With the new GoPro camera expected to come out in the next few weeks or months, I want to take a moment to explain why I won’t be upgrading from my GoPro Hero3 White Edition.
The GoPro Hero5
Speculation about the GoPro Hero5 sounds like it will be a fantastic piece of equipment. Rumors and a leaked user’s manual indicate that it should support 4K video at 30 frames per second, slight waterproofing even without the dive casing, and even voice activation. All in all, that sounds fantastic.
So why would I not upgrade from my Hero3 White? In short, because I don’t need it. Now, you could certainly argue that I don’t “need” my current GoPro, and you would be absolutely correct. I don’t “need” it by the strictest sense of the word. What I mean is that the upgrade in specs and capability is not worth the money to justify an upgrade to me personally.
Are some people going to be able to justify upgrading? Absolutely. If you have enough disposable income that the probably $400 or so purchase is trivial to you, go nuts. If your livelihood consists of recording with an action cam (Snowboarding, diving, skateboarding, whatever), then upgrading makes perfect sense for you. If $400 is a bit much to swallow and you don’t have any opportunity for return on investment, maybe you should hold off.
To Upgrade, or Not to Upgrade
Should you personally upgrade? In order to answer that, I like to go with an old piece of advice I’ve heard about hand tools. Buy cheap tools at first; when those break, buy more expensive tools. This ensures that you aren’t wasting money on tools that are well above the quality you will need, while still offering an option to upgrade when appropriate.
Obviously, I’m not expecting most people to physically break a GoPro camera. For the most part, those things are proverbial tanks, and they’re extremely difficult to break when taken proper care of. However, there’s no sense in buying a more expensive edition when a lower tier or older model may suffice for your needs. When you are ready to upgrade, then you have a great camera for main shots and a decent camera for alternate views. It’s always nice to have a backup.
Wait until the GoPro Hero5 comes out, and the price of the Hero4 comes down. Whether GoPro reduces the price of new models, or enough people sell their Hero4 to bolster the used market, it will be much cheaper to buy an older model in a few months. While some people will be super excited that there is a new model on the shelves, I’m just happy that there will be a greater selection of GoPro models in a budget price range.
Haters Gonna Hate
The GoPro Hero4 Session is the model that everyone loves to hate. “It’s nowhere near as good as the Hero4 Black.” “The Session costs too much for what it is.” Nearly everyone I talk to has criticism about the Hero4 Session. However, it really isn’t a bad price for what it is. The video/picture quality isn’t as good as the Hero4 Black, no. It’s also much cheaper than the Hero4 Black, however. Plus, it’s waterproof right out of the box. Try taking the Hero4 out on a boat without the waterproof housing and let me know how that goes.
When the GoPro Hero5 launches, there will be droves of people who upgrade immediately. There will be quite a few users who say you would be an idiot to use anything except the highest tier of the newest camera. Don’t listen to them. Recognize that the Hero5 will be better than the Hero4 and those before it, but probably not enough that everyone should bother upgrading.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely eager to see what people will create with the new GoPro. The trailer for GoPro: The Fourth Phase looks absolutely gorgeous. I know that people are going to filming content that looks amazing, even the average Joe who picks it up without grandiose plans to make a full length movie.
I like where GoPro appears to be going with the Hero5, and I hope that it saves the company from its gradual decline. However, just because they release a shiny new toy doesn’t mean that everybody has to have it. Give it some thought, do your research, and make sure the Hero5 is right for you before you go for the purchase.
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