GoPro Hero3 + Action Camera Group Test
GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition
HD Video – 50p/25p
Field of View – 170°
Weight – 136g
Dimensions – 77 x 72 x 45mm
The Hero3+ Silver Edition plays second fiddle to the more expensive Hero3+ Black Edition (£359) in GoPro’s range. Weighing 136g with its supplied housing attached, it’s waterproof to a depth of 40m, features a simple design with just three buttons to control its functions and a small LCD panel at the front to guide you through its settings.
The battery is inserted at the rear so there’s no display to aid composition. That said, it’s very quick at connecting via Wi-fi so it’s no hassle using a smartphone as the viewfinder, which refreshes very quickly provided you’re within a 20m range.
For anyone who’d like a screen, GoPro’s LCD Touch BacPac (£80) could be an invaluable accessory. A majority of the cameras settings can be set via the app including the field of view for which there are three settings – Ultra Wide (170 degrees), Medium (127 degrees) and Narrow (90 degrees). It’s also easy to playback and review videos and stills straight from the app.
Full HD video is recorded at a frame rate of 50/25fps in the PAL format or 60/30fps in NTSC, whereas the 10MP sensor has a maximum output of 3680×2760 pixels.
The time lapse function is great for capturing still images over a prolonged period and even after switching the camera off, Wi-fi can be left active, making it possible to preserve battery power and switch it back on again at anytime from your phone.
A battery life of 1hour 50mins recording at 1080p/30fps isn’t as impressive as the Garmin VIRB elite, but GoPro does offer the option to attach a Battery BacPac (£50), but the cheaper option is to buy a spare battery for £20.
Web – www.gopro.com
Pros – Excellent image quality; Robust build; App support
Cons – 1/4in tripod mount has to be purchased separately
HD Video – 30p/25p
Field of View- 170°
Weight – 90g
Dimension – 24.5 x 47 x 82mm
Weighing just 90g, the Sony AS30V features a sleek, aerodynamic design with a square LCD panel at the side and a basic arrangement of just three buttons to setup the camera. With a 1/2.3 type back-illuminated EXMOR sensor and Zeiss ultra-wide Tessar lens, the camera has a 170-degree field of view, with the option to switch to a 120-degree view if preferred.
To suppress shake and vibrations, Sony implements SteadyShot technology, which works well, and much like the other six action cams in this test it accepts micro SD media and supports USB charging to allow you to re-charge the battery conveniently via a 12v USB socket.
Supplied with the camera is a SPK-AS2 waterproof case. Slipping this on enables you to shoot below water to a depth of 5m, while also making it fully shockproof and attachable to any mount with a 1/4” thread.
In use, the AS30V connects to Sony’s Play Memories mobile app instantly and offers an excellent Live View with an extremely fast refresh rate. The app regrettably lacks adjustment of all the cameras advanced settings, however the menu interface on the camera itself is quick to navigate after spending time getting familiar with it.
The large record button at the rear lets you commence recordings and capture stills on the spur of the moment and with Wi-Fi switched on we found the battery life lasted for 2hrs 6mins when continuously recording 1080p footage.
An additional NP-BX1 battery can be purchased for £40.
Pros – Simple to use; Range of different mounts available
Cons – Still image don’t resolve as much detail; App control
HD Video – 50fps/25fps
Field of View – 175°
Weight – 80g
Dimensions – 25 x 46 x 58mm
The Rollei S-50 looks like an imitation of the GoPro on first glance, but the key difference is its 2in LCD display at the rear, which helps to frame up stills and videos without having to rely on the manufacturers actioncam app.
It comes with a housing to make it waterproof to 60m and it’s shockproof from 3m, but unfortunately operation is limited to just three buttons and the settings can’t be accessed with the case in situ unless you use the app.
An additional rear panel is also supplied with splash proof vents for improved audio recording, while its 14MP CMOS sensor produces still images with a 4384×3288 pixel count and records full HD video at 50/25fps in the PAL format or up to 60fps in NTSC.
The lens provides up to a 175-degree field of view and despite the body supporting a 1/4in thread for mounting purposes, we experienced difficulty closing the front panel after the battery was inserted. This underlined a build quality that isn’t as refined as its rivals.
Operationally, the camera isn’t the fastest or most straightforward to setup and we experienced delays connecting our phone to the camera via Wi-fi at times where others would connect instantly.
The S-50’s key feature is its LCD display, but this too leaves you feeling underwhelmed. Though it’s bright, the sharpness and detail leaves a lot to be desired by today’s LCD standards. Set to record with Wi-fi active, the battery lasted for 1hour 26mins.
Pros – Waterproof depth; Live video streaming; Two batteries
Cons – Sharpness of LCD panel; Build quality