Welcome to our 10-minute GoPro Buyer’s Guide.
We’re about to cover:
- The New GoPro Range
- Features, And Back-To-Back GoPro Comparisons
- The 3 Best GoPro Reviews
- The Best GoPro For The Money
By the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly which GoPro is right for you, your budget, and the type of filming you want to do.
The 2018 GoPro Range
I know what you’re thinking, the new GoPro range is incredibly confusing.
A quick search on Amazon will show a massive choice of action sports cameras including the HERO3+ Silver, HERO4, HERO4, HERO5, HERO5 Session, HERO6 – the list goes on.
So, which GoPro should you buy?
The new GoPro range has been simplified for 2018 and looks like this, in order of price:
- HERO5 Session (cheap)
- HERO5 Black
- HERO6 (most expensive)
But, you’ll still find the discontinued HERO4 Session available.
Here is a quick overview of the range.
|Session||HERO5 Session||HERO5 Black||HERO6 Black|
|Max Resolution||1440P / 30fps||4K / 30fps||4K / 30fps||4K/ 60fps|
|Optimum Resolution||1080P / 60fps||1440P / 60fps||1440P / 80fps||1440P / 120fps|
|Battery Life||1h 30m – 2h 05m||1h 20m – 2h||1h 20m – 2h 20m||1h – 1h 50m|
Below, we’ve created various GoPro comparison charts including:
- Video Quality
- GoPros With & Without 4K
- Video Stabilisation
- Wind Noise Reduction & Audio Quality
- Quality Of Stills
- WIFI & Bluetooth
- Touch Display
- Which GoPro Cameras Have Voice Control?
- Battery Life & Recharging
We’ve also created individual reviews of the best GoPros for the money.
Skip straight to the individual reviews by clicking the links below:
GoPro Comparison Charts
Video quality is the biggest difference between the new GoPro range and the old one.
So, let’s do a direct comparison between the three action cameras in their 2018 range, and one from 2017.
Which GoPro Has 4K?
4K is a resolution that takes footage from the amateur level, into the semi-pro and professional level.
Look of the GoPro surfing footage below.
This gives you an idea of the type of footage you’ll be able to capture in 4K.
The HERO4 Session doesn’t have 4k ability. However, you’ll get 4K with the HERO5 Session, HERO5 Black and HERO6 Black.
|Model||Max Resolution||Optimum Resolution|
|Session||1440P / 30fps||1080P / 60fps|
|HERO5 Session||4K / 30fps or 2.7k / 48fps||1440P / 60fps or 1080P / 90fps|
|HERO5 Black||4K / 30fps or 2.7K / 60fps||1440P / 80fps or 1080P / 120fps|
|HERO6 Black||4K/ 60fps or 2.7K / 120fps||1440P / 120fps or 1080P/ 240fps|
I know what you’re thinking. It’s all about resolution, and nothing else.
Well, it’s not.
It’s pointless being able to shoot in high resolution, if the footage isn’t stabilised.
Not all filming scenarios need video stabilization.
Check out this video stabilisation side-by-side comparison.
At times, it’s not noticeable. But the harsher the conditions, the more it becomes a factor.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, there’s a good chance you need a camera with video stabilisation.
And, that’s going to mean purchasing the HERO5 Session, or HERO5 Black.
Need video stabilisation on a pro level? You’ll need the HERO6 Black.
Wind Noise Reduction & Audio Quality
The single biggest factor affecting quality of the audio on GoPros, is the wind noise reduction system.
All cameras in the new range get a degree of stabilisation…
|Model||Wind Noise Reduction System|
For some reason, there’s not a single action sports camera brand that has managed to get this right.
There’s the lower end brands that have almost no wind noise reduction at all.
Then there’s the higher end brands like GoPro, where the wind noise reduction system can be intrusive. It kicks in so harshly, that it makes sound throughout a shoot inconsistent.
That said, there’s an enormous difference between the standard wind noise reduction system offered by the GoPro HERO4 Session, and the advanced wind noise reduction system offered by the HERO5 Session, HERO5 Black and HERO6.
