In the last few months I got the chance to have some fun with a GoPro Silver 4 camera while dusting some trails in Hajar Mountains, planning to create some clips for myoffroad.net project. I used also some accessories to mount the device in some weird positions inside and outside my Subaru XV so I got a pretty good idea about how this GoPro things work. Thus I want to share some of the things I discovered, as I notice many people looking to buy GoPro cameras for various needs. And some of these needs don’t actually require a GoPro, a cheap 10$ camera from ebay would do just enough.
The camera is really tough, as long as you use the GoPro case. You can jump from the cliffs into water, you can mount the camera on the side of your car and do some serious offroading without much to worry about your camera.
If you get a GoPro, get it for taking short adventure clips, not for continuous recording of driving. While the camera can do this, it is a total overkill. I heard some people saying that they want to get the GoPro and put it on the car’s dashboard to capture clips as proof in case they have a crash. You can actually do that with a cheap $10 camera from ebay, no need for paying this expensive beasts.
Don’t take the GoPro for seriously for pictures. While it can take some good quality videos, the pictures really suck. On all levels. From the 3mm lens which adds a huge amount of distortion to the actual quality and the low pixel count, GoPro will really suck at pictures.
Keep safe the GoPro USB cord. While you might think any USB cable will do the job, actually you can use only the original cable for transferring the pictures and clips to your computer. As a trick, you can always take out the microSD card and connect to your PC through an SD adapter.
Plan to spend a lot of time editing clips and exporting them. Well, you will get some pretty good clips out of GoPro, but to maximize quality you will need to process it in the GoPro Studio Application. And God that will be slow and take a lot of time, especially if you will want later to export for different targets (one maximum quality for a DVD and a lower quality for Youtube). You will have to wait hours, even with a pretty good PC/Laptop.
You will need a good microSD card. Don’t try your luck with some cheap cards. Class 10 will not be enough. Go for the top range microSD cards (I personally have a preference for Lexar Professional and SanDisk PRO Extreme). Slow cards will cripple the performance of the device and the actual recorded quality might suffer.
GoPro Silver can do 4K at 15fps. You can record 4k videos with a GoPro Silver as well, not only with the Black version. However, since it will record a maximum of 15 fps, you will have to speed up the video 2X to get a decent flow of frames. The big question is: would you really need a 4k? Unless you have a huge TV with really good 4k capabilities, this might be a total overkill resulting in huge video files and even more impressive processing time spent in front of your laptop.
Video quality is very good. I must admit that the quality of the video was pretty good, particularly considering the small form of the camera and its purpose. People were always impressed by the quality of the recording and by the huge area covered by the lens.
You will need external or a second battery. The included battery is pretty small and provides maybe just a bit over 1h of recording time. Get an external one or a second one to make sure you can always record the next guy jumping from the cliff.
Accessories are super-strong. Yes, the GoPro original accessories are of amazing quality. Quite normal, given the price you have to pay for them.
My conclusion: This camera is a great choice for people looking to save and share their crazy adventure moments. However, you will need loads of time to process your clips, but if you do it carefully, you can craft some real video masterpieces.
Some example clips: