GoPro Hero3 and Why You Shouldn’t Buy It

My daily check of google news revealed that GoPRO released a new camera recently, the HERO3 and they are fastest growing camera company in the world.  Cool.

The promo video for the camera is stunning.  I highly recommend watching it all the way through.  Of course all the Promo videos for all the GoPro cameras have looked great, even way back when it recorded 320×240 video.

I’ve owned 3 GoPro cameras, the first two were standard Definition bought used from ebay, every bit of video I tried to shot from these looked awful and I sold them back.

A while back I bought a Hero 960 which is almost HD quality, but I always shoot on 720  wide screen for the wider view.  After recording some video while I removed the camera from the housing it opened unexpectedly  the camera fell on the floor and the real glass lens was scratched.  The camera had a 30 day back guarantee but when I talked to GoPro all they would do is give me 10% off a new camera if I sent the old one back.  I got 15% off when I bought it from The Bike Surgeon.  I had owned it for 2 days.

Now don’t get me wrong it was my fault it broke, I wasn’t asking for a free camera, I just thought I could send it back and get a new camera at cost, or maybe they could fix that one.  Instead I got nothing.

But thats not why you shouldn’t buy a GoPro.  The cameras are hard to use, the menus are hard to follow, the buttons are hard to push, the camera has no view screen, the menus are on the front of the camera, granted its not meant to be used as a hand held camera.  To me it just looks clunky, looks like they made the new Hero3 smaller, but thats about it.

That’s not why you shouldn’t buy a GoPro.  No matter how cool their videos look nothing you shot will ever look as cool.  Check out youtube for countless videos made on gopro that look like crap, like every one of my videos.  GoPro’s videos feature the world’s most extreme athletes doing crazy stunts, often times recorded with several cameras and shown in slow motion.  Hours of footage are edited down to a 10 second segment in a 3 minute video.

So lets see, Professional athletes, professional camera men, professional editors, professional results.

Here’s one of my not so professional videos.

Now I’m sure the Hero3 will look much better then the Hero2, or my  Hero 960, but it wouldn’t matter how awesome the camera looked, my videos would still be boring because I go ride my bike, I don’t go to film a video.  If you’re going to get any decent video out of GoPro you need to focus on shooting a video.

OK, I’m being kind of harsh here, buy a GoPro if you want, just dont’ expect what you film to look like the GoPro promos.  I also think the GoPro would be perfect for some people.  Who should buy a GoPro camera?  Anyone who enjoys doing crazy stuff, with groups of people.  Racing, jumping off things, stuff like that.  The GoPro does much better when it has other people close to look at, the closer the better.  You also need to be patient enough to sort through lots of material for the interesting parts and be willful enough to edit out the boring stuff.

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About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in Rants, Reviews, technology (geek) and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to GoPro Hero3 and Why You Shouldn’t Buy It

  1. Ontdrew says:

    Sorry, I have to disagree with you on this one. Last year I got a GoPro Hero 2 and captured some bike video with my friends. I did basic editing with imovie. It got the job done for me. I was able to capture the moment with my friends and the scenery. I found it easy to use. My best results came when I clamped the camera to a 2 foot stick and held it from one end. I could pan it around and it also reduced the shake.

    • Matt Gholson says:

      Don’t be sorry, you’re right, that’s a great video, but it also kind of proves my point. It looks like you went out with the purpose of making a video and if thats what you want to do then the GiPro is great. My problem is I strap it on my bike and go ride. Makes for some crappy video.

    • Henry Hoverball says:

      Ouch, that’s really hard to watch, it’s just a mass of rolling shutter artifacting (the vertical “jelly” movement). Is that a problem with the camera, your editing package, or youtube? Does the raw footage do that?

      It would be useful to know, as I am interested in a bike camera, but really wouldn’t be able to put up with one that did that.

      • Matt Gholson says:

        At speed on a bike, even a road bike on a smooth road, the GoPro will be shaky and get that rolling shutter jelly look. Can’t get rid of it. It’s much better if solidly mounted to the the bike frame with something very close in the foreground, helps to not notice the jelly effect. It’s possible that the jelly effect has been improved in the later versions of the camera.

      • Sidowse says:

        You have to mount the camera to your head for decent results. Essentially, the human head has “In body stabilisation”. Bikes, particularly ones made from Aluminium that don’t have full suspension, vibrate a lot. Even rubber “anti vibration mounts” don’t work.

      • Matt Gholson says:

        I disagree, I found the head to be the worst place, unless you bolted a mount to your skull. Helmets rattle, maybe a cinched downhill helmet would work better as you see in good videos. Sorry but frame material isn’t going to affect the stability of the camera.

      • Photo Don says:

        As a professional cinematographer, I suggest you dampen your camera if you’re going to mount it on a bike. Should be easy to do, but it is required. Then, after that, if you’re there just for the ride, don’t expect more than amateur work. Suggest patience for you and editing. Eventually you’ll have what you wanted: a ride and a good video.

  2. James C Wise says:

    so, you’re complaining because the camera only takes videos of what you point it at.
    here’s a few tips:
    change the camera angle, placement, view, lay it on the ground, on a stick, whatever
    edit the vid down to 30 seconds
    don’t use some crappy music from some band nobodies heard of
    record something that is worth recording (seem obvious)
    thank you and have a nice day.
    jc

    • Matt Gholson says:

      Did you read the post?

      I complained about the customer service
      I complained about the design and operation of the camera
      Then I admitted that the primary complaint is that what you record on a bike ride is not very interesting but even if it was the footage that I record on a GoPro looks nothing like the Promos where it is represented that the footage is unedited and captured by a GoPro. I claimed that if you’re record anything worth recording you need to actually dedicate yourself to going out to record video. Typically I’m having so much fun actually riding my bike I forget the camera’s even on.

      The GoPro is a neat camera, its got a unique field of view, and its crash proof case lets it go lots of places, but I don’t believe it works as a primary video camera. Most riders would probably be much better served by a compact point and shoot.

      I just watched several bike videos tonight and the best ones had little to no helmet cam footage, and when they did it was usually large groups of up close action.

      Thanks for the handy tips though.

  3. Nick says:

    IMHO, the Ontdrew video proves Matt’s point. A consumer video looks nothing like the super professional videos produced by experts at GoPro. I’m surprised there is not more push back from the GoPro consumer base. I have rarely seen a customer video with the clarify, the saturated colors, the steadiness, and the sophisticated editing for the pros. (BTW, no criticism intended on the posted video. It’s a nice video, just not in the same class as stuff shown on the GP site).

  4. So what do you expect? You see an ad for lipstick and you don’t go hoping you’ll become that hot-ass model after buying and applying the lipstick do you?
    ” It looks like you went out with the purpose of making a video ”
    What do you want from a camera? To direct, film and montage everything itself? Do you complain about your iphone because it doesn’t speak to the people you’re calling instead of you? 🙂

    Cameras are for filming… if you can’t be bothered filming with them its not their fault!

    🙂

  5. Alexander says:

    Lol, that was one of the most ridiculous blog posts I’ve ever read.

    1. The Camera is very easy to use, after all it has 2 buttons, how hard it could be ?! Once you put your camera to the quality and mode you want, its just ON/OFF. IT CANT BE SIMPLER THAT THAT !

    2. Please, dont talk about go pro 960 or even HD2. Currently there is only one GoPro and its HERO3 BLACK EDITION. Dont get me wrong, but there is no other action camera that can film 2.7K at 30 fps, or 720p on 120fps. With some after effects edition you could easily get that up to 600fps which makes every jump look stunning (especially if the sky is the background)

    3. When I read your post, I got the feeling that you bought 3-4-5 GoPros and expected that they will do the job for you ?
    It feels like you wanted a cool video, but never wanted to put effort and expected the GoPro do it all for you…. Please…….

    The GoPro dosent make good videos, it just captures the awesome stuff people can do at locations and conditions that no other camera cant capture in this quality. Thats it.

    If you dont do anything awesome, dont expect awesome video.

    • Matt Gholson says:

      Well Alex,

      1. the camera has two buttons which I found difficult to push when its in the case. The User interface for the camera is about as intuitive as a old digital watch, or maybe a VCR. In fact I’ve had digital watches with better screens then this thing.

