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  1. #1
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    gopro 3+ silver or black edition

    I think I know the answer to this already, but I thought I would post here and see if I'm missing anything.

    I got a gopro 3+ silver from the wife for Christmas. This is my first POV, and I will use it mainly for MTB and I'm guessing I will opt for the chest mount in most cases. I also plan to use it to film friends and take various action shots.

    I'm wondering if I should return it and get the black edition. Before receiving this as a gift, I wanted the black, but after looking at the differences it seems like the silver might be fine for me. I don't think I would ever use protune or the 4k mode, but the 240fps WVGA mode, or 30FPS burst would be something I might use when filming others. The silver seems to have a slightly better battery life at typical settings and I like that. They both seem to do 720p@120 and 1080p@60. Not sure if the superview is useful.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    The big question is is the 240fps WVGA, 30fps burst, and the superview is worth $100 to you. The camera records at 170 degrees FOV which, in my opinion, is pretty good coverage and as long as the camera is pointed in the general direction, you will get decent footage.

    I have the 3 Black Edition and never used the the main features of the Black Editions features other than the photo qualities of the higher MP which really isn't much higher than the 11MP you get with the Silver Edition.

    To be honest, for my use, I could have just gotten the Silver edition and been just as happy as I haven't really used the Black Edition's features as much. I normally do my vids in 720p/60fps which the Silver does fine. I may try to do 1080p and if my laptop doesn't choke editing in that resolution, may start using it.

    If you really plan to heavily use the Black Editions features, then I would say go for it. If you plan to mainly use the Silver's features, then you could take the $100 you save from upgrading to get a 64gb card and a battery bacpac (something that would really help give you some decent battery life out of the camera) - From using the Hero 3 Black I have found the battery bacpac to be invaluable as using the camera with only it's internal battery finds the camera going kaput in an hour.

    You'll be happy with either camera just stick with the one that you feel you will utilize the best.
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  3. #3
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    I assume they have a similar sensor, but the 3+ Silver's processor seems to be slower or crippled in some way that doesn't allow the more powerful modes that captures more data. Its bitrate is limited to 25000, while the Black's bitrate is up to 45000 bits per second.

    Honestly, 1080p @ 30 fps requires at least 25000 bit rate to look decent with on the fly x264 encoding. YouTube asks regular users (non-pro, non-popular) to shrink that down to a mere 8000 bit rate for uploading... I believe that's the big reason why user vids look awful compared to pros.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    I assume they have a similar sensor, but the 3+ Silver's processor seems to be slower or crippled in some way that doesn't allow the more powerful modes that captures more data. Its bitrate is limited to 25000, while the Black's bitrate is up to 45000 bits per second.

    Honestly, 1080p @ 30 fps requires at least 25000 bit rate to look decent with on the fly x264 encoding. YouTube asks regular users (non-pro, non-popular) to shrink that down to a mere 8000 bit rate for uploading... I believe that's the big reason why user vids look awful compared to pros.
    This chart for the hero 3 (non + models)
    HERO3 Comparison Chart
    Shows the silver at 3.5/mbps with the black at 4.5/mbps. Did it slow down on the 3+ model?

    I can't find the max bps for the + models. I know it is probably somewhat limited by the memory card latency.

  5. #5
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    The old Hero 3 Silver had a Hero 2 sensor and processor in a Hero 3 chassis with all the sound upgrades that come with it. The Hero 3+ Silver gets the Hero 3 Black's sensor and I guess a processor downgrade. The 3+ get a new lens, redesigned housing, altered mic location, high capacity battery, and a diff color profile for white balance, exposure, contrast, low light detail, etc. 3 Black to 3+ Black is considered to not be a worthy upgrade, but the 3+ Silver is considered much better than the 3 Silver. If I were to buy now, it would be between the old Hero 3 Black and 3+ Silver depending on price. I'd get the 3 Black for 330 if the 3+ Silver were 299, but considering street prices now, I presume the 3+ Silver could be found as low as 225-240 (20-25% off) while the 3 Black is on sale for as low as $305.

