Hero4CamerasThe GoPro Hero4 is considered the camera to own among the GoPro fleet of models. In fact, the features indicate to action camera enthusiasts that GoPro is back on top of its game. This new feature packed device made it’s debut October 5th. In fact, GoPro’s founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman said, “HERO4 pushes the performance envelope of our Emmy Award winning capture technology. Advancements in our desktop and mobile content management applications continue to make it easier for our customers to create and share compelling content stories that go on to virally drive awareness and demand for our business.”

Most people either  know or are familiar with the GoPro line of cameras. The company makes one of the best action and waterproof cameras in the industry. The Hero4 their most current addition to the line of Hero cameras. It comes in three styles: Hero, Hero 4 Black and the Hero 4 Silver.  The Black and Silver come in three editions, Standard, Music and Surf.

If you shop Amazon, the cameras are sold individually. You can purchase a starter bundle with the Hero 4 Black, but not with the Silver.  If you want to purchase the Music and Surf editions you will have to go to the GoPro Site, with the exception of the Hero 4 Black – Surf Edition. The new GoPro models do not have much of a difference between the three of them except for the features and  mounts that are specific to the Surf and Music editions. The Hero 4 camera models are updates to the Hero 3 and Hero 3+ line.

If you want to review the Hero cameras at a glance, just scroll down to the bottom of the page to the Hero 4 Camera Comparison table.  I compare the new Hero 4 camera features with the Hero 3+ black and silver models.

GoPro Terms You Should Know

Protune:

is firmware for compatible GoPro Hero cameras that assist professionals or novices in being able to edit videos and photos shot with the camera. If you don’t know how to edit raw video, Protune is not for you. It can be turned on and off in the settings menu on the camera. Video taken with the camera will look fine without the use of Protune, it does not enhance video, but only allows those that know how to edit video to do so along with some type of editing software. It also allows for  customizable settings for Color, ISO Limit, White Balance, Sharpness and Exposure.

QuikCapture mode:

By default this feature is turned off. What it does is turns the GoPro Hero 4 Black into a one-button camera, allowing it to be powered on and users to be able to start recording automatically with the press of a single button. Press once to record video, press and hold for two seconds to capture Time Lapse photos. Press again to stop recording and power off the camera.

4K (Ultra HD):

4K, or Ultra High Definition, is significant because of its video quality in terms of realistic colors, clarity and detail. The Hero 4 has the ability to  record video and photos at higher resolutions than the norm.  Although 4K is technically defined as 4096 x 2160 pixels (cinema quality), it has a widely accepted resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (Ultra HD) up to 60p. These are resolutions that far exceed even today’s best video cameras.

HiLight Tagging:

According to GoPRo, this feature will allow users to  mark specific moments in thier video while recording. HiLight Tags will make it  easy to find the best highlights to edit and share. Users can add tags with their GoPro camera, the GoPro App or the Smart Remote (sold separately).

Smart Remote:

This remote accessory can be purchased separately which allows users to control multiple (up to 50) GoPro cameras from distances of up to 600 feet (180m).  It is wearable and waterproof  up to 32 feet (10m).  It functions to power the camera on/off, adjust settings, start/stop recording and capture photos. When used with HERO4 cameras, the Settings/Tag button can quickly change settings or using the HiLight Tag feature, mark key moments while recording video.  It is compatible with GoPro Hero3, Hero3+ (Settings/Tag button not compatible, ony with Hero 4.

Surf and Music Hero 4 Editions:

These are  specific user cameras in that what makes them different are their mounts.

GoPro Hero 4 Black -Surf

The included Surfboard Mount allows you to capture immersive POV footage of your session. The FCS plug mount can be used to attach the camera to an FCS center fin socket, while the camera tether adds an extra layer of security in heavy surf.

GoPro Hero 4 Black – Music

The included mounts allow you to attach the camera to instruments, turntables, mic stands and stage equipment to capture unique, immersive footage that draws the audience in and allows them to experience your music like never before.

