In front of an enthusiastic crowd of GoPro employees and technology fans, Nick Woodman channeled his inner steve jobs today and announced GoPro’s newest addition to the family – the GoPro HERO6 Black. To the naked eye, the GoPro HERO6 Black looks much alike its predecessor, but the real changes that occurred with this sports action camera come under the hood. And, they’re impressive.
Want to shoot in 4K at 60 frames per second? No problem. What about 1080P at 240 frames per second for “buttery smooth” slo-mo videos? It can do that too.
Like we said before, the GoPro HERO6 Black looks almost identical to the Hero5 Black. So, if you were hoping for a newer looking, sleeker and sexier device, you’re going to be wondering what actually is different. Instead of focusing on the look from the outside, GoPro refocused and put all of their energy into the power and capabilities of the Hero6.
The GoPro HERO6 Black comes with a ton of changes under the hood, including but not limited to:
- 4K at 60 Frames Per Second (Hero5 Black – 30 frames per second)
- 1080P at 240 Frames Per Second (Hero5 Black – 730p as 240 Frames Per Second)
- Image Stablizing for 4K (Hero5 Black – 2.7K Image Stablization)
- New Processing Chip (Called the GoPro GP1, made by GoPro)
- Long Exposure Increase to 10 Seconds (Hero 5 Black – 2 seconds)
- Dual 2.4Ghz/5Ghz for Uploads & Downloads (2x faster than Hero5 Black)
- No Hands Voice Control for Powering On/Off
Now, you may be looking at that list above saying to yourself ‘That’s not that much of a difference over the Hero5 Black.’ If you are, just put that thought in your back pocket until the end of this review and remember that all of these are IMPROVEMENTS made over the HERO5 Black.
The real magic is in the picture quality and the experience that the GoPro HERO6 Black provides for the user. Being able to shoot in 4k at 60 frames per second and 4k with image stabilization is a game changer.
The level of quality in the picture nearly doubles in over its predecessor. And, when it comes to low light shots, thats where the HERO6 Black comes to shine.
Appearance & Camera Housing
When it comes to checking out everything that the GoPro Hero6 Black has to offer, lets start with the actual housing and appearance of the device. Just like we stated earlier, when it comes to the looks of the HERO6 Black, there isn’t much of a change over the HERO5 Black.
When it comes to the housing quality you can expect a similar experience compared to the previous model. The HERO6 Black is waterproof up to approximately 30 feet without any additional cases to protect the housing. If you want to jump in the pool or dive into the ocean right underneath the surface of the water, you won’t need any additional equipment to do so, which is pretty cool because the majority of users don’t dive too deep when it comes to filming.
However, if you use a the GoPro Karma Grip, you’re going to have to keep this thing as dry as possible because of the device requiring to use the little housing door for the charger. Just a note to keep in the back of your mind when you unbox your HERO6 and start living it up.
When you move around to the back of the device, you have a beautiful touch screen display that is much more responsive in the HERO6 Black. The display will allow you to frame your shot and see what you’re actually shooting so that you can capture the scene that you want to. Although the touchscreen is waterproof, its not the best to use underwater if you’re looking to change the HERO6 Black’s settings. It’s much easier to use the camera’s manual buttons to do so.
Although that’s a little bit of a setback, it really won’t apply to the 99% of the population that actually uses their GoPro HERO6 Black on dry land.
The interaction on the menu is much smoother over the HERO5, and just like the HERO5, you can use voice commands. The most significant addition to the voice commands is that you can now power on the HERO6 Black with your voice as well.
So, lets get to the meat of what we want to talk about. It’s a video camera, so you want to know how good the quality is. Like we said before, the HERO6 Black now has the capability to shoot in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, which is significant improvement over the 4K resolution at 30 frames per second in the HERO5 Black.
However, the game changer is the image stabilization capabilities of the GoPro HERO6 Black that will make you jump for joy. Last year, GoPro introduced image stablization with the HERO5 Black, but the feature was only limited to filming when the camera was capturing 2.7K video. Now with the HERO6 Black, you can bump that same capability up to 4K with the ability to film 2.7K at 120 frames per second.
For those slow motion aficionados out there, you’re going to love the GoPro HERO6 Black’s capability of filming in 1080P at 240 frames per second. Previously in the HERO5, the best that it could capture in slo-mo was 720P at 240FPS, which doesn’t seem like much of a difference. However, the difference is huge because slow motion on the HERO6 Black looks unbelievable compared to the HERO5.