    Considering how much video sharing sites kill the quality of vids, I'd say not really worth going for the Black and suffering the poor battery life related to processing/recording at high bitrates. It's more for the slow mo and the pro modes. I've got a 3 Black and record at 1440@48 (35000 bitrate), just for chesty mount, mainly just to capture crashes, close calls, and general stupidity. I crop it down to 1080 and encode short clips at 8000 bitrate for YouTube and all the post editing is just more work that I'm not really motivated to do (no incentive). The 3 has a warmer color profile with less contrast and gain, and I tend to cool it down and add contrast (to add definition to all the obstacles in the trail), and add some gain to make show a bit more detail. There's a bit more sharpness in the old model, but generally the picture is more pleasing to my eyes with the 3+ footage straight out of the cam. Easier just to cut and export, without too much tweaking. Again, Youtube kills the video quality anyways. Go for convenience, unless you want to spring for a Pro Vimeo account (or similar) for uploading higher bit rate video.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider View Post
    The big question is is the 240fps WVGA, 30fps burst, and the superview is worth $100 to you.
    This is simply not true.

    The difference is much higher quality video (up to 45mbps), 2k 30 fps, and the bigger sensor on the black.

    More data = better video (all else being equal)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawson Raider View Post
    From using the Hero 3 Black I have found the battery bacpac to be invaluable as using the camera with only it's internal battery finds the camera going kaput in an hour.
    One thing that is really awesome about this new-fangled technology today is that you have choices. Like, you know, you can own more than one battery and even carry that with you on rides. Crazy!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Masked Avenger View Post
    This is simply not true.

    The difference is much higher quality video (up to 45mbps), 2k 30 fps, and the bigger sensor on the black.

    More data = better video (all else being equal)



    One thing that is really awesome about this new-fangled technology today is that you have choices. Like, you know, you can own more than one battery and even carry that with you on rides. Crazy!
    Thanks for pointing out the extra qualities in the Black edition, you are correct.

    On the battery issue, the bacpac to me is a pretty helpful attachment, it might not be for other users depending on how they use the camera and such. I carry extra batteries for all the GoPro's I use on my rides even when I use the bacpac.

    The bacpac for me keeps the Hero 3 close to par with the Hero 2 and Hero HD in battery life and when I am on long rides (3+ hours), I can keep my stopping to swap batteries at a minimum - ie: I can easily go 2 hours and then stop and check/swap batteries as needed on all the cameras - otherwise I am stopping at 50 min to swap on the Hero 3, then one hour or so later, swap on all the cameras, then back to the Hero 3.

    With the bacpac, I can start with a full battery on the Hero 2 / Hero HD and full battery/bacpac on the Hero 3 and pretty much make it 3 hours give or take which equals one half day of filming for the most part without worrying about the camera dying on me.

    Again, just a preference for me.
    I don't use Strava. Don't need an application to tell me I am slow because I already know.

  8. #8
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    I too got the 3+ Silver but around Thanksgiving time. After testing it out, I found that I may need the Black Edition. Here's what I found that may be helpful and to consider. If you use Your 3+ Silver camera outdoors you may be fine, but indoors it is terrible. I ride in a indoor bike park, Ray's MTB. The 3+ Silver produced such a great amount of grain that I got ghosting of images. I've talked with Gopro support and they suggested the Black will be a little better but these cameras are not meant for low light. Other information I got from support is as below.
    Sensor/Processor: They are completely different from each other, Silver vs Black. A simple firmware in the Silver could not 'turn on' the extra features that the Black has.
    Bitrate: 3+ Silver in 1080 30 is 15mbps and 1080 60 is 25mbps averages.
    3+ Black in 1080 30 is 20mbps and 1080 60 is 30mbps averages, and that's without protune. 3+ Silver does not have protune as last years Hero 3 did.
    One other note to be aware of, both the Silver and Black 3+ cameras have the close focus issue. I see it with my Silver camera.
    But with the lack of low light capabilities of the cameras that I need, I will be trying the Black edition.

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