So, you’ve finally saved enough money to buy your first action camera, hooray!
But before you go to your favourite store and hand over your hard-earned money to the cashier, here are some things that you should probably consider before making your purchase. Take note that these are solely based on my personal research months before I bought my first GoPro. There are more reading and viewing materials online so I suggest you check them out as well.
Before I begin, let me say that choosing which model, mounts, and other accessories to buy basically depends on your needs. Our needs vary differently so take these as a guide instead as a fixed set of rules.
Silver or Black?
One of the major decisions you will be making is choosing between the Black edition and the Silver edition. If you’re someone who like to take action shots and slow them down to 20% of their speed during editing, then the Black edition is for you. It can shoot up to 120 frames per second (fps) even at 1080p resolution. This will give you that ohh-soo-smooth slow motion in your final rendered video. The Silver edition can shoot 120fps as well but only at 720p resolution.
But the Silver has LCD!
The built-in LCD at the back of the Silver edition can be seen both as an advantage and a disadvantage. An advantage because, well, you don’t need to turn the GoPro’s WiFi on and connect your smart phone to review, delete, and/or frame your shots, and; a disadvantage because keeping it on will eat up more battery life. Although you’re probably not going to use the LCD majority of the time anyway.
What about the price?
By now you’ll have figured out that the Black edition is a little more pricey than its Silver counterpart. If you have the budget and still prefer Silver because you don’t need Black’s fast frame rate and you find the LCD cool, then it’d be a wise decision to go for the Silver. You can then use the extra money to invest more on accessories.
BUT, and this is a big but, if you’re short of budget and feel that the Black’s features suit you well, then I suggest NOT to settle for Silver and instead wait a little and save up more to get the Black one.
I’m still short of budget, what about Session and Hero?
If this is your first time to purchase an action camera, I DO NOT recommend that you get the GoPro Session. I haven’t researched about this a lot as this came out a month after I bought my GoPro, but I believe that this model WAS NOT made for beginners. Apart from that, it’s almost the same price as the Silver edition.
The GoPro Hero on the other hand will allow you to save up a lot. This model was made for beginners and its features will tell you why. It basically has no WiFi and/or Bluetooth, no LCD (Hero+ has LCD though), and can shoot a very limited range of frame rates and resolutions. Well, you get what you pay for.
Which accessories should I buy first?
As I’ve said earlier, it basically depends on your needs. Generally, you would want to get a pole or any hand-held mount. The 3-way is a good start although it’s a bit pricey. It’s a pole, a bobber, and a tripod all-in-one. I have a 14-inch pole with ball-head mount and I find it just fine for my needs.
Other accessories/mounts you might want to consider:
- anti-fog inserts
- tripod mount (so you can take better time lapse)
- good (and fast) memory card (at least 32gb 333x is recommended)
Choosing which GoPro to buy is a bit tricky and if you don’t do your research well, you might end up regretting your purchase. Don’t make the mistake of doing false budgeting (maling pagtitipid). Think and choose wisely. You’re spending money anyway, so you might as well spend it on something worth your money.
Congratulations and enjoy your new GoPro. Now go out there and shoot!