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.