The recent release of the GoPro Hero 5 Black is an incredibly important moment for GoPro. The corporation is attempting to halt a slide to its fortunes and share price. It is thus vital that the new action camera is considered a significant improvement over the GoPro Hero 4 Black. So how do the two generations of this series stack up against one another?
Size and weight
The Hero 5 Black is slightly larger and heavier than its cousin, in order to allow GoPro to squeeze in extra features. The Hero 5 Black weighs 118g with all requisite accessories installed, as compared to the 87g of the Hero 4 Black. This is perhaps not an entirely fair comparison, as the previous generation camera also benefited from housing, which bumped up its weight to 150g.
The new action camera is also slightly wider and taller than the previous generation release, although the GoPro Hero 5 is a little slimmer.
The big innovation of the GoPro Hero 5 Black is the inclusion of a touchscreen, enabling easier navigation of functions. Such a feature was not part of the make up of the GoPro Hero 4 Black.
Another interesting innovation included in the GoPro Hero 5 Black is voice control. This enables certain functions to be accessed by making simple voice commands. This was not part of the GoPro Hero 4 Black.
There isn’t a huge amount of difference between the video and resolution capabilities of the two action cameras. They share video modes of 4K30, 1080p120, and 720p240, with GoPro resisting the temptation to include 8K resolution in the new GoPro Hero 5 Black generation.
Nonetheless, the general consensus of opinion is that footage produced by the new camera is superior to the previous generation. This can be achieved via a range of features and settings included in the camera, producing smoother and less distorted footage overall.
Another trumpeted aspect of the GoPro Hero 5 Black is the inclusion of a sophisticated video stabilization system which enables users to smooth out jerking as they film. This isn’t available in the maximum 4K resolution mode, but nonetheless brings increasing quality to videos shot in 1080p. This is an innovation that is appearing in the GoPro Hero series for the first time with the GoPro Hero 5 Black.
Fields of view
The GoPro Hero 5 has included a new linear field of view that purports to remove fisheye distortion in-camera. The effectiveness of this has already been praised, and it was an innovation that has not previously been included in the Black range.
Both action cameras shoot in NTSC or PAL formats, ensuring that they are fully compatible with the needs of both American and European consumers.
GoPro Hero 4 Black vs. Go Pro Hero 5 Black spec sheet
Both the Hero 5 and Hero 4 Black produce H.264 MP4 videos, with GoPro having decided to retain the coding from the previous generation.
Both the GoPro Hero 5 and GoPro Hero 4 Black provide a 12-megapixel still photography resolution. But GoPro has attempted to ensure that the new camera offers more photography options than its predecessor. Thus, various options are available for fields of view, with the quality seemingly somewhat sharper than the previous generation.
Nonetheless, it must be said that the GoPro Hero 5 Black is not an ideal camera, with both those included in smartphones and a standalone units still significantly superior. But it does offer sharper, cleaner and brighter images in comparison to the GoPro Hero 4 Black.
Both Sony and Microsoft have been promoting the high dynamic range capabilities of their video games consoles recently, and GoPro was also pushing the HDR feature included in the GoPro Hero 5 Black when it was released. The difference being that it doesn’t refer to this as HDR, but as a ‘wide dynamic range’. The new system enables the camera to capture extra detail in shadows and highlights. There is also a new RAW image format.
The GoPro Hero 5 Black is significantly improved over its cousin in terms of audio handling, with the action camera having the capability to record stereo audio directly. The new generation camera offers a massive improvement in audio recording over the previous GoPro Hero 4 Black release.
The GoPro Hero 5 Black includes the most up-to-date USB Type-C connection, as opposed to the mini-USB technology included in the previous generation.
GoPro has included a slightly larger battery in the GoPro Hero 5 Black – 1220mAh vs. 1160mAh – but also claims that the camera will deliver significantly higher battery life due to new innovations. Plus, users can expect 20 – 70 percent longer battery life from the GoPro Hero 5 Black, at least according to the manufacturer.
The GoPro Hero 5 Black also includes a GPS function for the first time, with the geolocation aspect valuable for numerous functions. This helps GoPro promote the idea that the Hero 5 is a companion to the Karma drone. This feature will drain the battery of the GoPro Hero 5 Black significantly, but overall is a welcome innovation.
GoPro has certainly thought assiduously about how to improve the GoPro Hero 5 over its predecessor, and it is nice that this has involved some innovative features rather than just bumping up the specs of the action camera. Many users will find these new functions useful, and there are compelling reasons for purchasing the new, improved GoPro Hero 5 Black. But the GoPro Hero 4 Black also offers an excellent value for money package considering that the manufacturer has slashed the price following the release of its successor.