The HERO4 Session wind noise reduction system covers little more than a light breeze.
The HERO5/HERO6 wind reduction system is much more advanced, allowing for higher quality audio throughout a shoot.
The wind noise reduction system can be controlled, thanks to the GoPro Wind-Slayer foam (additional purchase).
Quality Of Stills
Like every feature in the new action cameras, you’ll see progression in quality as you move up the range.
|Session||8MP / 10 FPS Burst Time Lapse|
|HERO5 Session||10MP / 30FPS Burst Time Lapse|
|HERO5 Black||12MP / 30 FPS Burst Time Lapse|
|HERO6 Black||12MP / 30 FPS Burst Time Lapse with HDR photos and touch zoom|
Let’s face it. Most people don’t but a GoPro to take stills. But, if you’re travelling light, it’s nice to have the ability to do so with your GoPro, rather than taking a separate camera for stills.
The time lapse feature allows videographers to become photographers, creating beautiful videos like this one:
And, this is one of the features many GoPro owners overlook. If you want to create time-lapse videos using stills like the one above, 8MP is certainly not going to make the grade.
10MP is borderline, but 12MP is where you need to be at.
There’s a good reason why this is one of the only 8MP time lapse videos on YouTube, the quality of the stills just doesn’t cut it.
WIFI & Bluetooth
With the older GoPros, you’d only get both WIFI and Bluetooth with the higher-end camera; the HERO4.
You’d be limited to just WIFI with the HERO3, and the HERO had neither.
Luckily, GoPro have upgraded the entire range.
So, all now come with WIFI and Bluetooth.
Touch display isn’t a new feature for GoPro, but it’s been improved considerably.
The new HERO5/HERO6 Black has a 2-inch touchscreen.
The new scrolling menu replaces the old clickable display. If you’ve ever used a clickable display with cold and wet hands, you’ll know this is a welcome upgrade.
Menu items are bigger too, and the whole menu has been simplified. That means quicker and easier navigation.
Gone are the days when you need to pay more than $500 to get a waterproof action camera. All four GoPro cameras are waterproof up to 33ft (10m).
This is possibly one of the biggest overhauls of the range.
Previous GoPros needed an additional waterproof housing.
Not only does this add to the bulk of the camera, meaning you catch extra wind and decrease sound quality, it also added weight.
Voice control is another cool feature introduced by GoPro.
So, who is it designed for?
Well, if you’re using a chest mount, or your GoPro is easily accessible, there’s a good chance you can live without it.
It’s really designed for those mounting a GoPro in hard to reach areas.
A few mounting examples might be:
- Car bonnet
- Motorcycle fairing
- Surf board
In the heat of the action, you’re not going to be able to change what your GoPro is doing without stopping altogether.
You’ll need to get out of your car, get off your bike, take off your helmet or jump off the swell; not good.
Which GoPro Action Cameras Have Voice Control?
Does Voice Control Work?
Like any new piece of technology, voice command by GoPro isn’t short of problems.
Wind Noise – GoPro Won’t Recognize Command
If you engage in a sport where you pick up speed (and wind noise), you’ll sometimes find it hard for your GoPro to recognize your command.
A common way of rectifying this problem is to use the Wind-Slayer foam.
This eliminates an element of background noise, making it easier for the camera to recognize the command.
Not Sure If GoPro Recognized A Command
Now, this is the real problem. When a GoPro recognises a command, it will make a beep. That’s confirming you’re good to go.
External wind noise is unavoidable. If you’re flying down a Piste, surfing in rough conditions, or on a motorcycle, there’s a good chance you won’t hear that beep.
The solution? The GoPro Remo. A wrist mounted device that connects you and your voice, to your GoPro.
Voice Control Commands List
There’s a tonne of voice control commands you can use from starting recording, through to starting and stopping a time lapse.
