GoPro just launched they’re new HERO4 range. The Black and Silver models will be available starting October 5th. The GoPro became synonymous with sports video in the past few years. The company produced their first digital action camera in 2006 and sales kept growing until it became a household name. The main characteristics remain unchanged from the first GoPro to the latest. It’s a small camera that can record high definition pictures and video. It even looks the same as all previous versions. So why should you get the GoPro HERO4 and not go for the cheaper older models?
One thing that evolved much over the last 3 years in cameras is low light capturing. GoPro says both the Black and the Silver models now feature Professional grade low light performance. It’s hard to determine exactly what this means, as there are no standardized measurements in place. But the HERO3 White did a decent job, and the manufacturer rate that as “Consumer” and gave “Prosumer” rating to the HERO3+ Silver. So you can expect great results for dark situations. Another feature that seems to be all the rage, even though its applications are limited, is 4k recording.
That means 4 times the resolution of 1080p, in video. The Black version is basically the only one that can do a decent job at this, achieving 30 fps. The Silver can only record 15 fps – which isn’t really a pleasant result. 4K is very useful for cropping a certain part of a video. The GoPro having an ultra-wide lens, subjects may be quite small if shot from afar. To do justice to the 4k, the HERO4 now has a lens made with only glass elements. Don’t worry though, glass is less prone to scratching and after all, that’s why you have rugged casing – to protect the camera.
Taking a page from the smartphone industry, the GoPro now shoots photos simultaneously with shooting video. While you’re doing your ride trough the forest or surfing that monster wave, the camera will record a picture as fast as every 5 seconds or slower. You can also set it to manual, where you can take a picture while filming by pressing a button. The HERO4 Black edition also features support for professional grade audio input. This can only be achieved without the waterproof case. Shooting a movie scene in a car or other tight spaces, not really the main use of the GoPro.
What I’m waiting for is a water resistant microphone that can connect trough the waterproof case and record a decent audio. This is the biggest shortfall of the GoPro. Even though they promised +10DB of audio dynamic range on the new models, unless they make a way to record audio externally they are not achieving their full potential. With the adition of Bluetooth to the HERO4, there’s a chance we might see developers making such devices, but there’s no word on this so far.