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Time to switch from compact to GoPro?

Discussion in 'GoPro & Action Cams' started by Madacub, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Madacub

    Madacub Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Hi all, I'm looking for some opinions please. I've been using compacts for the last 4 years, but I need a full new system now. I've always been intrigued by the GoPro and now may be the time, with the Black.

    I shoot stills as well as video. But I tend to prefer the video (by far) and when I'm done, I spend more time with the videos, both for me and to show friends and to make DVDs.

    Right now I have bought a Canon S100, but no housing or other peripherals.

    Reading about the GoPro, one gets to know about its capabilities. What is driving me is benefits in size, weight and cost. All my diving involves travel.

    But I want to know what I'd be giving up by ditching the (new) S100 (apart from image quality probably). For example:

    1. Zoom (for framing scenes)
    2. Manual white balance off a white card
    3. Macro capability. I never see close ups of GoPro demos. Are there any? How close does it focus? Meaning how close to the subject can you get?
    4. Ability to charge spare battery outside the camera
    5. Limited screen display (not clear if the bacpac works with the dive housing)
    6. Does the LCD bacpac allow you to see and compose the shot? Or playback only?
    7. Does the LCD bacpac work with the dive housing?
    8. I've never used an external strobe, so I won't miss that
    9. I don't spend too much time with manual controls - aperture, speed, ISO.
    10. I do use exposure control now and then
    11. I can't be bothered to shoot in RAW and post-process, so I won't miss that.
    12. But I know that I'll be happy to use post-processing for video - just need to find the right program
    13. I've never used filters but I know I want to now (whether I end up with compact or GoPro)

    Has anyone else switched and what are your views? Anyone with experience of both systems?

    As you can see, I'm a bit lost here, probably a lot of dumb questions...

    Thanks for your help.
  2. Interceptor121

    Interceptor121 PADI Pro

    The biggest drawbacks of the GoPro compared to the S100 are:
    • Lack of custom white balance - even with filters this can't be recovered
    • Lack of exposure lock - makes caves or wreck penetration look coarse at time
    • Fixed focus at one foot
    • No diopters and no Macro
    The GoPro is a good tool for dive classes, general shallow wide angle, shooting without lights with little pretence and it is cheap and has good battery life, (the S100 on the other hand is rubbish)
    However if you are serious about video the results you can have with a compact camera in a housing that has the control above will always be superior.
    So if you are looking for no fuss practical shots in limited situation then gopro is good, otherwise a compact camera is better

    I am expecting to be shot at by the GoPro crowd on this one!!!
  3. CCRDolphinDiver

    CCRDolphinDiver Captain

    # of Dives:
    Location: Columbia River, Portland, Oregon
    I have the monitor back attachment for the gopro and you can use it to frame the shot. You cannot use a strobe, but you can use a video light for lo-light still.
    There is no zoom capability and no macro (it has a wide angle lens...duh), what you see in the monitor is what you get. I mostly use my gopro for work, but recently took it to the Sea of Cortez and used it while freediving. My conclusion is that it sucks for still photos, but is awesome for video near the surface (more ambient light). There is no exposure control, but the automatic exposure is pretty responsive during video recording, you can be aiming at the bottom and turn and point at the sunball and the exposure will compensate very quickly.
    Nothing beats an SLR and serious strobes for still photography.
  4. flareside

    flareside Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Route 66, about halfway
    No real reason to be. The advantages the GoPro system has over an S100 are price, size, field of view, and video frame rates (and protune if you are so inclined). The disadvantages however are far more substantial.

    The size of the GoPro camera can't be beat and for someone starting from scratch wanting to do decent video on a budget, neither can the price. You can be in the water with a GoPro H3 Silver with a filter and simple mount for less than $400.

    To get an S100 in the water with an external lens that will provide the same field of view, you're looking at easily 3 times that. If you don't need the same field of view, camera and cheap housing are still $540 but in return you gain easily accessible still photos, zoom, macro, in camera white balance, and a host of other benefits. You also gain Canon quality and reliability which are measurably above the GoPro.
  5. RockyHeap

    RockyHeap Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: BubbleLand
    search and read, all your question will be answered.

    quote your post:

    11: can't be bothered to shoot in RAW and post-process, so I won't miss that.
    12. But I know that I'll be happy to use post-processing for video - just need to find the right program
    13. I've never used filters but I know I want to now (whether I end up with compact or GoPro)



    it's great.

    you can't compare a point and shoot still camera, to a GoPro? 2 different worlds.

    oh my, and then comes the lights for video..............be ready to spend 2-3X the price of the gopro just to start on lighting.............filters only take you so far.............and you said you don't want to shoot RAW?
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  6. Madacub

    Madacub Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Thank you all for your answers.

    Interceptor121 quote: Fixed focus at one foot.

    Does that mean it will not focus well on objects closer than 1 foot?

    Rockyheap quote: and you said you don't want to shoot RAW?

    I know that sounds like heresy in this subforum. I'm just not that turned on by stills. I know I'll be motivated to put the time and effort into post processing for video.

    Which is why I'm here, nosing around, looking for opinions. So far it seems I should just spned the extra $ on the S100.
  7. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999

    Skip to 3:15 minutes,, this is hero 2 I think,, Look lke the focus was closer than 1 foot to me, but didn't measure it..


    [video=youtube;ZyH8KsRbqD8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyH8KsRbqD8&feature=share&list=UU1utDku8vJ RJYgBZImLyLJQ[/video]
    Hollywoodivers likes this.
  8. daz88

    daz88 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: california
    underwater housing for the S100 $212, might find it cheaper with a little time on the internet. You'll be able to do alot more with he canon you have, than a gopro.
    Canon WP-DC43 Waterproof Case 5481B001
  9. Madacub

    Madacub Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Thanks for the video, dumpster. The GoPro - just simple fun - very enticing.

    daz88: Thanks for the link, but I'm planning on a Recsea. I've used OEM housings and they are rated to 40m, but tend to display sticky buttons before that depth.
  10. Interceptor121

    Interceptor121 PADI Pro

    The GoPro has a fixed focus fixed aperture lens. In order to capture a variety of subjects the lens needs to have a near to infinite depth of field
    So if the camera is set to focus say at 3 feet subjects will still be sharper at say 0.8 feet until infinite
    From what I know the absolute minimum for the GoPro is around 8" but this is not the worst part, what is bad is that things will also look tiny and as there are no diopters underwater at close range all you can really shoot is 1 foot size objects, moray eels, stone fish, no shrimps, nidubranch or any macro subjects that would appear minuscule

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