GoPro Unveils the Hero3: Smaller, Lighter, Faster, and 4K Resolution (Kinda)

At a special event in San Francisco tonight, GoPro launched its latest action camera: the Hero3. Compared to the Hero2 that it succeeds, the new camera is both more portable and more capable. It’s 30% smaller and 25% lighter, making it great for helmet cams and attaching to random things. The image processor inside is twice as fast, allowing the camera to shoot both video and photographs at faster frame rates.

The camera comes in three flavors: Black, Silver, and White. These don’t just differ in color, but in features as well. The Black edition is the flagship camera. It’s capable of recording 4K video, but you’ll need to be content with doing so at a sluggish 15 frames per second. Drop the resolution to 2.7K, and you’ll be back at a comfortable 30fps. Drop it further to 1080p, and you’ll get 60fps. Still photo continuous shooting has been boosted to an impressive 30fps for 12MP images.

Buy the Silver one, and you’ll be capped at 1080p30 for video and 11MP at 10fps for still photos. The entry-level White version has a still photo resolution limit of 5MP at 3fps.

The cameras also feature improved low-light performance, a sharper lens, a better microphone, and built-in Wi-Fi.

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman discussing the benefits of the new camera

The Black, Silver, and White editions are priced at $400, $300, and $200, respectively. You can place a preorder now by heading over to the GoPro website; the cameras will begin shipping next Monday.

Update: Here’s the official promo video introducing the new camera:

Thanks for sending in the tip, Ian!

Image credits: Photographs by GoPro

  • Nigel II

    Too bad the most important part of this article wasnt done in 4k (the picture)

  • vonwong

    omg i want

  • Dave

    Because you are one of the 4 people in the world who has a 4K monitor, right?

  • Ian M

    True, but the ability to shoot wide and then crop in post and still have high res footy suits me just fine.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    what use is recording 4k if you can only shoot at 15fps… srsly.

  • Zak Henry

    I’m hoping with this new found higher resolution they will be able to have a digital zoom function. I would love to be able to have a ~90° FOV option at 30fps, which is of course possible by cropping the 2.7k res in post, but in-camera option would be nice too. Also capturing less of the sensor could possibly allow higher fps at those resolutions.

  • Sp4rk

    “All three cameras can take advantage of the improved processor’s newfound speed: 1080p video can be captured at 60fps.”

    Only the Black edition can do 1080p60! And all the other figures mentioned here are only true for the Black edition. While all three cameras surely “take advantage of the improved processor”, this is a bit misleading i think.

  • Hanselbeck


  • Dave

    So, relying on cropping a great deal, which honestly is a crutch for those that don’t make the effort to get it right in-camera, will outweigh the fact that you are limited to 12 fps? What are you planning on videotaping, paint drying? Do you own, or have ever used a camera?

  • Dave

    Agreed, and I think they will be selling very few of the silver and white ones.

  • Dave

    This turns it into a very expensive time-lapse camera that can create files that almost no one has a monitor to display. Adam makes a good point. 15fps will record blurring in every frame of anything that moves.

  • Nikanth Karthikesan

    No need for 4K monitor, I can use the scroll bar :)

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    I wouldn’t want to make a timelapse with a fixed lens gopro camera.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    also – if you want actual 4K you can only shoot at 12fps (resolution is 4096×2160) – the 4K quoted at 15fps is actually 3840×2160 and you’re limited to ultra wide – no medium or narrow FOV. I really wouldn’t bother with making a timelapse with this camera if 4K is something I was going for

  • JD929

    The purpose of this kind of camera is to not babysit it. Sure, initial setup is important, but a lot of times, checking on the camera is also a distraction that can ruin the footage.

  • Jesse Baynard

    How is it possible to do 12MP stills at 30fps and only 15fps at 4k which is about 8-9MP (depending on how you define it). Couldn’t you just synchronize the stills in Quicktime Pro for 4+k video at 30fps? Or are the still captures worthless upscaled images?