      2. Alex there is not only one GoPro as you mention there are lots of models. I’m not sure what you mean by 2.7K at 30 fps, and I’d guess you don’t either. For example how are you increasing the frame rate to 600 fps with post processing? Sure you can slow the video down but you aren’t actually increasing the frame rate. You should know what you’re talking about before you comment on posts. One of my points in the article was that GoPro indicated their videos weren’t post processed. All of my videos looked like crap out of the camera and nothing like theirs.

      3. You are right, I want the camera to do the job I bought it for, instead I get shaky jelly video, which is dull and lifeless.

      You are right again though, but you don’t see the point of my article. I’m trying to warn people like me that just go out and go on bike rides that the last thing you need is a GoPro.

      If people read

      • mdunlap59 says:

        I feel like you might be a big troll or something.

        2.7k at 30fps means a resolution of 2700×1800, which is a first of its form factor.

        You can use programs in After Effects and plugins like Twixtor like the previous poster said to use your computer to fill in frames between frames to virtually increase the “frame rate”, much like that 120hz stuff that LCDs use. It looks crap for panning motion but if you stick your camera somewhere and do something with a static background it looks really neat.

        Don’t blame this camera for your lousy editing and creativity.

  6. Hi,
    I was looking to get a GoPro, but I am going to wait until this comes out. It’s a case for an iphone that features a wide angle lens and is shockproof and waterproof. What do you think? http://g-form.com/g90/

  7. Andreas says:

    I’ve just bought a goPro Hero3 silver over the Internet. 1st one arrived completely dead, not charging not doing anything whatsoever. Returned and 14 days later, the second one worked unreliably for exactly one day. It would connect via USB one in 10 times (random). It would connect to the iphone 1 in 10 times (just as random). It showed a preview on the iPhone exactly once (!). Every 4th time it couldn’t read the (sold s matching) Sandisk 64GB SD card. Now, single day later, it’s just as dead. No charge light, no USB connectivity, no display. It got extremely hot during charging and during normal operation which I believe is the cause of it.
    Total crap! Do not waste your money on this non-sense, extremely low build quality, over-hyped piece of junk!

    • Roshan says:

      They are meant to get hot (kinda). Gopro has included heated batteries which are designed to increase battery life by stopping them get cod in cold conditions, as a side effect they get hot charging, but that has never caused a problem for me.

      • yeah says:

        Heh, no. They are not “heated” batteries.

        Cheap chargers charge inefficiently and cause energy to be dissipated in the form of heat. Considering these are li-ion batteries, that is dangerous…

        These batteries heat up because gopro is cheaping out on buying modern processors that consume less energy at a higher level of performance. Basically, they are clocking these processors too high and drawing too much current to cool down properly at room temperature.

        On a side note – Yes, GoPros are overpriced. Do they look bad? Not really. Have you seen unedited video from big budget films? It doesn’t really look that great.

    • George says:

      I also bought a gopro 3+ thinking it was going to be fab camera but it has failed to impress. It freezes up constantly and is more of a burden than a joy.I wish I had looked at cheaper equivalents as this camera is way over priced for the poor quality it is.

    • Thank God! I am not the only one who has suffered as a result of purchasing a GoPro – in my case the Hero 3+ Black Edition that another respondent seemed to think is the best one. I purchased the camera for only one purpose: diving. I forget how many weekends I have carried that damned apparatus around the ocean, frozen battery preventing me from capturing anything. I made the grave error of taking it on a recent holiday to two of the world’s top dive spots. It ‘went’ i.e. turned on, as required, before I left. After three days of spasmodic operation via the battery, despite being recharged every second dive, it ceased to work at all. Above land I had the Canon Powershot SX710HS taking brilliant shots. I ordered the underwater housing and tray and they have now arrived. The Canon is cheaper than the GoPro and, in the event it malfunctions, it WILL be repaired by Canon. Try getting GoPro to repair anything. Their customer service is, to put it mildly, lousy. They do not repair their cameras. They expect you to throw it away or sed it to them and they will do the throwing while you get up to 20% off a model they have on their website. No, it isn’t the Hero 3+ Black Edition, despite that being a fairly recent model. It seems Hero 4 has made it obsolete. Either that or it malfunctioned so often it has been withdrawn. GoPro is not cheap but it is a total con because, either way, you end up shelling out if you want to keep their make. Well, I am taking a stand. I would not touch GoPro with a bargepole, because it does not have the facility for repair anywhere in the world, the customer service is downright poor(at least here in the UAE) and I object to throwing away something after less than 2 years of ownership. Perhaps if they showed a modicum of environmental awareness they would not be encouraging us to throw away cameras with Lithium batteries. So, if you bought one,and you experience an issue, I have utmost sympathy for you. If you are considering buying one – DON’T!

