With the arrival of the HERO5 range, we wondered if it was time to retire its predecessor, the HERO4, to the museum alongside our Canon 450D. Certainly not, and here’s why.
As you’d probably expect, the video output on the HERO4 is great. We shoot almost exclusively in 1080p at 60 frames per second (fps), knowing that we often reduce the clip speed in our final edits and we want to maintain the smooth playback. For breathtaking landscapes, or other shots that don’t feature much movement frame to frame, the camera also offers 4K at 15fps.
In my opinion, 4K is still rather limited in its prevalence. Being a bit of tech nerd, I had honestly expected those extra pixels to have infiltrated every corner of our digital lives by now, but it appears that the technology is still a far cry from the norm, unlike 1080p. Sweet, that keeps the HERO4 relevant for a good while longer!
The camera takes a little getting used to if you’re unfamiliar with the GoPro menu structure and operation. However, switching up settings and catching those once-in-a-lifetime moments feels easy breezy before many minutes of hands-on.
The HERO4 saw the addition of a touchscreen on the rear of the camera. Whilst this is such a great feature for playback and trimming of clips to save those precious megabytes on a long trip, I actually find it a little cumbersome for general navigation of the menus etc., so I stick to the buttons for that. Don’t get me wrong though, the screen quality is fantastic and the touch technology is excellent.
I suppose I’d better mention what we are ‘missing out’ on by sticking with the trusty HERO4.
Let’s start with the big one, image stabilisation. GoPro has added great image stabilisation across the HERO5 range and from what can be seen in video reviews, it is impressive. It’s impossible to quantify the improvement that stabilisation brings to your footage, but when you see the two side-by-side, you just know.
In close second place is that the GoPro body itself is now waterproof. No need for the housing. This really is a great design improvement, though a little overdue it must be said. The housing does have a tendency to steam up without you noticing, which of course leads to steamy footage. Ahem.
Naturally there are a whole host of other standard model upgrades: picture, noise reduction, connectivity etc. but for us there just isn’t enough to justify the upgrade from what really is still, an excellent camera.