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GoPro gets a little cheaper -- and fancier -- with new Hero4 camera

GoPro hoisted its high-end offering further into the age of high-definition video with the introduction of the Hero4, its latest line of participant-sports-oriented video cameras. The company also lowered the price of its cheapest camera to $129 from $200, and freshened up parts of its entire lineup.

Action-sports enthusiasts are flocking to GoPro video cameras by the millions: the devices’ image-stabilization technology and wide lenses, mounted on helmets, sticks or boards, can produce a sleek, professional look unobtainable with hand-held smartphones.

Starting from zero a decade ago, the company is on pace to ship more than 3 million cameras this year and near $1 billion in annual revenue. The company went public in June at a $3-billion valuation.

GoPro cameras are designed to be used in wet, rugged environments. But the cameras have typically cost more than $200, limiting their appeal.

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The new GoPro Hero, which shoots high-definition video, will cost $129 when it goes on sale Oct. 5 – making it more of an affordable holiday gift.

At the mid-range, the company is attempting to broaden its appeal by putting a touch-screen on the back of GoPro camera for the first time. Normally, users connect their GoPros to smartphones to program them. For the higher price, buyers of the $399 Hero4 Silver get better video quality and photo-shooting abilities on par with the best smartphone cameras.

For a $100 more, the Hero4 Black targets GoPro’s most serious users. It can shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second, rivaling professional camcorders. High-quality frames can be pulled from the video footage. The new $499 price tag for the Black is a departure from the $399 price its predecessor launched with two years ago.

GoPro said all of the cameras are getting upgrades that improve low-light capture and audio recording. A couple of new accessories will hit the market next week as well, including a remote control for the Black and Silver that works from 600 feet away.

Shares of GoPro, already up more than 52% between Labor Day and Friday’s close, shot upward another 8% early Monday to about $89.

Chat with me on Twitter @peard33


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