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. Conversation usually goes like this:

  • Them: Hey that’s a GoPro right? What do you think of it?
  • Me: It’s a neat little camera, I like it.
  • Them: I should totally get one!
  • Me: 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 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. You’ll need iMovie or MovieMaker or some paid program. Some apps auto-do-it for you but those tend to be crap.

Do you know how to shoot video? What are you going to do with 3 hours of shake helmet cam footage? It takes a lot of time to get a feel for shooting scenes, lining up shots, etc. 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.

  • It takes really good videos. Some even shoot 4K. The 1080p is usually more than adequate
  • You can get a cheap waterproof case, tripod and selfie stick
  • There are even gimbals available
  • You can take your vertical video clips and snapchat them to your friends or whatever kids do now.