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.

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  • Well, here it is Christmas Day and I and a whole lot of other people are angrily contemplating their expensive new GoPro paperweights. The camera requires a firmware update before use, and the support side of GoPro's web site has been down since at least last night. Not just down, with maybe a notice, but spitting out all sorts of different error messages, often after a long time of waiting. It makes you think it's perhaps your fault, that your Java needs updating etc., when that's not the case. Obviously nobody from GoPro is home (in more ways than one). Complaints are pouring into GoPro's Facebook page at a rate faster than they can be read. As Gary said above, these people are not ready for prime time. It looks like a classic case of brilliant engineers having been shoved aside by clueless marketing people who have apparently budgeted $12 for tech support and another $4 for Web software. In any event, as I said earlier it won't take much more than this for me to send this Black back for a refund. Meanwhile, Caveat Emptor!

  • I have flown my 2.4 gig controlled APM 2.0 equipped F550 hex w. a GoPro wireless H2 back switched on a few times with no problem. However, those flights were pretty close in (100 ft or less) and I'm using a high-end Tx (JR 12X) and Spektrum Rx with one satellite receiver (a combination that has always been rock solid on everything I fly). There shouldn't be a problem flying further out ... but now what I'm hearing is making me nervous, and if there's one thing I don't need when flying any rotorcraft it's being more nervous than usual (took me two years to not get sweaty palms every single time I flew any heli bigger than a 450, LOL). So Wi-fi on my Christmas Black GoPro is going to stay switched off in the air, at least until I get failsafe RTL solidly set up, which I haven't started experimenting with yet.(That's assuming the GoPro itself survives the 30-day return period, which it won't if either it or the Android app doesn't work exactly as advertised.)

  • An additional thought, WiFi is primarily implemented on this kind of gear at 2.4 ghz but, like our transmitters and receivers it is adaptive and frequency hopping to avoid conflicts with other devices.

    Although this works well for multiple RC radio's and for multiple WiFi networks, there is at least some evidence suggesting they may not be adequately defended from each other.

    They should be able to work together, but the reality is that commonly developers for each type of device pretty much designed them to work only in relation to the same type of device.

    Basically 2.4 ghz WiFi - RC radio interference is unfortunately a significant possibility.

  • I am afraid after 20 + hours of troubleshooting - testing and technician driven online repetition of installing the same firmware 3 times and still having no success in solving the crashing and high battery drain problem on turn off combined with woefully inadequate Live Preview performance I have reached the end of the line.

    GoPro Hero 3 Black went back to GoPro for refund this morning.

    This camera was not yet ready for release.

    Several people have reported the same crash and high battery drain problem on turn off that I have and the fact is that Live Preview is not useful on either the Nexus 7 due to pixelation, tearing and lockup nor on the IPad 4 due to an in excess of 6 second delay.

    I hope they get these problems ironed out, but I will not be purchasing from them again until I am absolutely sure they have.

  • Ref Live Preview,

    I haven't had any problem leaving this on using a Nexus 7 and Hero3 Silver, however if you turn Protune on then it turns off preview, my guess is that it taxes the internal processor to much for it to encode the preview as well

  • Well, mine is coming directly from the GoPro store who have a 30-day money back no questions guarantee (less shipping, which is kinda cheapskate - in my own mail order business we refund shipping if someone isn't happy with something...). So when I get mine at Christmas it's going to get a workout, and If there are any of the sort of problems my friend Gary is having it will be outahere in a heartbeat. I don't have the time to be someone's beta-slave. But let's hope that Gary's is a fluke. 

  • Short update on my problems with the GoPro Hero 3 Black.

    Ten hours plus and and hour and a half on the phone with GoPro have had me reload Camera update installation twice, but the Camera still fails as mentioned above and although they say they are convinced it is a firmware problem, it does not seem reasonable that I the end user should be the one solving it. In any case it is not solved. And all they have had me do is re-install the same camera update that I put in when I got the camera in the first place (twice).

    Also per the Live Preview not working during recording. It turns out Live Preview has 3 settable modes: Software, Auto and Hardware.

    In Software and Auto modes the Live Preview Picture looks OK and has an over 2 second delay but when you start to record the Live Preview screen turns off and the message "Live Preview Not Supported" is displayed. Live preview turns back on when you stop recording.

    In hardware mode Live Preview does stay on during recording, but Live Preview itself is totally messed up displaying in addition to the lag massive pixelation, jerky pixel and picture repetition artifacts and periodic 5 to 10 second picture lockup.

    According to the GoPro Techs the level of Live Preview problem varies according to which device you are using it on, the above inadequacies are true for my Nexus 7 with either large (~ 3" x 4") or small (~1" x 2") Live Preview picture. They do say they are working to improve this.

    At this time, unless you seriously enjoy pain I would strongly suggest you hold off buying one of these.

  • Well, my Black 3 is on the way but I don't get to play with it until Christmas. Hopefully it won't go up in green smoke like Gary's. This will be my 4th GoPro, one of each generation since the first. Overall I've been happy with these cameras, which have been used mainly on my trad helis and lately multicopters purely for (listen up, FAA) non commercial hobby photography. My main complaints have to do with the controls and settings functions which are far, far from intuitive, really almost as bad as beep-programming an ESC. The Wi-fi function (I have a WIFI back for my Hero 2) helps a lot in that regard, although the app (running on a Google Nexus 7 tablet) isn't the slickest thing.

    I haven't felt any interference with the 2.4 flight radio from the H2 Wi-fi, though the news of that apparently happening is scary. (I'm running a Spektrum Rx with satellite and a high-end Tx, a JR 12X, which maybe takes care of that, though I'm also not flying very far away ... I think I'm going to fly with the H3 Wi-fi switched off until we hear more reports one way and another...)

    Battery life on the H2 is not great, and recharging at least through my USB ports is paint-drying slow so I'm getting the back-back battery with the H3. I'd like to see a through-the-waterproof-housing socket for an outside power source.

    I'd also like to see a whole lot more data and specs and instruction on the GoPro web site, which has the feel of a dumbed-down glossy paper brochure with input from sales, not tech, staff. It would seem that when a company has essentially a single product that it wouldn't be too hard to really lay out the details.

    After Christmas I'll provide my impressions of the H2 vs the H3 as they relate to the casual hobbyist.

    Fly Safe!

  • I'm using GoPro White edition for FPV. The main drawback is that the standard housing doesn't have a door with holes (like hero2 models) where the video cable could be plugged into, then you must purchase the new The Frame mount (less protective) and expend additional $39.

    In order to connect the camera to the transmitter you must hack the composite cable see (the frame rate is 15FPS)

  • I think this is it here.

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