The brand GoPro should ring a bell amongst sports enthusiasts, particularly those doing extreme sports. The company was founded in 2002 by Nicholas Woodman who is also the CEO. His idea of a portable sports camera came about a decade ago when he wanted to capture his surfing adventures on video to show it to his buddies. Fast forward today, GoPro has come a long way and is America’s fastest growing digital imaging company.

The GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition is the top of the line model for the brand and the most advanced model thus far.

First Glance

This is what the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition basic kit includes:

An interesting item which is included in the package is the Wi-Fi remote (device with LCD screen below the waterproof casing, see photo above). It will be convenient for cyclists who wish to toggle through the modes or start/stop recording on the GoPro, especially if the camera is mounted at a rather inaccessible position such as at the back of the bike or on the rider’s helmet. A Velcro attachment strap and charging cable for the remote is included as well.
Specifications at a glimpse
This tiny marvel of a camera is capable of capturing ultra-wide 1440p48 fps, 1080p60fps and 720p120fps video and 12MP photos at a rate of 30 photos per second, making it one of the most versatile video/photo capturing devices for virtually any sport. For the more hard core enthusiasts with the relevant equipment to support it, the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition can capture videos of up to 4Kp resolution!
Features and usage
Operating the camera is simple with just 2 buttons-one to switch the camera on/off as well as select modes (on the front of the camera) while the other button (on the top right-hand of the camera )performs the record or snap function. Toggling through the functions and modes is also made easier with the LCD Touch BacPac, a removable LCD touch screen (sold separately) for GoPro cameras.
There are basically 5 modes for the camera:
Video, Photo, Photo Burst, Time Lapse and Playback (only appears when plugged into a TV/HDTV).
Not surprisingly, the default mode when you turn on the GoPro is the video mode and as expected, the quality is top-notch:
Video quality
Photo quality

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

The 12MP camera did not disappoint: great quality shots with the wide angle field of view.

One issue though, is the heat management capabilities of the Hero 3. As the unit is very small, it is difficult to dissipate heat given its high processing power and the water proof casing does not help in dissipating heat either. As a safety feature though, the battery has a safety shut down point at 52 degrees Celsius.

Mounts, Accessories & Conclusion

Mounts and Accessories (sold separately)


For this review, additional mounts and accessories (sold separately) were included so that the GoPro unit could be mounted on the stem and/or handlebars of the bike. The clamp diameter of the standard handlebar seatpost/pole mount was too small to be mounted on oversized stems/bars/seatposts. Fortunately the roll bar mount accessory was able to do the job, which was what was used for the bunk of this review. The clamp itself was quite a no-brainer to use- one side was fixed and the other side had a C-slot which meant the screw attachment could be removed completely.

The less no-brainer part was the pivoting orientation arms which served as connecting points between the roll bar mount clamp and the bottom of the 60m waterproof housing for the camera unit. I spent a pretty long time trying to figure out the orientation of the arms to get the camera pointing in the direction which I wanted.

The mounts were generally quite secure and the camera unit will stay put most of the time, even on the trails when there were lots of vibrations and movements.

Conclusion


If you insist on using one of the best portable sports camera out in the market and budget is no issue, then the GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition is the way to go. For those on a tighter budget, there are the more affordable Silver and White Edition models, which can capture videos up to 1080p resolution which is more than sufficient for current YouTube standards.

There are also plenty of mounting options and accessories which are sold separately, but the main drawback is that these do not come cheap.

GoPro sports cameras are locally distributed by StreamCast Asia Pte Ltd and are available at retail outlets listed here.