The Evolution of the GoPro
The GoPro has undergone some serious evolutions since its inception in 2004. And it has, in recent times, picked up a few nifty upgrades to continue impressing enthusiasts and adventurers the world over. So let’s take a trip down memory lane and recall the past versions of the GoPro:
GoPro Hero 35 MM
The first GoPro was actually a 35mm film camera dubbed the GoPro Hero. It was an underwater camera that came with a wristband attachment and a sturdy polycarbonate housing. Depth-tested to reach 15 feet or 4.57 meters, it also had a free ISO 400 roll of film good for 24 exposures.
GoPro Digital Hero
Convinced by his friends to go digital, GoPro founder Nick Woodman went to work on his next product, the GoPro Digital Hero. The camera, released in 2006, can shoot 10-second VGA videos in 10-second bursts. Unfortunately, it had no audio recording capabilities, which resulted in mixed reviews from users.
GoPro Digital Hero 3
Listening to the demands of the GoPro fanbase, Woodman released the next generation of waterproof Hero cameras in 2007. The GoPro Digital Hero 3 upped the ante in terms of video and audio quality. It now featured a 3-megapixel camera with a video output of 640x480.
GoPro Digital Hero 5
2008 marked the beginnings of the next phase of the GoPro’s evolution. The company released the Digital Hero 5, the first GoPro model with a wide-angle lens. It was also the first GoPro that allowed users to mount the camera on various surfaces for different activities. This gave rise to a plethora of online videos featuring panoramic shots of people skiing, diving, or cycling. Other exciting features for the Digital Hero 5 included a 3-frame burst mode, the ability to capture 54 minutes of video with sound, and a 5-megapixel sensor with glass lens.
GoPro Hero HD
And then came the GoPro Hero HD. It pushed the envelope for action cameras, as it was able to produce 1080P video using a 127° wide-angle lens. It’s then no surprise that the 2010 was one of the biggest years for the company, as they closed the year with a revenue of $64 million.
GoPro Hero 2
Fresh from their success in 2010, Woodman and the rest of his team released the GoPro Hero 2 in 2011. This camera is an improved version of the GoPro Hero HD, boasting of a camera capable of capturing 11-megapixel stills and 1080P videos at 30 frames-per-second. The biggest difference, however, is addition of a new feature: the ability to capture video in low-light conditions.
GoPro Hero 3
The company once again wanted to test the boundaries. Hence, in 2012, they released the lighter GoPro Hero 3. This action camera offers users various camera modes, with a video output of 1080P at 30fps, 960P at 48 fps, 720P at 60 fps, and WVGA at 240 fps. The Hero 3 also comes with a waterproof housing rated for 197 feet, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and more.
GoPro Hero 3+
In 2013, GoPro made a few changes to the Hero 3 and re-released it in the form of the GoPro Hero 3+. This action camera retained all the improvements of the Hero 3, and came with an improved waterproof enclosure that’s 15% smaller and 20% lighter than the previous generation. It also featured better battery life and a wind noise reduction system, which helped in recording crystal-clear audio. Consumers also got to choose between the Black version or the Silver version, each with better specs than their predecessors.
GoPro Hero 4
In September 2014, GoPro introduced the Hero 4, which came in Black and Silver editions. Both versions retained the previous model’s 12-megapixel camera, but gained some nifty upgrades. These included a f/2.8 fixed maximum aperture function, Bluetooth connectivity, a mono microphone, and an even better low-light setting. The Hero 4 Black edition also boasted of 4k video output, with frame rates ranging from 24, 25 and 30 fps. Meanwhile, the Silver edition had a touchscreen for better user control.
To match the times, GoPro’s 2015 release—an upgrade of the original Hero HD—also added touchscreen functionality. The GoPro Hero+ LCD lets users record videos or take photos at a higher resolution, with a video output of 1080P at 60 fps. Meanwhile, photos are taken with its 8-megapixel camera and can be previewed using the touchscreen. The LCD touchscreen also lets you edit photos instantly, which comes in handy when outdoors.
While there were reports of dropping sales for the GoPro cameras, the company is not slowing down. Innovations are on the way, such as the GoPro Karma Drone, which is slated for release this 2016.
As you can see, there's a lot of development from the first GoPro that used traditional film to the ones that we have today. And with new models still slated to be released in the coming months, there's still a lot to look forward to.
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