GoPro HERO (2018) Action Cam Review

GoPro slipped this one through the cracks quite well actually. The New GoPro HERO action camera is their entry level offer among some of the world’s market leading action cam products. And it seems as it’s left fans a little disappointed, but strangely, for all the right reasons.

On the surface, everything is the same as the GoPro Hero 6 Black. It has a touch screen on the back so you can preview what you’re filming, it’s operated by a recording button on top and a function button which switches between modes on the side, and there is a small screen on the front that shows some basic settings. It’s even housed in the same rubber casing that means you don’t need an extra case to make it waterproof. It’s protected up to 33 meters under the sea before trouble can start.

It even has the same interface too, with a USB Type-C, HDMI port, WiFi and Bluetooth connection to your mobile phone so you can use the number of apps that GoPro offer on both Android and iOS.

There are however some pretty big internal changes to the new GoPro HERO over the manufacturers premium offering. The GoPro shoots in 1080p and 1440p. There’s no 4K like you will find on the HERO 6 Black. There’s also nothing other than the two resolutions mentioned. The 1080p records at either 30 or 60fps which is great for a bit of slow motion action in post production. The 1440p setting however oddly forces the camera into a 4:3 aspect ratio which I can’t quite figure out why.

In terms of resolution, I don’t think it’s a bad decision that GoPro have decided to reduce the offering. After all, this action cam has been designed for beginners and casual users. It’s a point and shoot device that requires very little post production to obtain awesome footage. And a bonus, being 1080p means you can store more video on to the microSD card you are using.

The 1080p video admittedly doesn’t look as sharp as the HERO 6 Black offering, if you’re watching on a larger screen than your mobile phone, but the inclusion of image stabilisation technology means that you are still going to get a lovely smooth result. I attached it to a friend’s skateboard and was surprised by how the footage came out. I was expecting jolts, but they were kept to a minimum. Hand holding shooting is also great too, so there’s not a huge need for an expensive gimbal, which will be attractive to new shooters to the action cam market.

One major thing I did miss was GoPro’s ProTune. The ability to change your white balance, exposure compensation and shoot in a flat, SLog type footage to capture as much detail from the highlights and shadows for colour grading in post production. I’m not sure why this feature has been removed, as the ability to carry out these processes would surely be advantageous. But it probably comes down to the retail price again, and the fact they don’t want to deter people away from investing in HERO 6 Blacks.

The user experience has been some what dumbed down too. Not having as many customisable options such as multiple intervals between photographs in the timelapse mode, or the fact you’re either locked to 30 or 60fps makes it very easy for casual users to pick up and go. Not great for the more experienced among us. It’s also odd that menus seem relatively empty. When going through a menu option, you regularly find the last screen usually has only one option to select. GoPro has simply used the same menu that came with the HERO 6 Black, and removed some features.

For beginners, you’ll be happy to know that this iteration of the GoPro cameras comes with the ability to use QuickStories, which in a nutshell allows you to quickly stick a few clips of footage or even a timelapse together to create something that’s relatively usable for social media. It’s easy to set up, using your WiFi signal and then a Bluetooth one. Simply download the software from the Andoid or iOS store, select your camera from the list of choices and away you go. A nice feature to this app is Highlights, which can be accessed via the camera itself or your phone. Tagging a highlight will mean that particular image or video clip will take priority over others when the app stitches your content together.

As I’ve sid many times throughout this review, this camera is definitely aimed at casual users. There’s nothing fancy here, and nothing to get lost in or confused over. It’s for those people who want a decent performing action cam, in a point and shoot package, and there is nothing wrong with that. I enjoyed the GoPro HERO more than I thought I would, considering we’ve had experience with much more in-depth photography and videography equipment in the past. For more information, check out the GoPro website.

 

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