That is a significant jump in ability in just one year, and the HERO6 Black’s 2.7K capabilities allow you to film the smoothest video in 2.7K with an action sports camera. The real magic happens when these improvements act with GoPro’s new internal processor, the GP1. The camera’s image stabilization is vastly improved over the HERO5 due to the GP1, which now gives the camera the ability to return a picture when low-light filming that will impress.
The camera’s speed to adjust to different lighting is the fastest that it has ever been. Whether you’re in a bright or dark setting, or a setting that’s always changing (i.e. being outside with structures around), the HERO 6 Black reacts rapidly to light exposure. This allows you to film not only the smoothest video possible, but it allows you to film it in always changing environments without losing video quality.
The GoPro HERO6 Black doesn’t only take phenomenal video, it also has the ability to capture amazing images also. In the HERO6 Black, you will have all of the same capabilities as in the HERO5. You can take time-lapse shots, photo bursts, and regular photos if you want to capture a moment with this action packed device.
What’s new to the HERO6 Black is it’s capability to capture HDR photos, much like the iPhone 7/8/X. So, you’ll capture brighter, more vivid photographs with fantastic clarity now instead of having to pull your phone out, which is a plus.
If you don’t want to snap a picture in HDR, the GoPro HERO6 Black will still return photos of amazing clarity with improved exposure & coloring over its previous version. This is largely due to the camera’s new GP1 chipset – the new processor just ups the camera’s capability in every aspect.
When it comes to the battery life of the GoPro HERO6 Black, you can expect the same performance as the HERO5. Despite all of the additions to the internal components of the camera, the HERO6 doesn’t lose battery performance when compared to its predecessor.
Depending on the quality of video you’re shooting, you can expect the following performance:
- 4K at 60 FPS (frames per second): One hour +
- 1080P at 30FPS (frames per second): Two hours +
So, depending on 4K or 1080P and you’re using habits, you can expect the camera to perform between 1-2 hours. What’s great about the HERO6 Black is that it is completely compatible with the HERO5 Black battery. If you’re upgrading over the HERO5 Black, you will be able to use those batteries to extend the life of your HERO6 Black. Plus, that means that third party batteries will work as well, which are widely available at cheaper prices.
Talking about the camera’s file transferring and video format compatibility is the unsexy part of this review. But, we felt that GoPro’s shift to H.265/HEVC because of file size is necessary to bring to your attention because the file format isn’t compatible with all of the video editing programs out there yet.
If you’re filming in 4K, 2.7K, or 1080P at 240 frames per second for slow motion video, you’re going to be frustrated because you will have to manually transfer all of your footage to your computer. And, as of right now there are a lot of popular programs that don’t support H.265 at the time of the GoPro HERO6 Black’s release. For example, if you use Final Cut Pro X, you’re going to have a bad time. Certainly, updates will roll out to keep up with the technology, but its just an manual upload waiting game until that happens.
Final Word – Is the GoPro HERO6 Black Worth It?
To say that this thing is a beast would be an understatement. GoPro doubled down by creating their own chipsets in-house with the GP1, and the return that they get in terms of the performance of HERO6 Black is amazing. When it comes to video quality, image quality, build quality, compatibility, you name it – the GoPro HERO6 Black performs. And, it performs fantastically.
The real game changer about the HERO6 Black is the fact that you can film in 4K at 60FPS, 2.7K at 120FPS, and slo-mo 1080P at 240FPS. When you film in these settings and bring it back home to edit on your computer, or via the GoPro app, you’re going to be blown away. The quality is phenomenal and the tracking at the highest settings is smooth. Especially at 2.7K or 1080P, you’re going to get “buttery-smooth” video.
Are there some flaws in the HERO6 Black? Yes, you can pick the device apart and come up with some things, such as the camera’s file transferring capabilities. However, as everything catches up in the space, those problems should be alleviated. It would be nice to have a 3-4 hour battery life, but its just unrealistic at this time due to battery technology and the power at which this device operates.
With that in mind, you won’t be upset picking up the GoPro HERO6 Black. If you’re buying it for yourself or for someone else, you’re going to be blown away by the video that this little action packed mighty-mouse camera brings back. It’s perfect for daily use, action sports, interviews, vlogs, you name it. This thing is the ultimate action camera on the market, and you can buy it right here on Amazon today.
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