Just shout out any of the voice commands below:
- GoPro Start Recording
- GoPro Stop Recording
- GoPro Take a Photo
- GoPro Shoot Burst
- GoPro Start Time Lapse
- GoPro Stop Time Lapse
- GoPro Video Mode
- GoPro Photo Mode
- GoPro Time Lapse Mode
- GoPro Burst Mode
- GoPro Turn Off
Battery Life & Recharging
Battery life is a key concern for us action sports junkies.
It’s going to be affected by the mode you’re shooting in. A lower quality mode means more battery life.
If you’re looking to film for less than an hour at a time, you’re good to go.
|Model||Battery Life||Removable Battery?|
|Session||1h 30m – 2h 05m||No|
|HERO5 Session||1h 20m – 2h||No|
|HERO5 Black||1h 20m – 2h 20m||Yes|
|HERO6 Black||1h – 1h 50m||Yes|
Improving Battery Life
The options for improving battery life are minimal.
However, we’ve found that turning off WIFI and Bluetooth when they are not being used can give an additional 10-15 minutes.
Removable Batteries & Charging
The Session and HERO5 Session don’t have removable batteries. So, if you need more than 1.5-2 hours of film, you’ll need to charge on the move.
If you can’t live with 1.5-2 hours and can’t charge on the move, the HERO5 Black/HERO6 are the only option options; they’ve got removeable batteries.
You’ll get the same 1.5-2 hours of filming time. But, GoPro sell genuine spare batteries too.
So, you can switch them out; fast.
Take a handful with you and you’ve got a full day of filming.
And they’re rechargeable, so set them charging over night and you’re good to go for day two.
Choosing The Right GoPro
Choosing which GoPro to buy boils down to two simple things.
#1 – Cost
GoPros start at around $150 (for low-end refurbished models), to over $500.
That’s a big jump in price, and most people are going to be restricted by budget.
#2 – Video Quality & Features
In this life, you get what you pay for; GoPros are no different.
The more you spend, the more you’re going to get out of your action camera.
And, one of the big deal breakers for the cheaper Session, is that it doesn’t shoot in 4K.
Let’s face it. Every action sports junkie wants to show off their latest adventure in 4K.
Which GoPro Should You Buy From The 2018 Range?
The GoPro Session is perfect for those on a budget.
It allows amateurs to capture footage ready for the web. They’ll be able to create slow motion sequences, although zoom in post-production is minimal.
Adjusting settings for stills and video is limited.
It’s a simple camera designed for those that want to just get out there and play, rather than perfect their videography skills.
But that comes at a price, resolution is down to 8MP for stills and 1440P for video.
GoPro HERO5 Session
With the GoPro HERO5 session, footage improves to the semi-pro mark. Wind noise reduction is improved in comparison to the Session.
Settings adjustment here is improved over the Session too, and that means you’ll be able to shoot some real cool stuff.
But, you’ll need to install the GoPro App to get the best out of the camera and adjust settings.
The stills increase in quality, up from 8MP in the Session to 10MP here.
The deal maker is you can shoot 4K. Although, it’s limited to 2.7K in SuperView, but standard mode (and 4K) can be used in most scenarios.
GoPro HERO5 Black
Expect to be able to capture professional footage, that provides quality like that of the average broadcast.
You’ll get smooth slow-motion sequences, making this the top pick new and experienced action camera junkies.
4K across the board and you’ll be able to create awesome time lapse videos with the 12MP stills; a 4MP jump on the HERO4 Session, and 2MP on the HERO5 Session.
GoPro HERO6 Black
If you’ve got the budget and don’t want to compromise on video quality, the HERO6 is for you.
You’ll get the same quality of stills, but there’s a big jump in footage quality in both 2.7K & 4K.
To put this simply, you’ll get 4K / 30fps or 2.7K / 60fps with the HERO5 Black.
That’s boosted to 4K/ 60fps or 2.7K / 120fps with the HERO6 Black. 2x the performance.
If you want to create the best video footage possible, it’s going to be with the HERO5 Black.
