GoPro Trade up scheme – is it worth it?

Summary: US residents can trade in an old broken GoPro camera before May 11th 2017 for $100 off a GoPro Hero 5 or $50 off a Hero 5 session on It’s probably not worth it.

There’s a limited time offer available directly through the GoPro website called “Trade Up”.

I tried to figure out exactly which cameras can be traded in, but it’s not as obvious as you think.

There’s an FAQ that says:

What kind of cameras will you take?
The Trade-Up Program will accept any previous-generation GoPro HERO camera.

All the GoPro cameras I’ve ever used, from the 35mm version, through the various aaa battery versions to the latest generation are all branded as “Hero”, so at first I figured they’d take any GoPro camera you’ve got. So I checked the terms and conditions.

Unfortunately they aren’t as explicit as I’d hope, they say that you can trade in any camera that is from the GoPro range “HERO1 through HERO4”.

Based on that I’m pretty sure you’ll need one of these cameras to qualify for a discount:

  • GoPro Hero HD (I think this is what GoPro refer to as the “HERO1”, but they might mean the earlier version that used aaa batteries…)
  • GoPro 960
  • GoPro Hero 2
  • GoPro Hero 3 White
  • GoPro Hero 3 Silver
  • GoPro Hero 3 Black
  • GoPro Hero 3+ Silver
  • GoPro Hero 3+ Black
  • GoPro Hero 4 Silver
  • GoPro Hero 4 Black
  • GoPro Hero 4 Session

There are also a couple of other cameras that were launched after the Hero 4 range, so I don’t know if they count or not. I’d guess that they do count, but I’d check with GoPro before committing to buy a new one:

  • GoPro Hero+
  • GoPro Hero+ LCD

What is very clear is that you can trade it in whatever condition it’s in, broken, burnt, missing pieces, it’s all good.

I’d be cautious if you dont have one of these cameras because it does say “ineligible devices may be returned at your expense and request”. It’s a shame they’re not explicit about what qualifies as an eligible device.

You can trade in more than one camera, but you have to buy a new Hero 5 or Hero 5 session for each trade in. You can’t trade in 4 old broken cameras and get a free Hero 5, unfortunately.

The old cameras will be recycled or refurbished with nothing going to landfill.

Should I trade in my old GoPro for a GoPro Hero 5?

If it’s working and it’s the Hero 3 level onwards, probably not.

There’s just not that much difference in performance. I’d sell the camera you have and buy a refurbished Hero 4 silver edition for $255. That’s still the best value GoPro camera for surf photography in my opinion, even with the discounts on the Hero 5.

If you have an older or broken camera and you want a new one, then it might be worth it, but probably not.

The good news is KNEKT are about to release a new version of their KSD6 dome and other accessories that are compatible with the Hero 5 cameras and the super suit housing for them. That was one of my big reasons for recommending sticking with the Hero 4 range when the Hero 5 was announced.

That does mean you can get a good deal on their Hero 3, 3+ and 4 series compatible accessories though.

Why do GoPro want you to upgrade?

Here’s the most interesting part for me:

Why should I upgrade?
HERO5 cameras are the best we’ve ever made. They’re waterproof without a housing, feature hands-free voice commands, extended battery life, better image stabilization, simplified controls and an overall sleeker design. And when paired with GoPro’s new software, they enable the simplest, most powerful mobile storytelling solution yet. Not to mention, we’ve got some pretty exciting software updates planned for 2017, which can only be unlocked with a HERO5 camera.

Notice how there’s no mention of the video or stills resolutions, that’s because GoPro knows it’s not a selling point. The other things they mention offer no advantage for my surf photography, and the built in waterproofing actually makes some of my most useful accessories useless.

Teasing “planned” Hero 5 exclusive software updates is a bit lame, who knows if they’ll actually happen and they aren’t even saying what they might be.

If they come up with something really innovative another software company will copy it and make it available for any other action camera anyway.

When is the Hero 6 coming out? What features will it have?

GoPro CEO Nick Woodman confirmed in February that there would be a GoPro Hero 6 camera released in 2017, so we haven’t got long to wait until we know whether it’s going to be worth getting the 6.

The first thing I thought when I saw this trade up scheme publicised was – the Hero 6 better offer something amazing and unique.

If it’s an incremental upgrade to the Hero 5 it will not sell well at all.


I used my GoPro on the weekend, it’s a Hero 3 black edition, I haven’t watched the footage yet. I probably won’t bother. It was there as a backup in case something cool happened on my coastal paddle.

It was mounted on top of my Liquid Eye C6000, I shot a handful of shots on my a6000, transferred the two best ones to my phone when I got back to land and posted one to Instagram later on.

My main camera setup has caught up with the immediacy of action cameras. the next logical step is to cut out the separate camera all together and get my smart phone in the water properly.

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