By Alexandra Burlacu | Oct 18, 2012 10:34 AM EDT
GoPro has unveiled the smallest, most powerful camera that it has ever made: the GoPro Hero 3 action camera, capable of capturing 4k video.
GoPro started out 10 years ago as a company that made camera straps for surfers. In late 2009, the company had roughly a dozen employees, most of which were either related or went to high school with Nick Woodman, GoPro's founder. The company has sold three million cameras since then.
"We started out helping surfers share their love of the ocean," said Woodman. "Now we're the fastest growing camera company globally. What we've found is that the world is really full of all these passionate people who want to capture and share their experiences."
The flagship model of the new Hero generation, the Hero 3 Black Edition, is 30 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than the Hero 2. Its image processor is twice as fast, and the camera can shoot 4k video at 15 frames per second (fps), and 2.7k video at 30 fps. When it comes to photo capture, the camera is three times as fast as the previous generation, and can do up to 12 megapixels for still photos with burst shots of 30 fps. The Hero 3 comes with a $399.99 price tag.
GoPro also included Wi-Fi with every model, including the Hero 3 White Edition, which woodman said it is basically a tweaked version of Hero 1. The mid-range model is called the Silver Edition, and is basically a Hero 2 with Wi-Fi. Moreover, the new generation comes with improved sound recording as well.
"It could handle motor sports with reduced noise, but we'll admit that the Hero 2 came up a little short when it came to capturing your latest guitar jam or people's voices," said Woodman.
GoPro has also upgraded its software on smartphones and tablets, with apps that can control cameras, allowing users to preview and share content on the Web. According to Woodman, smartphones have actually helped the company rather than hurting it like it did Kodak, for instance.
"[The smartphone] is our friend," he argued. "People are no longer buying traditional cameras because they're looking for differentiated ways of capturing their life experiences proactively instead than reactively with their phones. These guys have actually helped us clear the landscape from a competitive point of view, freeing people's minds and dollars to capture their active lifestyles."
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