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I have used both the original Hero and the Hero2 for many years and have shot hundreds of hours of video and many thousands of stills with those cameras. I held off on getting a Hero3 for a while to let GoPro work the very well-documented bugs out before getting one, but finally took the plunge about 2 months ago. After many hours of use of the Hero3, my synopsis: these things freaking SUCK!
I started with a Hero3 Black, but after shooting photo test targets, it became painfully clear that the optics of the Black were totally subpar, as was the white balance (compared to the Hero3 Silver, and the Hero2). That, and it spontaneously erased my memory card on multiple occasions. I am using the same memory cards GoPro sells on their website and keep my cameras up to date with firmware. Furthermore, the camera froze, requiring pulling the battery, and along with deleting all my images at random intervals the optics and white balance were terrible. Goodbye...
So I picked up a Hero3 Silver hoping for better days. Yet again, on three separate occasions, my Silver has deleted all the images and videos off my memory card with absolutely no input from me. Just POOF, gone. Can you think of a less desirable behavior from a camera?? The new Hero3 cameras have a strong red color cast to videos and stills, strongly underexpose many scenes (especially snow), and while not as egregious as the Black, the Silver has this issue too. This can be fixed in post, but why have to? The color fidelity of the Hero2 was inarguably better.
GoPro basically screwed the pooch with these units. Yes, WiFi is now built in, which is great. But anyone who actually shoots side-by-side scenes using both Hero2 and Hero3 cameras will conclude the Hero2 was a superior product in the main areas that count: sharpness, exposure, and color fidelity. It was also dead reliable. If you have a Hero2, keep it. The new 3's simply suck.
This is an update to my previous review below...
This image is of the Hero3 Silver for comparison. Note the less-red-hue color shift and the much less soft focus. The two test images are only cropped, not color corrected or otherwise processed (not sure how the upload to BC.com will affect them). The two images were taken a few minutes apart with the same natural light on a solid surface.
I have shot hundreds of hours of vid and taken thousands of stills with my old Gopro Hero2. Awesome camera! WiFi worked great, good battery life, RELIABLE.
The new Hero3 Black is total junk by comparison. It spontaneously has erased my memory card, deleting all my day's images with no input from me. It occasionally locks up and requires a hard restart by pulling the battery. The battery sometimes gets really hot as it discharges in an uncontrolled way. This is with all the newest firmware installed (as of mid-February, 2013).
The worst part is that the image quality is abhorrent. Strong color shift accentuating reds and greens in certain situations makes color correction a total pain. I spend way more time trying to fix the images I shoot with my Hero3 Black compared to my old Hero2. I also got a Hero3 Silver for comparison and it takes much better pics than the Black model. The Black shows a red hue color cast and very soft image quality in my examples attached. The Silver is more neutral in hue and MUCH sharper.
I have no idea what GoPro was thinking with the new Black, but it sucks big time. Get a Silver, or even better, keep your Hero2.
What are the nose and tail widths for each length?