      • Jazmin says:

        I have a Hero3+ silver I accidentally used a 12W wall charger and it blew my battery. I bought two new batteries and my camera still won’t turn on. This is a prime example of how bad these cameras are. I used it for maybe three days in July and that was it. It hasn’t worked since.

  8. March says:

    Cameras are made to make videos , if you want to make a video your purpose has to be to make a video. Unless you are documenting something which never will look good quality. Also to make something look good you need good light ,that is probably more important. Search basic ways of using light and you will be much happier with what you get. (natural light)

    • Matt Gholson says:

      You are definitly right.

      I keep trying to express the problem I have with the GoPro and have failed miserably. The videos look pretty good when the camera is set up stationary as soon as it starts moving it looks like crap to me.

  9. Matt R says:

    Good blog post–agree with most, if not all of your points. I remember back in the day, I had a sony camcorder with a jack for incoming video. So, I rigged an external camera to the unit, mounted it on my ski helmet and went to go be a HERO! Unfortunately, the video looked really, really boring. It was the point of view from the helmet in a fixed angle. Snooz.

    I watched the GP videos and about 90% is not taken from the POV of the filmer, someone is always doing the filming. Your points are totally valid. Point it at someone doing something interesting and it gets more interesting. Have it stationary and point it at something interesting and it gets interesting. Point it at something interesting while you are doing something interesting, and it looks rather boring (there are exceptions).

    Agree with previous posters too–like most things, you need to be deliberate about what you’re going to do, and use the right tools. Rolling video is really not all that interesting–editing is totally key.

    Of course, we could forget about the camera stuff and just do cool things–they always look cool in my head! 🙂

    But then there’s facebook…and YouTube…what will come of society if we can’t share and like.

    Ride on,

    Matt

  10. Matt,
    You sound more like a person who did not get his way. I’ve been in the camera industry a very long time and I do not know of any company, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, any of them that are going to give you a camera at cost because you dropped it and broke it. I actually think Gopro’s offer was more than generous.

    As for the quality of the video, that is up to the person creating the video and editing same. It is no different than using any other camera and software. It is a learning process. Some video’s are going to be incredible and some won’t. The point is it will be a video that someone shot to record that moment in history and the results good or bad technically will still be pleasing to the user.
    Like the world of regular video cameras and still cameras, the skill of editing can make or break a presentation

    I have two Gopro Hero 3 black cameras. One of them had the USB port pushed to far in after a months use. Was it my fault? Was it the cameras fault? But Gopro was good enough to replace the camera for me. But I did not drop it and mess up the lens.

    As far as doing the settings on the camera all I can say is practice. I use the LCD on the back (accessory) and I blow through the menus without any problem at all, even on the fly.

    As for going out on ones bike, car, scooter, whatever, I would assume that people are videoing their time out so they can look back on it as to what fun they were having and even share that fun with others. It may even get others to want to try that sport themselves, body willing. But the camera also makes a great device for recording ones life if that’s what someone wants to do. It does not have to be a sport.

    You are allowing an experience of damage caused by you, to taint your impressions and think you are getting even with Gopro for not doing right by you. They did the correct thing by offering you a discount. By the way, if you had home owners insurance you may have been covered for the full amount. I hope you’ll think better of Gopro and continue to recreate the good times you have had before for all to see.

