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GoPro Hero 2 vs 3


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As mentioned elsewhere, Hannukah Harry and Santa are both primed to bring Karen and me a GoPro Hero for the holidays.


It's been pointed out that good deals are to be had on the "2", new at Costco around $200. Also seen quite a few on eBay, touted as new in box.


I'm always into saving money, but since this is something we'll keep for a while, I don't want to scrimp if it means sacrificing features and/or quality.


The one thing I do need is iPhone compatibility via WiFi.


If we do go for the "3", the middle "silver" model is our tentative choice.



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I'd probably go with the 3, since it's smaller, lighter, and less complicated. The $200 Costco deal is sweet, but because the WiFi is an add-on, it's quite a bit bigger and heavier. And a bit of a pain to setup and operate, with all the pieces. More things to charge.

3 has some techno advances, too. I have a 2, with wifi, and am seriously looking to add a 3.


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Another consideration is battery life.


My hands on experience with my two GoPro 2s with Wi-Fi bac pacs is the cameras run 2+ hours while the bac pacs get the same. And according to tech support the one battery doesn't take over should the other run down - they are independent.


Now that's with separate batteries in the 2 devices (camera and bac pac).


I'd be interested in knowing what the expected battery life is in the smaller model 3 with built-in Wi-Fi and a single battery.


Also Tim, remember that unlike the 2, the new model uses Micro SD cards. That's what finally got me to double up on the 2. An interchangeable bag of SD cards, mounts, back doors, charging cables, and GoPro 1 & GoPro 2 on my iPad wi-fi network screen.

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I think you may be over-simplifying this. There are three new GoPro Hero 3 models available: the white, silver and black editions.

Based on this review you may want the GoPro Hero3 black edition. Unfortunately, its the most expensive ($399) and they seem to be sold out everywhere. I doubt you can get one by Christmas, either on-line or in person.


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We just received our 2 Hero3 black editions last week. Went out and played with them. One plane has a 350 degree left and right pan and complete fore and aft pan capabilities which is controllable from the cockpit with a joy stick. As of right now it has a little too much wobble.


The other was attached via the suction cup mount. Th camera had no extensions and attached right to the suction cup out by the tiedown ring. It had no jello effect. Very solid. Both these were run from the Ipad in the cockpit. We both have 64G 30x speed Micro cards. I filmed a 17 min video in 1080 res and 60 fps. It took up 3.6G of space. The camera is capable of a 1440 res.

Here is the issue.They say a battery may last up to 2 hrs. That is only if you shoot in the lowest res and no Wi-Fi or Ipad. Camera only. When you increase resolution, use the remote or the Ipad battery life drops dramatically. In the 1080 res and 60 fps with the Ipad as a control and preview the battery is good for 35 min. You might squeak 40 out of it. I called them and confirmed most of this, but they were a little concerned about 35 min. The Ipad app has a bug. The preview screen will turn on or off at will. This was all repeatable on two different systems. Some times you can get it back sometimes not. The system shuts down when the battery gets to 10%, but saves any video. One way to fix this is drill a small hole in the exterior plastic housing and insert the 12V power plug in our power outlet. Then video would be until you ran out of SD card space. Gopro says to cycle the battery from full to zero three times to teach the camera and battery where full and zero is and condition the battery some.

My desktop computer is 5 years old or so and it won't really play the HD stuff. The video was so jerky it was un-watchable. I loaded it on my wife's new laptop with all the wizbang upgrades and high Def settings. (HD screen, video card, processor speed, ect...)


I will say the video was absolutely stunning and breath taking. I will admit I was pretty low, but the effect was unbelievable The colors were so vibrant and the detail made it looked as if you were sitting on my wing. It looked like a Discovery channel video sitting in a helicopter skimming the ground. It was unbelievable. Like sitting in a high def video Disneyland ride.


I was going to down load the 17 min. 3.6G HD video to show you on Youtube, but the download time was 3.5 hrs. and you would not have been able to experience the HD experience without the proper computer and It may not transmit at that quality?


Armed with the battery draining knowledge now I can make my battery last longer by cutting out certain functions or dropping resolution when needed. Looks like I may need a new desktop computer too.


I will say the Wi-Fi remote control works well and the Ipad app works well except for the preview bug which I reported to GoPro.


If you use the Hero camera make sure it is attached directly to the suction cup and no extension of any kind and with HD the jello effect was gone and a lot of the prop issues were gone.


Back out tomorrow to play with it some more. If I can post the video, but have to down grade the quality I will.

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  • 2 weeks later...

About ready to pull the trigger...


Pretty much decided on the GoPro Hero3 - Silver.


Rationale is to go with the latest, but not the greatest - the extra resolution and features of the black model are probably overkill given that most of the videos I take end up just posted to YouTube anyway. And I don't need the remote if I'll be using the iPhone/iPad app.


It worked out pretty well - on eBay I got $260 for the Garmin 295 I no longer had need for, and $38 for a 64mb Garmin chip I discovered lying around. That pretty much covers the $299.


Now I guess I need advice on the size and type and good source for the memory card I'll need - I might as well order both at the same time if I can, probably through Amazon.



