October 10, 2013

Side by Side Comparisons of GoPro Hero3 & GoPro Hero3+

gopro-hero3-hero3pWhen the GoPro Hero3+ was released a week ago, the question on everyone's mind was what improvements and updates were made to the newest member of the GoPro family. There are quite a few side-by-side comparisons of the Black Editions of the Hero3 and the Hero3+ that test the video and audio quality at different settings of both models, including low-light and SuperView. To see just how much (or little) the performance of the Hero3+ has improved, check out these videos after the jump:

The Hero3+ has made some pretty significant improvements and additions with image quality and audio. The image quality is definitely better. Especially in the low-light tests, you can see that the color is less muddy in the Hero3+, with darker blacks and a sharper image overall thanks to a sharper, faster lens. Though you can reduce the curvature in post, the image takes on a more wide-angle look rather than a fisheye look with the SuperView setting, which is a welcomed change for some. You can see more, while reducing image distortion.

Possibly one of the more apparent improvements is the longer battery life of the Hero3+, which lets you record for over 2 hours -- about a half hour longer than with the Hero3. The audio has improved as well. With the casing on, the sound is obviously a little degraded, but with it off, the sound is much richer than the Hero3.

Users are reporting issues of freezing, glitching, and random shutdowns, though it's uncertain how widespread those problems are. In Rhino's Wi-Fi test, the range at which they were able to receive transmission was significantly less than the 600 feet GoPro advertises, but a lot of factors play into Wi-Fi performance, like your receiver's Wi-Fi capabilities, the number of devices with their Wi-Fi turned on, even the height of the GoPro.

From Rhino Camera Gear:

From Wide Open Camera:

From CheesyCam:

What do you think of the side-side-side tests? Are the changes and improvements significant enough for you, or will you be waiting for the GoPro 4? Let us know in the comments.

Links:

Your Comment

34 Comments

You should post a review on that guy's hat.

October 10, 2013 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Aaron G

So, the camera outside of the housing is the exact same size? Does that mean it will still work with the Zenmuse Gimbal?

Thanks for this post, I probably woulnd't upgrade but I just did a nose dive into a cliff so my Hero 3 has got some issues.

http://instagram.com/p/fJ2XfAH0pe/

October 10, 2013 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Aaron G

I hate saying "cool video" especially when getting the shot damages gear,.....but cool video lol. I had the same question. I actually changed my order from DJI Phantom w/ Zenmuse Gimbal + Gopro Hero 3 to just the copter and no camera in hopes that the Hero 3+ will still work with the Zenmuse. I couldn't find any info out there about that.

October 11, 2013 at 2:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ian

If you're using it for Aerial footage you don't want to upgrade to the 3+. There is a HUGE oversight among all of these reviews and this article. All the 3+ owners including myself are noticing a major flaw in the design of the 3+ - All of this "crisp detail" is intended for close range but it lost the infinity focus entirely. This means no time lapses and it's completely useless for Aerial footage. I really hope No Film School will pick up on this and post an article about it. GoPro screwed up big time with this choice and they need to hear it from us.

Check out this discussion
http://goprouser.freeforums.org/difference-in-focal-range-sharpness-hero...

October 12, 2013 at 2:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel

I recently filmed a short HIGH WIND test with my new GoPro3+ on my Zenmuse and it worked amazingly well...no issues with infinity focus either (at least not in video). BTW, i got the 3+ because of damage to my regular black 3 edition in a previous crash.

here's the high wind test https://vimeo.com/76738452

October 17, 2013 at 7:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Heh.. I don't know what to tell ya but I can see the major focus issues in your image. It's soft. Really soft. It shows up a lot more when you see a specific subject (in this case, you) in the image.

December 4, 2013 at 6:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dj

I'm still waiting for the ability to remote view while recording. The faster wifi sounds nice but all I use it for now is to frame up my shot.

October 10, 2013 at 6:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mike K.

you can remote view to a very limited extent using the gopro app. dont know how helpful that is for you.

October 11, 2013 at 12:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dibakar

The GoPro app on Android will not allow remote viewing while recording, while the iPhone version will. Finally, something the iPhone is better at! LOL

October 17, 2013 at 4:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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You can view the video while recording on android, but only at 1080 or lower. At least that worked on my hero 3 black and my HTC one.