After researching the Hero Go Pros, I must admit that I am seriously thinking of purchasing one.  The features of the new line are definitely in step with the current technology. At first, I had my heart set on the Hero 4 Black, but then after thinking about it, I felt that it was too much camera for me. So, I decided the Hero 4 Silver would be the better choice. Of course, there are those out there that can’t afford the price tag for the Silver, but even the new Hero 4 is not a bad purchase at under $150.00. So, let’s look at what makes these cameras so great.

Hero

GoProHeroXmasThis is the less costliest of the new GoPros and you can tell it apart from the other Hero 4s but for its color which is a nice looking gray.  It’s a basic camera designed for those action enthusiasts who want to first see what they are getting into before plopping down the big bucks for the more expensive Hero 4 cameras.  Also, I must add for those that are newbies at using one of this “action” type cameras. The GoPro Hero, will retail for $129.00. It has 5MP resolution for photos and 1080p at 30 fps for video.  The camera is mounted onto the waterproof housing which is waterproof down to 131 feet. The rechargeable battery is built-in to the camera also.

In The Box

  • Integrated Camera + Housing
  • Built-In Battery
  • Skeleton Backdoor
  • Curved Adhesive Mount
  • Flat Adhesive Mount
  • Quick Release Buckle
  • USB Cable

PROs

  • The GoPro HERO is an excellent entry-level camera
  • Camera takes excellent video, crisp and clear, but was a little grainy when capturing shadows or dark areas
  • The best thing about this camera, is the price. It is very affordable for the quality.

CONs

  • Video quality is just OK, not better than the iPhone
  • Battery life
  • No WiFi

XmasHero4SilvHero 4 Silver (Amazon #1 Bestseller)

The Silver version of the HERO 4 cameras is the middle of the road when it comes to cost. The features do not fade that much as they do with the entry level Hero, but in my opinion, this version is the best of the lot. It is seen as an upgrade to the HERO3+ Black Edition and has a built-in LCD screen. Because of the touch display, it has become easier to control the camera, frame shots and being able to playback content.  It is also waterproof up to 131 feet (40m) using waterproof housing case  and it also comes in Surf and Music versions for the Hero 4 Silver.

The Hero 4 Silver has 12MP resolution for photos and about the same video frames per minute as the Hero 4 Black. What makes this a nice buy is that it has a touch display LCD screen where you can set up your shots and videos and be able to review your media.

Other features include built-in WiFi and Bluetooth and Protune for photos and video. It also offers 4K and 2.7K video which is an ultra high-resolution, cinema-quality like capture. Additionally, the camera can take 1080p/60 and 720p/120 video.  Also, included is HiLight Tag, which allows users to mark key moments in their video for easy playback, editing and sharing, and QuikCapture, which allows the camera to be powered on and the start of video recording with the press of a single button.  The Hero 4 Silver also comes in Surf and Music editions.

What’s In The Box

  • HERO 4 Silver Camera with Built-In Touch Display
  • Standard Housing 131’(40m)
  • Skeleton + Touch Backdoors
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Curved Adhesive Mount
  • Flat Adhesive Mount
  • Quick Release Buckles
  • 3-Way Pivot Arm (Mounting Hardware)
  • USB Cable

PROs

  • LCD is extremely convenient
  • The quality of the video is absolutely stunning
  • There is a video + photo mode, users can set the camera to take pics while its also recording video

CONs

  • Battery life is horrible. Owner states users need a minimum of 3 batteries
  • Not worth the price
  • Smart remote accessory not included with camera

 

 HERO 4 BlackXmasHero4Blk

The most advanced GoPros yet. . .this is how the company describes it’s new line of Hero cameras. After taking a look at their features, I can understand why they have their chests puffed out. The older model of Hero cameras were good, but I will have to say these are so much better. I also think since the company added the entry level Hero so everyone can be in on the party and be able to afford one of these cameras for their action packed activities.

The Hero 4 Black boasts great image quality and video because of the super high-resolution of 4K/30, 2.7K/50 and 1080p/120 high frame rates. The company is proud of the fact that this camera is the first of its kind to feature such powerful ultra resolution and high frame rate video. Because of this, it can produce professional quality video and playback with cinema type quality. It’s very nice especially when played back on a 4K type monitor and television.

