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  1. #1
    Grams Light Bikes
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    Good job! Review: GoPro HERO3 Black Edition

    I just finished up my long winded review on the HERO3 Black, refer to Review: GoPro HERO3 Black Edition | Mountain Bike Review

    Take a gander at the review...

    Anyone else using one? Thoughts? Issues?

  2. #2
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    I don't own a GoPro 3 but do own the previous two generations of GoPros (Hero 2 and Hero HD).

    I like the specs on the Black Edition and the included wireless remote but the battery life is what turns me off on the Hero 3. The Hero 2 and Hero HD both have excellent battery life which is really nice for me. I would like a third camera but on the fence whether to splurge for a Hero 3 black or opt for a another Hero 2.
    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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    Battery life is a major fail.

  4. #4
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    I keep hoping they will release a firmware update that will stretch battery life.

  5. #5
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    Battery life is definitely a problem, but shouldn't be the reason people don't buy this. An additional battery is only $20. Lets be honest, if you can shell out $400 for this toy, you can shell out another $20 for a battery. :P I'm in the same boat though, I certainly hope a firmware update will help with battery life.

    For me, the deciding factor on buying the gp3 black over the contour+2 was 100% the 1080/60fps capture mode. No other camera had that. When I bought mine in December, I believe the contour and the black were the same price. The framerate was more important than GPS to me, so I went with the Black.

    The one thing I really liked about the contour camera is the single switch for on/off & record. I think its pretty brilliant as a pov camera. However, I think GoPro couldn't do that because of the breadth of options. That said, there is a mode to set on/off & record. Not sure why I don't use it. Maybe i'll give that a shot this week when I ride.

    Also, I think its worth mentioning that the video output is only as good as the user. In still photography, people can take good pictures in jpeg straight out of the camera. However, the one's that really stand out, tend to have at least some sort of post processing. Similarly in video, I believe the same needs to happen also. The GoPro video editing software introduced me to exposure. I'd never done this before as I only use Windows Movie Maker and exposure control was pretty weak. Once you've taken video (regardless of video camera), make sure to give it some processing first.

    Here's my own video taken earlier this year snowboarding. I think the video quality is pretty good. I'm excited to get some mtb time with this.
    Summit At Snoqualmie 2012-13 Summit West Open - YouTube

    Edit: watching the video reminded me of another problem I've had with the GP3 Black. I get a lot of water drops that stick to the case lens. I think i'm going to try some rain-x and see if that will remedy the problem.

  6. #6
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    I only have one comment, that I just don't understand. And maybe I'm just different, but I don't like the chest mount for biking. It might be really good for skiing and other activities, but for biking, you get knees flapping up and down and ET's long, gangly arms stretching out to the handlebars because of the wide FOV. It's just creepy! And the knees are distracting. And finally, way too many are pointed down at the bike, so you see the bike and dirt going under the bike and not where the bike is going.

    With that said, I'm surprised that on the comparison chart, the GoPro gets "Great" while the Contour gets only "Good". With the rotating lens and a huge variety of mounts, the Contour can be mounted pretty much anywhere the GoPro can (except chesty, which is a good thing, since the Contour would produce the same ET and flapping knees effect), and in more places because of the rotating lens.

    Once the Ghost gets more mounting systems, It'll be a tie with Contour, too, because of the rotatable lens.

    I'd give the GoPro a "Good" for mounting because of it's lack of "svelteness" and the Contour a "Great", and the Ghost a "Good" for now with a pending "Great" with more mounting systems.

    Just my opinion, but it seems that in the rush to give the GoPro awesome reviews based on its image quality (not entirely undeserved, admittedly), reviewers overlook the form factor or get swept away leaving the rest colored by rose colored glasses.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    I only have one comment, that I just don't understand. And maybe I'm just different, but I don't like the chest mount for biking. It might be really good for skiing and other activities, but for biking, you get knees flapping up and down and ET's long, gangly arms stretching out to the handlebars because of the wide FOV. It's just creepy! And the knees are distracting. And finally, way too many are pointed down at the bike, so you see the bike and dirt going under the bike and not where the bike is going.

    With that said, I'm surprised that on the comparison chart, the GoPro gets "Great" while the Contour gets only "Good". With the rotating lens and a huge variety of mounts, the Contour can be mounted pretty much anywhere the GoPro can (except chesty, which is a good thing, since the Contour would produce the same ET and flapping knees effect), and in more places because of the rotating lens.

    Once the Ghost gets more mounting systems, It'll be a tie with Contour, too, because of the rotatable lens.

    I'd give the GoPro a "Good" for mounting because of it's lack of "svelteness" and the Contour a "Great", and the Ghost a "Good" for now with a pending "Great" with more mounting systems.

