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The New GoPro HD HERO3 Cameras With New Extra Features

October 18th, 2012 · 17 Comments · Shooting in 3D

GoPro has just announced their new lineup of compact action camera named HD HERO3 as the successor of the previous HERO2 series. The new series consists of three models with different specifications and features, targeted respectively for different users – consumer, prosummer and professional as GoPro describes them in the form of White, Silver and Black editions of the HD HERO3 camera. The most interesting development here is that the Wi-Fi support is now a built-in feature for all HD HERO3 cameras, though you’d still need a WiFi remote for the White and Silver versions as only the Black one comes with one in the package.

The specifications of the GoPro HERO3 White edition kind of remind to the ones that the original HD HERO camera had – 5MP photos and up to 1080p 30 fps video, but in the new HERO3 package, so you should still get a better quality. The White edition will not have support for the Protune software that was recently announced for the current range of HERO2 cameras and can record video with a bitrate of up to 15Mbps. The camera is expected to be available on the market starting October 22nd with a recommended price of $199 USD.

The GoPro HD HERO3 Silver edition seems a lot like the HERO2 camera in terms of specifications: 11MP photos, 1080p video with up to 35Mbps using Protune, 120fps mode at WVGA resolution. So until there are some comparisons between the original HD HERO2 and the HD HERO3 Silver edition you might want to stay put with the upgrades if you already use HERO2 camera(s). Though you get the Wi-Fi module built in as an extra and that can be handy, although you’d still have to buy a wireless remote. The HD HERO3 Silver edition is also expected on the market starting October 22nd with a price of $299 USD, the same as the HERO2 cameras.

The GoPro HD HERO3 Black edition is what seems to be the most interesting new addition in the HD HERO3 product lineup as it comes with the most extra features as compared to what HD HERO2 cameras already offer. The Black edition also comes with built-in Wi-Fi module and there is a remote in the package, but that is not the most interesting here. With the HD HERO3 Black edition you are apparently getting new sharper lens compared to the other two HERO3 action cameras, the resolution of the sensor is 12Mp, so up to 12 Megapixel photos and you can record up to 4K video, there is support for Protune and the maximum bitrate has been increased to 45Mbps, along with some extra features such as simultaneous photo and video recording. So everything here seems to be intended for providing better image quality and more functionality at the fingertips of the users that are interested in using GoPro HD HERO3 Black edition cameras for more professional tasks. The HD HERO3 Black edition is expected on the market starting November 14thwith a price of $399 USD, so we’ll have to wait a bit more for that one to become available.

Now, regarding the 4K resolution support, though a lot of focus is being put on it, it is actually not that important and for that matter useful, considering that you have a more limited framerate when recording at 4K – 3840×2160 at 15 fps or 4096×2160 at 12fps (available only in Protune mode). On the other hand the 2.7K resolution that is also supported offers 25/30 fps at 2716×1524 or 24 fps at 2716×1440 is actually way more interesting and useful because of the normal framerates supported here (enough room for corrections and you can still get 1080p final output in 2D or 3D). Moving to the probably most used resolution, the 1080p now you have support for up to 60 fps which is a good improvement, and you can also use 48, 30, 25 or 24 fps. There is also support for a 1920×1440 mode at up to 48 fps, but that doesn’t seem that interesting, unlike for example the lower 960p resolution (1280×960) in which you can record at either 100 fps or 48 fps. Going further down the resolution to 720p you get up to 120 fps and at WVGA (848×480) the framerate is up at 240 fps, so definitely an improvement for high-speed action recording as well as for high-resolution. Mind you you’ll also need MicroSD Class 10 flash card or higher (up to 64GB supported) for using the higher bitrate and resolutions.

And now comes the most important part, will the new GoPro HD HERO3 cameras offer support for stereoscopic 3D video recording? There is still absolutely no word on compatibility between the HERO3 cameras and the 3D HERO accessory, but there is no reason for them not to be compatible allowing you to record stereo 3D video with the new models like you can do with the older HD HERO cameras. GoPro says that the new HD HERO3 action cameras should be compatible with all GoPro mounts and accessories, so that should include the 3D HERO as well, though it is possible that we might have to wait for a firmware update. I simply can’t wait to see some stereo 3D demo footage from two GoPro HD HERO3 Black edition cameras coupled with a GoPro 3D HERO in both the new higher resolutions as well as the lower ones with even higher fps…

For more information about the new range of GoPro HD HERO3 action cameras…

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17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Attila // Oct 18, 2012 at 12:44

    in the promo video at 4:02 there is definitly a stereo rig. I just dont see a sync cable. It can be that they solved the sync by wifi?

  • 2 wuda // Oct 18, 2012 at 12:53

    I think I will gonna buy the black edition. I love the wifi function. Is the rolling shutter effect already optimized?

  • 3 Bloody // Oct 18, 2012 at 14:25

    If they have managed to get the cameras sync properly for 3D (this opens the possibility for easily building camera arrays as well) over WiFi it would be even better as you will not be limited by the length of the sync cable (even if using extension)… ;)

  • 4 Max // Oct 18, 2012 at 16:56

    Black edition will be $400 not $300.
    45 mbit? Great! :o
    The old case is not good for the new form, so
    we have to buy new 3d case. But i also hope the orange
    electronic will be compatible, so i can still use it on my
    quadrotopcter with the 30cm sync cable ;-)

  • 5 Max // Oct 18, 2012 at 16:57

    Or yes, even better synced via wifi.
    I can’t wait to record some 120fps aerial footage in 720p.
    One more important thing: manual white balance!!

