GoPro has officially unveiled its new Hero 6 Black action camera at an event in San Francisco ahead of the crucial holiday shopping season. The GoPro Hero 6 Black succeeds the Hero5 Black, which was launched a year ago. The new camera went on sale on the launch day itself. You can buy the GoPro Hero 6 Black in stores or online for $499. It has been priced at AUD750 in Australia and £500 in the UK.

 GoPro Hero 6 Black
Image Source: GoPro.com (screenshot)

GoPro Hero 6 Black gets exciting new features

The Hero 6 appears to be similar to its predecessor, at least in terms of design. However, it’s far more than just an incremental update. GoPro’s latest flagship camera brings several improvements and internal upgrades. The California company has always focused on storytelling. With the Hero 6, it is trying to fully integrate the whole storytelling process from recording to editing to sharing on social media. Since the new camera has a similar design as its predecessor, it will be compatible with the Hero5 mounts and accessories.

The GoPro Hero 6 Black is capable of shooting 4K videos at 60 frames per second, up from 30fps on the Hero5. You can also capture slo-mo videos at 2.7K resolution and 120fps. The Hero 6 also allows you to shoot super-slo-mo videos at 1080p and 240fps. It comes with a built-in zoom that you can control from the touch screen. The digital touch-to-zoom was one of the most requested features by users.

It has a 2-inch LCD screen on the back, just like the Hero5. The new camera gets GPS and voice controls as well from its predecessor. The Hero 6 also has some instant-editing and instant-offloading features. It is water-resistant up to a depth of 33 feet. The GoPro Hero 6 Black still has a 12-megapixel sensor, but it offers significant improvement over last year’s model.

The Hero 6 Black can record both photos and videos in HDR. It makes colors more vibrant and saturated, while offering an enhanced dynamic range. The improved dynamic range allows the camera to capture better footage in low-light and mixed sunlight conditions. The Hero 6 comes with an improved internal stabilization technology that eliminates the shakes and vibrations.

Another feature added to the Hero 6 Black is the auto exposure. On the older Hero cameras, the exposure gets lost for a few seconds when you move from recording indoors to outdoors as the camera tries to readjust to the new lighting conditions. The auto exposure on the Hero 6 makes the transition smoother than ever before. GoPro has also improved the voice controls. You can activate the low-power “listening mode” to let the camera listen for voice commands. It consumes only 5-10% battery in eight hours. The Hero 6 offers the same battery life as the Hero5.

Quik Stories, a custom GP1 processor

The GoPro Hero 6 Black comes with a new 5GHz WiFi support that triples the transfer speed to the cloud. It means you can see your footage in the GoPro app on your smartphone faster than ever before. The company has also added the Quik Stories feature to the Hero 6. It automatically uploads your videos into the cloud and transforms them into an awesome short and shareable video.

GoPro uses machine learning to create Quik Stories. It does more than just looking for special moments in the footage to create the short video. The Hero 6 Black also uses data from the GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors to analyze movements and detect facial expressions. It eliminates the need for the user to manually go through the long footage to identify the high-adrenaline moments before creating a video worth sharing.

All the new features are made possible thanks to GoPro’s custom GP1 processor. Instead of sourcing chips from Ambarella, GoPro has developed its own chip. The GP1 helps improve the low-light footage, and gives Quik Stories all the extra power it needs to automatically detect moments and edit videos.The custom chip also allows GoPro to tightly integrate the hardware and software to deliver the maximum performance.

Fusion camera priced at $699

GoPro also officially unveiled the 360-degree Fusion camera that debuted earlier this year. The Fusion will go on sale in November with a price tag of $699. However, you can pre-order the camera right away from GoPro’s website. The Fusion is capable of capturing 5.2K spherical videos at 30fps and 3K spherical videos at 60fps. It can also take 18-megapixel spherical photos.

The Fusion has cameras both on the front and back to enable 360-degree capture. It also boasts of a feature called “Overcapture.” It allows you to record more footage than necessary for a 360-degree scene, and then frame the shots of your choice afterward in the GoPro app. Nick Woodman said, “This is where cameras are headed.”

Karma drone gets much-needed firmware update

The company also announced a firmware update to the foldable Karma drone. The update brings Follow and Watch modes that rely on GPS to track a subject. GoPro has also made the Karma compatible with the GoPro Hero 6 Black. Despite fierce competition from DJI, the Karma sales have been above expectations. The firmware update also improves the camera tilt when the action camera is attached to the drone.

Other features added to the Karma drone include Leash Mode, Mimic, and Multipoint Cable Cam. You can buy the Karma and Hero 6 Black bundle for $1,199. If you want to buy the drone separately, you’ll have to shell out $799.

GoPro hopes that the new products would help it become profitable by the end of this year. The company projects to generate $290-$310 million in revenues with 36% to 38% profit margin during the third quarter. GoPro had to shut down its nascent entertainment division and cut jobs to reduce its operating expenses. Its stock has declined from nearly $98 in October 2014 to less than $12 today.