927 of 964 people found the following review helpful
Lens better up close; blurrier farther away,
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This review is from: GoPro HERO3+: Black Edition (Electronics)
Be aware when purchasing that there are some aspects to the new "improved" lens that may not be for everyone. This week it has been fairly well documented (and confirmed by GoPro) that while the new lens produces much sharper images under 4', they are blurrier at distances greater than 4'. It does NOT focus at infinity. For reasons not fully explained, they moved the focal point of the lens in close and sacrificed distance clarity.
Update at bottom.
You will get great shots under 4' and soft focus beyond that. Depending on what you want it for, this camera may not be for you and the regular H3 might be a better bet. Since this is an effect of the lens it applies to both stills and video. On the other hand, it's still a decent small action camera, and if you take a lot of video in motion you may not notice this at all. For YouTube uploads and streaming it may not matter, I haven't tested this myself. If you want better clarity in your images the 3B is a good choice. I personally will play with it this week before deciding if I should return it. (Update: it's going back.)
It boggles the mind that they have produced a camera that claims to have a better lens and ignored the fact that it is in fact worse for 90% of what you'll be filming. Great clarity on your handlebars but not so good on the scenery.
Edit: other pluses- the color is much better with the 3+ than the 3. Low light shooting is also better, although sometimes lens flare from lights is a little worse, sometimes better. No more chromatic aberration (yellow/purple fringing). Just do some reading before buying this, they made some trade-offs in the new lens.
Well after comparing the two (3+B and 3B) this week, there are some more problems that have had me downgrade this to a 3 star. For one, the right and left sides of the images on the 3+ are smeared. I mean really distorted, and I'm not using SuperView. Additionally the contrast seems to be set too high, causing some loss of detail in the shadows and blowing out whites a bit. This at least is changeable with a firmware update if they choose to do so. The blurry edges put me over the edge and I'm returning it. It's too bad, it's almost a great camera, with some nice improvements, but the lens is a definite problem, and not necessarily an improvement... certainly not 33% sharper.
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Showing 1-10 of 80 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 10, 2013 5:50:49 AM PDT
Thanks for pointing out the depth of field issue. I have not heard that the focus lessens with distances over 4'. If that is true, you just saved me $70 and a lot of disappointment.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 10, 2013 6:22:18 AM PDT
Yes it is disappointing and I'm testing it to see if I should return it. It is better in many ways but this is a big negative, though for YT streaming it's probably not noticeable.
See these two discussions for more info:
Posted on Oct 10, 2013 7:11:17 PM PDT
My own testing confirms this focus problem. Sharpest focal range is from about 7 inches in front of the camera out to about 4.5ft.
Beyond that, the Hero3+ focus becomes noticeably softer compared to the Hero3 which is sharp out to infinity.
The most insulting thing is that GoPro marketting claims 33% sharper lens on the new H3+ but
didn't bother to mention that it only applies for the first 4.5 feet.
It is true however that many people will not notice this after their video has been compressed again by
YouTube which cuts the bitrate of a 1080p video by at least 2.5x, with attendant loss of detail.
Posted on Oct 10, 2013 11:26:40 PM PDT
I am experiencing the same issue with my camera, and I'm good and mad about it.
For the "selfie" nerds, the camera is a HIT! Super-sharp lens at an arm's length. But anything beyond 4', and the camera gets soft. I wouldn't say blurry... but it's not very good.
Everything else about the camera is greatly improved. What a waste. Why? WHY?!?!
Posted on Oct 12, 2013 7:41:43 AM PDT
C. Miles says:
Appears on the same forums mentioned by A. Johnston, that it now appears it is a compression issue rather than a focus issue. GoPro should be able to fix it in firmware.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2013 8:40:04 AM PDT
That isn't true. Or, rather, it is true that it is mentioned near the beginning of the discussion, but also discounted that is entirely a compression issue. It applies to video as well as stills, and if you read through there are plenty of comparison examples that show the image quality of the 3+ suffers beyond 4'.
Posted on Oct 13, 2013 8:50:53 AM PDT
Just to clarify, is the issue just when shooting stills or video as well?
If you could get both Hero3 and Hero3+ for the same price which one would you choose?
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2013 9:17:33 AM PDT
Both video and stills. When in motion (mounted on a bike, helmet, skydiving, etc) you probably won't notice much of a difference due to motion blur. It's much more noticeable in stills and frames captured from video, or timelapse, or video from a tripod or other stable source. When further processed/compressed (uploaded to YouTube for example) the difference is there but difficult to tell.
Choosing one, well, it depends on what the purpose is. If I were flying a quadcopter and filming the scenery, I'd choose the 3. If I were filming myself jumping from an airplane and the primary image is me against the scenery, I'd get the 3+. So the answer to your question really depends on your primary purpose.
They are both good cameras for the price but their new "33% sharper" claim isn't accurate. Under 4' it's perfectly clear, further away, noticeably less so. I posted a couple of links in another comment to discussions that have a lot of examples if you want to see side-by-side comparisons.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2013 6:19:52 AM PDT
Do you notice much heating of the camera? I picked up the H3B since it was on sale at BB for $300 but am considering getting the H3B+ instead. I'll be using it on an airplane for FPV like you but I also do a lot of time-lapse with my Hero 2 so getting decent pictures are important to me. I'm mainly concerned about it heating up and freezing up. It seems the firmware updates over the year has taken care of some of the freezing issues but I seem to still find people have it freeze up on them or randomly stop.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2013 7:03:05 AM PDT
I have not had it freeze but so far the longest I've recorded is about 15 minutes, and in cool temperatures. Mostly testing and playing around so far, haven't done anything fun with it yet.
If you're doing AP you may be better off with the 3, I'd recommend doing some reading before deciding and you'll save some cash if you stick with the 3. The 3+ lens does have some significant improvements except for the soft focus at a distance. It is much better with purple fringing for example. See the links in another comment for a couple of wide ranging discussions.