At the time I wrote and created my video review, the GoPro Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session had been available to the public for about 2 months. I held off making any kind of review video or article after the initial launch as I really wanted to get to know the camera and have a good amount of time to use and test it before I made any kind of judgments or conclusions.
Things I Love About The Hero 5 Black
I have been using the Hero 5 Black quite a bit over the past few months and I now feel comfortable to make a review or thoughts video. I just want to point out that I am by no means an extreme sports kind of guy and so my thoughts on the camera and its functionality could be quite different from somebody who wants to purchase the camera for rock climbing or windsurfing etc. I am more of an “Average Joe” user, I like to film family adventures and create time lapses with my Hero 5 cameras.
Cosmetics: Visually the GoPro Hero 5 Black is quite different from its predecessors. It’s now all dark grey with a rubber texture covering the camera. I find this new look to be attractive and functional. The rubber coating adds a bit of durability to the unit and really helps you keep a good grip on the camera. I found the Hero 4’s looked cheap and almost like a kids toy. The Hero 5 Black now looks like it means business.
Waterproof: There are many new and drastic changes to the GoPro Hero 5 Black. Most notably the camera is now waterproof without any housing. This to me is one of my favorite new features. I found the old waterproof housing to be very bulky and a pain to use sometimes. Now if you are headed to the beach for the day, you don’t have to worry about what kind of housing or frames you need. You can just throw the camera in your bag and off you go.
LCD Screen & Menu: There is now a beautiful new LCD touch screen and wonderfully re-designed menu system to compliment it. GoPro did a great job designing the new menu, I would almost go as far as to call it perfect. Every setting is organized and easy to access. Important settings are right at your fingertips for easy changing on the fly. For me, this is great when I am out capturing time-lapses.
GPS Data: The GoPro Hero 5 Black is now capable of embedding GPS telemetry data in your videos. This data can then be added to your edited video in a visual manner via the Quik Desktop App. When enabled you can now add speed, distance, and other data gauges to your videos. A very cool feature and I have used it a lot more than I first anticipated I would.
Video Stabilisation: The Hero 5 black can now make your videos a little more stable. This is achieved by cropping your videos while recording. It does a pretty good job at taming down camera shake while recording. It’s not mind-blowing by any means but definitely a welcome addition.
Voice Control: This is another great new feature for the GoPro Hero 5 Black. This new voice control feature allows you to speak simple commands to your GoPro such as “GoPro Start Recording” and “GoPro Take A Photo” among others. If you have ever tried to take a selfie with older GoPro’s you will really appreciate the new voice commands, take a selfie is now a breeze. I like the fact you can easily command the GoPro to mark a “HiLight Tag” this makes editing in the Quick App allot easier and less time-consuming.
My Dislikes for The GoPro Hero 5 Black.
As great as the Hero 5 Black is there are a few things that I think GoPro still needs to improve by Firmware update or for the Hero 6 when released.
The new touchscreen is great however I find sometimes it has a hard time recognising my gestures when trying to bring up menus or change settings. Sometime I find myself have to swipe down from the top 4 or 5 times to get the preferences menu to appear. This is magnified greatly when the Hero 5 black is mounted in its frame. I hope this can be fixed with a firmware update.
The voice commands need some work as well. They generally perform well but on occasion, the GoPro will execute a command that was not spoken. Sometimes if you are conversating near your GoPro while powered on, it will do something because it thinks it heard you speaking a command. Not a big issue by can be annoying.
One of the latest firmware updates disabled the use of third party internal batteries. I always use GoPro brand batteries, and I get some of the logic to doing this. I just don’t like the fact that I can’t choose another brand if I so choose to.
I wish GoPro would make it easier to hook up an external microphone. As it stands in order to hook up a microphone to you Hero 5 black you have to purchase an expensive and really bulky adaptor just to plug in a simple microphone. Please GoPro for the Hero 6, allows us to plug a microphone directly into the camera without the need of an adaptor!
My last little complaint about the GoPro Hero 5 Black is the lack of accessory port. On the Hero 4, you could add a battery backpack to dramatically extend the battery life and still have a waterproof unit. As of right now, there is no solution to have an external battery hooked up and still maintaining its waterproof integrity. This for me is frustrating because I like to create long night lapses and now I have to worry about moisture from overnight dew or if it happens to rain while the camera is filming overnight.
Some Neutral Thoughts
The battery life of the Hero 5 Black is not great but it’s not horrible either. It would be nice if the could make the GoPro last a little longer maybe with larger batteries for the Hero 6.
There are many people complaining about the sound quality of the Hero 5. I agree it is not the best but hey its a GoPro. I rarely every use the sound captured by my GoPro, but when it is needed I find it to be adequate. If I need really good audio I use an external microphone.
