GoPro Hero 3 Cameras for Planes and Copters, Mounts, Setups, Experiences and the Good and the Bad.

The GoPro Hero 3 is the newest series of the popular GoPro hero Camera which has already gained wide popularity for use in RC planes, helicopters and multicopters.

It is an amazing little camera with incredible video and photo capabilities and the WiFi up and down link and remote provide an excellent complement for our our RC / APM planes and copters.

It is the intention of this Blog to provide an ongoing forum for users of this camera to report their experiences and methods and for potential users to investigate the usefulness of this camera for their purposes.

Your responses can and should include what you like and don't like about this camera, specific information regarding mounting and stabilizing it and if possible pictures of your planes, copters, installations and mounts and even examples of pictures and videos acquired with this camera where practical.

Although I am going to start by reporting my early experiences with the GoPro Hero 3 Black I received on December 10th 2012.

I will add significant information from your posts to this main post as  can manage.

The GoPro Hero 3 is somewhat smaller than previous GoPro's and now incorporates the WiFi capability built in.

It is available in 3 versions, White, Silver and Black.

The Hero 3 Black is the top of the line version with better lens, faster video, lower light capability and most importantly a really wide range of video options up to and including 4K at 15fps pro quality cinema and 2.7K at 30fps which is fast enough to be useful.

In 1080P HD (up to 60 fps) mode it features wide, medium and narrow fields equating to a 3 tier zoom capability with no loss in resolution And 720P HD can be used at up to 120 fps.

The Hero 3 Black is fully capable of being useful in a professional film making role.

All the Hero 3 cameras are supplied with a ruggedized, waterproof case and the combination of case and camera are designed to be used continuously in conditions that would immediately destroy the vast majority of other cameras including many other "Sports" cameras.

The Hero 3 Black also comes standard with a separate WiFi remote that can also program the cameras various modes.

All Hero 3 cameras can also be connected to an Apple or Android tablet or phone and in addition to controlling the camera, they can provide a (limited) live preview.

At the moment the standard definition "Live Preview" option suffers two significant problems.

There is an approximately three second lag between what the camera is "seeing" and what the phone / tablet is displaying, so definitely not for FPV use.

Worse, as of the current release of their Android App they turn off the "Live Preview" screen while actually recording video (at least on my Black).

This was not the case for the Hero 2 with WiFi and is a devastating loss for the Hero 3.

I do very seriously hope a future App release will fix this.

While it is actually on the "Live Preview" does provide sufficient resolution and clarity to be useful even with the delay.

Even though the camera uses a typical 2 button menu set up on a tiny LCD display for a huge variety of options I found it fairly straight forward to set up as desired and the supplied remote mimicked the cameras setup methods exactly.

Because the GoPro is very small, many after market plane and copter mounts are available that will even accept it's ruggedized case and in the simplest use you can even mount one of it's supplied base plates to your plane or copter, right side up or upside down.

Pan and tilt mounts are available as are ones that incorporate yaw as well.

An inexpensive "FlameGear" mount is available for multicopters but at this time the $20.00 more expensive XP version is recommended over the one actually made for the GoPro as it has a wider landing gear and more rugged camera mounting system. A friend got the GoPro one for his DJI Flamewheel F550 Hex and thought it inadequate.

I will probably get the XP version for my DJI Flamewheel F450 Quad and will report back on it when I have had experience with it.

The APM, ArduPilot and Arducopter do provide for automatic stabilization and even automatic camera pointing with servo controlled mounts.

All this having been said, my GoPro Hero 3 Black arrived with a very serious malfunction and I am undoubtedly going to have to send it back.

Every third or fourth time I shut my camera off, the LED on the back of the camera comes on at about half brightness and the battery heats up quickly.

It will not turn back on when this happens and the only way you can get it to work again is by removing the battery and reinserting it.

Clearly something very bad is happening and the mostly shorted out Lithium battery is a very serious fire hazard aside from being really bad for the battery.

