- Stunning 4K footage up to 60fps with better codec and compression
- Huge ecosystem of compatible accessories and mounts
- Super rugged design – water resistant down to 10 meters
- Vastly improved image quality for videos and photos + superb image stabilization
- Faster processor makes using this camera quick and easy
- Battery drains quickly when shooting in 4K
- Sharing media still has plenty of road blocks
The GoPro HERO6 is by far the best action camera ever…it’s just expensive.
When the HERO 6 Black was first announced, my initial thought was that it was going to be a marginal update over the GoPro HERO5 Black… I was way wrong. This is flat out the best action camera that GoPro or any other company has ever created. Here’s what you can expect from it.
GoPro HERO6 Black – Design
This looks exactly like the HERO5, aside from a few very minor changes—same body, same ruggedness, same battery, etc. It’s water resistant down to 10 meters without an external housing unit and it works with dozens of accessories and mounts. Additionally, just like the HERO5, it has a 2″ full-color, touchscreen display on the back, which allows you to preview media and change settings. Still charges via USB-C. Still has the exact same button layout. Nothing really new here.
In terms of battery life, at 1080p60, we found that the HERO5 and 6 were exactly the same: 1 hour and 55 minutes of continuous footage on a single charge. We had Wi-Fi, voice commands, GPS, and Protune off. We did the same test in 4K60 and the HERO 6 went just under 30 minutes on a single charge. Not bad battery life at all, but if you plan to use 4K a lot, make sure to pickup a few extra batteries.
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GoPro HERO 6 Black – New Processor
The HERO 6 sports the brand new, custom GP1 processor that makes this camera noticeably faster than the HERO 5 and helps with myriad other things, including facial recognition and stabilization. This is really the crux to the improvements with the HERO6. When you use a HERO 6 vs HERO 5, you can absolutely tell which device you’re using purely based on speed…and that’s before you take any video whatsoever.
GoPro HERO 6 Action Cam – Video/Photo Quality
While the HERO5 recorded video up to 4K at 30 frames per second, the HERO6 records up to 4K at 60 frames per second, which is just amazing. The footage is gorgeous. Below is a table showing a few of the details regarding resolution, frame rates, etc. You also get 1080p up to 240 frames per second for ultra slow motion footage. This is just simply incredible since you can technically slow it down 10x to 24 frames per second and it will still look clear. It also shoots 12MP stills, like the HERO5, only it also records HDR images and .RAW stills, which is ideal for post-production editing. You still get time lapse and night lapse mode as well.
On top of this, the HERO6 even in 1080p records a better, clearer, sharper image with more accurate colors than does the HERO5 (or any other action camera for that matter). The HERO 6 tends to over saturate your image, while the HERO 5 churned out somewhat muted colors. Still, the HERO 6 is the clear winner when it comes to video recording. That’s thanks in part to the improved codec (in 4K) and compression of your video files. Here’s a side-by-side showing the difference in video quality.
Of course, the HERO6 (like the HERO5), has the option to switch on Protune to make changes to ISO, sharpness, white balance, etc. so there’s a way to make these images look more similar.
The other advantage that the 6 has is that it performs far better in low light for videos and photos, as shown below. You can see that it’s not ideal, nor as good as many DSLR cameras, but it’s definitely a year-over-year improvement.
Also, the HERO6 has three microphones and automatically switches to give you the best audio quality. There was a similar feature on the HERO5, however, it had disappointing audio quality. The HERO6 is superb here. It’s the best GoPro in terms of picking up clear audio. Obviously, sometimes you still hear wind, but it does a good job of limiting static, background noise, and wind noise.
Video Stabilization is better on the HERO 6
As for stabilization, it’s much improved on the HERO6. It was nice to have on the 5, but the 6 darn near erases all of your footsteps when walking with the camera. It won’t completely eliminate the need for the Karma Grip, but stabilization is indeed much better this go around.
Zoom feature on HERO6
The last thing with regard to video is that the HERO 6 allows you to zoom in on footage. Previously, with GoPro you had narrow, medium, wide, SuperView, and linear field of views.
With the HERO6, you now have Wide, SuperView, and Linear, plus the ability to zoom in. You can’t zoom in far, you can’t zoom in with 4K, and you can’t zoom while you’re filming, but this it’s still a step forward. Images become understandably less clear as you zoom, but I’ll take it nonetheless.
In the image above, you can see that you have Linear View, which just normalizes the footage that would typically have a warped, rounded look in the corners. Essentially it takes that standard GoPro look and makes it seem like it came from a regular camera. Then you have Wide View and the ability to zoom from there to get to medium, etc. Also, in 1080P you’ll have a third option for SuperView as well, which is ultra wide angle.
This next image has nothing to do with zooming, but it’s just a wonderful example of the detail and clarity that you get with the HERO6. There is some over saturation, but not by much. This is actually from the HERO6 while it’s mounted on the Karma Drone. We flew it over an abandoned golf course…don’t tell anyone.
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GoPro HERO6 Action Cam – Extras
The HERO6 also now has 5GHz Wi-Fi for transferring media to the GoPro app. This works just fine and the QuikStories feature within the app is neat, but we still remain skeptical that it’s easy enough to entice people into sharing more GoPro videos.
Further, the HERO 6, of course, works with the GoPro Karma Drone. Nothing really to expand upon here other than that you just need a software upgrade in order for your Karma to be compatible with the HERO 6.