Everything you need to know about buying a GoPro

Buying a gopro guide

Buying a GoPro can be a daunting task, especially for people not familiar with high tech electrical items and fancy computer software. Here at Absolute-Snow we understand this and so have created this handy advice centre to help you choose the right GoPro for you.

This advice centre outlines all the available options and shows how versatile and easy these cameras are to use.

GoPro cameras are one of the most versatile recording devices available and they pack an enormous amount of technology into very small packages. They can perform the same tasks as just about any high quality digital camera or camcorder but with the advantage of being durable, lightweight and highly portable.

This makes GoPro cameras the perfect companion for extreme sports, allowing you to caputure all the action in amazing quality. We have sold GoPro cameras to skiers, snowboarders, surfers, cyclists, rock climbers, motorcyclists, drivers, watersports fanatics, divers, fishermen, skateboarders and even hunters! There really is no end to what you can achieve with the right GoPro and accessories.

Check out the video to see what you can achieve with a GoPro camera. This video has been shot entirely with the GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition.

No! GoPro cameras are so user friendly that even the most stubborn technophobe can use them. GoPro cameras only have three buttons - power, record and WiFi - and simple to navigate menus which cycle through as you press the buttons. We guarantee that in only a few minutes anyone can pick up a GoPro and be capturing their priceless moments and memories.

Different GoPro camera models vary in the functions that they perform. The most important aspect to look out for is video and image quality as this allows you to always capture those priceless moments in high quality. Below we have broken down what to look out for into a handy and easy to follow guide.

Video quality is the most important aspect to look for in a GoPro - let's face it, capturing those priceless moments on film is why you're looking at one! GoPro cameras will record in high definition and some in cinema quality - but what does this really mean?

When you record a video it is actually made up of lots of 'frames' - individual images that are woven together by the camera to produce a seamless video. Each 'frame' is made up of 'pixels' and each 'pixel' relates to a point in the image that you have been recording. Video resolution (or quality) relates to the number of 'pixels' that you get in each 'frame'.The table below shows the definitions that different GoPro cameras are capable of capturing. The aspect ratio of a video is the shape of the picture that you see. 4:3 is standard television shape, 16:9 is widescreen and 17:9 is cinema widescreen.

Resolution Pixel Ratio Aspect Ratio
WVGA (480) 800 x 480 16:09
720p 1280 x 720 16:09
1080p 1920 x 1080 16:09
1440p 1920 x 1440 04:03
2.7K 2716 x 1524 16:9 or 17:9
4K 3840 x 2160 16:9 or 17:9

The higher the resolution, the sharper and more crisp your footage will be. However to fully enjoy the high quality of your videos you should play them back on a compatible screen.

Any TV that is labelled as Full HD will be able to play 1080p footage with crystal clarity. 2.7K and 4K are often referred to as 'cinema quality'.

This is due to the ability to playback this high quality footage on very large screens! 4K televisions are starting to increase in their availability meaning any GoPro capable of filming in this resolution should last you for a long time. If you don't have a Full HD or 4K television or PC you can still playback your footage and enjoy it, it will simply display at a lower resolution.

The new Hero3+ Black Edition now comes with Superiew. SuperView is an ultra wide filming angle to give the most immersive video experience around. When watching this footage back you feel like you're right in the action allowing you to relive lifes best moments again and again.

When you record a video it is actually made up of lots of 'frames' - individual images that are woven together by the camera to produce a seamless video.

The more frames that you have per second (fps) the smoother the image will be. The human eye can register around 10-12 frames per second meaning anything higher than this will look smooth and seamless when watched.

So why would you need to have a higher frame rate than this? The answer is slow motion footage!

Watching your videos back in slow motion can add a whole new dimension to those priceless moments.

Slowing the footage down is perfect for catching those moments that happen in the blink of an eye allowing you to relive them over and over again.

Videos recorded in 30 fps can be slowed to around half speed before they become jittery or appear to 'jump' or 'skip'. Videos recorded in 60 fps can be slowed by around half again before they become jitery or appear to 'jump' or 'skip'.

The highest quality action cameras can now record up to 240 fps in certain modes giving super smooth slow motion videos.

As with all video recording, you have to compromise at some point. GoPro cameras are only capable of shooting high frame rates (usually more than 30 fps) at lower resolutions such as those below than 1080p.

This is due to the camera having to capture more pixels per frame, per second. The new GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition has been improved to capture higher frame rates at up to 1440p resolution. The GoPro Studio 2.0 Software is free to download and can be used to edit your footage to make it slow motion.

