What is a GoPro Camera and What is It Used for

A GoPro is a compact action camera that shoots videos and pictures. If you have an active lifestyle and want to record your favorite moments, a GoPro camera is your new best friend.

I’m Larry, a tech nerd and adventure addict who got my first GoPro HERO4 in 2014, and I now carry a GoPro HERO10 wherever I go. I’ll be your guide today as we discuss everything you need to know about the GoPro camera.

You’ll learn what the GoPro camera does, what it’s used for, and if it’s worth the purchase. Afterward, I’ll answer a few common questions my friends always ask me. 

Let’s jump right in!

What is a GoPro Camera?

Nick Woodman founded GoPro in 2002 with the goal of finding a better way to film his friend’s surfing. Woodman and all his friends had aspirations of ‘going pro’ and becoming pro surfers. Thus, the name ‘GoPro’ was born. 

Over the past two decades, GoPro has evolved into an innovative technology company that enables people to pursue their passions.

A GoPro camera is small, lightweight, and tough. It combines the best qualities of a point-and-shoot camera and a camcorder into a tiny, rugged device. Since it’s built for action, it’s completely waterproof and nearly unbreakable.

Its appearance and build is a portable rectangular device that fits the palm of most hands. Inside the device are an image sensor, ultra wide-angle lens, processor, and built-in microphone. 

There are only a few well-known action camera brands, and GoPro sits at the top as the most popular and trusted. 

What is the Purpose of a GoPro?

GoPro cameras are meant to record actions. Because of their size and ease of use, you can use a GoPro in virtually any situation. This versatility has skyrocketed GoPro into a global sensation in terms of recognition.

Best of all, the footage the GoPro captures is of the utmost quality. Newer models of the GoPro camera can capture 5K HD video.

Since GoPro’s launch in 2002, they have released over 20 different GoPro models. This means that GoPro continues to improve its technology as each year passes.

The newest model released in 2021 is the GoPro HERO10. Before that, there was the GoPro HERO9 Black (2020) and GoPro HERO8 Black (2019).

What Can GoPro Cameras Be Used for?

The beauty of the GoPro camera is that it can be used to record anything.  

Can you use it as a travel camera? Absolutely. The GoPro camera shoots high-quality pictures and videos.

What if I want to film myself riding an ATV and don’t have any free hands? You can mount the GoPro to your helmet, head, chest, or handlebars.

That’s right.

You can mount the GoPro camera to your body so you don’t have to hold it as you’re traversing through nature. 

Here’s a list of activities the GoPro camera is perfect for:

  • Running
  • Skateboarding
  • Skiing
  • Surfing
  • Climbing
  • Mountain-biking

This only scratches the surface of what the GoPro can be used to record. The only limit is your own creativity. My favorite activity to record with my GoPro is when I go snorkeling. Filming the underwater sea creatures in HD is beautiful and endearing. 

On the other side of the spectrum, I also love to bring my GoPro out when I go skiing. I attach the GoPro to my helmet using the GoPro helmet mount and record my journey down the steep mountain trail.

Who Should Get a GoPro, and Why?

Here are a few reasons why you should get a GoPro camera. 

Do you consider yourself one of these people?

Adventure Seekers

Simply put, anybody who loves the outdoors and going on adventures can benefit from a GoPro. A GoPro camera adds an entirely new dimension to your sport or activity of choice. 

For action sports enthusiasts, you can look back at your recordings and see how to improve your technique.

For adventure seekers, you can look back on previous journeys and appreciate the beauty and nostalgia of it.

GoPros are beginner-friendly and easy to use for non-techies. This means that you can pick one up, press record, and start documenting your journey. There’s no need to modify your settings. You can just pick it up and go without an afterthought.

Video Makers

The GoPro camera is also perfect for video makers and creatives. With the GoPro’s ultra-wide lens, you can increase the amount of scenery you capture in each frame. This allows you to paint a picture that wouldn’t be possible to paint with a standard lens.

There are dozens of incredible videos on YouTube that showcase what the GoPro can produce.

Here’s one of my favorite cinematic videos shot with the GoPro HERO10 Black:

Convenience Lovers

The GoPro is one of the most convenient and portable cameras ever produced. GoPros knock it out of the park in terms of design and usability.

For example, coming in at 2.8 by 2.2 by 1.3 inches, the GoPro HERO10 Black is tiny. With a weight of only 5.4 ounces, this device can be taken anywhere.

What’s even more impressive is how many accessories there are for GoPro cameras. From selfie sticks and helmet mounts to chest straps and sticky mounts, you can always find a convenient way to film your content. 

