GoPro cameras are great for hands-free, point-of-view recording — but that doesn’t mean they can replace a camcorder or larger DSLR or mirrorless camera. For advanced users, a GoPro’s lack of fully manual control may be problematic (you can set exposure compensation using the Protune feature, but you have no direct control over aperture and shutter speed). The lack of buttons and dials also means you’ll have to rely on the touchscreen or your smartphone to make changes, which is fine for set-it-and-forget-it adventure filming, but isn’t great if you need to make adjustments on the fly.
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But it’s not only the lens lending credit to the impressive video GoPros capture. GoPro’s new Hero6 Black captures 4K video at 60 frames per second (fps) and Full HD 1080 at up to 240 fps. This isn’t just impressive for such a small camera — few interchangeable lens models have achieved 4K/60, with the $2,000 Panasonic Lumix GH5 being the first. As for still photography, the Hero6 shoots 12-megapixel images with features such as WDR (wide-dynamic range, GoPro’s lingo for high-dynamic range or HDR) and RAW file capture. And a new image processor — a first for GoPro cameras — helps improve performance and image stabilization. GoPro has managed to put all of this into a camera that’s not much larger than most DSLR batteries.
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Much like Band-Aids or Kleenex, GoPro makes products so good that their brand name is synonymous with the product itself. GoPro’s portable video cameras set the standard for action cameras: they’re durable enough to withstand just about any outdoor activity, they’re easy enough for anyone to use, and they include features typically reserved for far pricier cameras.
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The GoPro Hero 5 is a fantastic underwater camera. However, there is a catch. The device cannot submerge on its own. Rather, it requires a Super Suit Dive Housing (also from GoPro) to get wet. Even so, that accessory turns it into one of the best diving cameras around. The device is able to go down to 196 feet and comes with a bright 2-inch touchscreen display that is easy to use while swimming. The ultra-wide angle lens, 4k recording capabilities, and 12MP image resolution bring it all together.
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A. It depends on how big of a memory card you use with your GoPro. GoPro cameras work with standard SD cards, which are affordable and come in all different quantities. In most cases, it pays to get a memory card with plenty of storage. GoPro videos, especially those shot in 4K, can produce especially large files that can eat up storage faster than you think. We recommend getting an SD card with at least 128GB of available storage.
Few GoPros have the underwater capabilities of the Hero 4. This diving camera works wonders at a range of depths, thanks to the numerous compatible accessories and strong interior technology. Unlike similar models, this camera can go down a staggering 131 feet underwater. There, you can capture crisp videos with the 4K30, 2.7k60, 1080p120, and 720p240 options. The 12MP resolution reaches 30fps as well.
Does GoPro have any competition?
The GoPro HERO7 White is the company’s entry-level model, although the term “entry-level” is a little hard to apply to a camera so powerful. The HERO7 White has most of the same features as the other HERO7 models, with one big difference: the camera is limited to HD (1080p) video and doesn’t shoot in 4K. That’s not as big of a deal as it sounds. The resulting video is still excellent, and the price break more than justifies the concession in resolution. The GoPro HERO7 Silver is another good option for anyone looking for a good middle ground between the HERO7 White and HERO7 Black. It records in 4K at 30 fps, and it even has on-board GPS like its more expensive counterpart. If you need a dependable, affordable 4K camera and you don’t mind that the battery isn’t user-replaceable, the HERO7 Silver is your best option.
There’s really only one criteria that should matter when it comes to buying GoPro accessories such as the ones profiled here and that is this: does it enhance the quality of your adventure footage? Just as fashion accessories like a bracelet or broach will activate an outfit or the right lens will help you get the most out of your DSLR, GoPro accessories should allow you to get more from your adventure cam. They should open up new documentary as well as expressive pathways and present your activities in new and unexpected contexts that conjure the much sought after “Oh wow!” response from your audience.
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You get many of the same shooting modes you'd find on a GoPro device, such as time-lapse photos and videos and slow motion footage at 1080p at 240 fps, and there's even a Drive mode so you can use it as a dash cam when plugged into your car, automatically turning on when you start your car and off when you stop it. It's not waterproof on its own, but a dive housing is included as well as several mounts, two batteries and a charger that simultaneously powers up both packs. It also has built-in Wi-Fi so you can connect to a smartphone and use an app to control the camera and transfer your shots for sharing.