GoPro Hero3+ will go higher, shoot for longer thanks to a lighter-yet-better redesign


posted Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 2:02 PM EST

There is, it seems, almost nowhere on our planet that the mighty GoPro action camera hasn't been, and next-to-nothing it hasn't been attached to. GoPro cameras have hitched a ride to the edge of space, captured a wingwalker's derring-do on a vintage biplane, accompanied daredevil wingsuit-flyers on the thrill ride of a lifetime, gone deep beneath the ocean on a submersible in search of whale song, and accompanied climbers on some of the tallest manmade structures in the world. Thanks to new smaller, lighter GoPro cameras and underwater housings announced today, though, the world's favorite action camera line is likely to find itself shooting the action in even more places.

The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition and its housing will be particularly exciting for fans of radio-controlled, aerial photography. Whether you're flying a multirotor, a helicopter, powered plane, or glider, every gram counts -- unless you're as ambitious as this guy, anyway. Drag caused by the camera's size can be an issue, as well. And although the 40-meter underwater housing isn't something you'd associate with aerial photography, it's actually pretty handy for shockproofing, if you can justify the payload. By shaving one-fifth off the size and weight of the Hero3+ and its housing, GoPro creator Woodman Labs has opened up new opportunities for aerial exploits. And with a one-third improvement in battery life, the Hero3+ will still be recording your feats long after its predecessor would've had to shut down.

The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition action camera in underwater housing and separately.

Even if your particular use for an action camera doesn't necessitate a lighter, smaller body and more battery life, there are improvements in other areas besides. For one thing, Woodman promises a fourfold improvement in Wi-Fi transfer speeds. The new GoPro Hero3+ is also said to have a new, sharper lens, and it sports two new shooting modes. In SuperView mode, the Hero3+ captures an even wider-angle view of your subject. The Auto Low Light mode, meanwhile, allows slower shutter speeds during video capture (with a corresponding decrease in frame rate), to help get a usable image. Frame rates can be varied as needed during a clip, based on the shutter speed needed for correct exposure.

And then there's the more affordable GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition. Compared to the previous Hero3 Silver Edition, the new model is 15% smaller and lighter when installed in its 40-meter housing, and it too boasts a 4x increase in Wi-Fi performance. It sports a new image processor with double the performance, and is now capable of shooting 1080p60 or 720p120 video.

The GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition has a different housing, but a similar body.

The GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition is priced at US$400, and the Silver Edition at US$300. Alongside the new cameras, the company has also revealed a new, more compact QuickClip bundled with the Headstrap, a smaller Junior Chesty chest harness, and a flex clamp with optional, opposable neck that's branded as the Jaws clamp. There's also a new release of the free GoPro Studio 2.0 software package, which adds customizable video templates.

More details on GoPro's website.