The new action camera to beat
THE GoPro HERO6 Black has improved in many key areas, including image resolution and frame rates.
A new custom processor, one that’s incredibly powerful, also provides significantly better image stabilisation, faster speed and upgrades in overall image quality.
But do all the new enhancements make photography a better experience than with its previous flagship model, the HERO5 Black?
The GoPro HERO6 Black looks identical to the HERO5 Black. The rectangular action camera has rounded corners and is coated with rubberised material.
The camera also has a two-inch full colour touchscreen display at the back for previewing shots. You can scroll down the menu to change settings.
Like the HERO5, this one also has micro HDMI, USB-C and a microSD card slot. It retains the 1220mAh battery too.
As the camera is waterproof up to 10 metres without the need for any external housing, the port covers are tightly sealed. It’s tight enough that you have to actually exert a fair amount of force to get the battery and USB ports open.
There’s a button on top of the camera for quick photo taking and recording, and another on the side to change modes and create a highlight.
GoPro stickers, charging cables as well as the flat and curve surface mounts are all included in the box.
One advantage of the HERO6 is that it will fit all the mounts and accessories of the HERO5.
The HERO6 is powered by GoPro’s new custom processor, the GP1. GoPro’s move to build its own chip makes it hard for competitors to copy.
With the new processor, the HERO6 Black has an improved stabilisation system that eliminates shaking and vibrations.
The camera is also able to capture higher resolution and frame rate combinations compared to its predecessor.
With the HERO6, you can shoot 4K footage at 60 frames per second (fps), compared to HERO5 at 4K/30fps. Not only that, you can also go into slow motion mode that shoots at 2.7K at 120 fps, or super slo-mo with 240 fps at 1080 resolution.
The new camera has an improved dynamic range, so it shoots better in mixed sunlight and low light conditions.
WiFi performance has also received a performance boost. Now with 5GHz connection, file transfers are three times faster using the dedicated GoPro app. That’s great as you can have your photos and footage in your smartphone in no time.
The app can be quite handy, especially when you are taking pictures with the selfie stick.
A new addition to the HERO6 is its Touch Zoom feature. It enables you to zoom in and out of a scene with your finger by sliding up and down the display.
One feature I enjoy using is the voice command. Once it is turned on, I do not have to worry about switching off the camera.
People may think I’m crazy talking to the camera but it is so much fun. Simple voice commands such as “GoPro, turn off”, “GoPro, start recording”, “GoPro, take a photo” makes it so much easier than to press the button or change settings. The voice command is available in 10 languages including Chinese, French and Korean.
IMAGE AND VIDEO
I’ve tried the GoPro HERO5 before, and I can say that this latest model shoots better on both well-lit and low-lit conditions.
The HERO6 produces much clearer and brighter colours in both video and photo mode.
On the older model, the colours tend to appear washed out, which need to be colour-corrected before I post on my social media.
Even on bumpy rides or when recording while walking, the results are stable (though not as smooth as using a gimbal). The camera stabilisation works to give clearer footage.
All these upgrades do not affect the battery life as much and you can still enjoy the same shoot time like the GoPro HERO5.
However, bear in mind that GoPro’s biggest complaint was always about battery life which means it still is able to last for only a few hours on a single continuous use.
So, if you’re taking it out for a day, make sure to have a spare battery. Trust me, it’s frustrating when you want to start shooting and your battery is dead, especially when you have fully charged it the night before.
The responsiveness of the touch screen overall is pleasant but the camera can become very hot.
When it was launched late last year, I was taken aback by the price (RM2,399). It makes you think twice about buying when there are other inexpensive options. But GoPro is determined to make the handheld action camera experience widely accessible and so it has reduced the price of the HERO6 Black to RM1,849, a huge savings of RM550.
Though it may look like the GoPro HERO5 Black, internally and performance-wise, it has improved on multiple fronts. This may be the best action camera you can buy today.
With increased frame rates, extended dynamic range and image stabilisation, it leads in the field.
So if you’re into extreme sports, part of a film production team or someone who travels a lot, the HERO6 Black is for you.