Expert review of the GoPro HERO 5 Black
- Digital image stabilization provides smooth images.
- Audio recording is very good thanks to the 3 separate microphones.
- The battery charges quickly.
- Available apps are free, simple to use, and work together with social media effortlessly.
- Controlling the camera is intuitive thanks to one-button control.
- The battery life is no more than 2 hours at 1080p at 60 fps.
- Voice control is not available in Dutch.
What I noticed right a way is that, unlike previous models, no waterproof casing is included by default. There's no need for that, since this camera is waterproof to a depth of 10 meters. Any mounts can be attached to the casing, which GoPro itself calls the Frame. Other than that, I find a manual, the battery, a USB C cable, and several stick-on mounts in the packaging. A touchscreen is integrated in the back of the camera. The camera looks cool and feels mega sturdy.
Digital image stabilization
The GoPro HERO 5's video images are digitally stabilized. Cropping the image digitally corrects vibrations and bumps. Of course, digital stabilization isn't new. Yet, GoPro managed to keep that cropping to a minimum. I was initially pretty skeptical because I personally prefer optical image stabilization. Although, I must honestly admit GoPro positively surprised me. Because I had the time to, I tested the camera in combination with a gimbal as well. This resulted in nice, smooth images.
The HERO 5 Black has inherited a number of properties from the HERO Session. For example, the casing is waterproof and you can control the entire camera with 1 button. Navigating through all of the menus and settings using the touchscreen is simple too. The touchscreen works pretty well, but does require some practice at first. A control option I hadn't seen before on an action camera is voice control. You can control the camera without touching it using commands like "GoPro, start filming" or "GoPro, take a photo". It still feels weird to talk to a camera, but it works well.
Crystal clear and without any white noise
Image stabilization + 4K and 30 fps + endless options for editing = truly awesome images. At least as important, I think, is the audio part. In this area, GoPro has taken truly revolutionary steps. For example, they've found away to make the camera waterproof without external waterproof casing. In previous models, this casing caused poor audio recordings. That problem has now been solved. In addition, this model is equipped with 3 separate microphones. This means that for a recording, the camera always chooses the microphone that's receiving the best signal.
Edit and share images
First of all, I downloaded the Capture app. You can use this to control the camera at a distance easily. Making a connection was a bit of a hassle, but in the end, it does work very well. Remarkably, I think the camera is more easily operated using my phone's screen than using the action camera's screen itself. You can see what you're recording much better, simply because my iPhone's screen is larger than the camera's. In the Splice app, I quickly montaged a test video. I shared the result with my followers on Instagram right away.
The GoPro HERO 5 Black is more than just a camera. Combined with all the apps and accessories, the total experience challenges me as a filmmaker massively. There are so many possibilities with the various controls and ways to edit and share images. Is this gonna be the one? For me, yes. I just don't like the short battery life. Tip: if you use the separately sold dual charger, the battery gets charged in no time. When purchasing a dual charger, you'll get a spare battery, too.