For the past couple of years, if you wanted a small camera that you can mount anywhere, there was really only one choice, the GoPro. Now you have a lot of different manufacturers making these action cameras. But one thing remains the same, and that is, if you want the best action camera on the market in terms of consumers and professional users, you will always go with the GoPro.
GoPro cameras are even used in high budget blockbusters to independent pictures and TV shows. The latest model is the one we will be reviewing today, the GoPro HERO4 Black Edition which is their best model ever, both in terms of features and capabilities. The big upgrade is obviously the 4K video recording mode at 30 frames per second.
Taking a look at the body of the HERO4 Black we can see that it is actually no too different from the past generation GoPro models. At the front of the camera, you can see we have an exposed lens, screen and the on/off switch which also acts as the mode button. On the top, we have the record button which also doubles as the “Enter” button when you are using the menus. On the sides of the camera are the connection ports and the “Settings” button which gives you instant access to previously complicated settings menu.
One bad thing I can say, not for the camera, but for the complete package is that the GoPro decided to change the battery on the HERO4 Black, which means that now you can’t use the batteries from the previous models.
In terms of the build quality and durability, the camera itself is very well built, but without the protective housing, the camera is vulnerable. The housing on the GoPro HERO4 Black Edition is pretty much what you saw in the GoPro HERO3. It is very well built with easy access to all the buttons and it is waterproof up to 40 meters.
If you take a look at the back of the camera, you’ll notice that it doesn’t have a screen like the GoPro HERO4 Silver Edition or like the GoPro HERO+ LCD. If you need a screen on your camera, you can buy the LCD Touch BacPac. You can also use the GoPro app for you smartphone to look at the footage from the camera.
For still images, the resolution is set at 12 megapixels with a few modes such as TimeLapse, Long Exposure Mode or Burst Mode which can take up to 30 frames per second.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the GoPro HERO4 Black Edition camera.
- 4K at 30 fps
- 4K SuperView at 24 fps
- Long Exporuse and Time Lapse
- GoPro smartphone app
- Burst mode at 30 fps and 12MP
- Better settings and options menu
- Battery life is too short
- No direct microphone input (you need the adapter)
- Only 800 ISO settings in images
- No rear display
- No 240 fps option at 720p recording
- No 128GB microSD card support
GoPro HERO4 Black Edition sample footage (watch it in 4K):
- Weight: 152g (5.2oz)
- 4K at 24/25/30 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 4K SuperView at 24 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 2.7K at 24/25/30/48/50/60 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 2.7K SuperView at 25/30 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 2.7K 4:3 at 25/30 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 1440p at 24/25/30/48/50/60/80 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 1080p at 24/25/30/48/50/60/90/120 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 1080p SuperView at 24/25/30/48/50/60/80 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 960p at 50/60/120 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 720p at 25/30/50/60/120/240 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- 720p SuperView at 50/60/120 FPS, Ultra Wide Angle
- Video format: H.264 codec, .mp4 file
- Photo Resolution: 12MP, Wide FOV, 4000×3000 resolution
- Burst Mode: Capture up to 30 photos in 1 second (30 fps)
- Time Lapse: Capture a series of photos at 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 and 60-second intervals
- ISO settings: from 100 ISO to 6400 ISO
- Protune unlocks the camera’s full potential, delivering minimally compressed video optimized for productions
- Spot Meter is ideal for filming within a dark space
- QuikCapture: With the press of a button, the camera automatically turns on and begins recording
- Ultra sharp image quality with all-glass lens
- Rechargeable lithium-ion 1160mAH, 3.8V battery
- Audio format: 48kHz sampling rate, AAC compression
- Internal mic: Mono / External mic: Supported with 3.5mm adapter
- Ports: Charging, Mini USB, Micro HDMI and microSD
- Up to 64GB microSD Class 10 or UHS-1 rating card supported
The battery will last about an hour of 4K video recording at 30FPS while the WiFi is off, and about one hour and fifty minutes of 720p video recording at 120fps. Take a look at the chart below to see the battery life when shooting in various modes.
What is in the box:
- GoPro HERO4 Black Edition
- Standard Housing (waterproof up to 40m)
- Skeleton Backdoor
- Rechargeable Battery
- Curved Adhesive Mount
- Flat Adhesive Mount
- Quick Release Buckle
- USB Cable
- 3-Way Pivot Arm (Mounting Hardware)
Overall, the GoPro HERO4 Black Edition is really easy to use with the changed look of the settings menu, the video quality is excellent and you can use a lot of modes to create beautiful and sharp videos of your adventures. If you are in the market for the best compact action camera, I would definitely recommend that you pick up the GoPro HERO4 Black Edition.