

 

 

Improving Your Underwater Video

Visit our video chapter for tutorials to help you capture and edit Great Underwater Video.

Tutorial:  Beginner's Guide to GoPro for Underwater Video

 

 

Returning from a kayak freediving video session. GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition.

 

Quick action captured by the Hero 3 Black Edition.

 

 

Further Reading

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brent Durand is a weekend wanderer and story teller from California.
BrentDurand.com   |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Brent is managing editor of the Underwater Photography Guide, an avid diver and adventure photographer, and shoots underwater any time he can get hands on a camera system. He can be reached at brent@uwphotographyguide.com.

Interested in joining Brent on a photo workshop? Email Bluewater Travel for more info!

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