October 18, 2013 at 12:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Vinny

It doesn't work with 1080 50p and the Android app. As soon as you hit record, the preview is gone.

I haven't tried any lower framerates or lower resolutions because I always needed 1080 50p so far.

October 19, 2013 at 8:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Heiko

I had the same problem until I updated the cameras firmware using the update from the GoPro site

September 10, 2014 at 6:01AM

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Liam
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ooohhh... you're one of THOSE kind of guys...

October 10, 2013 at 9:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Xiong

Tim:
Dude, get a life. Can you spell Camera? review about camera. Not Vogue, GQ, Fashion week. CAMERA.
what a Plebe!

October 10, 2013 at 10:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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painfully lame... so they tweaked the black level a little and went for a cooler WB temp. on average. really, not a big deal. maybe the comparison should be 1-3+ side by side like I did in my actual shoot out in the real world.

October 11, 2013 at 2:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I'm still waiting for the ability to control exposure... :/

October 11, 2013 at 9:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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"so they tweaked the black level a little and went for a cooler WB temp. on average."

Did we just watch the same video? Are you just trolling or something? There are very obviously some pretty massive changes in image processing, just look at those leaves on the trees. Come on, don't oversimplify this just because it's not your own personal toy-with-the-exact-features-you-want.

October 11, 2013 at 4:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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trackofalljades

Very minor changes - I don't think too many people need to upgrade from Gopro3 to the plus. The best change is that extra battery life, the other changes aren't really special.

The Gopro is an amazing camera. I would love to see the next Gopro bring maybe a regular version, which would be similar to what a Gopro 4 black would be and a pro version; which would be a version that gives see some more features to play around with and set up shots in a more manual way.

October 11, 2013 at 5:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Daniel

Had a loooong conversation by email and basically got the response that not only isn't any form of manual exposure control in the works, but also, they have no intention to implement any either... by the way, do I want some stickers?

So, in my mind, the whole GoPro brand went from pro-grade to just another action-cam, that in controlled well lit situations happens to take decent footage. They have clearly shown that they won't make any effort to make exposure controllable. And now I will simply consider it a point-n-shoot that they happen to call "pro" as a gimmick.

October 18, 2013 at 1:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I must say that i was expecting more from GoPro, 1080p, 120 fps, and the fact that they said the camera is smaller i bugging me the most, that is a big lie, i'm very disappointed with them. Before they were talking about the camera size, now they are talking about the waterproof case, but they make you believe that the camera is smaller.

October 30, 2013 at 12:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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GoPro Hero 3+ release made us, GoPro fans excited. I especially use GoPro in my underwater shots. I am in love the way GOPro Hero 3 Black Edition records, but this new segment is better in a couple of ways. But there are also cons. Let me give you a few examples:

Pros of the new GoPro Hero 3+

*Wider angle to shoot
*Smaller in size
*Better low light mode

Cons of the new GoPro Hero 3+

*Warms very fast (not a problem for underwater users, but the rest)
*Still has complex menu
*Frequently looses wi-fi connection when an iPad is used

I have a detailed review in my blog about GoPro Hero 3+, for the ones who are looking for more information, videos and reviews of other owners.

http://www.divewithseaman.com/go-pro-hero-3plus-review

November 8, 2013 at 5:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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The increase in image quality is welcome, but it's time to really Go Pro.

What about a slightly bigger cam with an APS-C sensor. Then, with today's 64 GB micro-SD cards, we can dump H.264 and record to ProRes!

Someday, sigh...

November 22, 2013 at 11:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I’ve recently come across the iSAW which seems to stack up better than the GoPro and its cheaper! These guys have just put it on offer www.sportpixel.co.uk

November 28, 2013 at 9:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I am interested in purchasing a video camera for family members and just started research. Initially I thought it wasn't worth the difference but after watching the video a second time the video difference is substantial enough for me to upgrade my purchase. The audio however to me was not a significant difference.
Because the primary reason I would purchase the equipment would be for video quality I would purchase the 3+ for the upgrade in video.