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Roger, I urge you to upload your HD videos to YouTube. Videos of that quality can be viewed by us in HD and the quality of HD YouTube videos is stunning. I spend hours watching YouTube HD videos on my 55" TV, so I know what I'm talking about. Don't worry about the upload times. Just start the upload and walk away from your PC for a few hours. I have lots of HD videos from inside the plane, but the color-quality and exposure from outside are much better, so I hope to post some of those in the near future.


Also a neat free program for copying YouTube videos to your hard-drive is the YTD YouTube Video Dowloader available at CNET :



Cheers, Tom

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My GoPro Hero3 (silver) was ordered yesterday, direct from GoPro.


Just the camera, for now. Will shop micro-sd cards in Knoxville (Best Buy) this week unless directed to a better source. Probably start with a 16g and a 32g.


Thanks for all the feedback, guys!

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Hi Eddie,


I shot a 17 min. video at 1080 x 60 fps. It took 3.6 GB of space. I bought a 64G sd card so I would not have to worry. the sd card speed must be at least 10, but mine was 30 which is good. You may want to re-think a larger sd card. My 5 year old computer won't play that HD video. It is extremely jerky. My wife's new laptop has absolutely no problem because of all the newer upgrades. I have a new Samsung TV to and it won't support any FPS over 30. I shot that video at 60 fps. You can use Gopro's Cineform to change the HD quality and FPS setting. The higher the HD and FPS on the camera the shorter the battery life and if you use the IPAD preview setup. I will probably shoot at 1080 x 30 FPS for short videos and something less when I need 1.5 hrs. or so. You can plug the Gopro into our 12V and then battery life or using the IPAD preview would not affect the shoot time.


I played my 1080 X 60 video on my wife's computer and plugged it into a 60" plasma TV. Unbelievable Looks like you are flying with no plane skimming the landscape.

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Thanks, Roger.


Are you saying even 32g is on the high side?


BTW, my MacBook Pro is a 2009 model.


Karen's birthday is in a week or so, and it's rumored an iMac is in her future. Hopefully she'll let me use it for video editing if my MacBook Pro chokes.


And if I ask nicely, of course!

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I think 16G is too small if you plan on using the HD much, don't download frequently or go on a trip. The 32G is about 8 hrs worth and depending on which HD setting you use more, but if you plan on doing a trip, adding a bunch of stills or don't have a computer to maybe download content to free up space you may want to consider the 64G. 32G would be okay for the majority of the people.

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Roger, I have always filmed at 1080i x 30 FPS which is the same frame rate that most commerical DVDs and HD-BluRay discs use. Using this, I get about 2.5 hours of battery-life and my 32-gig card stores about 4.5 hours of video. I see no advantage to using the 60fps setting unless you are planning on producing some slow-motion videos from these scenes. There are thousands of 30fps HD YouTube videos that are of great quality. Look at them in 1080 HD and judge for yourself. Here is one that I shot at 1080i/30 fps -

This one I filmed at 720i/30fps is pretty clear also -



One problem I have when watching HD YouTube videos is often, the play is jerky and often interrupted due to slow connections speeds or slow YouTube servers. Sometimes, you can work around this problem by starting to play a YouTube video and then pausing it till you see that the entire video has loaded, as shown on the load-graph at the bottom of the video. Sometimes, this technique doesn't solve the stalled-video problem, so I use the YTD YouTube Video Downloader which copies the video onto your hard-drive for viewing anytime later. It's available at http://download.cnet.com/YTD-Video-Downloader/3000-2071_4-10647340.html


Regards, Tom

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Hi Tom,


I agree 30 FPS is good. I was just out playing with mine when I discovered a few limitations of play back equipment at the higher settings. My first video was at 1080 x 60 at 10' off the deck at 130 mph. Shown on a HD screen that can handle those settings is stunning. You could have counted that squirrel's eyelashes. :lol:

It looked like a Disneyland ride on a big screen sitting up front with nothing between you and the ground. Like flying with your arms out stretched.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I finally got out to the airport today and had a chance to play:




I think it came out pretty well.


1) The "Ultra Wide Angle" makes it look like I'm WAY wide on downwind (I wasn't) and WAY low and shallow on final (I wasn't). I may try a narrower field-of-view next time.


2) The iPhone app for controlling and previewing the GoPro is the cat's *ss!

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I just used the curved adhesive mount that came with the camera - it comes with one flat and one curved and the large one its mounted to in the package. I did not give it the 24 hours to cure, but I tethered it and it seemed to hold just fine.




I attached a RAM ball to the flat mount, and just ordered the $19.95 set of extra flat and curved adhesive mounts (3 of each), the tripod adapter and the larger battery pack.


Between all that there should be LOTS of mounting options!

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I really did not want to use the extension, but the way the mount and the curve of the canopy were oriented, I needed one extension to get the necessary 90° to point the camera forward.


Work in progress and all that!


BTW, I came across this on YouTube, giving another idea:


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Someone pointed out that I had somehow uploaded a low res version - I had done it from within iMovie and must have hit the wrong button.


Higher res version here:




Make sure to select "720p" in the smaller window, or click the "gear" symbol if watching via YouTube and select "720pHD".


It also gave me a chance to delete the extra "L" from "Alison"!

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