"Great action cam for the enthusiast"4.0 starson by wessaidwords
Pros: Durable, can go anywhere and capture any moment
Variety of mounting options
Lots of shooting modes
Small and lightweight
High frames per second in 720p
Good battery life
Cons: Poor shooting quality in shade or dark
Somewhat confusing controls
Wifi feature is not as easy to use as they claim
Sound quality is terrible and no option to hook up an external mic
No viewfinder, hard to plan shots
Summary: The GoPro Hero 3 White edition is a very affordable entry level action camera that is tough as nails and great at recording and capturing fun action shots. For the vacationer, the action sport enthusiast or the average person that wants to capture memories in a unique and fun perspective, this camera is for you.UPDATE: the fixed aperture is f2.8 not f1.2 like I stated in my review.
The $200 price tag makes this camera very affordable in the range of video cameras. It will capture higher quality video than your smartphone and simple point-n-shoot since it shoots 720p HD (at 30 or 60 fps) and 1080p HD (at 24 or 30 fps). GoPro is also famous for its ultra wide angle lens configuration which gives full emersion in the action and ensures you will capture everything in view. That being said, the GoPro shoots good quality HD video in well lit situations which is good since this is a camera you will probably use more outdoors than anywhere else. The shooting quality suffers, however, when shooting in the shade or in darker situations like indoors. This problem was fixed on the Black edition which features a better low light image sensor. The only other gripe I have about the shooting is that there is no variable focus on the camera. It has a fixed aperture of f1.2 which means a narrow depth of field (ie what's in focus). This means if you want to have professional looking focus capabilities, you should look for a new camera.
Another strong feature of the GoPro is that it offers not only video capture, but also timelapse shooting, burst shooting and individual shots. These are all very useful for capturing the action which sometimes is not best captured in video. Getting to, and setting up, these different shooting modes can be a bit confusing though. There are two buttons and one is the record, the other the power button. This isn't their only function though. You have to use them to navigate the menu in a way that I still trip up over.
The durability of the GoPro is where it shines. Mine has been in many crashes with me and it always survives unscathed. I am not that lucky. One drawback of this rugged design is that it greatly limits the microphone's capability at picking up sound accurately. It is necessary for the toughness of the camera to remain but can still be a bit annoying.
Finally, the wifi features on this camera are confusing to use. They don't work and require constant firmware updates which take time and sometimes glitch on the GoPro website. My advice, don't even worry or try. If you leave wifi off, the battery life is exceptional and extra batteries are relatively cheap which always help extend shooting time.
The bottom line: the GoPro 3 White edition offers good video quality capable of capturing most action sports as long as you do not hope to make it look like movie quality. The controls take some getting used to and the case is somewhat cumbersome but this is made up for by the fact that it can be mounted on nearly everything and will survive any abuse you throw at it.
Updated on Dec 9, 2013