Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH -

smArt­phones might have threat­ened DSLR and point-and-shoot cam­eras but they can­not re­ally de­liver what ac­tion cam­eras can. From shoot­ing un­der­wa­ter ex­cur­sions to out­door sports ac­tiv­i­ties, ac­tion cam­eras can cap­ture fast-mov­ing scenes with per­fec­tion. Go­Pro, be­ing the pioneer in this cat­e­gory, has been copied end­lessly by 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 de­sired fea­tures. There is a two-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. 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 to cap­ture views from the air­craft and ter­rain drives, and 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 com­mand fea­ture that can be used to cap­ture im­ages, record videos, and even turn off the Go­Pro. It was quick to un­der­stand my com­mand even in windy set­tings. When in a hurry, I pre­ferred press­ing the shutter but­ton to switch the cam­era on and record the video in the last saved set­tings. 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 for 4k videos or any­thing over 60 fps. 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 – su­per view, 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. The videos turned out to be smooth and im­ages cap­tured re­tained the nat­u­ral colours. How­ever, given the com­pact size of the cam­era, the bat­tery is small. It of­fers around an hour and a half of record­ing time when shoot­ing in 4k res­o­lu­tion.

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