GoPro has long been synonymous with extreme sports enthusiasts who insist on leaping off buildings with a camera attached to their head, rather than doing something more sedate of a weekend. The footage captured by these sturdy little action cams (or POV cameras) has historically been among the best, if not the best, on the market, and as such has been used by everyone from skilled filmmakers to amateurs looking to add a professional sheen to their YouTube channel.
The GoPro Hero5 Black is a true flagship camera with all the shooting options from its predecessor plus raw and wide dynamic range photo capture and linear field of view video, a touchscreen, a waterproof body, GPS, electronic image stabilization, stereo audio, voice control, the option for auto cloud uploads, and the best photo and video quality in a GoPro.
GoPro Hero5 Black (Specs)
- 4K/30fps maximum resolution
- Waterproof to 10m without a case
- Dual microphones
- Electronic Image Stabilisation
- 2-inch touchscreen display
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GoPro Hero5 Black Price
GoPro Hero5 Black: Features
Unfortunately, previous generations of GoPros have erred on the unapproachable side, lacking a rear screen to set up and review footage, bamboozling users with a variety of complicated camera settings, and making it a pain to retrieve footage and images when in a rush or on the move. As a result, a plethora of rivals have popped up, boasting a number of user-friendly features in an attempt to steal sales.
TomTom’s Bandit, Garmin’s Virb range, and the seriously affordable Olfi camera all offer 4K video recording, but with a much friendlier UI designed to appeal to those starting out in the action cam game. Like all good tech companies, GoPro has listened to customer grumbles and has thoroughly updated its latest line of cameras to ensure they still pack the same heavyweight features but are generally easier to live with.
That variety now consists of the Hero Session, Hero5 Session, and the daddy of the lot: the Hero5 Black. New additions to this high-performance monster include a rear touchscreen display, voice activation, and super-easy one-button control, while the overall experience has been abridged to make capturing the action as painless as possible.
Stills can be taken in single, burst, and timelapse modes, and saved as raw files for post-production tinkering. In addition, a new WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) mode, which is GoPro’s version of High Dynamic Variety (HDR), makes shooting perfectly exposed still images much easier.
GoPro Hero5 Black: Build Quality and Handling
The absence of an additional plastic casing has greatly improved the Hero5 Black’s exterior styling, and it also means that sound quality is now better than ever, thanks to bulky casing not getting in the way of microphones; but it does leave the little unit a little exposed.
A Super Suit is available for those who wish to take their cameras deeper than 10m, but we’d suggest using it for any rigorous underwater activities, as we found that the wet stuff can penetrate the removable lens cover seal, especially when diving in and out of the warm waters of the Balearic Sea. In fact, the camera feels just a little naked without the tough plastic casing of old, nonetheless, it does make access to the touchscreen nice and easy, while the mode selection button (located on the side) is just a prod away.
The one-press shutter is also unhindered and easy to operate (even with gloves on), as the new and very svelte plastic frame also houses the typical GoPro mounting system at the bottom. Luckily, the company hasn’t overhauled its mounting system, so this camera will work with whatever accessories you already have – simply screw in and away you go.
We’ve not been in a situation where the camera has been tested to destruction, but our unit offers been dropped, bumped and submerged in water many times, and the rear touchscreen remains unscratched, the casing is still intact, and the lens is in good condition.
The only issue we found is with that removable zoom lens casing, which causes a small amount of water leakage after being subjected to some high dives from a party boat, which in turn creates some steaming in underwater situations. Regardless, it’s a sturdy little thing, despite the degree to which it’s seemingly exposed to the elements.
GoPro Hero5 Black: Performance
We tested the new GoPro Hero5 Black in a variety of situations, from the sunny climes of Mallorca to the slightly dismal and drizzly surroundings of southern England in winter. In short, the brand new camera is extremely simple to set up and use. A new Capture smartphone app means it’s easier than ever to tether the camera via its inbuilt Wi-Fi in order to adjust settings, review clips and download files to a mobile device.
That said, the rear touchscreen ensures that a smartphone isn’t really required, as it’s now possible to set up the perfect shot, with the correct settings, straight off the bat. Simply swipe to access camera settings or change the frame rate and so on, swipe again to review footage, and swipe some more to access ProTune configurations and tinker further.
However, the touchscreen requires a definite swipe to get things going and trying to achieve this can become frustrating when the unit is wet, with much prodding and poking required. Helpfully, GoPro has added voice control, should access the touch screen or smartphone app be impractical. Users can bark “GoPro start recording”, or “GoPro take a photo” to be able to carry out those functions, and it works well in the majority of situations. There’s also a small screen at the front which displays the mode (video, photo, burst, etc), the battery level and memory levels of the SD card.
GoPro Hero5 Black: Specifications
|Body type||VR/Action camera|
|Max resolution||4000 x 3000|
|Effective pixels||12 megapixels|
|Sensor size||1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)|
|USB||USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)|
|Dimensions||62 x 45 x 33 mm (2.44 x 1.77 x 1.3″)|
GoPro Hero5 Black: Conclusion
GoPro really had to step up its game if it wanted to remain at the top of the action cam pile, and the Hero5 Black is a great reminder of why the name is so revered. The camera is simple to use, yet remains a very powerful tool, while the addition of a rear touchscreen, voice control, and GPS make it one of the most feature-packed cams currently available. Video footage is now smoother than ever, while the ability to shoot stills in raw, and the Wide Dynamic Range feature, make the Hero5 Black more versatile than ever. In addition, the overhaul of GoPro’s post-production apps has made it much simpler to do something interesting with the resulting footage – an issue that bothered many action cam owners in the past.