    El

    • Dominic says:

      I had the same happen to me, and there is an issue when a company sells an item at $200-$400, and doesn’t provide some service/repair options for their equipment. I would willingly pay to have my item repaired, or traded for another refurb or whatever. Not having this for an ACTION camera as things will happen (accidents) is not an acceptable business practice. Imagine if Apple didn’t provide you an Apple Care option or allow you to get a refurbed phone at a cost??? Oh but I forgot Apple is a company that understands customer service as they are in the business to be a company that keeps return business!!! GoPro’s customer service is so bad they don’t plan to be in the return business!!! They may be the best now, but how long will it be before there will be a similar camera with similar capabilities? One that not only competes with GoPro, but unlike GoPro also services/repairs their equipment? Think Android!!! Apple is still here because they do have that service model & good customer service!!!

      http://www.goprofanatics.com/gopro-hd-hero3/3678-how-tough-go-pro.html

    • yeah says:

      Honestly, when GoPro markets their camera as the toughest camera out there that can even survive a fall out of an airplane (marketing video; have you seen it?), they should expect this sort of reaction.

  11. Matt White says:

    I have to agree with Matt… and not just because my name is Matt. I’ve owned a hero2 for quite some time, and now a hero3 black. Pretty pleased with my hero 2, not so much with the hero3. I shoot a lot of video professionally. I even build rigs to host the gopros. Although very cool little cameras (especially with the attached screen… which happens to work on both) I wasn’t impressed with the final videos. I’ve shot in the highest resolution possible, underwater, in Hawaii, swimming with fish and turtles. The gopro doesn’t come close to my Canon DSLR. It’s a cool camera, but the resolution gives with even the slightest shadowing. What good is filming at 1080p or 1440p if the ISO is at 6400? I like the cameras so I’ll keep them, but I’ve been disappointed many times in post-production. There’s a firmware upgrade for the hero3 that allows 32mbps. This I like.

    I also agree with some others comments regarding the reason for a gopro. Buy it if you plan to shoot things that are exciting. Think like a film-maker, not a photographer.

  12. scott says:

    Just got a go pro. If I were a camera designer, I’d have a switch that says “on” and “off”. Blinking blue and red lights with random beeps, remote battery dies, the camera makes files QT doesn’t recognise, your awesome day of filming lost or never made, lots of short goofy clips of your nose hairs, whatever, and you’re sitting $500 poorer wondering WTH happened to this great idea, thinking I’m glad my life doesn’t depend on this gadget.

  13. Burglar says:

    Hey Matt, Nice blog post you make some valid points. Having said that I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself, I thought your video was pretty good, and it looks like you had a bit of fun making it.

  14. Lucas says:

    I believe the gopro company makes their video so expertise because they have probably people who edit for a living. While some of us don’t fully have that expertise skill and that professional industry programs to edit

  15. Mary says:

    I’m so disappointed in the GoPro3. No matter what I do, the videos look like shit. I’m taking both of them back (I bought one for my teenager, too) and buying a camcorder.

  16. Nathan says:

    Thanks bro, I just did not buy one, on my way to a diving holiday there was a promo in Singapore airport, I had my wallet out and thought of checking which model/bundle to get so I googled it and your post put my feet back to reality.

    In the promo video you can see some of the people actually wearing two on the helmet back and front, who knows if more one in the Chest… Whatever, then there are very little takes from the wearer pov, so you need a buddy and another camera, indeed as you claim have to go out to film and not to do stuff.

    I remember a sky holiday with a friend, we both had sony 720 cameras and spend a lot of time filming each other doing stupid stuff, not extreme, stupid… We spend one week and ended up with more than 30 hours of video from both cameras, after many week editing we ended up with 2 four minute videos one of our falls one of actually cool stuff… Turned out we only could use footage from when there was one still actually filming the other…. Was fun but not as thrilling as the promo vid makes you think it is.

    Peace bro…
    Gonna put the sony out of the drawer…

  17. peter wagstaff says:

    i just got a gopro3 plus, strapped it to my motor bike and went out on a ride with 7 other bikes through country roads,that were truly bumpy, when we came back and played it, we were amazed at the excellent quality and considering the bumpy roads we were on most of the time, you wouldn’t know by watching the play backs, how you use anything right comes with time and practice and the right gear, its not a normal camera, but with the go pro app on our iPhone 5 , it makes it so easy to see what you’ve set your camera up to see, i must admit i was a little worried about all the people saying they had trouble with their go pro 3, but that has all been fixed with their go pro 3+, not that that helps them, but you get the same problems with iPhones , then they bring out the s

  18. F-Dog says:

    Matt… Ya got no video skills. Stick to biking, and send me your Hero 3, that way it won’t bother you anymore.

