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I brought a GoPro Hero 4 Silver last September 2015 before my upcoming Middle East & South East Asia trip and the one comment I have made since then is that my only regret is not buying it sooner!
At the start of 2015 I went to South America for 3 months where I took my iPhone 5, a selfie stick (this was when selfie sticks were still fairly new and hadn’t reached the annoying phenomenon phase that they are currently in now) and a waterproof and shockproof Fijifilm XP digital camera and although I got some good shots and i took a few videos I just felt like I needed something else.
I wanted a camera that I could film with which would have a better video quality than my iPhone, I wanted a camera where I could take a photo of myself in a ‘selfie’ fashion but I could get more of the background in as well as myself than the selfie stick and iPhone allows and as I was going back to South East Asia and knew I would be spending time on the beach and in/near the water and I wanted something waterproof and durable so if I dropped it I knew it wouldn’t immediately break.
From this criteria it seemed there was only one thing left to do…
As with everything GoPro’s have their positives and their negatives and because I never like to sugar coat anything on here these are what I have found to be the pro’s & con’s of the GoPro so you can make a decision as to whether you think they’re suited for you! (Note that I am referring to the GoPro Hero 4 Silver as this is the only one I have used.)
Lets start with the negatives:
- If there’s one thing you’ll hear a GoPro user complaining about, it’s the battery life because oh dear does it suck! I’m still yet to figure out if turning it on and off whilst using it a lot during the day is better or worse than just leaving it on (if you have figured this out please let me know in the comments!) but after turning it on and off a few times a day and taking some photos and videos it does only last a few hours before it needs charging again. To overcome this you can buy extra batteries. I actually thought they were quite expensive however I just looked online for the price and I found one for £16.00 so this isn’t too bad but I feel that for a camera worth nearly £300.00 an extra battery after a few hours use shouldn’t be needed!
- The GoPro comes in the waterproof outer casing which is really handy but after this you need to buy all the accessories. I’ve made the mistake of buying 2 cheaper GoPro poles (aka selfie sticks) and both have rusted and broken so I am in need of biting the bullet and investing in the real deal 3 way GoPro pole made by GoPro however at £60.00-£50.00 it is a lot of money. In addition to the pole you can buy a head strap, body strap, wrist strap for it so you can film from different angles plus loads more!
- On this note, is worth mentioning that the GoPro doesn’t float so if you’re going to be in the water with it a lot then buying the float device which attaches to the waterproof housing or a floating hand grip is a good idea!
- Although the newer GoPro’s now have the screen in the back so you can see what you’re filming and taking photo’s of when stood behind it, it’s still hard to ensure you are getting everything in when taking a photo or video in a selfie way. The camera has such a wide-angle that if you’re holding the camera up and pointing it at you, you may well be getting more of the floor in than the actual background. Maybe a front screen would be useful hey GoPro??
- What takes some getting used to with the GoPro is that it has no zoom, so if you’re looking to take a close up photo then you do need to get very close to the subject otherwise it will appear very tiny in the photo so this is something worth considering depending on what you’ll be using your GoPro for.
- Finally, the buttons on it are so simple that initially they make it confusing to use! When I first got my GoPro out of the box I was a little scared, there is the screen at the back which is touchscreen and you can look at the settings, view your photos etc but once the waterproof housing is on it then you just have 2 other buttons to play with which take some getting used to. I would fully suggest giving yourself time to figure these buttons and all the different settings out before you intend to use it properly otherwise you might be in the ocean with the perfect GoPro shot but unable to actually take a photo!
And now for the positives:
- I think its main positive is that it’s so versatile. You can take the GoPro skiing, surfing, diving, rock climbing, bungee jumping etc etc but it’s also good for taking photos around cities and of buildings and views.
- It’s size is also its main plus, it’s so tiny without the waterproof housing and even with it it’s still very small so its perfect to put into a small bag or in your pocket.
- The quality of the photo’s and videos are very good, I often edit them slightly and add some saturation but they’re much better than the iPhone photos.
- As i mentioned above the GoPro has a really wide-angle lens and although it can be a little annoying because it gets so much in the shot, overall this is what is so good about the GoPro! It fits sooo much more in than the average digital camera and isn’t even comparable to the iPhone and you can always edit out what ends up in the sides of the shot that you didn’t want to.
- These camera’s are built for extreme sports so you know that if you drop it or get it wet (as long as the casing is on) then it’ll be fine and you can guarantee that it’ll last you quite a while!
- As with most camera’s these days the GoPro has wi-fi which connects to your phone and via the GoPro app you can view your videos and photos and transfer them onto your phone and onto social media within minutes and really easily!
- I touched on this above as a negative but actually the GoPro has so many different settings despite its few buttons that the better you know how to work it the better your photos and videos will be. I admit that I only really know the basics and I know I need to spend more time researching how to use it and getting more out of it! It’s the gift that just keeps on giving!
Now, if you’re thinking that a GoPro is for you then it’s time to decide which one to go for! When it came to choosing which GoPro to buy I did a bit of research and here’s what I found and how I made my decision to purchase the Hero 4 Silver.
First off, I remember hearing about GoPro’s in 2014 and the one thing I remembered was that they had no screen in the back, so you didn’t actually know what you were taking a photo of until you had connected it to your phone or laptop and checked and this really put me off them!
Fast forward a bit and the GoPro Hero 3 & 4’s had been released and thankfully they had screens!
You can still buy the original GoPro Hero without the screen for about £100.00 and you can now buy a screen which connects to it for about £50.00-£60.00 however if you’re spending this much money combined it’s better off just buying a newer version.
So then it comes to the decision of whether to buy the GoPro Hero 3 or the GoPro Hero 4, to be honest it makes sense that of course the Hero 4 is going to be better than the Hero 3 and from what I can remember at this point there wasn’t too much of a price difference and I figured if I was already paying over £200.00 for a camera I might as well pay the extra and get the newer GoPro Hero 4!
And so finally it came between the decision of the GoPro Hero 4 Silver and the GoPro Hero 4 Black (GoPro are certainly making us work for this!). From doing a bit of research I found that the Black is the best out of the two and includes everything that the silver has, however this also shows in the price tag as the Black was and still is a good £100.00 more than the silver. As I’d decided to already spend the extra on getting the 4 over the 3 I decided I couldn’t validate paying even more to get the black over the silver so I settled on the Gopro Hero 4 Silver which are still retailing at £260.00-£290.00 and since then have been very happy with my decision!
I hope this helps you decide whether a GoPro is for you and which one to buy!