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It's rare that we present you with something that needs no introduction, no hype, and no pitch as to why you need it. You know that you're here because you want the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition - Surf. And if you're interested in some details about why your pitted barrels are going to look beautiful in your next edit, please proceed.

Just looking at the external appearance of the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition, the difference in iterations couldn't be more night and day. The camera has been reduced in size by 30%, and the camera weight was reduced by 25%. In fact, the Hero3 tips the scales at an alarmingly low 2.6 ounces. The camera body has received a black backing treatment, and the front now boasts a more accessible and progressive user interface. And GoPro didn't simply stop redesigning at the camera body, the new external housing not only bolsters the durability of the body, but it's also fully-waterproof at depths up to 197' (60m).

Now, let's get into the guts of the Hero3. The lens makes use of a new flat design with a waterproof housing. It's what GoPro calls a six-element aspherical lens. What does this mean? Simply put, the lens has been designed to operate evenly across more light conditions than ever before. For the camera nerds; it's an f/2.8 -6.0 lens. So, you'll experience sharper image quality whether it's blisteringly bright or the sun has nearly disappeared. And in low-light conditions, specifically, you can expect twice the light performance in comparison to the Hero2. The new lens also allows Ultra-wide, Medium, and Narrow field of view modes, and you can operate the White Balance in either auto or manual modes (3000k, 5500k, 6500k, Cam Raw). Now, you can expect crystal clear resolution from sunrise to sunset. Possibly more important for your mounted shots, the lens has made huge gains in decreasing distortion, so you can say goodbye to frame-warble when the Earth is berating your rig.

And speaking of resolution, the Hero3 Black Edition boasts ultra-high resolution video modes of 2.7kp-24 and 4kp-12. The frame rate is twice as powerful as the Hero2, capturing at 4k Cinema 12fps, 2.7k Cinema 30fps, 1440p 48fps, 1080p 60fps, and 720p 120fps. Basically, if you love slow-motion shots, the Hero3 is a godsend. And did we mention that all of these rates can be run from Ultra-Wide mode? Awesome. For time lapse, GoPro also stepped up the Hero3's game by increasing the available intervals. You can select from seven lapse intervals ranging from 0.5 to 60 seconds. The still camera also lays waste to prior Hero iterations. For the Hero3, still mode shoots at 12 megapixels and up to 30 photos per second. You can select blasts of 3, 5, or 10 photos-per-second concurrently with any video mode. Also new to the Hero3, GoPro included advanced camera settings like looping video, continuous photo, and Protune Mode.

Not to be one sided in the improvement department, the Hero3 also made dramatic gains in sound quality. By engineering a new wind-noise reduction system, the redesigned sound recording will capture all of the subtleties and profanities of your gnar. And now, you also have the option of recording your sound in Mono, 48kHz, and AAC compression w/AGC media formats. This means you don't have to eat up your cards' storage if ambient sound is only going to make a cameo in your edit.

We hate to admit it, but we've been holding out on you. The Hero3 is not only Wi-Fi ready, but newly included for the Black Edition package, at a $79.99 value, is the Wi-Fi Remote. Waterproof, wearable, and capable of controlling up to 50 Hero3 cameras from a range of 600 feet, the Wi-Fi Remote will turn your entire filming strategy on its head. Not impressed? How about finally gaining access to the GoPro Application for your iOS or Android smartphone and tablet? With the remote and GoPro App in tow, you can both fully control any camera in your Wi-Fi range and view live scene previews.

As for the knitty gritty, the Hero3 has the following inputs: Micro-HDMI Port, Composite A/V Adapter, USB, Micro SD, HERO Port, and a 3.5mm Stereo Mic Adapater. It's also compatible with newest Mac OS versions down to Mac OSX 10.5 and the latest Microsoft Windows version down to Vista 7.

Simply, the Hero3 Black Edition is everything that you've been wanting and waiting for.

The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition - Surf is available in one color and one size. Included in the package are the following: Hero3 Black Edition Camera, 197'/60m waterproof housing, Wi-Fi Remote, assorted mounting hardware, rechargeable Li-ion battery, 1 quick-release buckle, 1 J-Hook buckle, 1 surfboard mount and tether, and 3-way pivot arm. It does not include a memory card. 

Please note that the Hero3 Black Edition requires a MicroSD Class 10 or higher memory card. It can also support up to a 64GB capacity.

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GoPro HERO3+: Black Edition Overview

Introducing the HERO3+ Black Edition. With improved image quality and powerful new features geared for versatility and convenience, it's the most advanced GoPro yet.

20% smaller and lighter than its best-selling predecessor?the HERO3+ Black Edition is the most mountable, wearable and versatile GoPro ever. Its all-new, ultra-slim housing is waterproof to 131 feet, or 40 meters. Featuring a flat glass lens, you'll be sure to capture super sharp images?whether shooting above or below the water.

New Features:
? 20% smaller and lighter housing (waterproof to 131'/40m)
? SuperView video mode captures the world's most immersive wide angle perspective
? Auto Low Light mode intelligently adjusts frame rate for stunning low light performance
? 33% improved image sharpness and reduced distortion
? Faster built-in Wi-Fi for enhanced connectivity to the Wi-Fi Remote (included) and GoPro App
? 30% longer battery life
? Wireless camera software updates via the GoPro App
? Upgraded audio performance

5 5

Stunning quality

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

While I don't have the surf edition, I do have the Black edition and it's phenomenal. The picture quality is stunning. If it weren't for the fact that it's so small, this would replace the family video camera!

I've used it on a couple of canyoneering trips so far as well as recorded a couple time lapses of sunsets and all have turned out great. My only gripe is that the video quality comes across as far superior to the picture quality and so time lapses I usually just film and then speed up the footage rather than piece together the individual images.

GoPro HERO2 vs HERO3 Lens Water Shedding

I've noticed that lots of people have had concerns about whether to buy a HERO3 or to just stick with their HERO2. They are concerned about battery life, software issues, and water clinging more easily to the HERO3's flat lens as opposed to the HERO2's bubble lens. Here is a video showing what happens when the water contacts the flat lens to give you a nice visual of what happens to water on the flat lens.