Skip to review:
In our 2-minute review of the GoPro Session, we’re going to explain what it can do, and what it can’t.
First, check out some of the footage GoPro released.
That’s the type of footage you’ll be able to catch with a GoPro Session.
GoPro Session Features
Like all GoPros, the Session offers incredible film quality for such a small and lightweight camera.
And, being so small means it’s easy to mount on helmets, surf boards, or even your chest.
It’s robust thanks to the housing it shares with the HERO5 and HERO5 session, and if you’ve got old mounts from another HERO4, it’s compatible – no need to be buying new ones.
It also gets:
- Wind noise reduction
- 33ft (10m) waterproofing
- WIFI and bluetooth
For an entry level camera, it offers exceptional value for money.
Features That Let The GoPro Session Down
You won’t be posting your video with #4k #2.7k on Instagram, because it doesn’t have either.
It’s also fairly limited in terms of resolution and settings. In fact, to change the settings, you’ll need to install the GoPro App on your smartphone.
Looking for a simple and robust camera that’s ready to go? Look no further.
Prefer to tweak settings, and are desperate for 2k/4k?
Skip straight over to our review of the HERO5 Session or HERO5 Black.
What’s Included With Your Purchase
There’s a standard frame for those wanting to use the Session with a GoPro mount. And, a lower profile frame that’s used to get the GoPro mounted as close as possible to the mounting surface.
Apart from that, you’ll get the usual buckle that works with the adhesive mounts, and a micro USB cable.
GoPro offer a reasonable 1-year warranty with a Session purchase.
Size & Weight
If you’re planning to mount this on a helmet; good news. The new Session is 40% lighter than before.
And, if your adrenaline fix involves speed, it’s 50% smaller, so catches less wind, and less wind
If you’re a minimalist, the GoPro Session is for you. It’s a one button pre-setup camera.
Hit the button, a red light means it’s recording, and a blue light means that WIFI is on.
Memory & Battery Life
You’ll be able to use a 64GB UHS-1 MicroSD or Class 10. And, that’s more than enough storage, considering the battery life is around 2 hours.
The battery life is going to be reduced slightly when using features such as WIFI and Bluetooth.
If you’re looking to grab more than 2 hours of footage, take a power pack and a USB charger. Like the HERO5 Session, the battery is built into the camera.
It’s worth noting, powering the Session on and off between shooting will increase battery life, but only slightly.
On a positive note, if you forget to turn off the camera and it goes into standby mode, you’ll find even a few days later, you’ll have near on the same charge.
The Session works in two modes. The one you’ll be using the most is the 30fps at 1080P Full HD. But, there’s also a ½ second time lapse mode too.
If you want to fiddle with other footage settings, you’ll need to GoPro app. Alternatively, you can use their Smart Remote, although that’s going to set you back around $100.
Overall, the video quality for such a low budget camera is top notch.
But, if you’re an action cam geek, you’re going to feel the lack of functionality for making films is just too much to handle.
A big gripe for many is wind noise from action cameras. GoPro have now introduced wind noise reduction features into all their cameras, and it’s noticeable – partly thanks to the dual mics.
Even so, this only tends to dull a light breeze. Anything more, and sound gets affected.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie that surfs, cycles at speed or even rides a motorcycle, you might want to think about grabbing a higher-end GoPro. You’ll notice the difference.
But, if budget doesn’t allow that, there’s several ways to reduce wind noise.
One of the simplest and cheapest is to purchase a foam for your GoPro. But bear in mind, this is also going to reduce sound sharpness.
Who Should Buy The GoPro Session?
There’s certainly nothing wrong with the footage quality. But, this is a camera that’s designed for an amateur, who doesn’t know or have time to fine-tune the settings to get the best out of a camera.
Because this camera is pre-set, you’ll be able to get reasonable footage straight out of the box.
If you prefer to fine tune settings before every shoot, then you’ll need to lean towards the HERO5 Session, HERO5 Black or HERO6.