Hero 5 Black Final Thoughts
I hope you found this review helpful Personally I find the Hero 5 Black to be a fantastic camera, there are a few negatives but they are far out-weighed by the positives. It really is the Best Hero yet! if you want a small camera with amazing video quality for filming family outing and vacations or to capture stunning time-lapses then the Hero 5 black will definitely not disappoint. You can watch my video review below.
Hero 7 Black Beginners Guide | How To Get Started
Every year when GoPro releases a new generation camera we always create a beginners guide to help those who are brand new and have or will be purchasing their very first GoPro. In September GoPro introduced the new GoPro Hero 7 Black and so we have created a newly updated beginners guide just for it. This beginners guide is created for those who have no experience and have never used a GoPro. In this beginners guide, we cover such topics including:
- Unpacking your new GoPro Hero 7 Black.
- How to mount your GoPro Hero 7 Black.
- Install the battery in the Hero 7 Black.
- How to charge the GoPro Hero 7 Black.
- Best memory for the Hero 7 Black.
- Powering on and setup of the Hero 7 Black.
- Connecting the Hero 7 Black to the GoPro Quick app.
- Shooting modes on the Hero 7 Black.
- Menu tour of the Hero 7 Black.
- Voice commands for the Hero 7 Black
- How to use quick capture.
- Essential gear for the GoPro Hero 7 Black.
This is part one in our beginners guide series for the Hero 7 Black. Part 2 will cover what to do next once you have filmed some great content. We will go over how to transfer your content to your smartphone or tablet so you can share it and even edit it for those who want to take their GoPro content a step further. We will also cover the GoPro app and GoPro Quik app in more detail.
Other GoPro Hero 7 Black gear to consider.
GoPro Shorty: https://amzn.to/2JuD885
GoPro Charger: https://amzn.to/2PuDaT5
Floating Hand Grip: https://amzn.to/2PBkLnx
GoPro Case: https://amzn.to/2qnej5x
Silicone Sleeve: https://amzn.to/2yKAVBh
Power Bank: https://amzn.to/2SzgzDD
GoPro Backpack: https://amzn.to/2qmRVZP
Extension Pole: https://amzn.to/2PxLtNL
Bike Mount: https://amzn.to/2EXcAxG
GoPro Hero 7 Black | 30 Days In Review
Before I make a review of a product like the new GoPro Hero 7 Black I like to have a good amount of time to use and test it in real-world scenarios before I make any kind of judgment. This turned out to be especially true for the Hero 7 Black because my opinion on it has changed quite a bit since those early first few days. If I had made a review too soon it would not accurately reflect my thoughts on this camera after a good amount of time using it. I would also like to point out that I purchased the GoPro Hero 7 Black myself, It was not sent to me as review gift from GoPro. I am not part of the “GoPro Family” or a GoPro influencer as some call it. This is important because I spent my hard earned money on it just like you did or will be doing. I expect good value for my money and this ensures a good honest, accurate and fair review.
Early on in the Hero 7 release, there were reports of batteries not charging completely, GoPro freezing while charging and firmware update issues. I can’t really comment on those issues because I didn’t experience any of that with my unit. The only one time issue I had was during the initial firmware update via the GoPro app it did fail, however, it was successful on the second attempt. I must also say I have experience firmware update errors with every GoPro I have owned since the Hero 3 series.
Early on in the release of the GoPro Hero 7 Black I was not really sold on the value of upgrading on what essentially seemed to be just a firmware upgrade on a camera that for the most part was identical both inside and out except for the new black finish. The new features that GoPro was promoting seemed very interesting but was it worth spending $400 US or $529 Canadian. I spent the first week with my new GoPro testing out all the new features including HyperSmooth (Stabilization), TimeWarp (Hyperlapse), SuperPhoto (HDR Photography). I also spent time testing out the dynamic range and audio properties of the new Hero 7 Black and I must say it did not disappoint. To address the issue of the Hero 7 just being a firmware update, from what I have read the Hero 7 Black has an extra gig of ram and newly engineered microphones to help make these new features and changes possible.
So let’s break it down and go over all the new changes and what I think of them.
Form factor/Cosmetics: I am not a fan of the new black material they are using as the finish. I find it looks a little cheap and does not have the feel or look as a premium product should. I much preferred the finish on the Hero 5/6 Black. I have found it to scuff easy and because of it rubbery finish, it always has lint and debris stuck to it. I am not sure how the finish will hold up over time. Now really how a product performs is more important than cosmetics, but when you spend a lot of money on gear you want it to look good and stay looking good over time.