    • Matt Gholson says:

      sure just send me your address and a credit card number.

      • F-Dog says:

        Matt….seriously. What happened the first time you rode a bike ?? Did you go blasting down a mountain and kill it, or did you ride flatland and fall 2 or 3 times ?? Filming and making videos is no different. You are going to fall down a few times. Just like you got better the more you rode your bike, your filming and video making skills will improve if you keep at it. Peace Bro…

  19. Kumanari says:

    gp is definitely not for every one.Just bought one sent it back before i could use it as it stopped working on test. took them a week to send another.I missed epic 40 ft plus wave days. then the water housing leaked destroying camera when i was finally able to use it, which was probably my fault as i adjusted angle of camera while in the water. The 3+ black takes great pictures overcast cloudy day looked like sunshine. bright sunshine looked professional quality. most/all of what you said may be true but on the h2o in waves on Maui gp can’t be beat. They do have support issues but it’s a new company I’m sure they will only improve as they have from their first models. I too am a tech idiot so the manual and small buttons and such are a drag. Most of the issues are probably “pilot error”. Very expensive mistakes but i shan’t be deterred. Too many small cheap pieces to loose and or break.Needs lens cover and waterproof/sealed body. I’m still going to buy another and just get my shit together. You must understand lots of activities don’t film that well. I would post the vids I did capture but I’m a tech idiot, they look great.I use it on my oc-1 primarily riding waves.

    • Matt Gholson says:

      By far my favorite videos from a gopro camera are on waves or under water. The shaky footage and jelly factor of a rolling shutter don’t seem to be a problem.

      • Jack Jobber says:

        I think I agree with you. Why does everything on the video look curvy. Can’t they make it so the trees look straight, not like bows. And faces look round.

  20. Rick G says:

    You cant reason with an Idiot.

  21. Jeff says:

    i had bought the gopro 3 black hero edition and I warn everyone not to get one. First attempt to use and it froze, had to take battery out and in. It froze almost every single time turned it on. Returned this piece of junk! Do not buy, scam company with good promos. Terrible! Really had high hopes for it too.

    • Judith says:

      GoPro, aware that some bad publicity might lead to a drop in sales in my part of the world where customers are notoriously fickle and easily turned off, replaced mine. Meanwhile, I love my Canon. Now armed with strobes it takes amazing pics. GoPro stays boxed. Insist on sending it back for a replacement. I wish everyone would do that until they get the idea. Did it say anywhere in the materials that came with the camera, don’t use the wall charger? I use a USB adaptor into the wall and nothing blew. Charging from a laptop takes forever and, if I wanted to charge between dives, I would never have had anything! Persist and be demanding of this company. There are now far cheaper versions of the same camera and I hear they work pretty well. Would people fork out $500 when something 10x cheaper is around. No.

  22. rpossum says:

    I agree 100%. I’ve used gopro 2 and 3 for surfing, flying, biking, snowboarding, skiing… And 9 times out of 10 it fogs up, or is so shaky you can’t see anything, or the battery dies in 45 minutes, or the wifi had a connection problem 10 minutes after takeoff and can’t recover… Always something! And when it does work, the quality just is not that good. It’s the emperor’s new camera.

  23. kevin smith says:

    lol you guys are rediculous. what i want to know is: battery life, how steady the video is, mode switching on the fly, features like shutter speed adjustment, how rugged / waterproof it is, etc. It’s a $200 camera brand new, you get what you pay for. If it shoots HD video and has a good number of features made to make rugged outdoor shooting easier then im sold

    For the record i thought your video looked great

  24. robert says:

    wow………after reading all that evryone has to say, good and bad…………do i buy a gopro black or not? !!!

  25. I own a GoPro Hero 3 silver edition and use it as a secondary camera for my travel videos. To me (hobby filmmaker point of view) it is great value for money. But sure there are some downsides: 1. You are really need a lot of light for this camera 2. The picture style (high contrast and saturation) looks good if you take a look at the footage but can be a problem if you want to post process your videos. See: http://wp.me/p3wGTW-4O
    All the GoPro promo videos are made by professional filmmakers who really know what they do and how to use the camera. One shouldn’t expect to get to similar results by just using the same camera.
    I can understand your point concerning usability. It is not easy and very intuitive to change settings. However, I think that is the price you have to pay for the small size and the low price (compared to camcorders and DSLRs).