    Just my opinion, but it seems that in the rush to give the GoPro awesome reviews based on its image quality (not entirely undeserved, admittedly), reviewers overlook the form factor or get swept away leaving the rest colored by rose colored glasses.

    As I stated in my review, I am not a fan of the Chesty (notice no videos of that mode): "I predominately tested with helmet placements, which included the vented strap and stick-on surface mounts. It does give the footage a sort of floating in space viewpoint, but that was my preference. I occasionally used the seatpost/handlebar mount and chest mounted harness (aka The Chesty), the latter giving a unique vantage point. The “Chesty” was pretty cool, and was excellent for skiing and kayaking, where it ruled. I didn’t like it as much as most people, since I tend to move around too much, and the saddle and other things got in the way. "

    It was tough to get all my opinions proper in the review, since it's all generalities, and it was more difficult in a couple of words tossed into the comparison table. I gave the GoPro Greatfor mounts because of the variety and number of mounts (people seem to like the Chesty), while I dinged it for Form Factor and svelteness.

    Again, here was a piece of my chart:

    DESCRIPTION|GoPro HERO3 |Drift Ghost HD|Contour+2 |Replay XD 1080
    Form Factor|Decent |Excellent |Excellent |Excellent
    Size and svelteness|Poor |Good |Excellent |Excellent
    Mounts/mounting|Great, chest mount|Good, stable |Good |Good

    I like the Ghost myself, great video quality, long battery life and an awesome remote. I need to finish my of the Contour+2 (to many darn camera reviews) as it was always one of my faves due to the superb mechanical switching, but they need to bump their sensor up to match the competition.

  8. #8
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    the mount I would like to see someone make is a clear mount. I have a green helmet and its appearance has fallen apart with the black sticky mount.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastajet View Post
    As I stated in my review, I am not a fan of the Chesty (notice no videos of that mode): "I predominately tested with helmet placements, which included the vented strap and stick-on surface mounts. It does give the footage a sort of floating in space viewpoint, but that was my preference. I occasionally used the seatpost/handlebar mount and chest mounted harness (aka The Chesty), the latter giving a unique vantage point. The “Chesty” was pretty cool, and was excellent for skiing and kayaking, where it ruled. I didn’t like it as much as most people, since I tend to move around too much, and the saddle and other things got in the way. "

    It was tough to get all my opinions proper in the review, since it's all generalities, and it was more difficult in a couple of words tossed into the comparison table. I gave the GoPro Greatfor mounts because of the variety and number of mounts (people seem to like the Chesty), while I dinged it for Form Factor and svelteness.

    Again, here was a piece of my chart:

    DESCRIPTION|GoPro HERO3 |Drift Ghost HD|Contour+2 |Replay XD 1080
    Form Factor|Decent |Excellent |Excellent |Excellent
    Size and svelteness|Poor |Good |Excellent |Excellent
    Mounts/mounting|Great, chest mount|Good, stable |Good |Good

    I like the Ghost myself, great video quality, long battery life and an awesome remote. I need to finish my of the Contour+2 (to many darn camera reviews) as it was always one of my faves due to the superb mechanical switching, but they need to bump their sensor up to match the competition.
    Sorry, I guess I didn't read it closely enough and was just going off the chart when I posted my comments. It's probably the culmination of the "rave" reviews of the Chesty and all the ET videos out there! And for skiing and kayaking, I can see it being a good options.

    I'm watching the Ghost as a possibility for my next camera. I just have a ROAM not and it's done a great job for my purposes. I want a second camera for different angles.

    As for Contour stepping up their game with a bigger sensor? That's the absolute truth. The +3 better have a bigger sensor or they're going to fall out of the game! And it better come out soon or it might be too little, too late since the Hero4 will be coming along shortly, too, no doubt.
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  10. #10
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    I personally like the chesty pov. I think it does a good job of showing how much movement goes on while riding down a trail. You see the bike moving around relative to the trail. Though, at the same time I don't think its the smoothest video because there's so much movement. 5 minutes of chesty can be a painful thing to watch. always need to mix it up and keep it fresh. I don't think the mounting options are a huge deal between the contour and gopro. The only real difference is the chesty and I've seen people online mount the contour on the chesty. beyond that, i'm pretty sure both cameras will mount in all the same spots you want.

  11. #11
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    I think there's a potential problem with the 1 touch recording. In this mode, when you power up the camera, it automatically starts recording and when you power down, it stops. Yesterday I tried using this and I was able to get through an entire day of snowboarding on just a single battery. However, the problems started when I went to check out the vids from an awesome pow day. Half of the videos were corrupted. I think the problem is that camera had shut down before it had completed writing the file to the card. it wasn't consistent though. The first 6 failed to save and unfortunately, these were the runs that I wanted to relive in the summer months.

