Here at the ATBShop we have just got in the all new GoPro Hero 4 and the Hero, arriving just in time for those pre-winter holiday bookings to escape the denial that the cold is really coming! Lucky for me however, this meant I got to test it out on one of the most culturally unique and beautiful Caribbean islands on the planet, Jamaica.
On delivery of the goods, we had great difficulty in deciding which GoPro Hero 4 to choose to take out. At a first glance it was either the ever dominating Black edition, shooting up to 4K at 30fps, which is incredible quite frankly for its sheer size and weight. The Hero; which is this years budget camera that shoots up to 30fps at 1080p or, the Hero 4 Silver Edition that features the all new built in touch screen LCD display yet remains the exact same size as it’s older sibling Hero 3+. Shooting up to 4K at 15fps whilst having the ability to shoot 1080p at 60fps and 720p at 120fps, the Silver seemed the most logical and yet most exciting choice to make due to the all new LCD and more than high enough resolution for us to use.
The breakdown of the Hero 4 Silver Edition:
Eradicating a problem that has been around since GoPro sold their first camera in 2005, the new built-in touchscreen LCD display now makes it super easy to compose those crazy angles, you can flick through playback and adjust the settings ready to go again without hassle. With interchangeable back doors you can play with all of these features without having to remove the camera from the housing, however when combined with the waterproof back door, you can still adjust the settings on the front mini LCD using the front and side buttons. This made it super easy to take out snorkelling and adjust or even playback my footage whilst floating on the surface before diving back down!
So what else is different you ask? Well in regards to the overall look of the camera, the front mini LCD seems to have been reinforced, no doubt this was a result of many complaining as I did about the vulnerability of the Hero 3+ mini LCD and it cracking (see picture). GoPro have also decided to get rid of the aggravating, tiny wifi button that was consistently getting stuck and draining sweet valuable battery life. However they have replaced it with a larger, more solid, multi-function button that allows you to not only connect to a device via wifi but adjust your capture settings without sieving through the various menus using the Mode button. To coincide with the playback feature, GoPro have added a built-in speaker to which is actually pretty good judging on its size and positioning, however I have found reviewing your footage in quite places can be pretty awkward as you are unable to turn the volume down or even off.
It seems they have felt the need to change the battery entirely also by putting the port underneath the camera which, to start with was a real pain as you have to buy all new batteries. However this has left me amazed with the length of use I can get out of it considering it runs a built in LCD, which as an attachment for the previous Hero’s, used to suck the life from the battery.
My expectations of the Hero4 where set at a very high standard after an incredible performance provided by the Hero 3 and 3+, the idea of the Hero4 had to be faster, easier to use and of course take a pedestal in quality result. The low light capabilities of the Hero 3+ where pretty amazing to begin with yet produced a fair amount of digital noise and distortion. The Hero4 has shown to be an improvement in low light for film showing less digital noise. I tried tested the Hero 4 in different lights using LED juggling balls, check the video out here:
Photos in lower light however have the capability to take incredible shots with a steady hand or a form of tripod, with the Hero 4’s new night lapse setting you can now achieve prolonged exposures from 2 to 30 seconds enabling you to star gaze with a GoPro!
Probably one of GoPro’s largest selling points has to be the simplicity of use and yet the deliverance of quality, because of this it has become an almost necessity to carry it around everywhere due to its size and weight. Another great feature was if I saw something that I wanted to video or photograph, the new Quick Capture mode allowed me to simply point and shoot and the camera will start recording or take a photo shortly after switching itself on, then simply it switches itself off straight after!
As a product that practically screams to the general public, the Hero 4 Silver Edition in comparison to it’s earlier models, is the the pinnacle of practicality and quality for the price. Compared to this years other Hero 4 models such as the Black Edition to which targets more hardcore film makers that have the time, money and not to mention the hardware to process such high def footage, the Silver remains and ideal choice for anyone looking to start out, to video making fanatics looking for an absolutely awesome piece of equipment for all their sporting needs! GoPro have really set the game with this one!