GoPro has long been the biggest name in action cameras. Their indestructible little steel boxes have captured everything from spearfishers escaping sharks to Easter egg hunts for the internet’s amusement. But now that everybody from major camera companies to GPS manufacturers has an action camera, what does GoPro have to do to stand out?
The Hero 5 Black And Hero 5 Session
On paper, the Hero 5 Black and the Hero 5 Session are mostly upgrades instead of revolutions, but they have a lot to offer. Both shoot in 4K, of course, up to 30 frames a second, with higher speeds at lower resolutions. They’re both water resistant to 33 feet. Both, surprisingly, support voice control in seven languages with more to come.
The $399 Hero 5, though, has all the bells and whistles: There’s high dynamic range and RAW file formats, a two-inch LCD touchscreen, and a built-in GPS. Breaking with GoPro tradition, it’s also got separate buttons for photo and video, although it also allows for the one-button operation that was so popular in the last generation. The Session is the tiny, stripped down cube that’s most familiar to action cam fans, and at $299, it’s designed to do one job, shoot footage, although it won’t shoot HDR or RAW. It will use the “flat” mode that lets you color-correct more easily, though. And, of course, they work with GoPro’s other big announcement.
The GoPro Karma
The Karma is, as GoPro said over and over again, “so much more than a drone.” Which is true in a literal sense. It’s a drone, of course, but also a stabilization system that works with GoPro mounts and a controller for the drone. The stabilization system, in particular, might be the most important announcement; one of the key complaints about GoPro footage is, well, it’s shaky as the second Bourne movie, since half the time it’s people mountain biking, jumping off mountains, and other things that don’t lend themselves to smooth, stable footage.
The controller is clever as well. It lets you divide responsibilities between two people with one shooting and the other controlling the drone, and the controller doesn’t require a smartphone. It also works with the Hero 3 and Hero 4, in addition to the new GoPros. The drone itself, rather brilliantly, folds into a package you can tuck in a backpack. If it can withstand the hits GoPro says it can, it might really be the biggest win the company has seen yet.