GoPro HERO5 Black & HERO5 Session: Gear Review

GoPro Hero5 BlackGoPro

Ever since their launch in 2004, GoPro has been the industry leader in hand-held action cameras. For over a decade GoPro has been improving each model from its last, and the HERO5, both the Black and the Session, are no exception. As GoPro puts it themselves, “Simply the best GoPro, ever.”

First and foremost, the most important feature of any camera is image quality. The HERO5 Black shoots stills 12 MP/30 FPS, burst, time lapse, and films 4K30/1440P80/1080P120. It also has the ability to shoot stills in RAW format, so when it comes to image quality, this is the most advanced GoPro by far. That’s a crazy concept considering that GoPro was able to shave $100 off the price of the previous model, meaning you can get your hands on the HERO5 Black for $400.

The most notable exterior feature of the camera is the touchscreen on the back. This is where a single swipe can bring you to intuitive menus that allow you to adjust anything, such as changing from photo mode to video mode as well as more advanced settings like adjusting the ISO. The single record button on the top of the camera is also worth noting. Whether the camera is on or off, a single touch will make the GoPro start recording. Gone are the days of missing that shot that you weren’t quite ready for. With the HERO5, it now only takes a moment’s notice to be prepared and recording.

Of all the new features on the HERO5, the most badass and most practical for anyone in watersports is that it’s waterproof up to 33 feet. That means that as long as you aren’t going any deeper than that, no case is required. This allows for greater sound quality on the water as well. One piece of advice though for the HERO5 Black – make sure to lock your touchscreen while in use. Those water droplets on the screen have a tendency of adjusting the settings on you.

If it being waterproof is its coolest new feature, its voice activation has to be a close second. You never realize how many times you are reaching for buttons on a helmet cam until you no longer have to do it. Simply say, “GoPro record,” and it will do as told. This also saves you from having to edit around unwanted footage between tricks. A bonus feature of the voice activation really comes to life when editing in the GoPro editing suite. The HERO5 has the ability to recognize interjections while you record with it. That means next time you’re recording and let out a “YEWWW” or a “Hell yeah!” it will bookmark it and let you know to look at those clips first for bangers.

If you want a camera that shoots almost the same quality but need it to be half the size, the HERO5 Session is what you’re looking for. It’s just as waterproof and has the voice controls as well but ditches the touch screen on the back. There is truly a beauty in simplicity on this camera. With just a single button and a red light to let you know it’s recording, this no-nonsense design makes it easy to get that up-close and personal shot. If you wish to adjust the standard settings, don’t worry. All the adjustability that you get from the HERO5 Black can be done on the Session through an iPhone app that connects via Bluetooth.