GoPro Hero5 Black: Everything you need to know about GoPro’s flagship action camera

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GoPro Hero5 Black

Launched back in December last year, the GoPro Hero5 Black succeeds the Hero4, and incorporates several interesting features that make it a flagship action camera to reckon with. Waterproof down to 33 feet without the need for any additional underwater housing, the new Hero5 Black includes several improvements to image stabilisation, voice control, touchscreen display, GPS, RAW image capture, and RAW audio. The company faces some serious competition from its Chinese clones, so pricing is one of the factors that works against it. At 31,128, the Hero5 Black isn’t exactly the most affordable of action cameras out there.

We’ve had the device for a little more than a week and a detailed look at the camera is in the works. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of its key features.

Waterproof design

GoPro Hero5 Black

One key area of improvement when compared to its predecessor is the new waterproof design. The GoPro Hero5 Black is waterproof down to 33 feet as mentioned earlier, and doesn’t require a case for protection as such. Compact and lightweight, the Hero5 Black is only marginally larger than the Hero4 Black, and is quite similar in design to its predecessor. GoPro has done away with the power button, and the mode switch at the right-hand side of the camera now doubles up as a power button.

Touchscreen LCD display

GoPro Hero5 Black

While the Hero4 Black didn’t feature a built-in touchscreen display, the Hero4 Silver did. GoPro has incorporated a built-in touchscreen on the Hero5 Black’s back panel. Not only is the screen helpful for previewing what you’re shooting, it also allows playback of recorded footage and easy menu navigation. While it is possible to navigate the camera’s menus using the physical buttons, the touchscreen is definitely makes the process easier and more convenient.

Voice control

GoPro Hero5 Black Voice commands

Voice control is another nifty feature GoPro has incorporated into the Hero5 Black. Simple commands like “GoPro Start recording” and “GoPro Stop Recording” can be used to start and stop video recording. There are voice commands to take a photo, start and stop recording a time lapse video, set off the camera’s burst mode and more. The feature works best when you’re near the camera in an environment without much noise. The company also has a new remote in the works, which will let you use voice controls from afar as well. Voice control is supported in seven languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese.

Image stabilisation

While there’s no optical image stabilisation, the new GoPro Hero5 Black does feature electronic image stabilisation designed to smoothen out vibrations and camera shakes. You can choose to switch the feature on or off. Sadly, the feature isn’t available during 4K recording or for high-fps modes.

Other features

Exposure control

Another new feature GoPro has incorporated into the Hero5 Black is exposure control which allows you to control which part of the image to use in order to calculate appropriate exposure. There is also a manual exposure option that lets you set the shutter speed.

Field of view

Like with the Hero4 Black, the new Hero5 Black lets you choose from Wide, Medium, and Narrow fields of view in addition to a new Linear FOV option that corrects fisheye distortion in-camera. The option has also now been incorporated in the older Hero4 Black models by the means of a firmware update.

RAW image capture

GoPro Hero5 Black RAW image capture

In addition to a new high dynamic range option aimed at capturing extra details in shadows and highlights, the camera now lets you shoot in the RAW format, which has several advantages when it comes to bringing out the best in your pictures by way of post-processing. On the downside though, shooting in RAW means you’ll have to process and convert your files using an external RAW editor to JPG before you can share them.

Audio

Along with claims of improved wind and noise reduction, the three microphones in the GoPro Hero5 Black work to capture left and right stereo audio channels. The camera then picks up the best sound for your video. There is also the option of recording a raw audio track, which creates a higher quality WAV file that’s separate from the video file.

GoPro may be pioneers with regards to action cameras, but competition has more than caught up with the company. Most notable among its competitors is the Yi 4K, which is almost identical in form factor, has a comparable set of features, and also uses the same mounts. Another definitive blow to the Hero5 Black is the Yi 4K’s pricing, which at approximately 18,000, is just about half the price of a Hero5 Black. Watch this space for a detailed comparison of the two cameras.

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