    • Matt Gholson says:

      Thanks for intelligent comments. I think one of the points I was trying to make is that the Gopro won’t turn you into a filmmaker. Someone who already is a filmmaker would probably be alot more successful with it.

  26. jazmin segura says:

    hey Matt I have some questions, I was really interested in buying the newest gopro but with all these negative/positive reviews on it, now I’m undecided. Do you think I should just buy a water proof and shock proof camera? or the gopro? because I would mainly like to film and take pictures at the Beach. And is the gopro really that complicated to use? please message me back!
    Thank you(:

    • Matt Gholson says:

      In my opinion the Gopro works best as an underwater camera. Many of its downfalls are less of a problem to me when it’s going to be kept sealed. I’m not a fan of it for cycling but I think it’d be great for watersports.

  27. Luke Warm says:

    I started making 8mm films when I was 4 years old (way back in 1955) and got hooked on cameras at an early age. I earned my degree in this industry and it was good to me, working even as far away as the Soviet Union in 1989 with a $50,000 Sony Betacam SP… Taught television production classes at a private university here in Texas for two years and I can tell you I hate GoPro cameras because of the absurdity of the way they are controlled. The obscure menus and complexity of working a GoPro is beyond convoluted.

  28. Pingback: 2014… A Look Back | Barn Door Cycling

  29. keith says:

    Clearly, the camera is not for everybody and making professional videos takes a lot of effort and skills. I personally use it on my motorcycle to capture some of the memories. I take a lot of solo trips to places that my family will never go and I am unlikely to go a second time. For me, the goal is capturing a place or a moment, so I can relive it and/or share with family or friends. I have several mounts that I rotate between and use both a Drift HD 1080 and a GoPro 4 Silver. Both are triggered by remote control mounted on the handlebars for easy access. Capturing video and still pictures needs to be simple and safe when you are riding through the mountains concentrating on the road. I have found that the GoPro is pretty simple to use once you are familiar with it.

    Quality on both cameras tends to depend on the mounting spot and the lighting, but most of the time it’s more than acceptable on both. The GoPro is definitely superior in overall quality, though. Sure, I ride a big, heavy touring bike and the roads are usually paved, but shakiness is not a problem. Usually it only happens on gravel roads that I find myself on by “accident” and the shakiness of the video only serves to document that misguided detour. Or, maybe, experimenting with a new mounting location that turns out to be a poor choice.

    I guess the determining factor for a lot of people is what their expectations are going in. I am not setting out to produce a professional tourist advertisement. Do I often get shots that are beautiful and epic (to my eyes)? Yes. Do I get hours of mundane video? Yes. Do I capture those once of a lifetime views or trips through new and unusual places? Absolutely. Having them recorded is fantastic. Otherwise, they only exist in my head and I have no way to relive the trips or share highlights with others.

  30. Mike says:

    I couldn’t agree more on the absolutely TERRIBLE user interface/experience of the GoPro. Worse, they are now in their 4 edition and it’s has not got any better. I don’t have any issues with the picture/video quality; it’s overall pretty good.

    I just don’t believe that one should have to “get used to” an interface. In today’s world, great design goes a long way. For that reason, my next action camera is going to be a Garmin Virb Elite. User interface is much more simple and intuitive. Images are as good or better than GoPro. Yeah it’s a little bit bigger but I don’t have to go through a frustratingly complex set of menus to do what should be simple things like changes from single shot, to multi-shot to time exposed settings. All very simple to do on the Virb.

    Garmin was also smart and provide a connector adapter that allows you to use any of the GoPro accessories.

  31. karl says:

    I have a hero3+ black. Basically, it makes sense for the waterproof case, ultra wide angle, and mount system. I did still photography for years. It takes a lot of experience to get a good eye and to take and select good photos. I’m sure it is the same for video. I discovered, I don’t like editing video because I don’t use the editing software well. There are problems that don’t have to do with the camera. Video can freeze if your memory card isn’t fast enough for the stream rate. Your computer needs to be fast enough for the stream rate. The online streaming quality is much worse than the original.

