GoPro dropped two new camera announcements on the world last week, teasing their new Fusion 360 camera system while fully launching their latest flagship action cam, the HERO 6 Black.
Keep in mind, the HERO 6 doesn’t actually replace the HERO 5 (not yet, at least) because the two models share a lot of the same features like the self-contained rugged body capable of diving 33ft under water, the same lens, same image sensor, but they are priced $100 apart.
Why? The HERO 6 is all new on the INSIDE where a new, custom-designed GP1 image processor makes the camera faster at 4K and lower resolutions and should improve dynamic range as well as low light performance. Digital image stabilization is also smoother than ever, and the 5Ghz WiFi will transfer footage to your GoPro App on your iOS or Android phone three times quicker than the HERO 5.
- 4K at up to 60 frames-per-second
- 2.7K at up to 120fps
- 1080HD at up to 240 fps
- New GP1 image processor is 2x faster than the HERO 5
- 5GHz Wi-Fi is 3x faster than the HERO 5
- Quick Stories on the GoPro app for iOS & Android
HANDS ON FIRST IMPRESSIONS
In no particular order, here’s what I’ve experienced thus far:
The Karma drone bundle is a fantastic deal because it saves you about $200 versus buying the camera and drone and grip separately, and it all comes in a clever, rugged case that turns into a backpack.
Setup is as easy as setting up an iPhone or Android device. Simply follow the prompts, connect the camera, and away you go.
The touchscreen is accurate and clear, but a little hard to use for those with larger fingers. Still, the menu system is intuitive, simple, and well put together overall.
Battery life is subpar. Whether you’re watching footage, adjusting settings, or recording, expect to get less than 2hours out of a battery (and watch how warm the tiny body gets). Also, for whatever reason, my camera came with about a 10% charge, which ran out before I could set the camera up. Also, the microSD card slot is in with the battery compartment so I recommend removing the battery for easier access to the card.
The Audio quality remains mediocre or worse and this camera definitely doesn’t match DSLRs or ILCs in terms of sharpness and color accuracy, but this camera is smaller, more affordable, and can go anywhere.
The HERO 6 uses the HEVC codec for its higher frame rates, which means you Mac users must upgrade to High Sierra or you won’t be able to SEE your footage, let alone edit it.
PIXEL PEEPING 4K/60, 2.7K/120, & 1080/240 FOOTAGE
The most exciting thing about the new HERO 6 Black is the improved frame rates: 4K video at 60 frames-per-second for ultra smooth videos and/or in-post slow-motion PLUS 2.7K at 120fps or 1080HD at 240fps for ultra smoooooth slow motion.
As you can see from the above video, the results are pretty obvious —
4K video @ 24p or 60p is, naturally, the clearest. The image is a tad noisy compared to larger sensor cameras, but it doesn’t crush shadow details and distant objects are clean and clear. The 60p footage plays back naturally but can be slowed in post for pretty good effect. But I wouldn’t slow it past 25% speed, or it starts to get choppy.
2.7K video @ 120fps is quite sharp as well, and the best setting to capture ultra slow motion on the camera. Think of 2.7K as a nice mix of ultra slow and high res; it upscales to 4K nicely and background details are still abundant. However, and this might because I’m new to the GoPro ecosystem, 120fps slow-motion footage comes with built-in time ramping where each clip starts in real-time, ramps down to slow-mo, and ramps back up to real-time. The effect is definitely cool & dramatic, but it also means some shots won’t start IN slow-mo. (There’s probably a fix I need to look up.)
Lastly, 1080HD @ 240fps provides the smoothest slow-motion of them all at a cost of overall resolution, sharpness, and brightness. Say so long to your background details. Sure, it will upscale to 4K, I guess, and could be used in videos for dramatic moments, but shooting in 4K & 2.7K are much better options. (And you’d be suprised how quickly your editing timeline fills up with six-plus minute clips!)
WHERE TO BUY
The GoPro HERO 6 Black is available NOW for $499.99 & the Karma drone bundle is $1,199.99. Links to Amazon below: