Three best GoPro cameras

Allen Foster

If you run out of battery power, you'll miss every shot. Invest in backup batteries and only turn on WiFi when you need it.

A life undocumented is a life unlived. While that statement might not be literally true, it does represent a prevailing sentiment: if you didn't catch it on camera, it didn't happen. All of our best moments need to be captured so we can share them. It allows us to be proud of our accomplishments. It helps us to make the most of our personal adventures. Of all the camera companies out there, none get that like GoPro.

Life happens in real time, so GoPro cameras are built to be rugged companions, faithfully recording our greatest achievements. But does a surfer need the same GoPro as a BMX rider?  Which camera will suit your needs?

GoPro cameras are versatile. Each is able to function in a variety of environments. The following article explains where they differ so you can discover the one that's best for you.

Considerations when choosing GoPro cameras

Video: The two main considerations with video are the resolution and the frames per second (fps) -- useful for smoother action, but higher than 30 fps is needed for slow motion. Don't forget, the higher this number, the faster it will eat up your memory.

Photo: The higher the megapixels (MP), the sharper the images. GoPro cameras also have a variety of shooting modes, such as still, time-lapse, burst, and night. Get the GoPro that can take the type of pictures you need.

Field of view: This determines how much of your environment you can film. You'll have options ranging from a super-wide angle to a tightly cropped shot. Research the GoPro you are considering to learn its abilities.

Ease of use: As you move up the line of GoPro cameras, certain additions make the camera easier to use in the moment, including a touch display, one-button control (with one tap, you can turn on the camera and start recording), and voice control.

GoPro camera features

Environment: Although all GoPro cameras are built tough, some have added protection against shock, dust, and water. If the GoPro you like best doesn't have the protection you need most, such as waterproofing, you can purchase enhanced housing.

Connectivity: Most, but not all, models feature built-in WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities. If this is important to you, make sure the GoPro you are considering offers this.

GPS: This function in a GoPro camera does far more than simply track your location. It provides data that you can overlay on your picture to give your videos added detail. Some of the available elements include speed, elevation gain, altitude, g-force, direction, and more.

Mounting: Unless you purchase a bundle, you'll need to get a mount for your GoPro. The right mount lets you securely attach your camera to the best vantage point for capturing all the action.

GoPro camera prices: GoPro cameras range from $100 to roughly $500. As expected, the more you pay, the more you get. At the higher end you'll find more bells and whistles, versatility, and protection.


Q. The picture on my running selfie is so shaky it's hard to watch. How do I get a smoother shot?

A. If it's important to you to get that impressively smooth action footage, invest in a gimbal, a device that stabilizes your GoPro.

Q. My underwater GoPro shots are horrible. Any tips?

A. Light is different underwater. The longer wavelengths -- red, then orange, then yellow -- are readily absorbed. To get pristine shots with the same vibrant colors you see above water, use a red filter. The difference is remarkable.

GoPro cameras we recommend

Best of the best: GoPro HERO6

Our take: High-end GoPro designed for the serious adventurer who wants to document thrills.

What we like: Bells and whistles abound. The camera is waterproof, has Quickstories enabled, and can be voice controlled. And there's improved image quality, better picture stabilization, and a larger touch display, offering twice the performance of HERO5.

What we dislike: The significant price increase over HERO5 doesn't feel like value.

Best bang for your buck: GoPro HERO+ 

Our take: Durable GoPro designed to be an entry-level camera.

What we like: Features like one-touch operation and burst mode can be handy when you're focused on execution rather than documentation. WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities are what turn this GoPro from a HERO to a HERO+.

What we dislike: Can't swap out battery for a fresh one, limiting camera time to about two hours.

Choice 3: GoPro HERO5 

Our take: Best all-around GoPro, combining features and fair price.

What we like: With voice control, two-inch touch display, one-touch operation, and video stabilization, the waterproof HERO5 has all the essentials. It also has 4K video and three different shooting modes.

What we dislike: Be careful the first time you use it in the water. Sometimes a leaky model makes it past quality control.

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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