GoPro cameras are also capable of taking high resolution photos, often with other functions such as time lapse and burst modes built in.

Photo resolution is measured in megapixels (MP) which refers to the number of pixels in each image. 1 megapixel means that there is one million pixels in each photo. The number of pixels also relates to the size of the photo. So what does it all mean? Put simply, the more megapixels you have, the clearer your image will be and the larger you can make it before it starts to loose focus or appear fuzzy!

Some GoPro models have extra photo functions such as time lapse, burst mode and continuous photo. Time lapse is a great function which allows you to place a GoPro in one spot and take continuous photos at predetermined intervals.

Time lapse photos can then be edited into a continuous video which shows how something has changed over a period of time. Burst modes take a specificied number of photos every second.

This is a great function for catching amazing shots of ski or snowboard jumps, diving into water etc. You can then use software to lay each photo over the top of the previous one. This can show a complete action shot from take off to landing in one photo.

Continuous photo mode performs the same action as burst mode but keeps taking photos until you tell it to stop.

Capturing videos of all your favourite action is great but what about the sound? GoPro cameras have built in microphones which allow you to capture audio along with the video to make you feel like you're back in the action.

You can also buy an external mic adapter that can be used with any 3.5mm microphone to enhance your audio capture. The biggest difference in audio quality is caused by placing your GoPro in its protective housing. GoPro cameras are designed to be rugged and get stuck into the action in harsh conditions. In order to survive these conditions it is often necessary to place your GoPro into its protective waterproof housing. This housing comes with the camera and prevents water, dust and dirt from damaging the camera.

Unfortunately in order to be rugged, they also muffle sound recording. The brand new GoPro Hero 3+ cameras are specially tuned to give improved audio in harsh conditions through additional software on the camera. Every Hero 3+ camera also comes with a Skeleton Backdoor which is milled out to allow better sound recording.

All GoPro cameras have the ability to be connected to a laptop, PC or Mac to allow you to download and playback your videos and images on high quality screens. This connection is made via a USB connector which is included with the camera. Once you have downloaded your videos and photos to your laptop, PC or Mac you can view them, edit them, copy them to other devices or write them onto CD's and DVD's for playback on multiple platforms.

Every Hero 3+ camera comes with WiFi built in. This means you have the ability to connect to devices wirelessly such as phones and tablets using the official GoPro App. This allows the camera to be controlled remotely and watch live stream playback on devices such as smartphones and tablets. You can also control multiple cameras at once with the GoPro WiFi remote- great for different angled shots or if you want to mount a camera on the kids! The WiFi remote is included with every GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition and is available to buy seperately for every GoPro Hero 3 and Hero 3+ camera. The Hero 3+ Black and Silver Editions now have faster built in WiFi allowing you instant connectivity.

There are a whole host of different cables available for GoPro cameras which allow you to expand their use. These include external microphones for improved audio, TV cables for playback on the big screen, charging cables for cars or travelling and much more.

Choosing the right amount of memory for your GoPro is very important - without it you won't be able to save any videos or photos! GoPro Hero 3 and Hero 3+ cameras use Micro SD cards due to their small size and high capacity for storing data. Every memory card will have a 'class' rating which is the speed at which data can be saved onto the card. The higher the 'class' the faster data can be saved meaning you can take higher quality videos and photos. Each GoPro Hero 3 and Hero 3+ require a Class 10 card for optimum performance. The capacity of each memory card is measured in Gigabytes (GB).

The higher the GB capacity of the card, the more videos and photos you can take before you will need to either download or delete some data.

Each GoPro Hero 3+ camera has different features which are aimed at different consumers - from basic entry level to the budding professional, there is a GoPro camera for you. Below we detail the specifications of all the GoPro Hero 3+ models in an easy to understand way so you can see exactly what you're looking at.

