Whether you're in the creative space or not, I'm sure by now you've heard of a GoPro. I've used every model since the GoPro Hero 4 and have collected hundreds of hours of footage with them. I'm going to cover the top reasons to buy a GoPro. But first, let's cover some FAQ.
What is a GoPro?
GoPro is actually a company who has revolutionized the way we capture footage. GoPro has a line of cameras and has released a dozen-ish models since inception. They're small versatile cameras which are rugged and waterproof while having the ability to capture high-quality content. Their release of the GoPro Max is the leading 360 degree camera on the market.
Isn't GoPro only used to film extreme sports?
No. I've used it for cinematic footage and it also has a great camera for standard still footage. The built-in stability allows it to be used for any sort of videography. I've used it for brand shoots as well.
What can I use a GoPro for?
Knowing when to use a GoPro is very important. If you're going to use it to take pictures, you absolutely can. Just make sure the subject of your photo is no more than 10 feet away or it'll just be too grainy and the resolution won't look great if you crop and zoom. When taking photos, ensure you shoot in narrow or linear modes, unless you're looking for a wide angle view. Anything else, just use a real camera.
The obvious usage cases for a GoPro are:
- Anything involving water
- Action sports
Some additional, more creative ways you can use a GoPro are:
- First Person Point-of-view videos (hiking, unboxing, etc). It's very light and won't weigh you down like a traditional camera will.
Which model should I get?
This is a loaded question and depends on what you'll be using the camera for. GoPro is similar to Apple in regards to their release calendar. They usually launch a new GoPro every year around the time that Apple releases a new iPhone. If you're looking for something introductory and you're looking to buy pre-owned, I'd go with a Hero 7. You can find them for less than $200. The recommended brand new GoPro is the Hero 9. Just be sure you know that the technology will be improved upon in less than 1 year.
If you're looking to capture more unique shots, buy the GoPro Max. The Max is their 360 camera but it also doubles as a traditional GoPro Hero model. I recommend it for every activity under the sun except scuba diving. You can't take it more than 10 feet or so because they don't make a dive housing. There is still no way to successfully use a 360 action camera underwater, although I'm sure they're working on that.
GoPro dabbled in the drone market as well, but let's forget that ever happened. Lesson learned: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
How much does a GoPro cost?
Each year when they launch a new Hero model, it usually retails for $350-$400. The GoPro Max was $500 when it was released.
Where can you buy a GoPro?
- GoPro.com. Buying directly through GoPro's website not only usually lets you snag one for the best deal, but it allows you to use GoPro's stellar customer service. Make sure you save your confirmation email after a purchase because they'll need to reference a proof of purchase. If you buy on a third party site, they won't take care of you nearly the same way, and trust me, you WILL need to reach out to customer service at some point.
- Amazon.com. Amazon is your next best bet. Ensure you buy from GoPro via Amazon though or customer service won't be much help to you.
- OfferUp, eBay, Mercari, etc. I usually sell mine via one of these apps and it's a great way to get a GoPro for cheap. Just ensure you test it before committing (OfferUp).
Top 4 Reasons to Buy a GoPro
1. Customer Service and Support. Their customer support is 10/10. I've had some technical issues with my GoPros in the past, but they can also help you out if you cause physical damage to a camera. I've received several replacements and gotten some great deals for upgrading to new cameras which pretty much end up costing me nothing in the end. A free camera isn't bad, right? Their customer service is excellent both over the phone and also via the chat on their website.
2. Value. DSLR and Mirrorless cameras can cost tens of thousands of dollars. A decent intro DSLR will cost you $500. GoPro takes many of those features and even adds to it with stability, waterproofing, size, endless accessories, and many other superior features for a fraction of the cost.
3. App & Software. The GoPro app has had it's ups and downs. It's current state is very strong and the upload times are faster along with expanded features. The desktop software isn't bad. I'd use an Adobe product instead, but it gets a basic job done pretty quickly. It's competitor, the DJI Osmo Action has a terrible app, therefore it's a bad product to own.
4. Quality of Content. Ever since they added stability features in the Hero 5 and Horizon Leveling in the Hero 8, my quality of content has gone through the roof.