[UPDATE: For the latest comparison of the Hero 4 , Session, 3+ click here.]
Looking at the different cameras (I have silver and black editions) the “3” within Hero3 is coloured to match the cameras edition. That is the Black edition’s 3 is black and the Silver Editions 3 is silver etc. But what really makes the white, silver and black editions different to one another is what goes on inside.
GoPro 3 – Black
3 Black Editions: Adventure, Surf, or Motorsports – all are the same only difference is some of the supplied mounts.
4kp @ 12fps/2.7kp @ 30fps
1440p @ 48fps/1080p @ 60fps/720p @ 120fps
Glass Ultra Sharp Lens
12MP / 30fps Burst
Wifi Remote included
Excellent Low Light Performance
Simultaneous Photo and Video Mode:
Photo every 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds or can be manually triggered
1 x 12 Megapixel still while recording video in 1440p @ 24fps
1 x 8 Megapixel still while recording video in 1080p @ 30fps
1 x 8 Megapixel still while recording video in 720p @ 60fps
GoPro 3 – Silver
No Wifi Remote but this can be bought seperately
Lower def shooting modes than the Black Edition
1080p @ 30fps/960p @ 48fps/720p @ 60fps
11 Mega Pixels / 10 fps Burst
No photos while recording video
GoPro 3 – White
1080p @ 30fps/960p @ 30fps/720p @ 60fps
5MP / 3 fps Burst
170deg in 720p mode
I have used both the Black and Silver editions (I haven’t seen the White edition as yet) in a range of situations and found both to be an improvement over the Hero 2. Although the Silver edition on paper is the same as the Hero 2 its low light capabilities and the overall quality of the video/images produced is far better.
2. You will need different memory cards for the Hero 3. The Hero 1 and Hero 2 accept SD and SDHC cards while the 3 accepts Micro SD cards. I have found that some retailers sell the same capacity Micro version for less than the standard size. You will be able to swap a Micro SD card into the Hero 2 if you have an adaptor. The black edition has the ability to take stills and video at the same time. I have therefore settled on a 32GB card for the time being as the 64GB cards are still quite pricey but are starting to come down in price. If you are wondering what card would be best and what all the figures mean check out my ramblings on SD cards.
5. All bacpac accessories are backward compatible but the new touch screen LCD unit will not work as a touch screen on HD 2 units.
Which edition to get will be a tough choice that may be driven by cost, intended use or even availability. For my money I believe that the Silver edition will actually fulfil most peoples needs and offers the middle ground. Combine the silver with a few choice mounts for your particular application and either use the WiFi remote or smart phone and you have a pretty versatile setup. For some even the white edition may prove to be a good choice if video is only going to be uploaded to the likes of Vimeo or Youtube. The black has lots of cool little tweaks but in all likelihood the 4k and 2.7k videos will never really be seen until other areas of consumer technology catchup and become more affordable. If your wallet can take the hit go for the black, if it can’t and the silver edition is the one you will be going for don’t worry. You won’t miss what you didn’t have and its unlikely that you’ll be craving the features that the black has over the silver.