And, on a wind noise note. The Session incorporates basic wind noise reduction. The HERO5 and HERO5 session both incorporate “advanced” wind noise protection, and it really makes a difference.Check GoPro HERO4 Session Price
Want to go one step further than the HERO4 Session?
Our GoPro HERO5 Session review will help you decide.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is the same camera, due to sharing the a similar design.
The digital image stabilisation on offer here is far superior, and it has something very important that the standard Session doesn’t; the chance to shoot in 4K.
And, the footage in 4K looks like this. Pretty awesome for an action camera at this price-point.
So yeah, it’s also waterproof up to 33ft (10m).
Where The GoPro HERO5 Session Falters
If you’re after noise reduction, you’ll get the advanced version in the HERO5 Session, compared with basic wind reduction in the Session.
The problem is, it’s quite intrusive. And, that means overall sound sharpness is affected.
Like the lower priced Session, it’s also got a non-removeable battery. Annoying. That can be sorted easily, by using the GoPro BacPac.
If you need a removable battery, then you’ll need to grab the HERO5 Black or HERO6 Black.
What’s Included With Your Purchase
We’re always impressed that GoPro offer a 1-year warranty, given the abuse that these cameras go through.
That said, this is no different to the standard Session.
Size & Weight
If you’re upgrading from the old HERO4, the first thing you’re going to notice is the reduction in weight. Coupled with a huge reduction in size, it’s now lighter and sleeker than ever before.
Those using the HERO5 Session on a chest mount might not notice the difference. But, if you’re mounting this on a helmet, you’ll feel the difference instantly.
Like any GoPro, to get the most out of it you’re going to need to install their app. While some settings can be adjusted without it, most can’t.
Unlike the one button operation of the standard Session, you’ve got voice control here. And, that’s all good and well if you’re not bombing down a mountain, and you’re subjecting the camera to wind noise.
Voice control becomes a bit more difficult in these situations, but it’s still functional; if you raise your voice.
Memory & Battery Life
You’re going to find that battery life with all GoPros is similar.
Expect to be able to get around 2 hours on a full charge. And, you’ll be able to use standby for a day or more and still have 1-1.5 hours of film in the bank.
Like the standard Session, the battery is non-removable. So, if you’re shooting hours of footage a day, this is where the HERO5 Black / HERO6 Black win hands-down; they have a removable battery.
You’ll have a USB-C port and of course, a slot on the side for your MicroSD.
Video & Image Quality
Now, this is where the difference rely lies between the HERO5 Session and the HERO4 Session.
The big downfall of the original Session is the video quality. That’s not to say it’s terrible, but let’s face it, we all want 4K. And, the HERO5 session has it.
The 4K works at 30fps, and the image stabilisation feature makes you feel like you’re shooting film, rather than just amateur footage.
But, you can’t always be at 4K. The HERO5 Session as a SuperView mode; basically, it’s wide.
And, when you’re shooting in SuperView, you’ll be down to 2.7K (still above what the standard Session can achieve), whereas the HERO5 Black will still be at 4k.
Always need 4K? You’ll need the HERO5/6 Black.
You’ll be upgrading from 8MP on the Session, up to the 10MP that the HERO5 Session offers. So, if you’re taking a lot of stills & video, this is great option.
GoPro have tried to implement noise reduction features in all their cameras. The HERO5 Session and HERO5 Black get advanced wind noise reduction. But, it does seem to work a bit like a light switch.
You’ll start to hear wind noise, suddenly they’ll be nothing, but the entire audio of the video is affected. The sharpness of the sound is reduced, and it can make video editing difficult.
Who Should Buy The GoPro HERO5 Session?
If you’re chomping at the bit to download the GoPro app and start fine tuning camera settings; the HERO5 Session is the camera for you.
If you’d prefer to go with factory settings, just want to get out there and shoot, and are not particularly bothered about 4K; save yourself the cash and buy the standard GoPro Session.Check GoPro HERO5 Session Price
Let’s face it. For those that have the budget, the GoPro HERO5 Black is only topped by the HERO6 in the action camera world.