There is no doubt in my mind that GoPro wouldn’t be where it is today if they made standard-sized cameras. Convenience was vital to GoPro’s exponential growth. 

Who Isn’t GoPro For, and Why?

Although the GoPro is great for adventure seekers and video makers, it’s not suited for everyone. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t get a GoPro.

Professional Photographers

If you’re looking for a professional camera to take pictures with, I don’t recommend the GoPro.

The GoPro camera is most suited to record videos. In fact, most DSLR cameras will take higher quality photos than the GoPro. Since the GoPro is so small, the sensor is also small, which means you need perfect sunlight to take the highest quality pictures.

DSLR and mirrorless cameras have larger sensors that are more versatile for any type of lighting. However, if you want to take pictures underwater, a GoPro is one of the only solutions. There aren’t many high-quality waterproof cameras like the GoPro.

In summary, if you’re interested in becoming a professional photographer, the GoPro camera isn’t for you.

Non-Action Vloggers

If you’re an aspiring YouTuber that makes non-outdoors and non-action vlog content, the GoPro isn’t your best option. 

The GoPro is specifically designed to record any kind of action shot. Newer GoPro models even have a feature called HyperSmooth that increases the camera’s processing memory to proactively smooth out the video frame by frame.

So if you’re looking for a vlog camera and don’t film action shots, don’t get the GoPro. The GoPro is not meant for stationary recording. 

How is GoPro Different from Other Action Cameras?

GoPro isn’t the only brand that produces action cameras. A few competitors include Insta360, DJI, and Akaso.

Each action camera has its own price point and set of advantages. However, GoPro consistently rises above the competition based on pure performance alone.

In terms of pure action camera qualities, you can’t beat the GoPro. However, other action cameras have unique features, such as 360-degree cameras. 

A 360 camera, featured on the Insta360 ONE R Twin Edition, is a device with 180-degree forward and rear-facing lenses that captures everything around itself.

This allows you to capture unique shots that the GoPro wouldn’t be able to capture since it doesn’t have a 360 degrees camera. 

Is GoPro Worth It?

The GoPro is worth it ONLY IF you plan on actually using it. I’ve seen a lot of people buying a GoPro camera with the intention of using it, but it ends up collecting dust in a storage closet. 

So if you already have an active lifestyle or play an action sport and want to document your adventures, a GoPro is perfect for you.

However, if you’re looking to get into adventurous activities and want an action camera right from the start, I recommend waiting until you find a hobby you love.

Remember, the GoPro is primarily a video camera designed for action sports. While it can take photos, it’s ill-fitted to that. The GoPro has a wide-angle fisheye lens that isn’t ideal for pure photography. 

You also have to consider your post-production process. Are you willing to string together all your clips and edit them? Are you satisfied simply uploading videos without any edits?

Personally, I find GoPros very worth it for my active lifestyle. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having my GoPro with me on every vacation and weekend adventure since 2014.

FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions related to the topic, I’ll briefly answer them below.

How much is the GoPro?

The newest model, GoPro HERO10 Black, costs $499.99. Previous models such as the GoPro HERO9 Black and GoPro HERO8 Black cost $399.99 and $294.00, respectively. Older models of the GoPro cost $300 or less. Learn more in this post.

Are GoPro good for photography?

By itself, the GoPro is fantastic for photography. When compared to DSLR, mirrorless, and compact cameras, the GoPro is outclassed in photography quality. With its wide-angle lens, the GoPro is great for wide landscapes and tight interiors. It’s not as suitable for close-ups or mid-length shots.

If you want to use the GoPro as a casual photography camera for travel and vacation, it gets the job done. However, it’s important to note that the GoPro doesn’t take great pictures in low-light settings and doesn’t have flash either.

Can you use GoPro as a regular video camera?

Technically, you can use the GoPro as a regular video camera. All you have to do is turn it on and press record. However, it’s not optimal to use it as a regular video camera. This is because its wide-angle lens is great in action videos but not as good for standard recording purposes.

Does GoPro record sound?

GoPro cameras do have internal microphones that record audio. However, you shouldn’t expect studio-grade quality. Most professional action vloggers buy and input an external mic that produces higher-quality audio.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re looking for a convenient and durable action shooter to bring on all of your adventures, look no further than the GoPro.

This small but competent piece of technology has inspired me to be more creative, adventurous, and daring.

I don’t step foot outside without my GoPro hanging around my neck. 

Now I’d love to hear from you:

Do you have any questions about the GoPro camera and what it is used for?

Are you going to buy a GoPro camera?

Let me know by dropping a quick comment below.

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