December 2, 2013 at 9:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Linda

APS-C sensor? Do you know how difficult that would be in a GoPro size body? Impossible in the current size but even if they made one big enough the heat issues and processing power would still be a pain...the current sensor is actually very very very impressive for its size, I could see a slight increase in the image sensor benefiting it greatly though. ProRes would be a great codec although GoPro aquired CineForm so it would likely be CineForm, both similar codecs...I don't know the specifics on bit rates with CineForm so I can't really speak on the bit rate constraints specifically with that codec as I don't use it often at all, it seams to be similar to ProRes 422 or ProRes HQ with other options like RAW and 444. Anyways ProRes 422 (Standard Quality) is 42MB/s for 1080p59.94, 51MB/s for 2048x1556p48, 71MB/s for 4096x2160p23.98, and 83MB/s for 3840x2160p29.97...current UHS-1 SD Cards can do up to 95MB/s but most of that is on the read speeds so UHS-2 will need to guarentee a minimum of 95MB/s for write speeds to avoid dropped frames..not that insane but still a pretty high order, of course there is ProRes LT which should lower the bit rate even more but most realistic codec for a GoPro would be AVC-Intra 100 which offers 10-bit 4:2:2 in H264 but with intraframe compression, its better than DVCPRO HD and is essentially on par with ProRes LT and SQ just more compressed but thats not an issue since I wouldn't expect to edit in the format and transcoding to ProRes in editing would result in allot of room to edit. Maybe GoPro can release an external micro sized HDMI recorder? About the same size as the LCD touch screen but records to nice formats like AVC-Intra, CineForm, ProRes, DNxHD, etc? Doesn't seam like the best way to make profits but average joes but a cool idea none the less.

December 15, 2013 at 1:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Nate O

Yes, but as I can see he was filming at 25fps so because of that video little bit look soft
I never go under 50fps, I use Hexacopter F550 with Zenmuse H3-2D

December 22, 2013 at 9:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Vuk

Good job guys; thanks for the efforts!

January 14, 2014 at 10:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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K13Sman

This is very interesting. Thanks for the link!

January 16, 2014 at 4:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Totally worth my time to watch. Thanks for putting together this in-depth and side by side review.
Cheers,
Darius

January 21, 2014 at 2:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Question. I am buying the GP Hero 3+to record my granddaughter's softball games and want to live stream to a ustream or livestream site so that other grandparents, family or friends who cannot get to the travel competitions can watch. I have been told to buy a vidiu 1080p HD Video Encoder & WiFi Portable Live Streamer or Cerevo.......can you guide me as I am a real novice in this area. I also have a Nikon D7000 that I could mount it to.......what do you recommend? Thanks so much! Trisha

June 10, 2014 at 3:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The audio is noticeably better, as is the battery life. However, I can't help but feel that GoPro is not quite living up to its name with sub 3 hour battery life. I'm sure the HERO4 will offer an improvement on this!

Pete @ GoPro Buyers Guide (http://www.goprobuyersguide.com/)

July 3, 2014 at 1:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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hi, I would like to ask you about the slider that you use in the beginning of the video, is it go pro acc or movie acc and you change it to be go pro acc? thanks

July 14, 2014 at 9:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yan

I have a question for everyone that knows the go pros well.

I have a Hero Black 3 and a Hero Silver 3+. Both set on 1080 @60 wide, the silver quality is just OK and the Black 3 is WAY better. Is that normal or do I have a defective Silver 3+?

Thanks for any info before I return this camera.

Stu

August 12, 2014 at 2:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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stu

So i got the new Gopro Hero4, and it turns out to be a disappointment when comparing to the Hero3+. I compared between them (http://goprowoa.com), and found out that Black edition is just too expensive, and the silver edition is not as good as the Hero3+ black.
It's too bad they made it out of stock, I would rather buy it than the Hero4, especially that it came with the remote included.
the smaller new Gopro Hero could have been really great, but without wifi it is really going to be a hassle to operate. Maybe next year they'll upgrade it?

December 15, 2014 at 6:32AM, Edited December 15, 6:32AM

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Michael Andre
camera reviewer
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