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GoPro Gets Smaller, Lighter with Hero3+

Newest Version of Popular Crash Cam Has Improved Lens, Audio Recording

GoPro has updated its popular Hero3 action cam with the smaller and lighter Hero3+, making it an even more attractive no-budget crash cam for filmmakers. In a recent press release, the company claims that, on a unit basis, more Hero3s have been sold to "professional production companies" than any other camera.

GoPro says the Hero3+ Black Edition is 20 percent smaller and lighter than the previous model, and comes with a 30 percent increase in battery life. The lens has been improved for what GoPro says is a 33 percent increase in sharpness along with a "2x reduction" of artifacts in the image.

Audio is upgraded, too, with the new Hero3+ Black incorporating more sensitive audio recording along with a new wind-noise reduction system. Wi-Fi connectivity to smartphones or tablets for remote-control applications has been increased by four times, the company said, and the included Wi-Fi Remote lets users control up to 50 cameras from up to 600 feet away.

A new "Auto Low Light Mode" is said to improve low-light performance by changing frame rates based on lighting conditions. Judging from specs posted at GoPro's website, the camera essentially halves its shooting speed in low-light environments. For example, if your camera is strapped to a bike cruising down the highway on a sunny day, you'll be able to shoot 1440p video at 48fps. If that bike enters a dark tunnel, your frame rate will automatically drop to 24fps.

Did that reference to "1440p" throw you? The 1920×1440 recording format, with an aspect ratio of 4:3, is just one of many video modes on the Hero3+ Black, from full Ultra HD/4K video (up to 4096×2160) at 12p on the high end to WVGA (848×480) at 240p on the low end. There are plenty of options in between, including two 2.7K options and, of course, 1080p and 720p. And the new SuperView mode enables recording of wider-angle 1080p and 720p footage than was available in the previous version of the camera.

“We have used GoPro cameras in some of our biggest productions, like Survivor and The Bible," said producer Mark Burnett in a prepared statement. "GoPro has allowed us to capture and share fascinating new perspectives that previously weren’t possible or were too costly, which in the end makes for better storytelling."

The Hero3+ Black Edition has a suggested list price of $399.99.

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