Last winter I was preparing for a trip to the Keys of Florida with some friends for some much needed relaxation. The plan was to do some scuba diving, snorkeling, and boating and me being me, I decided that I needed to have an awesome camera to take some photos of it all. Up until this point I didn’t have much experience with underwater or extreme sports cameras but my buddy Frank had a couple of GoPros so I figured I’d start there. After doing some research I decided to pick up a GoPro Hero 3 Black along with all of the accessories that go with it. I figured that this camera would be fun to take along when I was doing something that chanced breaking a normal camera. What I expected was an average camera that took decent quality photographs and would work well enough to capture some crazy activities. What I GOT was a camera that is capable of some amazing photography and equally amazing video. With the ability to shoot 12mp stills and 4k video, these little things pack a punch! When I realized that I could control the GoPro with an App on my iPhone and iPad, I was hooked. I have since bought 2 more and use these things for everything from Wedding photos, to crazy extreme activities! Since we’re just talking about the App here, suffice to say that this is a camera that you SHOULD have. They are awesome and if you love taking cool photos you need this camera!
What It Can Do
Really we should list what it can’t do because that would be the shorter list. Let’s back track for a second and talk about why you would want this App. First, the interface is a little cumbersome on the GoPro itself. It’s easy to switch between modes but when you dig into the menu systems it’s a bit tedious to change things especially if you go past what it is that you’re trying to adjust because the menu system makes you circle all of the way back around to get back to it. With that being said, the App is AMAZING at picking up where the camera interface falls short. You can adjust any setting withing the GoPro from your iOS device. Want to change from video to stills? Done. Want to adjust the resolution of the video from 720 to 1080, easy. Want to set the camera to do a time lapse with photos every .5 seconds and then start the time lapse? Done and done. The GoPro doesn’t come with an LCD to frame your shots (that’s optional) but you can use the FREE iOS App to frame, preview, and watch right through your GoPro! How cool is that?!
But that’s not all it can do! GoPro just announced a MAJOR update to the App itself. They’ve made it faster, and added functionality to it. Now you can copy images and video strait from your GoPro to your iOS device in either low resolution or high resolution quality and share it RIGHT FROM THE APP! Now you don’t have to wait until you get home to pull your cards from the GoPro to see if you have the shot that you wanted. You don’t have to wait until you get home to upload the images to Facebook or Instagram. Do it right from your iPhone.
That’s still not everything that this App can do. Want to watch the GoPro video of the day? It’s in the App. Want to check out the GoPro photo of the day? Guess what? Yep, it’s in the App!
Viewing Your Photos
Once you’ve taken a bunch of photos and video with your GoPro, you can view them right on your iPhone or iPad. To do this you attach to the camera with your iOS device by turning on the WiFi on the GoPro and selecting your network name. Once connected, you will see the preview show up on the screen along with some options below. The box that looks like a small grid of squares is to see your captured video or stills. Selecting this will bring up a grid display like you see above. From here you can select the image to make it larger. Photos load quickly here. There is little to no lag and even the video is surprisingly fast to load. I was very impressed with the way that this App performs in this area.
Frame Your Shots
Like I mentioned before, the GoPro doesn’t have a LCD on the back of it so sometimes it can be hard to frame the shots. With the App you can not only frame the shot, but you can start and stop the video, snap the still, or begin and end the time lapse. I have some temporary house guests in the form of kittens right now. These kittens are cute, adorable, and easy to startle. I have tried to do a few photos of them but they don’t like the camera too close to them and while I could just put a long lens on my D4, I thought putting a GoPro up next to them and snapping photos remotely would be more fun! I attached an Icelight to a Manfrotto magic arm and suspended it out over them on my bed. Then I put a GoPro on a small GorillaPod near them. I just let them do their thing (which was mostly sleep) and I snapped some stills, and took a little video. All of this without touching the GoPro or disturbing their slumber!
Another example of framing the shot up. I was walking around a local car show a couple of days ago and decided to use the GoPro as to not stand out too much. I can hold the GoPro in my hand with relatively no “camera” visible and snap away on my iPhone. But it’s not just for snap shots…
Not Just for Snap Shots and Extreme Sports
I wanted to test what a GoPro could really do so about 6 months ago I started using them at weddings. This is a shot from a recent wedding where I took the bride and groom out at sunset to to enjoy some golden light. I used a Sunbounce Pro 4’X6′ reflector to light my couple and again, used my GoPro App to frame this up for a great sunset shot. Besides shots like this, I use the GoPros for remote cameras mounted above where the bride and groom stand, behind the unity candle, and more! These things do such a great job that I use them wherever and whenever I can!
The Bottom Line
The performance of the GoPro camera is second to none, but more important for this review, the GoPro App is also second to none. I can’t think of anything that I would add to the App that isn’t already there. The only little thing that I could nitpick would be the 3-4 second lag of the preview. When you move the GoPro or the subject there is a delay before you see it on the App preview. I can’t recommend this App or these cameras enough. If you don’t have a GoPro, you should get one! If you’re going to get one, this is where I got mine.
Get the GoPro App for your iOS device from the App store for free here:
Get the GoPro Hero 3 from Amazon HERE.