In October 2014 GoPro officially announced and launched a new trio of action sports cameras. GoPro are the goto brand inside the sports industry and now they have an even better range which is more aggressively priced than ever.
For this season the GoPro range comprises of the GoPro Hero, GoPro Hero 4 Silver and GoPro Hero 4 Black. With prices ranging from £99 – £369 which model is right for you to buy?
Firstly lets take a look through the top level specifications between the models.
Top video resolution and frame rate:
Hero – 1080p at 30 FPS
Hero 4 Silver – 4k at 15 FPS or 1080p at 60 FPS
Hero 4 Black – 4k at 30 FPS, 2K at 50 FPS or 1080p at 120 FPS
These are some impressive looking numbers but what do they really mean? Frame frequency or frames per second (FPS) is the rate in which the GoPro can capture individual frames/images. The higher the FPS the smoother the final video will be, the higher FPS also allows for extremely good looking slow motion which is a real highlight for fast paced sports and tricks. Most digital content we consume currently will be played back at 24-30 FPS.
In terms of resolution the average user is probably still using a tv, laptop and desktop computer with a 1080P display. This means the resolution of your monitor is 1920 x 1080 pixels. A 2K display contains 2560 x 1440 pixels and a 4K display/tv contains 3840 x 2160 pixels. This year 2K became increasingly popular with products such as the Apple iMac, Apple Macbook Pro Retina, PC monitors and smartphones all adapting higher resolution panels.
Currently there are few devices capable of playing and processing the high level 4K content which the GoPro Hero 4 Black can produce.
Hero – 5MP sensor at 5 FPS burst
Hero 4 Silver – 12MP sensor at 30 FPS burst
Hero 4 Black – 12MP sensor at 30 FPS burst
Both the Silver and Black edition GoPro 4 cameras give very similar results when it comes to taking still images. Both models allow you to create time lapse photography which will look great when integrated with your normal video. The preset settings allow you to shoot photos from every 0.5 seconds to 60 seconds. If you want to capture faster action then you will love the burst mode which has seen a serious improvement over the older models. The new Hero 4 can shoot from 3 to 30 photos per second which is much fast than most modern cameras, phones or DSLR’s.
Hero – Mini USB, Micro SD
Hero 4 Silver – Micro USB, Micro SD, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro HDMI and more.
Hero 4 Black – Micro USB, Micro SD, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Micro HDMI and more.
Both the Silver and Black models of the Hero 4 include features to connect your camera directly to your smartphone, TV and computer. The standard Hero only allows connection to a PC so you will need to save your footage to another device to be able to play it back.
The 2014 GoPro cameras have seen impressive performance gains whilst the cheaper models become more and more powerful each year. The £99 HD Hero 4 is a fantastic piece of kit for the price point and will put some serious pressure on the likes of Contour and Sony. At £99 this should become the family holiday camera of choice. Something to throw about in the pool, at the beach and in the water parks. At £289.99 we would expect to see the Hero 4 Silver in most peoples bags. It offers great video and photo capabilities and also features an integrated LCD screen for viewing and playing back footage. The Hero 4 Black should be reserved for serious film makers who already have the hardware to process, edit and playback the footage which it is capable of shooting. Likewise if you want to future proof your camera setup and do not plan on buying another GoPro for a few years then go for the black. Just bare in mind £369.95 is nothing in comparison to the PC, Monitor and TV setup you will need to enjoy it.
We will follow up this article with a hands on review before the year is out, we want to test the new models in a multitude of conditions and see what they can really do.
If you have any questions give us a shout in the comments or drop us an email.
Want to find out more about the camera itself and what is included in the box? Check out our unboxing here.