For those who are new to GoPro, do know that a difference in the colour of the device is more than just for visuals, the functions and capabilities of the camera too change with it. Yes, sounds, well, somewhat limiting but given just how seamless and foolproof operating a GoPro is, one would have little reason to complain.
I recently got my hands on the GoPro HERO7 Black (the highest in the pecking order as feature go) and took it along for runs, rides, and most important, deep-sea diving. Without even getting into why I feel the need to have a camera on me when I am engaging in some fitness activity or 30m underwater on vacation is a whole different set for a shrink’s couch, but in the era of visuals, prose comes second to pictures. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then we are all modern-day novelists today.
Now while I know my way around cameras (both for still and action) I am still not a professional photo/video-grapher which is one reason why my write-up won’t delve into things too technical. The other reason is that the footage you see on Blue Planet is definitely not shot on something as nifty as the GoPro. Although, I should add, they all do sport a GoPro plugged into some harness or another which then makes for great ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage, and that too in super high-resolution!
What is it?
In case you still don’t know, a GoPro is an action camera. It is built to withstand extreme handling conditions and still churn out some very decent non-shaky footage that is capable of giving someone else a (quasi first-hand) P.O.V (point-of-view) experience of the activity recording. Say you wish to see how it is to run down steep mountain trails, or trickier yet, bike down them, there is footage aplenty from fellas who harnessed a GoPro onto their helmets and went for it.
Who is it for?
It is for the adrenaline junkie, for those who like to live on the rim, the ones who don’t get an unparalleled rush from doing something that would have most folks simply back away in fear. So what makes it more suited for such activities then say another video camera- size, for one. Ruggedness is another. And then come the reasons which may not seem as obvious till you start using it – stability, seamless functioning and shifting from one mode to another, ability to store data on-board and then egest it all onto a little SD-card which can then be plugged into a laptop and used/edited/stored/discarded. If you like to click pictures of flowers and squirrels while on your gentle morning stroll, stick with the phone camera.
How Do You Use it?
Pretty simple really. You turn it on, press the button to get it to the desired recording mode (still, video, time lapse), and go! What you will need is a special casing for the type of activity intended. This is to ensure that the camera doesn’t get damaged (or the lens get scratched) during the activity. While it comes with a basic kit out of the box, the most ideal one to buy is the Super Suit which is meant for underwater diving. The GoPro 7 is 10m water resistant even without this but any deeper and it will be needed. So it’s okay to have fun with it in the swimming pool with the basic casing but if you choose to dive, get the right Super Suit. Sure it’s a bit expensive but you can use it even while cycling and running (at the cost of adding a wee little weight).
The last thing that weighs in favour of the GoPro series is this: reliability. Having used a few Chinese GoPro-like devices and even the very popular (much revered in diving circles) Paralenz camera, I have come to realise that a lot of features that sound good on the box blurbs are the bells the whistles which just don’t matter when it comes down to it. Some cameras don’t connect when needed, others aren’t as waterproof as they claim to be, yet others hang mid-operation thereby bungling up the entire shoot. GoPro, by comparison, has none of these issues. Their focus on delivering what is essential but indispensable has been relentless and unswerving. The result: a serious device that can capture great shots and clips and communicates seamlessly with your phone/tablet/laptop through its own app.
Sure it’s a bit pricey (and it can be annoying when they keep coming up with a new model ever so soon) but considering that most of what we shoot would largely be intended for sharing on social media platforms (where the final resolution gets considerably cut), the footage you capture on any GoPro variant that you have will suffice. But, that established sensibly and wisely, serious brag rights require that you go get the latest GoPro HERO7 Black.
(Picture Credits – GoPro Website & Instagram)