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Action Video Cams: GoPro Hero3 Black Edition

As the creator and market share leader of the action video camera category, GoPro certainly garnered its share of attention when it introduced the current flagship – the Hero3 Black Edition.

The GoPro Hero3 was both the smallest and fastest model to date and brought wireless connectivity that assisted in both shooting and storing captured videos and stills. It was also among the first consumer camcorders capable of recording Ultra HD (a.k.a. 4K) resolution.

All contributed to the GoPro Hero3 Black earning the first TWICE VIP Award for the Action Video Camera category.

The GoPro Hero3 Black ($400 suggested retail) is 30 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than the Hero2 and offers users twice the power.

The Black Edition model features a 12-megapixel sensor (up from 11 megapixels), a faster processor and the ability to record 1080p FullHD video at 60 fps.

The Black Edition records Ultra HD video at 15 fps, playable on the new generation of 4K Ultra HD TVs coming to market now. The camera also adds a timelapse recording feature capable of recording 12-megapixel 4:3 images.

The Black Edition also includes a bundled Wi-Fi remote control that is wearable, waterproof (to 10 feet), and can change modes and start/stop recording. It is said to be able to control up to 50 cameras at once.

GoPro also offers several accessory items for the Hero3, including an LCD touchscreen BacPac ($80 suggested retail), an extended battery BacPac ($50) and a slimmer mounting frame ($40). The LCD Touch BacPac allows framing shots, reviewing footage and improves menu selections.

The camera includes a new f/2.8, six-element aspherical lens with improved image sharpness and reduced barrel distortion.

A Wi-Fi button on the camera activates and deactivates the wireless connectivity with the GoPro app for smartphones or the included Wi-Fi remote.

Connections include a MicroHDMI output, Mini- USB port and a MicroSD card slot (accepts up to 64GB cards). The MiniUSB port is used for charging and syncing but can be used with a optional adapter cables to create a 3.5mm microphone input or an analog video output.

The camera includes a pinhole for the built-in mic, which is aided by new wind-reduction algorithms.

Like earlier GoPro models, the Hero3 Black features a clear plastic, waterproof (to 197 feet) shell that has been updated to match the smaller Hero3 chassis.