As this is from the very first real production batch of these "Blacks" I am sure this is a teething problem, but be forewarned.

You might want to wait a bit, they don't call it the "bleeding edge" for nothing.

Assuming they get it fixed and eventually get live preview to work during video recording, this little camera is a great place to start in setting yourself up for photography or videography.

Views: 13705

Tags: Camera, GoPro, Hero, Mount

Comment by Randy Brazeau on December 16, 2012 at 9:36pm
Great, I'm interested to hear the experiences from other people. I'm thinking about purchasing the GoPro for FPV. Not using the GoPro wireless but connecting to a 5.8 transmitter.
Comment by Gary McCray on December 16, 2012 at 10:01pm

Hi Randy, this is just a thought, but while the GoPro does output video from the current mode continuously on it's HDMI lead it does so at the current video set resolution and the Black doesn't even support standard broadcast definition video.

Basically standard definition video cameras are available for peanuts ($20.00 - $100.00) which are sold for FPV from dozens of sources, I think you might be much better off with one of these for FPV and use the GoPro for recording HD video or shooting high res photos if you want. 

To the best of my understanding except for the military nobody is direct broadcasting HD video for FPV.

When I first started looking into this I thought like you that a GoPro would be the way to go for FPV, but more appropriate direct broadcast cameras designed for it are so cheap I changed my mind. Both American and Chinese sources have good FPV cameras and even whole setups with transmitters and receivers at very reasonable prices.

Comment by Josh Potter on December 16, 2012 at 10:11pm

The gopro steaming options have always been of poorer quality than the standard definition cameras you can buy today for $40. 

Comment by Quadrocopter on December 17, 2012 at 12:48am

The GoPro 3 is short of amazing, 2.7k at 24 frames! 720p at 120fps. 

You can take the raw footage from the sensor to the card, unprocessed.

If,  like a lot of people you don't like the fisheye look you can remove it with software. 

The thing i like about using one of these for FPV, is that i am looking through the camera that is shooting.

Not a FPV camera next to it, what i see is what i get. 

Get the GoPro black edition and i can tell you i told you so :-))

Pretty boring footage, but this is the hero3 obviously resized for web.

https://vimeo.com/54111900

Comment by Sylvain on December 17, 2012 at 4:02am

Hi, I experienced the GOPRO 2 for FPV, connected to a 5.8Ghz videotransmitter.But the Gopro live feed induce a 1/4secondes delay.

Do you test the Compoisite video feed on the GOPRO3 to check if the Delay was still here?

Comment by Vincent Mees on December 17, 2012 at 4:29am

Sylvain, very stable footage. Care to shed some info on your multirotor setup?

 

Comment by Randy Brazeau on December 17, 2012 at 7:00am

Thanks Gary & Josh for the info.

So just to recapp, I can use a GoPro for FPV but I won't obtain the picture quality to take video and pics. Perhaps there is a lag with the GoPro which is definitely not a good.

Second camera for FPV is the best solution. I assume any of the cameras sold by 3D would be a good choice, such as this one.

Still learning about FPV. 

 

Randy

Comment by Josh Potter on December 17, 2012 at 8:18am

Randy,


I don't know about the 3 yet, but with the gopro/HD/2, you can get a low quality output feed some some delay, and record at the same time.


Probably the best camera for the money right now is this.  

As for the Hero3, I get mine today, and I'm pretty excited about 120 FPS 720p.  

Comment by Vince Hogg on December 17, 2012 at 1:30pm

I have one on order but am concerned that the wifi might interfere with the 2.4G RX. Can you defiantly turn off the wifi? Is there any chance it may start up again to find a connection?

I think the hero2 had wifi. Anybody had problems with this?

 

 

Comment by Randy Brazeau on December 17, 2012 at 1:56pm

There was an earlier thread where a gentlemen experieced a problem with his 2.4 radio and GoPro WiFi but was able to save it before a serious crash. He said he turned the WiFi off on the GoPro and was flying again.

So I would say it has to be turned off for 2.4 TXs.

Randy

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