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GoPRO HERO (2018) Action Camera Review

GoPRO HERO (2018) Action Camera Review - GoPRO action cameras have just got a little more affordable with the launch of the HERO so, of course, we're putting it to the test.

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GoPro HERO in Action Cameras



1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 250
 

Those who were holding out for a hero (yes, the pun was intentional) that wasn't so expensive can now consider parting with their cash as GoPro has released a new action camera (simply known as HERO) that has plenty of features, at less than half the price of the HERO6 Black

The GoPro HERO action camera is aimed at the budget market -  those who might want a small but robust camera that captures video and stills for their Safari but don't really want to spend almost £500 on something they'll only use once or twice a year. 

To help customers save money, action camera leader GoPro has removed 4K and super slo-mo from the new HERO but you can still capture HD video at 1440p60 and 1080p60 with digital stabilisation. Which, let's face it, unless you have a 4K TV or often share video footage of yourself doing exciting things on YouTube, most will be OK with. There's no GP1 processor built-in and you can only capture 10MP still images which is 2MP less than the HERO6 Black.

Burst modes are built in and it's also compatible with more than 30 GoPro mounting accessories. Other similarities continue with the overall look of the HERO, its 2" touchscreen, waterproofing up to 10m and you can still shout commands at the camera should you prefer to use voice control. You also have the option to hit 'record' via the GoPro app on your smartphone where you can also adjust settings, preview images and more. 

The GoPro HERO is available now for £199.99 and we took it for a spin on a bike and to a CrossFit class to find out just how well it performs. 

 

1/100 sec | f/5.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
 

GoPro HERO Features

As with previous GoPro models, you look at the HERO and automatically say 'Ah yes, it's a GoPro'. In fact, if you compare the images of the HERO (right) and HERO6 Black below, they're pretty much identical. 

GoPro HERO6 Black & GoPro HERO

 

You can also use the same grips and other accessories that are compatible with other GoPro cameras should you have a kind friend who'd lend you some. The HERO does arrive with housing and a couple of different mounts but when you compare the selection with the mounts you get with other action cameras it is quite stingy. It is, however, the same amount as you get with the GoPro HERO6 Black which is considerably more money. 

 

1/15 sec | f/4.0 | 19.0 mm | ISO 800
 

1/13 sec | f/4.0 | 19.0 mm | ISO 800

 

As well as controlling the HERO on the device itself, GoPro provides an app which you can download to your smart device and control your GoPro remotely. This isn't something new and nothing has changed since we looked at the GoPro HERO6 Black with the app offering the option to create 'My Stories' which are slideshows of photos you've captured and 'Flashbacks' which are just quick ways to see what you've captured over a certain period of time. There is a handy guide which talks you through everything you see on screen which new GoPro users will find particularly useful. 

Even though you can capture stills with the HERO, most people use GoPros to capture video and you can do this at 1440p or 1080p with frame rates of 60 or 30 per second. Images are captured at 10MP which is actually less than most smartphones and the usual wide field of view gives photos the fish-eye look you'll either love or hate. You can use digital video stabilisation and there's a low light mode along with time-lapse video/photo and burst photo which captures 10 images with one click of the shutter button. That's it for built-in modes, which, when you compare it with the more expensive GoPros, is limited. You can't shoot in RAW either, there are no zoom options built in and you can't switch the field of view as only one option is built in. 

 

GoPro HERO Features:

  • 1440p or 1080p video with frame rates of 60 or 30 per second
  • QuikStories Enabled, GoPro App Compatible
  • Waterproof to 33 Feet (10m)
  • Compatible with existing GoPro Mounts
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Stabilisation 
  • Voice control 
  • Touchscreen

 

GoPro HERO Handling

1/40 sec | f/4.0 | 16.0 mm | ISO 800
 

GoPro cameras are small so they fit well in the hand and weigh hardly anything. They also come with housing which you use to secure the camera to mounts and the housing with the HERO is reassuringly snug (if a little difficult to remove sometimes). The compartment that houses the battery and memory card can be a little tricky to get into but again, this reassures you that it's secure and that no water will get in when you're snorkelling. Talking of water, the HERO is waterproof down to 10m which means you can use it in rock pools or out in the rain with no worries at all. If you do plan on going scuba diving, however, you will need waterproof housing for the HERO. 

 

1/25 sec | f/4.0 | 19.0 mm | ISO 800
 

The touchscreen on the back still only measures 2-inches but it's pretty responsive and easy to view even in bright light. Those with larger fingers may find it a little fiddly but apart from that, it works well. There's also a small LCD screen on the front of the camera that relays information such as power level, how much space is left on your memory card, recording status, mode, resolution and frame rate. It's useful for quick glances but as soon as the sun goes down, it's pretty much useless outside as it's not backlit so you can't read what's on it. 

 

1/60 sec | f/4.0 | 12.0 mm | ISO 800
 

As mentioned, the memory card slot and the battery can be found in one compartment protected by a waterproof, removable door and the USB-C and micro HDMI ports can be found in another on the other side of the camera.

The battery is charged in-camera and it doesn't take too long to get the battery back up to full charge. In use, the battery lasted a decent amount of time while we were capturing a mixture of video and stills (plenty of power for a 2-hour CrossFit class). 

When it comes to controls, you can use the touchscreen to change modes, access settings, preview photos, lock the screen and more but the size of the actual screen can make this a bit fiddly. However, you can use the app if you struggle. As for physical buttons, there are only two: Mode and Shutter. The mode button (where you also power the camera on/off) cycles through the main modes (photo, video, burst, time-lapse) and the shutter button can be found on top.

If you don't want to press buttons you can use voice controls to start/stop video and to capture images but the HERO, like its older brothers, struggles with accents and most of the time, ignores you so I wouldn't bother using it. Plus, you have to be quite loud so you might get some funny looks when out in public shouting at your action camera.  

Overall, the HERO was quick in use, responded well and saved images/video quickly. 

 

GoPro HERO App 

   

 

Not much has changed with the GoPro app (if it ain't broke, don't fix it - right?) which is available for both iOS and Android and it's a doddle to set-up as the app gives you step-by-step instructions on Bluetooth pairing so you can quickly connect your smartphone to your GoPro HERO. 

The GoPro app automatically scans and downloads media from the camera but it can take quite a few minutes to complete (depending on your file sizes) and it does eat the battery power of both devices while it's happening. The remote control aspect of the app works well, with no lag, and the app is also useful for uploading images/video to the cloud. 

Once you've moved your images and videos across, you can use QuickStories (another app) to edit your footage into, what are essentially, slideshows. The whole process is actually automated but you can add titles, adjust the music and swap images/clips in and out if you want to. They're not for everyone as they can seem a little cheesy but they're a fun way to share an image showcase with friends on social media and the automated mode does an excellent job at timing cuts with the music.

There's also a desktop app available which you can use to edit your video footage, add photos and time-lapse sequences to your videos, sync video to music, add gauges and graphs, create short video clips, share footage with friends and organise your photos/videos. 

GoPro Desktop App

 

Using the desktop app makes it easier to edit/see footage simply because you're working on a larger screen and as you can combine footage, you can make a more personal clip. If video editing isn't something you regularly do you may find it a little frustrating but do persevere with it as you can create really fun clips. Having said that, the auto mode also does a decent job so you can always just use that if you don't want to spend ages tweaking footage. 

 

 



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