    I think most camera interfaces are poor. I had to read the instructions to learn the interface. After that I don’t complain. I have used the GoPro as a camera. It’s really wide angle, focus fixed on closer than infinity.

    My videos are amateur and so is my kiteboarding. This is the second video I took. Maybe you need a wetter and more colorful pastime.

  32. Connor says:

    How old are you 12? Im sorry but if you’re not going to be careful with it then expect some damage. Most action cameras are the same and why should GoPro give you a discount? Why should they repair it as well and it is the same protocol with phones- you take it to a specialist

    • Matt Gholson says:

      I guess its old fashioned any more to think a company would service an item they sell. I keep forgetting we live in a disposable society. Do you honestly feel sending it back and buying an new one at a 10% discount is a good deal?

    • There IS no specialist repairer for GoPro. Not them or anyone else. There is a very large bin somewhere in the Netherlands, I believe. That’s where they get you to send them.

  33. Mike says:

    Not to knock you, but this is the worst opinionated article I’ve read in awhile….Don’t buy a GoPro because when you go on boring bike rides, and it doesn’t look cool? Well, duh! Anybody could tell you that….that’s like saying you joined the military to travel the world like it’s a vacation, it’s just common knowledge that that’s probably not the reason to do it. Customer service? maybe it was your approach, maybe you should have found a retailer to do the dirty work for you, or befriend someone that deals with them on a daily basis…..It’s an ACTION camera, and you can’t expect them to replace every single camera that has a slight problem for free because of the activities that it promotes (not to mention that it comes with an almost indestructible case) and especially not for the user error of dropping it and scratching the lens while it’s out of that case…..I’ve used my GoPro snowboarding, wakeboarding, mountain biking, and I’ve dropped it MULTIPLE times with the case ON, and guess what? I’ve had to replace the case because it’s done its job protecting the camera, and getting wrecked in the process. I’ve lost my GoPro for 2 hours on the side of a mountain, but with the use of its wifi tracking feature, I was able to find it after a lot of shoveling……To knock this company and its product because you thought you were going to get the professionally edited video effects out of the box is absolutely absurd and ignorant…..Next time you want to get some mediocre video to show your friends, duct tape your phone to your chest and go for a ride.

    • Matt Gholson says:

      Not to knock you Mike, but like many who have commented on this article I think you’re missing the point I’m trying to make. The GoPro is a good enough action cam, but a terrible overall camera. The point I’m trying to make is that most people will have no use for an action cam. I point out in my article that radical people like you who snowboard, wakeboard and all kinds of stuff may find more use for it, but for a cyclist who doesn’t specialize in jumping off shit I think it’s a bad investment.

      The company is making millions of dollars selling these things to chumps, their stock is through the roof, what do I know they must be doing something right.

    • The UK and many other countries have Trades Description Acts or similar. They also have consumer protection. If you have read the trail of correspondents you will see that many of us have mechanical issues with the cameras rather than aesthetic ones. I went to the retailer and was told they (a) don’t repair and (b) go back to GoPro. Bit of a dead end street wouldn’t you say?

  34. Pingback: GoPro Hero4 Sessions and Why You Shouldn’t Buy It | Barn Door Cycling

  35. Austin Young says:

    You can get amazing videos but you have to understand shutter and image. Also lighting and subject matter are a big factor. Also learn colur correction it makes all the difference. Post is half the battle with video.

  36. Aida Aguilar says:

    Don’t buy it 👎 No la compren por favor porque no se puede usar. Es prácticamente imposible 😔

  37. Kevin says:

    This site is very enlightening to me. I’ve toyed around with the idea of buying a GoPro camera and wondered if they were worth all the hype. I love to ride but I don’t need to capture hours of video and spend time editing in order to relive a few minutes of it. I’m convinced the novelty would wear off quickly and the GoPro would spend most of its life in a box. If I know I’m biking somewhere scenic I’ve never been, I carry a nice camera that’s small enough to fit in my jersey pocket that also allows me to snap photos while riding. Granted, I’ll never get a video of me flying down a mountain at 55 mph but I’m OK with that. Plus, I always have a cellphone with me to capture a photo for those unexpected shots that arise (which is not very often).

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