What Can a GoPro Do That Your Phone Camera Can’t?

GoPro camera

Ten years ago, the top electronic on my wishlist was a GoPro. That fish-eye camera lens and the ability to snap shots underwater? I wanted in.

And I ended up getting one that I used throughout all my travels. I got footage of myself swimming with whale sharks in Tulum, diving with manta rays in Komodo, Indonesia and doing all kinds of other adventures I wanted captured but couldn’t on a camera phone.

But, throughout the years, iPhones and Androids have gotten better and better. The phones themselves have also gotten sturdier and are equipped with more and better-quality lenses that can capture photos in higher res and in more vivid colours.

So, why then would you use a GoPro instead of a camera phone? Turns out, there are quite a few reasons. And after some thorough research online, using the latest GoPro model, Hero 11, released September 2022, myself, and chatting with one of the brand’s ambassadors content creator Sophie Piearcey, I’m listing some of the most important among them here.

It’s Durable

The very first version of GoPro, unveiled in September 2004, was created with durability in mind. Today, it’s still a camera designed to be used on adventures, with all sorts of attachments you can buy to steady the camera or strap it to you or something.


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“These little cameras are powerhouses and built to withstand all environments and conditions – hiking, biking, swimming and surfing,” Piearcey says. “Also, all GoPros are small enough to slide in your pocket or chuck in your backpack. Pair them with a couple of key mounting accessories that suit your lifestyle and activities.”

It’s Waterproof Up to 10m

This is probably one of the main reasons you’d get a GoPro: it’s waterproof up to 10m. An iPhone can only go until 6m and for only up to 30 minutes. When you get a housing and waterproof case for the GoPro (Hero 9 and above), you can take it even further underwater.

The Footage Quality Is Better

GoPro Hero 11 uses cinematic 5.3K video recording while iPhone is at 4K. The Hero 11 also has HyperSmooth 5.0 video stabilisation, which ensures your footage isn’t shaky, and Horizon Lock, which keeps the horizon level when the camera is rotated. It’s worth noting that the iPhone does offer stabilisation, too, but not to the extent of the GoPo.

Then there’s the fisheye lens I mentioned earlier. GoPro Wide Angle lens gives you up to 148 degrees of footage captured, while iPhone 14 snaps only 120 degrees with its ultrawide lens. You can also use voice command — “GoPro, take photo!” — to take the photo.

“The photo quality from a GoPro captures the wide field of view, and having built-in features such as different frame rates for video means I can speed up or slow down any special moments I capture,” says Piearcey.


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“It also me to be fully in the moment. I can point the camera at the action or whatever I’m trying to capture, and have full trust that the quality of the footage is going to be tip-top and post-worthy. I can capture as much or as little as I need, and then put the camera away and get back to being present in the moment.”

It Can Capture Star Trails

Professional-looking star trails, light painting and vehicle-light trails can easily be captured using GoPro’s ‘Night Lapse’ setting, which uses presets. Though you can do similar on camera phones, you need to do a bit of searching and experimenting to find the right settings to use.

It Lets You Easily Adapt Your Footage

GoPro lets you easily adapt footage for whichever platform you’re sharing it to – TikTok, Instagram or YouTube. The Hero 11 has a new 8:7 sensor, which means the user can crop the content using GoPro’s Quik App and choose whether they want to use the footage for YouTube with a 16:9 (landscape) frame or for Instagram or TikTok with a 9:16 (vertical) frame.

“The 8:7 ratio is great for filming and then jumping in the Quik app to make an edit, and be ready to post to Instagram Reels in a moment,” says Piearcey.

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