White Edition Silver Edition Black Edition
Lens 6 Element aspherical glass lens 6 Element aspherical glass lens 6 Element aspeherical glass lens
Low Light Performance Consumer grade Prosumer grade Professional grade
WVGA Resolution 50fps, 60fps 50fps, 60fps, 100fps, 120fps 240fps
720p Resolution 25fps, 30fps, 50fps, 60fps 25fps, 30fps, 50fps, 60fps, 100fps, 120fps 48fps, 50fps, 60fps, 120fps
960p Resolution 25fps, 30fps 25fps, 30fps, 50fps, 60fps 48fps, 50fps, 60fps, 100fps
1080p Resolution 25fps, 30fps 25fps, 30fps, 50fps, 60fps 24fps, 25fps, 30fps, 48fps, 50fps, 60fps
1440p Resolution N/A N/A 24fps, 25fps, 30fps, 48fps
2.7K Resolution N/A N/A 24fps, 25fps, 30fps
4K Resolution N/A N/A 12fps, 12.5fps, 15fps
SuperView Mode N/A N/A 720p @ 100fps, 60fps, 50fps and 48fps. 1080p @ 48fps, 30fps, 25fps and 24fps
Video Enhancement N/A Protune Protune
Photo Resolution 5MP 5MP, 7MP, 10MP 5MP, 7MP, 12MP
Photo Time Lapse Yes Yes Yes
Photo Burst Mode Yes Yes Yes
Continuous Photo No No Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes 4x faster - Remote Included
Simultaneous Photo & Video No No Yes
Video Looping Yes Yes Yes
White Balance N/A Yes Yes - automatically adjusts
Inputs Micro HDMI, USB, Micro SD
Battery 1050 Milliamp hour rechargeable lithium-ion 1180 Milliamp hour rechargeable lithium-ion 1180 Milliamp hour rechargeable lithium-ion
Storage Micro SD Class 10 or higher required up to 64GB capacity
Operating System Mac OS X 10.5 and later
Microsoft Windows Vista, 7 and later
Simultaneous Record & Charge Yes Yes Yes
RRP £199.99 £279.99 £359.99

The GoPro Hero 3 White Edition is the bottom of the range camera but still packs a punch with all the features for capturing your favourite action. The White Edition camera is perfect for younger users, less technically savvy users or those who are looking for a quality camera on a budget.

The GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition is the middle of the range camera that is ideal for the average home user. Packing a bigger punch than the white camera but without some of the more professional grade features of the Black Edition camera. The Silver Edition is ideal for all users for all sports.

The GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition is the top of the range, most powerful GoPro ever, packing the best features and additional accessories such as the WiFi remote control. This camera is perfect for higher end users and even professional grade filming. It may have the highest price tag, but it certainly packs the best punch into the same small, lightweight package.

Each of the 3 versions of the GoPro Hero 3 come with different accessories in the box. Below is a list of everything found in the box, including what they can be used for. Check out the video afterwards to see what everything looks like!

Accessory Use White Edition Silver Edition Black Edition
Waterproof Housing Film underwater up to 40 metres (131ft) Yes Yes Yes
Rechargeable Battery Record all your favourite moments Yes Yes Yes
Quick Release Buckle Easily switch your camera between mounts Yes Yes Yes
Flat Adhesive Mount Attachs your camera to smooth, clean, flat surfaces Yes Yes Yes
Curved Adhesive Mount Attachs your camera to curved surfaces - ideal for helmets Yes Yes Yes
J-Hook Buckle Similar to the Quick Release Buckle but with different angle or filming thanks to its raised shape No Yes Yes
3 Way Pivot Arm Allows you to angle your GoPro in almost any position including rotating it by 90° from the mounting point No Yes Yes
Skeleton Backdoor Improves audio quality when you don't need the camera to be waterproof Yes Yes Yes
Rubber Stopper Clip in into the Quick Release Buckle to reduce vibration and prevent accidental buckle opening Yes Yes Yes
USB Charging Cable Charge your GoPro through any USB port on a laptop, PC, Mac or USB wall plug Yes Yes Yes
WiFi Remote Control up to 50 cameras wirelessly from up to 180m (600') away Available Separately Available Separately Yes
WiFi Charging Cable Charge your WiFi Remote via any laptop, PC or Mac Available Separately Available Separately Yes
WiFi Remote Key Ring Attach your WiFi Remote to keys, belts and more Available Separately Available Separately Yes

There are more accessories available for your GoPro than you can shake a stick at and it can be confusing trying to find the right one for you. Below we break it down so you can see what the main accessory categories are and what they can be used for.

Adhesive mounts are the most basic action camera accessory. These allow you to mount your action camera to a variety or surfaces such as helmets, skis, snowboards, boats and more. They feature high quality 3M adhesive which once stuck are almost impossible to remove! With standard Hero 3 and Hero 3+ cameras you get one flat and one curved adhesive - perfect for flat surfaces and helmets. Just remember to back up your adhesive mount with a GoPro Camera Tether for added security. It is not recommend that you use adhesive mounts on high impact surfaces.

