Which GoPro camera should I buy? Which GoPro camera is the best?

Hero3PicI have been getting a lot of questions about which type of GoPro camera one should buy if interested. I first think it is great that you're looking into finally getting one, especially after watching the latest events on TV and all of the great camera angles they were able to capture of the professionals. I've had mine for 2 years and could not be any happier. Just last weekend I attached it to my dog on our hike and posted it to Facebook and got some likes from a few cute girls (because likes mean everything, right!?). I'll post the video later this week. I digress, and provide you with some tips when deciding to purchase your GoPro.

To get right to the point of my writing: I can't give you a definite answer. What I can definitely tell you right now is that we are to focus on the GoPro HERO3's (and I will touch base on a few HERO2's as well), as it is the best technology and provides options for numerous consumers. However, what GoPro camera you're going to buy is ultimately subjective that depends on a few of your conditions! These are:

  • Your budget
  • What you will be using the camera for
  • Which conditions/environments you will be in the majority of your use

Your budget

I put this here first because this is one of the most important factors when purchasing your camera. The HERO3 has three editions (white, silver and black), ranging from $199 - $399 (prices continue to drop annually as newer versions are released -- we'll keep you updated on those). The HERO2's are at the bottom of this gap, but aren't as "new" and lack some features the 3's have. Here are the retails for each. It is all dependent on how much you want to spend of that money you so strategically saved to get you one of these bad boys:

  • HERO3: White Edition: $199
  • HERO3: Silver Edition: $229
  • HERO3: Black Edition: $399
  • HERO3+: Black Edition: $399
  • HERO3+: Silver Edition: $299
  • HERO2 Cameras: $269

Last updated: March 10th, 2014

What will you be using the camera for?

Now that you've checked out the prices and can keep those in consideration, what are you using the camera for? Professional use (some movies have used them before)? Everyday use (like with me and my dog)? Or somewhere in the middle along the lines of motorbiking or surfing in more extreme sports conditions?

If you are using camera for more simpler activities, the Silver or even White Edition is fine for you.

If you are using the camera for more simpler activities, the Silver or even White Edition is fine for you.

The reason I ask what you will be using it for is to determine which set of features you need. If you're going to be using it for simpler activities, don't go all out for a Black edition with a 60fps, 1080p cam (all HERO3's are 1080p, anyways). The reason the Black Edition is so expensive is because of the crazy quality it has, and if you're using it for a more simple basis I wouldn't worry about the difference. The Silver or even White is perfectly fine for you. The main difference between these two is the white's camera has a 5 megapixels with 3fps burst, while the silver is 11 megapixels with a 10 fps burst -- is that worth $100 to you? Also note that their newest line of cameras, the HERO3+ (plus) are only smaller in size and lighter in weight. As of now, the Black Edition for both Hero3 and Hero3+ are the same price, so go for the plus!

Here are the features for the HERO's organized simply in a chart to compare, and provided are links to amazon:

 Max Video Resolution*Photo QualityWiFi Built-in?**WiFi Remote Compatible?Price
Purchase
HERO3: White
1080p/30fps

5 MP
3 fps burst

No
Yes (Sold Separately)
$199.99
Purchase on Amazon

HERO3 & HERO3+ Silver

1080p/30fps
11 MP
10 fps burst
No
Yes (Sold Separately)
$229.99
&
$299.99
Purchase on Amazon
HERO3 & HERO3+ Black
4K Cinema/15fps
12 MP
30 fps burst
Yes
Yes (Included)
$399.99
Purchase on Amazon
HERO2 Cams
1080p/30fps

11 MP
10 fps burst

No
Yes (Sold Separately)
$279.99
Purchase on Amazon

Last updated: March 10th, 2014

* This is the max resolution in terms of HD resolution. You have the ability to lower this in the cameras which in results increases the fps and recording time.

** You are able to purchase the WiFi BacPac separately.

Note: All GoPro cameras are GoPro App compatible.

Which conditions/environments you will be in the majority of your use

What you're using your GoPro with can determine which cam/edition you need to purchase.

What you're using your GoPro with can determine which cam/edition you need to purchase.

Now that you've considered the features of the GoPro cameras and if the price is worth the activities you will be using it for, it is time to figure out which edition you need. The White and Silvers come in only one, so you will have to purchase specific mounts/parts you will need separately (do the math, the Black Editions with the mounts you need & WiFi accessories are a financially smart to purchase instead of a cheaper cam and everything else separately if that's what you  may be doing).

Do you snowboard, ski, or partake in other snow sports? Moto? Surf? Here's what's included in the cams:

  • HERO3+ Silver: 131'/40m waterproof housing, higher capacity Li-ion battery, quick release buckle, vertical quick release buckle, 1 curved and 1 flat adhesive mount, 3-way pivot arm, USB cable
  • HERO3+ Black: 131'/40m waterproof housing, Wi-Fi remote, Wi-Fi remote charging cable, higher capacity Li-ion battery, quick release buckle, vertical quick release buckle, 1 curved and 1 flat adhesive mount, 3-way pivot arm, USB cable
  • HERO3 White: Waterproof housing, rechargeable Li-ion battery, QR buckle, 1 curved and 1 flat adhesive mount, USB charging cable
  • HERO3 Silver: Waterproof housing, rechargeable Li-ion battery, QR buckle, J-Hook buckle, 3-way pivot, 1 curved and 1 flat adhesive mount, USB Charging cable
  • HERO3 Black (Adventure Edition): Waterproof housing, Wi-Fi remote + key ring, remote charging cable, rechargeable li-ion battery, QR buckle, J-Hook buckle, 3-way pivot, 1 curved and 1 flat adhesive mount, assorted mounts and hardware, USB charging cable
  • HERO3 Black (Motorsports Edition): Waterproof housing, Wi-Fi remote + key ring, remote charging cable, rechargeable li-ion battery, QR buckle, J-Hook buckle, 3-way pivot, 1 curved and 1 flat adhesive mount, assorted mounts and hardware, USB charging cable
  • HERO3 Black (Surf Edition): Waterproof housing, Wi-Fi remote + key ring, remote charging cable, rechargeable Li-ion battery, QR buckle, J-Hook buckle, 3-way pivot, surfboard mount
  • HERO2 (Outdoor Edition): Waterproof housing, rechargeable Li-ion battery, USB cable, vented helmet strap, head strap, 2 curved and 2 flat surface mounts, 3-way pivot
  • HERO2 (Motorsports Edition): Waterproof housing, HD skeleton housing, rechargeable Li-ion battery, USB cable, suction cup mount, J-Hook buckle, 2 curved adhesive mounts, 3 flat surface mounts, 3-way pivot arm
  • HERO2 (Surf Edition): Waterproof housing, HD skeleton housing, rechargeable li-ion battery, USB cable, 2 surfboard mounts, FCS plug mount, floaty backdoor 

Check out our post on memory cards if you're looking into what kind you need for your new GoPro.

Our post on which cases hold the best value for your GoPro camera.

When attempting to choose what GoPro cam is right for you, be sure to keep these three aspects into consideration. Is the price right for you? Are the features necessary for your activities? Which mounts/accessories do you need for the conditions/environment/sports you will be partaking in? Be sure to post some videos you guys take, we're always interested in your uses of GoPro cams.

Sean Mouradian

Marketing Director at ActiveLifeStore.com
Sean is the Marketing Director and Executive Writer of ActiveLifeStore.com's blog.

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