Hands on review of the GoPro Hero 5 Session and Hero 5 Black Cameras
We have been a pro dealer and used GoPro’s for over 10 years and today we had the privilege of going down to London to the UK launch of the new GoPro Hero 5 range and all the new info and products from GoPro for the next season! We are so stoked to give you guys our first hands on review and impression of the new cameras, apps and systems that are coming. This is such a big design change for GoPro over the next months it almost feels like when the GoPro’s first changed to HD! So we will try and lead you though the important changes not just to the hardware but also the software and general GoPro ethos that has changed.
“There is so much more than just a new camera, this is a new future!”
Software and Ethos
Firstly we need to briefly talk about the ethos and software side of the system. This is good news for existing GoPro users as well as new owners as this is all coming together and backwards compatible to current cameras! Firstly connecting to the camera and your phone or tablet. This has been a bit of a pain before at times and they have simply solved this. It is now super easy with just a couple of clicks in the app and NO extra settings fiddling to connect and view your footage YAY! That will roll out in the app and camera firmware update in the next month. The next cool accessory is the Quik Key this is a keyfob SD card reader that plugs into your phone (IPad/ IPhone/ Android) and the Quik video editing app connects through it to copy video files directly onto your device much faster than wifi.
Video editing and Apps
This has been a hella big bit of work at GoPro’s end by buying two software editing companies and merging their tech together with GoPro’s existing software has created an amazingly powerful piece of kit! There are two new apps; Capture and Quik. Capture is the replacement for the current GoPro app to do all your fiddling and live view review footage etc. Quik is a simple and automatic video editing tool. If you select your clips then choose a theme, song and length; it will edit the movie together matching action to the sounds applying filters and colours etc like a pro and leaves you to export then upload. GoPro boasts that using this software you can import, edit, export and upload a video in under a minute flat. For simple short videos this is awesome as any GoPro user will tell you there are gb’s of footage taken, reviewed and nothing done with because we all don’t have the time to sit down and edit stuff we have more interesting things to do with our life’s! Quik now gives you a simple solution to create simple edits in a few clicks ready to share on Facebook/ Youtube/ Instagram rather than letting it sit on your SD card. Add to that the Quik Key we mentioned earlier and you could edit your session in the carpark or car on the way home and upload without even seeing a computer!
New GoPro Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session Cameras
So enough about the software what about the cameras! There are two new cameras coming to the range and also the Karma drone and stabiliser. The Karma is such an amazing thing on it’s own we will talk more about that separately for now let’s just worry about the cameras as they are going to be available for sale a lot sooner than the drone! The basic Session camera that was out this year continues into next season for entry level users on a budget at £179 but there is now a Hero 5 Session at £249 and a Hero 5 Black at £349 these cameras are what GoPro have been working on for the last two years or more and both have three extra special headline features: Waterproof without a case, Image stabilisation and hands free control with voice commands! Then there are a host of other changes and upgrades under the hood. But lets just look at the top things to start with.
Waterproof without a case
This means much better audio, cooling, ease of use, clarity and much more. No more fogging up inside the case! If you need the extra depth for diving or durability there is a extra case for the GoPro Hero 5 Black called the “super suit” which gives you all the 60m dive depth and features of the old case etc.
This is on both Hero 5 cameras and on our testing by shaking about viciously we were greatly impressed! Yes you can still make it shake if you really go for it but to get rid of wobbles and vibrations that were annoying on the gopro when using it on a bike handlebar or on a POV pole then this will make a world of difference. It’s not as good as a full blown 3 axis gimbal but it is damn good for many shots when walking, running and when vibration is affecting the shot.
There are 10 programmed in commands (plus a bonus hidden one) in five languages to let you control the GoPro Hero5 without touching it. This can start the camera filming, take a photo or burst of photos and much more. Once you get used to the commands and how to speak them clearly it works really nice. Obviously there is sometimes an ambient noise problem and GoPro have thought about this with the new remote (Remo) that has a microphone in it for telling the camera what to do if it’s a distance away. Super nice and simple. This also makes the Hero 5 Session much easier to use taking both photos and video without having to change settings on phone etc.