The best thing about GoPro cameras is their ability to capture videos and photos from right in the heart of the action. There are huge ranges of accessories available which are perfect for every single sport you could imagine. Some of the most common and useful accessories include head straps, chest mounts, surfboard mounts, bicycle mounts, motorsports mounts, and suction cups. Make sure to check out our individual product listings for a great range of usage ideas for every accessory.

Monopods & poles are handheld devices that allow you to get right into the action wherever you are. Monopods help to reduce vibration through the camera meaning you get less camera shake and a clearer image. They also allow you to get actions shots of others and of yourself depending on which way you point it. They are one of the best acessories you can buy and come in lots of different designs. These include hand sized grips, floating grips and extendible poles. Here at Absolute-Snow we think that a good quality monopod or pole is a must have accessory, especially for skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing.

Tripods are a fantastic GoPro accessory which can be used to get videos and photos from right in the action to panoramic overviews. Most GoPro tripods come with adjustable legs which can be used to place the camera easily on uneven surfaces or to grip onto tubes and poles including lamposts and trees. This means you can achieve action shots in locations that a person just couldn't fit to film!

Electronic items such as cameras don't usually fair too well in harsh environments. GoPro cameras may be high tech pieces of kit but they are also rugged and can stand up to harsh conditions such as snow, mud, dust, water and sand. They achieve this by being housed in protective plastic cases. Every GoPro camera comes complete with one of these waterproof plastic housings however you can also purchase others such as wrist mounted housings and milled out, lightweight housings for improved audio recording. The GoPro Hero 3+ has a brand new slimline housing which makes it 20% smaller than the pervious Hero 3 camera. Always make sure you have a suitable housing for the environment you will be filming in.

There is nothing worse than going to record your favourite moments and finding that your batteries have run flat. It's always a good idea to have a spare battery to make sure you're always set to capture the action. Battery life is always affected by the settings that you choose on your GoPro. Higher quality settings will result in a lower battery life than average or low settings will. It is always best to play around with the camera to get a feel for the battery life on different settings. The table below shows the average battery life for each of the Hero 3+ models.

Camera Only Lowest Power Setting Highest Power Setting Camera + LCD Touch BacPac
White Edition 3 hours 3 hours 2.25 hours 1.75 hours
Silver Edition 3 hours 3 hours 2.25 hours 1.75 hours
Black Edition 2 hours 2 hours 1.5 hours 1.2 hours

GoPro cameras are all charged via a mini USB port on the side of the camera. A USB cable is included with the camera that will allow you to charge it via a laptop, PC or Mac however you can get additional cables to allow you to charge on the move (such as in vehicles), charge from a wall socket, or simultaneously charge and record.

When you spend a lot of money on a GoPro you will want to keep your investment safe and secure. A travel case is the best way of doing this. Travel cases are usually made from high quality foam that absorbs impacts and keeps your GoPro camera and accessories safe from damage. The two main types of travel cases are those with pre-cut sections for a specific camera and accessories, or customisable ones in which the foam can easily be shaped to fit any objects.

The Hero 3+ is WiFi enabled and now features WiFi that is faster than previous models. With WiFi enabled you can connect the camera to a GoPro WiFi Remote as well as smartphones and tablets via the GoPro App. The WiFi Remote allows you to control your camera from a distance of up to 180 metres (600 feet) and allows you full functionality of the camera without having to be near it. This is great for getting action shots from various angles, when mounted on vehicles and even if mounting the camera on a kid's helmet! The WiFi Remote also has the capability of controlling up to 50 cameras at the same time as well as being waterproof up to 3m. The WiFi remote is included with the GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition camera and can be purchased separately for use with the White and Silver editions.

GoPro has also produced a smartphone and tablet app which is available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The app allows you to use a smartphone or tablet to both control the camera and view live stream footage from the camera. This is great for lining up shots and making sure everything looks perfect before you start filming. The app is compatible with all 3 versions of the GoPro Hero 3+ the Hero 3 and the HD Hero 2 (when equiped with a WiFi BacPac).

Once you've taken your videos and photos you'll want to get them looking as good as possible. GoPro has created GoPro Studio 2.0 to help you edit your videos to get them looking amazing. GoPro Studio 2.0 can be used to playback and trim videos, adjust frame rates for slow motion, create videos from time lapse photos, convert video files, adjust images and create 3D videos (3D case and 2 cameras required).

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