  12. #12
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    Review: GoPro HERO3 Black Edition

    Interesting that you got that much battery life. I took mine skiing today and only about 10 minutes of video over the course of 2 hours of being on. I have hope a firmware update can make a "standby" mode. I suppose I will have to power it down instead of just stopping the recording, as the stopped mode seems to use as much battery as recording mode.

  13. #13
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    Love the chesty view. It can be hard to get the right angle and ive had the seat hit the cam on very steep moves. BUT it def put the viewer in the bike and gives a better feel for the trail and technical abilities needed.

    I just bought a cam one infinity. Its basicly a hero2 knock off but for only 110 bucks on ebay.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the review. I found it very helpful when I made my decision to go with the Contour +2. I had the 1st Roam and now I have the GP2 and the +2. I had the GP3 briefly but it was broken right off the rack so I returned. Glad I did because the battery life is a deal breaker for me. I can get just over 2 hours with my +2 and it's always there. Not once have I missed footage because the wrong button was pressed or the light wasn't on or the battery wore out. That being said the video quality and the modes of the GP3 are definitely drool worthy. You guys are right when you said that Contour desperately needs to upgrade their sensor. To me the +2 is a place holder until someone really steps it up and puts out something that can't be beat.

  15. #15
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    There is definitely a learning curve coming from the contour to gp3. That's what I really really liked about the Contours. slide the switch forward, slide it back. I just couldn't ignore the 1080/60fps. Also, everytime I go back to my vids, I'm amazed by the video quality. One thing about having all these different features is that i'm more motivated now to move beyond just making movies in Windows Movie Maker. I want to get some software that's more powerful so I can take advantage of those features. Should be interesting if I can make anything of it.

    Also, here's a response on the 1-button record issue (and also iphone video playback):

    Problems with one-button mode are a known issue. Our engineers are working hard on a fix. In the mean time we'd recommend not using this feature. Playback on iPhone is something that a lot of our customer's have been asking about. Unfortunately information about possible enhancements has not been made available to us at this time. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

    not a fix, but good to know they've recognized its an issue.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukbloke View Post
    Battery life is a major fail.
    Actually, the battery life of Hero3 + Battery BacPac is almost exactly the same as Hero2 alone. Also, the size of Hero3 + Battery BacPac is almost exactly the same as Hero2 alone.

    So another way to see it:
    The Hero3 has the exact same size and battery life as the Hero2 AND you get the option to make it smaller at the cost of reducing battery life.

    I think that's a nice option in situations when size matters but the camera only need to record for a few minutes. I'm sure this was a top request for professional coverage of action sport events.

    Tip:
    The old Battery BacPac of the Hero2 (the grey one with replaceable batteries) works with the Hero3. So if like me you have a ton of Hero2 batteries, then you can use them with the Hero3. Warning though: The Hero3 will not power on if the camera battery is dead, even if you have a 100% full BacPac (that's terrible). So always replace the BacPac before the camera's battery is used.

  17. #17
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    I understand the glass is half full point you're trying to make. However, I don't think that its justification for the battery having such terrible battery life out of the box. I've only used the wifi remote a handful of times just to show friends how cool it was. Unfortunately, it kills the battery so fast that I haven't used it beyond that. The local ski hill is supposed to be mid 50s this weekend. I'm curious to see if my battery will last any longer.

    For me, I think they should do something to fix it, but $20 batteries aren't the end of the world for the quality you're getting.

    -joel

  18. #18
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    Heres a tip... dont record 30min clips

  19. #19
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    Airborne Flight Crew

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    Heres a tip... dont record 30min clips
    But I love working with 8GB+ files in my editor.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhazard View Post
    Those are good tips. I just ordered the two pack mainly for the charger. I was going to buy non-GoPro branded batteries originally, but I picked up the GoPro branded because I was on a time crunch.

    fwiw, I was able to get 1hr 9mins on a single charge for my commute today. Hopefully the warmer summer temps will prolong battery life.

  22. #22
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    Hmm, Im managing close to 3 hrs on a single battery charge on my white edition. I have noticed though if the wifi is on, then it doesnt last long at all. With it off, it lasts quite a while. I also bought the wasabi brand batteries, and am totally happy with them.

    Amazon.com: Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Charger for GoPro HD HERO3 and GoPro AHDBT-201, AHDBT-301: Camera & Photo

  23. #23
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    I just bought one with the 20% off REI discount for a total of $260 with tax and shipping. I'll see how great it is when I receive mine!

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