Should I get a GoPro?

I get asked this a lot. Okay — not a lot. Maybe like once or twice a year. Whenever somebody sees my GoPro Hero 3 Black and think they have an extra $400 lying around.

I always respond with — it’s a neat little camera, I like it. This usually transfers to a “Yea — I guess it would be cool”. I give this typical answer because I do not have the proper venue for a thorough discussion of what the GoPro purchase commits one to. Really, I want to ask

Do you have another few hunderded bucks lying around? You’ll need to buy a bunch of accessories, mounts, tripods, etc. Luckily you can get everything on Amazon for cheap.

Do you do a lot of action sports? Are you proficient enough in them? If not, maybe focus on that first. If what you excel is not an action sport — like talking or playing music or dancing — a regular camera will probably be better.

Do you know how to edit video? It take some skill and a lot of time to turn hours of footage into 2–3 minute clips you can share with friends. It also takes a lot of time to get a feel for shooting scenes. What you think looks ‘sick’ usually turns out to be 5 seconds of shaky-cam ground footage and a lot of yelling.

If the answer to either of these questions is no, then you should save your money and use your phone instead. You can take your vertical video clips and snapchat them to your friends or whatever kids do now.