The “action cam” has rapidly become a popular standby for everyone from extreme sports fans to people who just like strapping little cameras to things. And GoPro has been overhauling the tiny little guy ever since. Now the latest version is out, and it’s got, believe it or not, much better 4K.
4k, But At A Price
However, it’s worth noting that you’re not just going to magically get 4K at 24fps, rumored to be coming in the Hero 4. Sadly, there is something of a frame limit here, just like in the Hero 3; it only shoots 15fps on 4k, but the software has been tweaked to get better performance and smoother video. Step it down to 2.7k and you get a smoother frame rate, which will help. And that’s still pretty impressive considering this thing costs $400; the next cheapest 4K solution is probably the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which runs four grand. Also, this is a tiny, tiny little camera, twenty percent smaller and lighter than previous versions. And, as regular GoPro users know, that thing wasn’t exactly an anvil.
The next useful addition is, at 1080p, you’ve got a frame rate choice; 24, 30, 48, or 60 frames per second. Go to 720p and you can get 120 frames per second, a speed that you might be familiar with if you’ve been messing around with the iPhone 5S and its high frame rates. This is useful for fans of slow motion, of course, but also people looking to just generally collect video or analyze motion as well.
The Best Camcorder You Can Get, For The Price
In general, with DSLRs packing a video function, I’d argue that a camcorder is a rip-off. But not this camcorder. It’s not just small and light, it’s powerful and useful. True, the GoPro is aimed squarely at the extreme sports crowd, but it’s useful enough, and effective enough, to make it the camcorder of choice for those who care about their video quality.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.