HyperSmooth Stabilization: GoPro is calling the Hero 7 Black a gimbal killer with its new HyperSmooth technology, now I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that but I definitely feel there is some merit to their statement. The stabilization on the Hero 7 Black is truly incredible, leaps and bounds ahead of the Hero 6 Black. There are those times when a stabilizer will do a better job, but for me, I can see that 80% of the time in scenarios where I would want a gimbal to film I really don’t need it anymore…it is that good. A gimbal will always give you a little more of a polished look, however not having to lug a bulky gimbal around and still able to get gimbal like footage is alright in my books. Gimbals are delicate and can be damaged easily, not to mention there are those situations where you just can’t use a gimbal. One big improvement of the HyperSmooth stabilization on the Hero 7 Black is the fact that you can now stabilize 4k 60FPS footage, this is huge for me as I primarily film in 4k60FPS. I am extremely pleased with the stabilization on the Hero 7 Black, so much that I feel this is well worth the upgrade cost alone. One downfall of the Hero 7 Black Hypersmooth is that it does not produce the best results in low light conditions.
TimeWarp/Hyperlapse: Another new feature of the Hero 7 Black is it can now create TimeWarp videos also known os hyperlapse videos. This is really is a useful and welcome feature of the Hero 7 Black. The TimeWarp feature works very well and can produce some visually stunning hyperlapses all with the push of a button. Not only does it work well, but it also is super easy to use the TimeWarp feature and that is very important, nobody wants to spend to much time trying to set up shots. With the Hero 7 Black, you just press the shutter button and go. In Past GoPro models to film a hyperlaspe was quite a time-consuming procedure, you had to have good editing skills and patience as well as it was not an easy task. Timewarp videos are a nice way to shoot interesting b-roll footage for your videos and is a very welcome addition.
SuperPhoto (HDR): To be honest I was a little disappointed with the SuperPhoto feature (also known as HDR) on the Hero 7 Black. When it was first rumored that the new Hero would be getting an HDR feature I was quite happy as I love to shoot HDR photography on my DSLR. Traditional HDR photography is when the camera shoots 3 photos with 3 different exposures, one overexposed, one underexposed and one normal this is called bracketed photos. The photos are then merged together in software into one photo and it leaves you with a nice evenly exposed photo with good detail in the highlights and lowlights. Most smartphones and even the Hero 6 Black had this feature. However they did not save the bracketed single photos, you are only left with the finished merged photo. I was hoping the Hero 7 Black would allow for the saving of the individual bracketed photos so the user can do their own HDR processing, but unfortunately, that is not the case and you are only left with the finished HDR image. I do hope this is changed down the road as I would love to edit the HDR photos myself. Now when it comes to the quality of the processed HDR or SuperPhotos I personally feel it needs some work. I find that there is something off about the SuperPhotos I can’t quite put my finger on it, I think there is not enough shadow and contrast. I find photos shot in regular mode look better. This is just my personal preference and others may feel differently. If you look at the example below you can see what I am referring too.
A Final Thought On The GoPro Hero 7 Black
Some other things to note about the Hero 7 Black is the newly designed menus. I really like how GoPro set them up. It took a few days to get used to the new layout but I find they are simple to navigate and well organized. GoPro has finally added a photo timer to the Hero 7 Black. This is a long overdue feature and for the life of me, I can’t understand why it took so long for such a simple little feature. No more having to yell at your GoPro to take a photo when shooting a selfie, no more funny looks from people around you. GoPro has added live streaming. I am not going to get into that in this review as it really is not a feature that interests me. I did take a quick look at it and it seems easy enough to set up if you are interested in live streaming with your GoPro. One last feature I should mention is you can now easily shoot in portrait orientation. Its one of those things that you will not use every day but when filming for some social media platforms it definitely is handy to have.
This year’s launch of the GoPro Hero 7 series was a little lackluster compared to years past, no launch event with Nick Woodman enthusiastically showing off his latest cameras and gear, and no launch video which many look forward to watching. Not a lot of hype built up like in years past and I think was due to the fact only mildly interesting hardware was released this year, we didn’t even get any new GoPro accessories this launch!
With all that said I am quite happy with my Hero 7 Black purchase. If you have a Hero 5 Black its is definitely worth the price to upgrade, however, if you have a Hero 6 Black its not such an easy decision. Personally, I think it is worth the upgrade just for the stabilization alone. If you’re on the fence about purchasing the Hero 7 Black if you already own the Hero 6 Black. You could always sell you old GoPro online to help offset the cost of upgrading. You can watch our Hero 7 Black 30 days in review on YouTube. We include sample footage and talk about the new features. I hope you enjoyed my full in-depth and comprehensive review of the GoPro Hero 7 Black.
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