I recently upgraded my GoPro Hero 2 camera to the recently released Hero 3 black edition. If you’re unfamiliar with the GoPro cameras they are insanely powerful little machines that fit in your pocket and can basically do anything you can dream up, above water and under. I’ve been using the new camera for a little under a week and already am seeing the benefits on some short fishing outings. The improvements are monumental. This is the best pocket-sized camera for shooting stills and video on (and under!) the water that I’ve found yet. There are three new camera versions from GoPro that vary in price range but all feature the same body and housing. Some just have more bells and whistles for more advanced users.

Like I mentioned there are a number of upgrades to the new cameras like the size (much smaller), much faster performance, improved sharpness, and redesigned audio, but there are two things that really appeal to me as angler and photographer. First is the new flat-lens underwater housing. On the old GoPro everything shot underwater was out of focus dude to the curved lens. I had to fabricate an aftermarket piece just to make this work. Now anyone who owns one can get crystal clear images underwater out of the box.

Second, and most important, GoPro has come out with an app for your phone or tablet that literally lets you control almost every aspect of your camera wirelessly with an almost near real-time view of what your camera is seeing. That’s right, the camera is actually a little wireless transmitter. It also let’s you playback your videos or still mere seconds after capturing them without utilizing a video LCD back or waiting until you get home to see what you’ve captured. This has helped me tremendously in the last week shooting underwater and from the tail of an airplane over Bear Creek for a project we’re doing trying to help the imperiled Greenback cutthroat trout – one of the rarest trout in the world. The one drawback with using the app feature is that when transmitting a wireless signal the camera absolutely crushes the battery, very fast. You can buy a larger battery which GoPro is calling the battery BacPac which comes with a larger door for the housing will apparently give you twice the battery life.