  • Jeremiah Washington

    The reason they are packing these features into the cameras now is so manufacturers will either start making products that support these cameras, or get lost in progrees. Its the chicken/egg paradox. do you create a camera that shoots 4k before it can even be taken advantage of by the public, or create a monitor that has 4k resolution that no one can take advantage of. Gopro is taking advantage of this. Also, the 200 dollar price is good for a lot of low income skaters and bmx or parkour athletes trying to make decent videos. Some of you think you understand the economics of the camera world, but obviously you are very pessimistic about the things you are passionate about. at least most of you ive read.

  • Trey Campbell

    I guess 4k is going to be the new big thing going forward. Higher quality is always appealing to me but are we really going to be able to tell a difference, that is assuming we’re not in an IMAX? Also, I just shot a 1 min, 30 sec video yesterday on my Nikon D800 and the file size was 250MB!!! I can’t imagine what a 4k would be. Are we really ready for this in terms of the data storage, cpu processing power, upload speeds, download speeds, data limits on our internet use, monitor resolution, etc. etc. required for 4K?

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks so much for pointing this out. It was a mistake on our part, and has been fixed.

  • erikzred

    My understanding from the specs is that the 12mp at 30fps is limited to capturing 30 frames

  • Mike Panic

    Not going to lie, that’s one of the most well put together promo videos I’ve seen in a while. Wonder how many times these guys watched The Art of Flight.

  • MikeAlgar42

    So lots of second clips, so great for cinegraphs and the like, in practical for regular shooting.

  • Chung Dha Lam

    You probably never used a GoPro as the damn thing actually has no screen at all but is optional accessory and you might want to shoot it on the widest setting and crop it later in post as you never know what you captured and that is the fun of GoPro.

  • Christopher Pole

    1080p @ 60fps is the important part in my opinion. For the sorts of activities you use this camera for how is 15fps 4k of any use beyond being able to say “hey I have a camera that shoots in 4k”?

  • Jimjamaroo

    More people need to understand that higher resolutions resolve much better when downscaled to HD. Aliasing artefacts are commonly reduced this way, which is probably the advantage of having this improved sensor on the black edition.

  • D.G. Brown

    Up to 90 frames (over 3s), actually (according to the specs on the site). Then it sits there and waits for a while as it clears the buffer (if it’s anything like burst on the Hero2)

  • Coyote Red

    Wow, when I was about to buy my first GoPro the Hero2 came out. I was just about buy a second camera for simultaneous alternate POVs and not the Hero3 is coming out. I’m lucking out on this as I’m usually a day late and dollar short, so to speak, on everything else. I don’t know how many things I’ve bought only to have the next best come out weeks, or even just days, later.

    I’m really looking forward to the 1080p 60 and better low light performance. Plus, the case already has a flat lens so underwater shots are in focus. …and Black comes with Wi-Fi and remote for $400? A Hero2 with WiFi back and flat lens kit is more than $400. Better camera, better features, more upgrades, same price? Not bad at all! You could toss 4K and 2.7K (which I doubt I would use) and it would still be a good deal.

  • Dave

    For a mere $80 you can get an lcd screen for the gopro and frame things however you want, just as I do.

  • Marc Jones

    Looks like they’ve increased dynamic range a bit, thats a welcomed change.

  • Steve S

    Can the shutter angle/speed be adjusted? If so, then you can get sharp frames (but the video will be choppy—Keystone Cops-ish).

  • Diver down

    What about a dive housing? Took forever to get thatvforvthe Hero2 &’now I don’t see it listed on their site at all!! I was ready to pull the trigger on the Hero2 & the 3 comes out!

  • Dave

    Read closer, the stock housing now has a flat port so you don’t need an aftermarket housing. More money in your pocket. You also don’t need a WiFi adapter, it’s built in. More money in your pocket. I can’t wait until the Gopro Hero7 comes out, it will undoubtedly be free PLUS a $5 bill in the box just because they are awesome!

  • Diver down

    Hey thanks!! I called Gopro & they explained this to me. Heading to Guam I Dec & the Philippines too! May dive Saipan alsom&’these are memories I want to have for a lifetime & maybe share on YouTube, so I’m way excited for a Gopro!

    Just the ability to capture everything without have to deal with a camera is priceless!!