My conclusion: The GroPro Hero is a great camera for simple family video work.
First let me say that I am a serious still photographer with my primary focus portrait and wedding photography. And I truly love still photography. For me it is magical. Having said that, I have been exploring video capabilities of my D800 and for a bit longer with my Sony Nex 5N. With multipe personal projects (and not professional), I have been developing my skills at combining video with stills to create a fusion documents of the experience. I suspect that I have done about a dozen fusion documents from family vacations to personal vacations.
I am at a point in my life were I don't skateboard, ski, sky dive, surf board or drive a race car. So you might wonder why I was interested in buying a GroPro Hero 3 Black Edition. I had two projects in mind: to record the segment of the Illinois Prairie path (bike trail) between Elmhurst and Geneva and to explore the underwater imagery of a small lake that the family has a cottage on.
I have discovered that the GoPro is a great little camera video camera for family stuff as demonstrated by the fusion document above. It would have also been very difficult to fly through the flowers with my D800 but with the GoPro it is incredibly simple and the video quality is excellent.
Equipment/tools for this project were
Cameras: Sony Nex 5N (18-200mm f3.5-6.3) and recently a GoPro Hero3 Black Addition.
Aperture for managing all the stills as well as archiving the video
Final Cut Pro X for building the fusion documents
iMac plus lots of western digital drives
I am still learning about time lapse and still photography with the GoPro and as I gather information, I will post and update. On the negative side, there are only third party solutions for an external battery charger. In addition, I find the attachment arms cumbersome as they can only deal with right angle attachments. A universal attachment system would be absolutely great.
I have been waiting a long time for for this product to launch. I have been accumulating USB 3.0 drives (Western Digital Passports), but was only able to link them to my iMac through USB 2.0 connections, this not really able to take advantage of the USB 3.0 speed.
My new dock arrived yesterday and I have been able to do some speed tests. For the test, I used the following:
1. iMac with 3.7 GHz Intel Core i7 with 16 GB RAM
2. USB 3.0 Western Digital Passport drives or in the case of the Thunderbolt drives (6 TB Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo set to RAID 0). The Thunderbolt Duo drives were connected to the Thunderbolt port of the iMac.
3. Belkins Thunderbolt Express Dock that has 3 USB 3.0 ports and a FW 800 port, plus several other ports.
5. An old USB 2.0 Belkin Hub
6. My test file was a 55.22 GB Aperture library
Test 1: Move the Aperture Llibrary form a USB 3.0 drive on a USB 2.0 hub to another USB 3.0 drive also on a USB 2.0 hub. It took 69 min/53 seconds for a transfer rate of 0.79GB/min or 13.17 MB/sec
Test 1: Move the Aperture library from a USB 3.0 drive connected to a USB 2.0 Hub to a USB 3.0 drive connected to Thunderbolt Express Dock. It took 44 min/16 seconds for a transfer rate of 1.24 GB/min or 20.8 MB/sec
Test 2: Move the Aperture library from one USB 3.0 drive to another USB 3.0 drive, both connected to the Thunderbolt Express Dock. It took 20 min/29 seconds for a transfer rate of 2.7 GB/min or 44.9 MB/sec.
Test 3: Move the Aperture library from a USB 3.0 drive connected to the Thunderbolt Express Dock to the My Book Thunderbolt Duo drive. It took 15 min/37 seconds for a transfer rate 3.53 GB/min or 58.9 MB/sec.
Test 4: Move the Aperture library from one Thunderbolt Duo to another Thunderbolt Duo. It took 9 min/1 sec for a transfer rate 6.12 GB/min or 102 MB/sec.
My conclusion is that the USB 3.0 Thunderbolt Express Dock definitely improves the transfer speeds between USB 3.0 drives as compared to a USB 2.0 hub, but it is not the huge leap forward I had anticipated. The pure USB 3.0 solution is about 3.4 times faster than USB 2.0 hubs connected to USB 3.0 drives whereas Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt transfer is 7.75 times faster.