How the new GoPro Hero3 will change the entire camera industry

By Ash Davies
October 17, 2012 from Blog,Camera Talk

There are certain things you can only do when you’ve got a customer base over 3 million people strong. When there’s surefire demand for a product and when you’ve got one of the coolest brand images in the world, you can create something pretty special.

That’s why the new GoPro can shoot 4k video and shoot 1080p at 60fps, and Canon’s flagship 5D Mark III can not. That’s why the new GoPro can shoot thirty 12 megapixel photos every second, and the Sony A77 can ‘only’ shoot twelve.

Let me quickly clarify one thing. The new Hero3 is not a competitor to any high end SLR. Nothing beats a full frame sensor and a proper piece of glass. But that doesn’t mean the GoPro can’t give the rest of the camera industry a giant kick in the rear end. The specifications and features of this little camera are now beyond crazy. It doesn’t matter what level of camera you make, this is the new benchmark.

Try explaining to a friend why a $399 portable camera is, on paper, more powerful than a $3,000 SLR. Lenses and sensors aside, the capabilities of this small camera are now so impressive that it makes the top end of the camera market look slightly underwhelming.

I think we’re on the brink of a few radical changes in the camera industry:

1. 4k will soon become a standard amongst top end cameras.

This will happen in a year or two. 4k videos may sound like overkill now, but we’re on the outskirts of a retina-ized world. Anyone who’s watched a 1080p HD video on Apple’s new Retina MacBook Pro will know that HD looks grainy and pixelated. High pixel density displays are the new standard. We’re beginning to see major developments in TV resolutions too. HD is getting old, 4k is the only place to go.

2. 60fps at 1080p will be a benchmark.

I’m amazed this isn’t already the case. Canon has been offering 60fps at 720p for a few years now, but they haven’t made the step up to 1080p in their latest cameras. There are two reasons why we need this. Stabilisation engines and slow motion rendering tools like Twixtor are now extremely powerful and widely available. 60fps will let us smooth out shaky footage more effectively, and create gorgeous slow motion shots.

3. WiFi and apps will rule.

The new GoPro has WiFi as standard, an optional WiFi remote, and a free app to both view and control your camera. This is a great feature. WiFi in cameras is the future, but only Canon seems to have gotten the hint with their 6d. With WiFi, we will be able to control our cameras and share our photos in new ways. It’s old technology, and it’s the long-overdue future.

The GoPro’s price is the killer feature. Its $399 and its spec sheet outperforms cameras ten times that price. This new GoPro is a showcase of today’s technology – an incredible amalgam of processing power and foresight. If a $400 camera can shoot cinema quality video and connect to our phones, there’s no longer a feasible reason for top end camera makers to ignore these features.

What are your thoughts on the new GoPro and the future of the camera industry? Tweet us at @PhotoGuides or sound out in the comments below!