So those are the headline features what about the other cool little changes that could make your life better if you are into the sports we are? So there is a new shooting FOV (Field of Vision) for those that want a more traditional camera view. It’s called “Linear” and is perfect for those scenic shots when you are up a mountain and don’t want to take two cameras. Or if it is flying through the air This gets away from the traditional gopro fish eye look to the footage and in some mounting locations it will be super handy when you don’t want that barrel look to the video.
The UI (User Interface) on the GoPro Hero 5 Black has also had loads of work. The touch screen on the Hero4 Silver and bacpack has always felt a bit simple and clunky if added on as an after thought but the new Hero 5 Black has a super slick interface that makes it a pleasure to change and adjust settings at a swipe and review footage. This means even novices with the camera can set it up and use it without grief or manuals to find the solution. The app interface for the Session is also improved and makes it very easy to set up and connect to the camera.
Other cool features
Another shared hardware advantages are both the new cameras have moved over the USB-C connection which allows fast charging and with the high power wall unit this can be 20-70% faster charging than before. So it’s much quicker to recharge a flat camera if you don’t have a spare battery or if it’s a sealed battery like the Hero 5 Session. Both also use super durable Guerilla Glass for the lens covers and have easy to change lens’s if they do get damaged. The Black just twists and clips off and the Session unscrews. Both cameras feel solid and heavy in the hand with much more metal used in the case construction for strength and should also help with cooling when worked hard.
Something that came from the original session development has been the one button camera. Both models (and many other gopro accessories) now have one real button to control them and an extra button for mode or wifi. This means the camera isn’t on standby and not filming so starts and stops super quickly. This seems to improve the battery life further than before and makes it super simple to use once set up in your “normal” shooting modes. They have really pushed the keep it simple philosophy with the buttons and menus now.
So which GoPro hero 5 should I go for?
So in terms of hardware specs then you would be excused if you weren’t sure which camera to go for the Hero 5 Session or the Hero 5 Black both have super high specs in video and photos shooting modes and have all the new key features like the image stabilisation and voice commands plus the new software and app support. But there are some differences and advantages to both cameras though:
The main advantage on the GoPro Hero 5 Session is the form factor, this little cube is super small and feels super durable in it’s metal build quality. I almost in a sadistic want to see how much we could push it for durability! The main downside on this camera for us is the sealed battery unit. I can understand the reason because it is tight packed inside there! This battery still gives a good time filming and photos if doing smaller clips but you have to stop and recharge the camera instead of swapping a battery. We have not tried the Hero 5 Session in a cold climate up a mountain yet to know how long you get on a charge so time will tell. But if you really want a super small lightweight camera with amazing easy to use functionality and not to compromise on picture quality then this is perfect for you. This is the ideal companion camera for someone wanting to vlog their life or activities with something better and more adventurous than a phone. Doing small clips rather than 30mins videos, super easy to use and charge up quickly from a power outlet or portable battery pack. Edit and upload with the Quik Key and Quik App and it’s a camera you would use in places you would never take your phone! Plus you can use the footage without needing to turn on a computer.
So with this we have decided that we actually “need” both the new Hero 5 Session and Hero 5 Black in our camera bag as they both have their uses and we feel having the session will expand some of our filming opportunities and angles. If you only have the option of one camera then the decision is harder. But I think for many the Hero 5 Black is going to be the safer bet especially if you have had a gopro before and had swapped and used extra batteries more in your activities. If you had a previous GoPro and only used one battery then we would really recommend looking at the Hero 5 Session as that little camera has blown us away with what it can do!
When can I get my hands on a GoPro Hero 5?
So lastly if this has got your appetite up for a new camera when can you get it? Well they are due to arrive in the the UK in the first week of October in small numbers. If you want a camera then we recommend contacting us to get your name down on one! We are doing a pre-registered interest offer of a free SD 32gb Card too so you have everything to get you up and filming. We know these GoPro’s are going to be super popular and often in the past GoPro have struggled to keep up with demand so we will try our best! Just let us know you want one!