Review: GoPro Hero5 Black

Review: GoPro Hero5 Black

Smartphones might have threatened DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras. But they cannot really deliver what action cameras can achieve.

Smartphones might have threatened DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras. But they cannot really deliver what action cameras can achieve. From shooting underwater excursions to outdoor sports activities, action cameras can capture fast-moving scenes with perfection while they are compact and easy to mount. GoPro, being the pioneer in this category, has been copied endlessly by its competitors, but it still offers the best action cams. Last year, the company discontinued all its existing offerings and now features three cameras in its current portfolio, one of which is GoPro Hero5 Black.

Hero5 Black is a compact action camera with all the features one requires. There is a 2 inch touch display, which feels rather small but is used the most for changing settings and viewing footage. Using this device is quite simple as the mode button on the side can be used to turn the camera on/off and switch between various modes, including video, photo, burst shot and timelapse images. It can also be paired with the Capture app (designed by GoPro), which offers camera controls, modes and access to media on the Hero5 Black, wirelessly. The content in its memory card can be downloaded on to the Capture app.

During my recent holiday, I tested the Hero5 Black extensively. From capturing beautiful views from the aircraft and terrain drives, it also accompanied me to the beach and also recorded water activities. Unlike other gadgets, I was able to use the Hero5 Black without any worry as it is waterproof and does not need any housing for up to 33 ft.

What's even more interesting is the voice control feature that I used to capture an image, record a video, stop recording and even turn off the GoPro using the standard voice commands. It was quick to understand my command even during a windy day. When in a hurry, I preferred pressing the shutter button, which powered on the camera and started recording the video in the last saved settings. And that is good in a way as this action camera offers a host of settings - video capture at up to 4k resolution at 30 frames per second (fps), 2.7k at up to 60 fps, 1440p resolution at 80 fps, 1080p at 120 fps and lower resolution. It is advisable to use a compatible memory card that can support 4k video processing. My SanDisk memory card struggled to save 4k videos whereas the Lexar microSD did the job within a second. The camera also supports video stabilisation, but not 4k videos or anything over 60fps. Similarly, auto low light is not available for 30 fps or lower or even at the highest, 240 fps. All 4k videos can be captured in wide field of view while different fields of view - superview, wide, medium, linear and narrow - can be selected in different resolutions and fps. Still, images are captured at 12 MP resolution in raw format for more editing control.

GoPro has added various time intervals, including 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 20, 30 and 60 seconds for timelapse images, which can be later stitched into a timelapse video using video editing software. It is a perfect companion for action videos as the videos are smooth and images captured are crisp with natural colours. However, given the compact size of the camera, the battery is small. It can give around an hour and a half of recording time when shooting in 4k resolution.

Bag it or Junk it: One of the best action cameras in the market with several much-needed features such as voice control and smartphone app
Price: Rs 38,000
Rating: 4.5/5
Plus: 4k resolution, voice control, capture app
Minus: Battery