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New GoPro Hero5 Black and Session Cameras - Which GoPro is Best for You

Updated on September 21, 2016

GoPro's New Cameras and Drone

GoPro released the next iteration of its action camera (the Hero5 and the Hero5 Session) with its new Karma drone. The Hero5 is packed with new features and fixes on top of the proven Hero4 camera. Here is what you need to know about the new cameras to decide which camera is best for you.

New GoPro Product Line

Action cameras get smaller packages and better specs.
Action cameras get smaller packages and better specs. | Source

Simplifying the Product Line

Part of the goal of GoPro Inc's new release was to simplify the line of products they have available to consumers. But there are still a few misleading names worth clearing up. There are three camera products that will be produced by the company:

  1. Hero5 Black- not implying that there is a Hero5 "Silver" or "Purple" or any other color. Rather the Black is to distinguish it from the session and conjur up associations with the elite "Black" over "Silver" of the previous model.
  2. Hero5 Session- this is not to imply there is a Hero4 or Hero3 Session you missed out on. Just know this is the best "Session" version out there.
  3. Hero Session- regular old Session that came out and flopped and plummeted in price. That Session, that we will never let GoPro live down. Except they say they've made some improvements to the mics.

I have a product comparison table later on to compare the specs and prices of the new cameras with the old line you're familiar with.

GoPro Cameras Performance

Product
Availability
Highest Resolution/ Frame Rate
Main Features
Price
Hero4 Silver
Available Now, Production Stopping Soon
4k/15fps
Touch Screen
$399*
Hero4 Black
Available Now, Production Stopping Soon
4k/30fps
Improved Performance
$439*
Hero Session
Available Now
1440p/30fps
Small Package
$199
Hero5 Session
Coming Soon
4k/30fps
Small Package, Improved Mics
$299
Hero5 Black
Coming Soon
4k/30fps
Touch Screen, Water Proof, GPS
$399
*Prices are for new cameras, will be lower for used

The 2016 Launch

Hero5 Black:

GoPro Hero5 Black available October 2, 2016.
GoPro Hero5 Black available October 2, 2016. | Source

Hero5 Black New Features

After many teases and fake (and real) leaks, the announcement that the Hero5 will not have 8k resolution after all was disappointing to many. In truth, the performance of the video camera is not noticeably beyond the Hero4 or any other action camera currently out in the market. Instead, there are many added features that thankfully make the camera easier to use in action sports. GoPro delayed putting out its next camera line to fully fix all the consumer complaints about the usability of the previous Hero4.

TouchScreen

The Hero4 Silver actually had a touchscreen that was thrown out for the more capable Black version. It wasn't missed too sorely because the touchscreen on the Silver was a bit complicated to use so the one we get on the Hero5 Black is greatly simplified and user friendly.

Built-In GPS

This is a pretty cool feature. The little camera has a built-in GPS so when a picture is taken or a video is recorded the location can be stored in the metadata of the image or video. Then when you get home from your trip you can map out where all your videos and pictures came from. Can't wait to see the post processing apps and programs that take advantage of this.

Voice Commands

Voice command is all the rage in new consumer electronics so of course the Hero5 had to have it. Just address the "GoPro" by name and give it a command like you would for Siri or Amazon Echo. You can start and stop recording or take pictures without fiddling with buttons or taking off gloves to use the touch screen.

Small But Powerful: Hero5 Session

The Hero5 Session is the smallest action camera that can record 4k video.
The Hero5 Session is the smallest action camera that can record 4k video. | Source

How is the Hero5 Session better than the original? The biggest improvement is the resolution. The newest Session can now record video in 4k, instead of the 1080p limit on the original Session. It accepts the same voice commands as its Hero5 Black big brother so you probably won't mind that it doesn't have a touch screen.

What Happens to Hero4?

With the October 2nd release of the new action camera the Hero4 Black and Silver will be out of production. But they are still great little action cameras. This is especially true for the Black, which has a camera that can do everything the more newer model can, just without the extra features.

This means that if you're in the market for a 4k action camera but don't have the budget for the new GoPro for this Black Friday or Christmas and you don't mind working around a few drawbacks, a used Hero4 will be perfect for you. The battery life will be short compared to the Hero5 and many consumers had issues with audio when it was in the waterproof case so if these are deal breakers for you then look into saving for the new camera. But there is nothing wrong with the Hero4 as a 4k camera that can take video at 30 frames per second or HD (720p) at a very fast 240 frames per second.

Do You Own a Hero4 Black Camera?

Cast your vote for GoPro Hero4 Black

Summary

The new cameras GoPro cameras released for the holiday season of 2016 don't have a significant performance increase from the last model. But the upgrades do include a lot of features and fixes that make the price tag that comes with a top of the line action camera worth it for many consumers.

At just $300 (the new Session camera) you can get a seriously compact 4k action camera with some fun voice commands. That's enough resolution and fun memory making for most people. And of course there is the line of mounts and smart phone software that integrates with camera so easily...GoPro is going to continue to be a huge part of how people capture their action sports.

Your GoPro Experience

Are you going to buy the Hero5 Black? Does the Hero5 Session fit your needs? What features do you want in the next GoPro?

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