It might not be the cheapest camera, but what it offers for the price is more than exceptional.
It’s an action camera for every sport. Whether you’re diving up to 33ft/10m (it’s waterproof up to this depth), hitting muddy trails or mountaineering, it’s robust enough to deal with it all.
And, the end-result is nothing short of spectacular. The quality of the footage alone, is worth the cost.
Check out some video shot with a HERO5 Black below.
Enter, Touch Display
If you’re using an old HERO4, there’s a big feature you’re going to be missing out on; a 2-inch touch screen display.
Unlike previous GoPros, this touchscreen doesn’t need a waterproof housing to keep it safe. And, that means it’s sleeker and lighter than ever.
Particularly important if you plan to mount it on a helmet. The extra weight makes a lot of difference here.
You’re cold, wet, and you’ve been navigating the clickable display for minutes. That’s hassle. And, that’s the old GoPros.
This is where the GoPro HERO5 Black beats its predecessors with the new scrollable menu.
Menu items are larger and that makes navigation an absolute breeze.
And, as an additional bonus, you can edit footage on the move.
Yup, straight from the touch screen.
Battery life isn’t set in stone. Start switching on Bluetooth, GPS and WIFI, and you’ll notice the battery drain speed up. Even the heat can affect how fast the battery dies. On an average day, you’ll get 1.5-2 hours of footage.
Battery is again where the HERO5 Black, trumps the Session.
Finally, a removable battery.
The non-removable battery of the Session are almost a deal breaker. It means carrying battery packs and sitting around waiting for a charge.
Who has time for that?
If you use a stick or chest mount, operating a GoPro isn’t exactly difficult.
But, mount it on a board or helmet, and it’s almost a 2-person job. And, that’s why GoPro have introduced voice activation. Just shout out “GoPro, start recording” and you’re good to go.
You’ll hear beeps as you shout out your commands, and that’s a sign the command has been accepted.
This is where the HERO5 Black earns its price tag.
I mean, just go ahead and check this out.
So, you get the same 4K as you do in the HERO5 Session, but this is extended to their SuperView filming mode.
The HERO5 Session drops to 2.7K here. And, the HERO5 Black it shoots 4K at 30fps which is considerably better than any competitor products.
You’ll get a wide-angle lens to compliment the 4K and that’s what enables you to grab footage like the video above.
But, more impressive of all, is the quality holds for low-light scenarios. If you plan to film in the evening, or maybe even in a cave, this is the camera for you.
GoPro have realised that a lot of their customers are a lil’ crazier than they thought. And, for extreme footage, a camera needs extreme video stabilisation.
They’ve given the HERO5 video stabilisation below 4K and it’s a significant improvement on older HERO4 models.
Of course, there’s only far video stabilisation can go. There’s going to be some movement in the picture for exceptionally bumpy rides.
But, with improved stabilisation comes much better sound quality too.
The stabilisation helps to stop the wind reduction system kicking in, which is notorious for muffling sound, making sound inconsistent throughout a video.
You’re not short of ability when it comes to taking stills either.
Using 12MP, you’ll be able to get some excellent shots. That’s a full 4MP higher than the original Session.
Like video, there’s image stabilisation available which helps to improve the quality of stills.
There’s a noticeable difference between the wind noise on the Session and the HERO5/HERO6 models. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not still a problem.
If you’re a surfer, long boarder, cyclist, motorcyclist or even a paraglider, your videos are going to be overpowered by wind noise.
And, that’s why we’d recommend getting some foam to protect from wind noise. GoPro produce their own foam called the “Wind-Slayer”.
Who Should Buy The GoPro HERO5 Black?
You want quality footage, but don’t have an unlimited budget. You don’t want to take amateur footage, but something that’s border-line pro.
The HERO5 Black has everything the average filmographer needs in terms of:
- Video stabilisation
- Quality of stills and video
- Wind noise reduction
So, that’s where we’d be putting our money.Check GoPro HERO5 Black Price
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