Written by Manon

Expert review of the GoPro HERO 5 Black

After a long wait, I finally get to hold the GoPro HERO 5 Black in my hands. The packaging has a stylish design, as we've come to expect from previous models. The label clearly lists everything the camera can do. I read the camera features image stabilization and voice control, among other things. In addition, it records video at a maximum resolution of 4K at 30 frames per second. In this review, I'll take an in-depth look at the GoPro HERO 5 Black.

In short

  • 4K at 30 frames per second
  • 12-megapixel photos
  • Waterproof up to 10 meters
319,-
no longer available

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • The battery life is no more than 2 hours at 1080p at 60 fps.
  • Voice control is not available in Dutch.

First impression

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

Image stabilization

Smooth images

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 controls

Touchscreen controls

Touchscreen

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.

The sound

Waterproof

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.

Apps

Connect to GoPro Capture app

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.

Conclusion

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.


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