GoPro HERO3+ Black vs HERO3+ Silver

The GoPro HERO3+ Black and HERO3+ Silver look practically identical. And while there's a lot of overlap in their features, there are also important differences. Here's a detailed breakdown of how they compare.

The GoPro HERO3+ Black and HERO3+ Silver cameras look practically identical. The only way you can tell them apart visually is with the very subtle difference in the “3” on the front–its color corresponds to the black or silver edition. Other than that, they look the same. Both of these cameras are updates to their respective HERO3 models.

Both of the 3+ models added improvements in image quality over their predecessors. There were also modest improvements in battery life. But while there’s a lot of overlap in their features, there are also some important differences that are important to know in advance to make sure that the specific edition does what you need it to do.

Get $100 Off HERO8 Black

GoPro has a new deal for Fourth of July, with $100 off the HERO8 Black. They're also throwing in a free extra battery, 32GB microSD card, and two-day shipping, all for $299.99. You can find the deal at GoPro.com.

And they also have a great deal with $150 off a bundle that includes the HERO8 Black, Shorty Grip, Head Strap, an extra battery, and a 32GB microSD card, all for $349.99. You can find the deal here. The deals end July 7.

If you’re looking for 4K video, for example, the Silver isn’t going to work for you. But if you don’t need the advanced features of the Black, the Silver might be a more cost-effective option.

HERO3+ Silver vs. HERO3+ Black: Weight, Size, and Handling

Both of these cameras weight the same: 74g (2.6oz) for the camera body itself and 136g (4.8oz) with the standard housing. They look and feel basically identical.

HERO3+ Silver vs HERO3+ Black: Housings and Ruggedness

Both of these share the same housings. The standard housing that comes with them in most configurations (aside from the music bundle) is rated to be waterproof down to 40 meters. Both can be removed from their housings and used naked (ie. no housing) or with other types of frames or housings. A housing that works on the HERO3+ Black will work just as well on the HERO3+ Silver, and vice versa.

HERO3+ Silver vs HERO3+ Black: Controls and Interface These use the same set of three buttons for controls. These buttons control not just things like power on and off and the shutter, but also provide a way to navigate through the menu options that are displayed on the small monochrome LCD screen on the front of the camera. Both of these models have wifi, so you can use GoPro’s Capture app to control the settings and shooting and use GoPro Smart Remote.

HERO3+ Silver vs HERO3+ Black: LCD Screen

Neither of these comes with a built-in LCD screen on the back. You can add one to both using the LCD Touch BacPac or an aftermarket version, both of which you’ll have to pick up separately.

HERO3+ Silver vs HERO3+ Black: Protune Options

Protune is GoPro’s umbrella term for some extended expert settings that give you more control over the visual and sound settings.

With video and photo settings, that includes things like controlling the white balance, limiting the ISO, adjusting the color and sharpness, and exposure compensation.

The Protune options on the HERO3+ Black also include the ability to record in 24fps, the traditional standard for cinematic footage.

In terms of Protune, the difference between these models is pretty cut and dried. The Black has Protune options, while the Silver doesn’t.

Video Modes: HERO3+ Black vs Silver Compared

There’s quite a bit of overlap between the video modes of these two cameras, but there are also some key differences. I have a detailed master list of the video modes available on each camera at the bottom of this page.

The headline difference in the video modes is that the HERO3+ Black shoots 4K video (4096×2160 at 15fps). The highest resolution on the Silver is 1080p (at 60fps). If you’re shooting mainly for sharing on the web, 1080p is often more than enough (much web “HD” video is at 720p). While there are applications for 4K video now, it’s still a relatively niche area. Editing 4K video also consumes a lot of disk space and computer processing power (ie. you’ll need a newer, faster computer with a lot of fast storage space).

The HERO3+ Black also added SuperView, what was then a new super wide-angle mode. GoPro pitches it as its most immersive view.

Like all recent GoPros, these models shoot MP4 video files encoded with the H.264 codec. Neither of these cameras includes onboard stabilization. That was something first added to the HERO5 models. You can use an external stabilizer or apply stabilization when post-processing the footage in something like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X.

Slow-Motion Video

Both of these have options for slow-motion video, but it only works at some resolutions. Basically, you’ll be looking for video modes that work at 48 frames per second or faster so that they can then be slowed down in processing to provide the slow-motion effect.

Take a look at the video mode comparison table at the bottom of this page for the resolutions that are available at 48fps or faster.

Photo Modes

The Black has a slightly larger sensor. It produces 12MP images (4000 x 3000 px) compared to the 10MP (3680 x 2760 px) images of the Silver. While there’s not much in the numbers, it does allow the Black to have somewhat higher-quality photos with finer detail.

Both also have the option to set it for 7MP and 5MP photos if storage space is an issue (especially useful for time-lapse).

