All GoPro cameras cover the basics of action cameras: they’re portable, waterproof, and rugged enough to tag along on any outdoor adventure, and they also take high-quality video. Beyond that, however, there are some big differences across the product line, including some features that are worth paying extra for. Here are the GoPro camera capabilities to consider keeping on your short list.

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All GoPro cameras cover the basics of action cameras: they’re portable, waterproof, and rugged enough to tag along on any outdoor adventure, and they also take high-quality video. Beyond that, however, there are some big differences across the product line, including some features that are worth paying extra for. Here are the GoPro camera capabilities to consider keeping on your short list.

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Although not necessarily the most important component, a defining element of a GoPro is its lens. Rather than using a standard lens, GoPros — like many other action cams — use an extremely wide lens. What this does is increase the amount of scenery you capture in the frame, making it easy to frame your shot. Mount it to your handlebars or the side of your helmet, and you can rest assured that it sees just about anything that happens in front of you.

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This is the best single-lens action cam you can get from GoPro at the moment in features and performance. Compared with the Hero 7 Black, there are a lot of feature tweaks and updates that make it just generally easier to use and a better camera, regardless of what you're shooting. But for those who use a GoPro regularly, things like the redesigned waterproof body that allows you to attach the camera directly to GoPro mounts, a customizable interface with shooting presets and improved image stabilization all add up to a worthwhile update. The lens is now made with Gorilla Glass that's twice as impact-resistant as the glass on past Hero models. Read about the GoPro Hero 8 Black.
The Hero 7 Silver also has a lower-end 10-megapixel sensor. Its 4K footage doesn’t look as sharp to detailed as the Black models, and that’s down to the quality and size of the sensor, not just its resolution. You also miss out on RAW photo capture, the Black series’ super-effective HyperSmooth stabilisation (it does have electronic stabilisation, though) and 60fps 4K shooting.
GoPros can be used as standalone cameras, but thanks to a great mobile app, they also pair perfectly with Android and iOS devices, allowing you to add more functionality and versatility. Using built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, users gain full control over their GoPro camera and can even display a live feed of what’s being captured right on their mobile device.

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GoPro is leading the charge toward consumer-created virtual reality (VR) environments, and their first VR-ready cameras make it happen with what they’ve dubbed “spherical capture,” which is pretty accurate, given the 360° field of view they record. VR is still a nascent technology, but it’s definitely the future. If you’re an early adopter, you’ll want to pick up a GoPro with spherical capture.

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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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Image quality, while good for a small action camera, is another area where a camcorder or interchangeable lens camera will come out ahead. Mirrorless cameras and DSLRs use significantly larger imaging sensors, which capture more light and thus lead to superior image quality, particularly when you have to shoot in low light conditions. But even small-sensor camcorders benefit from built-in zoom lenses, which offer a variety of perspectives without cropping the image, as a GoPro does when selecting narrower fields of view.


Don’t let its size fool you. The GoPro HERO5 Session may be small, but as a camera, it’s mighty. It focuses on portability without sacrificing power: it’s only an inch and a half tall, but it records in 4K and it’s completely waterproof. While it doesn’t have the touchscreen interface that other GoPro cameras do, it’s the only GoPro that can fit in your pocket.

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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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