In a digital world where iPhones take 35mm quality photos and we’re compelled to instantly post every image we capture to Instagram or Tumblr or Facebook or Twitter or…all of the above, owning an actual camera almost seems like an afterthought. That’s until the groundbreaking GoPro Hero 3 came out and the world got a taste of what it can do. In the 10 years since his first GoPro prototype, creator Nick Woodman has gone from broke surfer to multibillionaire. The Hero 3 even won a 2013 Technology and Engineering Emmy® Award for making it possible to capture footage and perspectives that were out of reach before.
So what’s the big deal? These little cameras are durable, waterproof and made for capturing action on-the-go. They’re easy enough for kids to use and high-quality enough for pros. As Mr. Woodman told 60 Minutes last year, “Before GoPro, if you wanted to have any footage of yourself doing anything, whether it’s video or photo, you not only needed a camera, you needed another human being. And if you wanted the footage to be good, you needed that other human being to have skill with the camera. The result was that most people never had any footage of themselves doing anything.” Just in time for the holidays, we’ve got 15 reasons why GoPro cameras are awesome.
1. Unique Wedding Videos
Most recently a very inventive couple’s wedding video from the POV of a GoPro attached to a bottle of whiskey as gone viral. But really, the possibilities are endless.
2. Grizzly Bear POV
Recently ecologist John Kitchen was documenting grizzlies in Canada when one of his subjects made off with his GoPro. He got the camera back, complete with amazing, curious grizzly POV footage.
3. Call Out Catcallers
Rob Bliss used his GoPro hidden-camera-style to film his girlfriend Shoshana B. Roberts walking through the streets of NYC as part of a PSA for hollaback!, a non-profit organization aiming to end street harassment. The footage is eye-opening, a little enraging and sadly not really news to most women.
4. Pet POV
Every dog owner would love to see the world through their precious pooch’s eyes. The GoPro camera makes this not only possible but super easy thanks to their Fetch dog harness camera mount.
5. GoPro Studio
The cameras come with free video editing software, GoPro Studio, and the GoPro App which make editing, taking full advantage of the time lapse and low light features as well as sharing your pics incredibly easy.
Because of their durability and simplicity, you can let even small children get in on the picture taking without worrying about breakage. Or you can capture their entire first day of school for eternity like the Webers of Florida who strapped a GoPro to their 6-year-old.
7. Under Water
The GoPro Hero 4 is waterproof to 131 feet so you can take stunning underwater footage.
8. Awesome Vacation Vids
Even if the vacation wasn’t all that exciting, you’ll never have another boring vacation video. Mount the camera on your dashboard for road trips, tuck it into your newborn’s swaddle to get footage of the relatives descending with goo-goo faces…the possibilities are endless.
9. Toss It
Since they’re made to take a few knocks, try tossing your GoPro camera in the air and using burst mode to take multiple shots along the way. Earlier this year a California farmer found her pigs investigating a GoPro that mysteriously landed in their pen—the footage indicates it may have fallen out of a small plane!
10. Next-Level Selfies
With a GoPro camera, and its numerous available mounts, you can shoot professional looking videos of yourself doing just about anything. The built in wi-fi allows you to control the camera remotely from your phone and post your vid instantly.
11. Action Shots
Since the camera was created to capture surfing footage, it takes stunning action shots. You can capture your adventures on the ski slopes, your kid’s soccer games or your snorkeling vacation in the Caribbean.
12. GoPro Channel
Move over YouTube, the GoPro Channel is addictive.
The HERO4 Black, GoPro’s newest and most expensive model, retails for $499. For those who don’t need all the bells and whistles, they just introduced the pared down HERO at a very affordable $129.
14. The Lion Whisperer
Animal behaviorist and conservationist Kevin Richardson, also known as The Lion Whisperer, runs a wildlife sanctuary and works to maintain lions’ dwindling natural habitat. He uses a GoPro to create stunning lion POV videos to raise awareness.
15. Holiday Memories
A GoPro camera can preserve your holiday memories in a whole new way. Hang one on your Christmas tree for ornament POV or tuck one under a special gift to get a shot of the recipient’s delighted face from inside the box. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.