In burst mode, the Black can do up to 30 photos in 1 second. Other modes are 3 photos in 1 second, 5 photos in 1 second, 10 photos in 1 second, 10 photos over 2 seconds, 30 photos over 2 seconds, and 30 photos over 3 seconds. This gives you a lot of flexibility if you’re shooting still photos of something that happens very quickly, things like a skateboard jump or hitting a baseball. The Silver can do up to 10 photos in 1 second in burst model. Other modes are 3 photos in 1 second and 5 photos in 1 second.

HERO3+ Silver vs HERO3+ Black: Timelapse Modes

Both can shoot Timelapse photos, with the options of intervals at 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, or 60 seconds. The camera itself will create the sequence of still images. To compile this series of photos into a time-lapse video you’ll need to import those images into other software like GoPro Studio to process and convert to a time-lapse video. Neither of them can shoot time-lapse video, where the video is generated on the fly in the camera. That was a feature that came with the HERO4 models.

HERO3+ Silver vs HERO3+ Black: Sound

Both have onboard mono microphones. Both are compatible with external microphones using the mini-USB port. Just remember to get a microphone adapter.

Accessories

In nearly every case, these work with the same accessories, from mounts to housings to batteries to memory cards.

Wrap Up

While there’s quite a lot of overlap in features and capabilities of the HERO3+ Black and HERO3+ Silver, the differences conform to the usual pattern in how GoPro differentiates between the Black and Silver lines. Both are very capable cameras and look practically identical, but the Black has more high-end video and photo features, with more video modes and Protune options.

Video Modes of the HERO3+ Black and Silver Compared

Here’s a master list of the video modes each has.

ResolutionFPSFOVDimensionsAspect RatioHERO3+ BlackHERO3+ Silver
4K / 4K 17:915Ultra Wide3840x2160 / 4096x216016:9 / 17:9
12.5Ultra Wide3840x2160 / 4096x216016:9 / 17:9
12Ultra Wide3840x2160 / 4096x216016:9 / 17:9
2.7K / 2.7K 17:930Ultra Wide2704x1520 / 2704x144016:9 / 17:9
Medium2704x1520 / 2704x144016:9 / 17:9
25Ultra Wide2704x1520 / 2704x144016:9 / 17:9
Medium2704x1520 / 2704x144016:9 / 17:9
24Ultra Wide2704x152016:9 / 17:9
Medium2704x152016:9 / 17:9
144048Ultra Wide1920x14404:3
30Ultra Wide1920x14404:3
25Ultra Wide1920x14404:3
24Ultra Wide1920x14404:3
108060Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
Medium1920x108016:9
Narrow1920x108016:9
50Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
Medium1920x108016:9
Narrow1920x108016:9
48Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
Medium1920x108016:9
Narrow1920x108016:9
30Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
Medium1920x108016:9
Narrow1920x108016:9
25Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
Medium1920x108016:9
Narrow1920x108016:9
24Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
Medium1920x108016:9
Narrow1920x108016:9
1080 SuperView60Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
50Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
48Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
30Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
25Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
24Ultra Wide1920x108016:9
960100Ultra Wide1280x9604:3
60Ultra Wide1280x9604:3
50Ultra Wide1280x9604:3
48Ultra Wide1280x9604:3
30Ultra Wide1280x9604:3
25Ultra Wide1280x9604:3
720120Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
Medium1280x72016:9
Narrow1280x72016:9
100Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
Medium1280x72016:10
Narrow1280x72016:11
60Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
Medium1280x72016:9
Narrow1280x72016:9
50Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
Medium1280x72016:9
Narrow1280x72016:9
30Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
Medium1280x72016:9
Narrow1280x72016:9
25Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
Medium1280x72016:9
Narrow1280x72016:9
720 SuperView100Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
60Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
50Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
48Ultra Wide1280x72016:9
480/WVGA240Wide848x48016:9
120Wide848x48016:9
100Wide848x48016:9
60Wide848x48016:9
50Wide848x48016:9

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This post was last modified on March 17, 2020 1:27 pm

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  • Hi, is the CCD sensor on the Hero3+ Silver the same as the one on the Hero3+ Black? I am looking to replace the one on my Black but online I only seem to find ads referring to the silver model. The writing on the sensor assembly is the same though and reads 656-03106-000 Rev A. Any clue? Thanks

  • is there a gopro that will out put through its HDMI port 1080i 60 to be compatible with my ATEM video switcher
    Thanks Steve

    • Yes, the GoPros that have HDMI output (including HERO5 Black) have 1080i60 as an automatic fallback if your device doesn't support 1080p. Here's how GoPro puts it: "If your monitor does not support 1080p, the camera will output 1080i 60fps (NTSC) or 1080i 50fps (PAL). If 1080i60 is not supported, the camera will revert to outputting 720p 60fps (NTSC) or 720p 50fps (PAL)."

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