  • 6 Alex // Oct 18, 2012 at 19:11

    You mentioned how the older models are similar to the new White & Silver editions, Bloody. They are exactly that. The original Hero is now Hero 3 White and the Hero 2 is now Hero 3 Silver. Same specs, but in smaller, lighter package and built-in wifi.

  • 7 Markus Lanxinger // Oct 20, 2012 at 07:50

    I contacted Go Pro about a 3D housing for the Hero 3. Here is their response:

    Update for Case #376020 – “Hero 3”

    Hi Markus, 

    Thank you for contacting customer support.

    At the moment the HD HERO 3D System is not compatible with the HD HERO 3’s this is because the cameras are thinner then the HD HERO 2’s and the housing will not fit the HD HERO 3’s. 

    We haven’t heard any word of a 3D system coming out for the HD HERO 3’s so for the moment being it will only be available for the HD HERO 2. 

  • 8 Bloody // Oct 20, 2012 at 11:28

    They only mention the case not being compatible due to the size difference of the new cameras, but nothing about the sync cable…

  • 9 Jason Gilbert // Oct 22, 2012 at 00:35

    I wonder if you shot 1440p Stereo would you take it into After effects and do a 2:1 pulldown to get the 1080p24 for 3D Blu-Ray?

    Or would that resulting movie have choppyness in high motion?

  • 10 Skaven252 // Oct 22, 2012 at 14:42

    Even the Hero2, with the sync cable, apparently does not sync perfectly. The cable doesn’t genlock the cameras or synchronize exposure, it only estabilishes a master/slave control relationship between them.


    I am disappoint.

  • 11 steve // Oct 23, 2012 at 00:54

    With 120fps in 720p, you dont need sync really. You can do it in post and even adjust for drift. Thats plenty of frames to play with. I seriously doubt its synced over wifi, but who knows. The old 3d housing was a joke with them that close together, it really was useless.

    The new housing looks like it will be worse out of water since it has a flat outer glass. With super wide lenses, a flat piece of glass usually makes the corners really fuzzy. I know the waterproof housing needed a flat lens for underwater. They also made a new housing that removes the entire thing. I wish they just put a tripod mount in the bottom.

  • 12 Skaven252 // Oct 23, 2012 at 10:59

    Even with a high framerate, if the cameras drop frames every now and then the footage will drift apart. It would be nice if there was a way to embed sync markers here and there at least.

    My experience with VIO POV.HDs is that you can’t trust the videos’ own soundtracks for sync. In all VIO POV.HD footage I have shot the audio and video can be up to 6 frames off sync. :/

    The good thing about VIO POV.HD is that they seem to change their exposure very consistently in tandem when mounted in a stereo array. This is the case at least with full screen metering. I suppose point metering will be more inconsistent in this regard.

  • 13 Skaven252 // Nov 5, 2012 at 09:41

    If GoPro has no plans to, for example, genlock the cameras via WiFi (which would be pretty awesome), I guess you can still tune two Hero3s to the same channel and use a single remote to start and stop both simultaneously?

    That’s what I’m doing with my VIO POV.HDs at the moment. The sync is not perfect, but at least it’s kinda convenient to only have to press one button.

  • 14 Steve // Dec 25, 2012 at 09:56

    It’s Xmas Day 2012…and I’ve been given 2 x Hero3 Silver cams and the 3D kit. The cams definitely do not fit in the 3D case. The person who gave them to me is very disappointed. They were given bad advice. I’m hoping I can make a custom rig (shouldn’t be too hard – not worried about water use) and then make the 3D sync afterward in software.

  • 15 Steve // Jan 10, 2013 at 12:40

    OK…Update. I;ve been making 3D video with my Hero3 cams. I mount them on a tripod and start the two cams via wifi, each started by its own Android phone with GoPro app. I can actually get them to start only a frame or two apart. My problem is them trimming off the extra few frames on one stream or the other….and then bringing them into Cineform. They go into Cineform OK as long as I don’t edit the streams in any way…..but they are then out of sync.

    I’ve been using Magix Movie Edit Pro MX Plus for editing them as 3D video and it works reasonably well. I can trim the extra frames off there easily. But not being able to use Cineform means I can’t use ProTune.

    I’m trying to find out how to get rid of the extra frame and still be able to use Cineform. Anyone know?

  • 16 Fon Davis // Mar 9, 2013 at 10:55

    For anyone interested, I bought a pair of GoPro Hero3 cameras and the 3D Hereo System to shoot Stereoscopic 3D video and discovered they are not compatible. I decided I would troubleshoot the problems and and share the solutions with you. Enjoy!!!


  • 17 Silvano // Sep 16, 2013 at 20:44

    I fell in the same trap. I can’t use Fon Davis’ trick because my main use is watersports and diving. It’s really mean of them to make them incompatible with the 3D case, and not make it VERY clear on all the info about this incompatibility. To the point of warning resellers not to sell the 2xHero3 + 3D box combination.

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