Additionally, HERO Black has a resolution of 12MP for photos, adds Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, a new processor that GoPro claims is twice as fast as that of the HERO3+ Black Edition, doubling the frame rates in most resolutions. Oh, and let’s not forget the new Protune settings for both photos and video which unlock manual control of Color, ISO Limit, Exposure and more.  The camera is waterproof to 131 feet (40m) with the use of a waterproof housing case and  the Hero 4 Black also comes in Surf and Music editions.

What’s In The Box

  • HERO4 Black Camera
  • Standard Housing 131’(40m)
  • Skeleton Backdoor
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Curved Adhesive Mount
  • Flat Adhesive Mount
  • Quick Release Buckles
  • 3-Way Pivot Arm (Mounting Hardware)
  • USB Cable

 PROs

  • Produces great video, 4K looks great
  • Plenty of resolution and frame-rate options
  •  Images are clear and crisp
  • Works great, easy to use and excellent video quality
  • Best version of the GoPro series of cameras yet
  • The Hero 4 Black has all the features of a high end professional camera
  • If you are an amateur videographer, buy the silver because the Black has professional features that you will not understand if you have never used a DSLR or professional video camera before
  • The LCD screen on the Silver vs Black. Connect the Black via Wifi to your smartphone, then you won’t need a screen, set it up in position and let it record. The Silver Edition is for the normal average amateur user wanting to capture their day to day events, ie: YouTube (action oriented or not), where the new Hero 4 Black is for the professional (videographers, studios, documentary, production, broadcasting…etc); a user who will be using HDMI monitors, professional audio recorders.
  • There are times where you really get what you pay for, and this is definitely one of those times. The Hero4 Black is top of the line. High Def, Bluetooth, apps for your phone, better case, water proof, better mounting capability, highest frame rate possible, multiple settings and multiple additional features.

CONs

  • Battery Life (User reports 1 hour battery life)
  • No option for in-camera digital image stabilization
  • Extra battery back up recommended
  • Placement and mounting is often a challenge using GoPro equipment
  • Not worth the price increase
  • Software is still an issue with the entire suite of cameras
  • Mobile app is full of bugs, desktop applications are next to useless. Camera works very well you just need to handle the files manually and use a 3rd party editing program.
  • When recording at 4K 30 Fps Wide, the camera gets very hot and shut down due to overheating in about 5 to 8 minutes
  • No touch screen for $500

GoPole REACH - Extension Pole 17-40"
Summary of Hero 4

The GoPRo Hero Black is a great camera. I was almost there to purchasing it despite the $499.99 price tag. I really liked the features. However, after a closer look at the features, I’ve decided that it is too much camera for me. If you are not bordering on a professional that edits your video and photos or can appreciate being able to manually modify the settings, this may be an expensive investment if you can’t really appreciate and use all the features.

Some folks have been disappointed because of the battery redesign which means the older batteries won’t fit the Hero 4 cameras and of course the battery life. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker because I think most of us are accustomed to having to buy smartphones every year or two where we can’t use the older accessories and batteries. Battery life, albeit is an inconvenience, but what’s so great is that there are plenty ways to remedy that issue.

The Silver has updated components from the previous models and a number of new recording options that are also found on the Hero 4 Black. Although,  GoPro is keeping its two older models, the Hero 3+ Silver and Hero 3 White in the fray, and also added the entry-level Hero, you have to admit that for what you get on the Hero 4 Silver, it’s a pretty good buy for the price.  So, with that being said, I would definitely go with the GoPro Hero 4 Silver. I say that for the following reasons:

  • You obtain about the same nice quality photo and video as the Hero 4 Black
  • It cost $100 dollars less than the top shelf Hero 4
  • The Silver has a LCD screen which helps you line up your shots, change camera settings and review your videos and photos (I really like this feature, but probably because that is what I am accustomed to)
  • You can purchase as many accessories as you want including the smart remote

Accessories

Soft Digits Go Pro Accessory Kit Ultimate Combo Kit

GoPro Smart Remote: Complete Camera Control: Delivers full remote control of all camera functions, including shutter, on/off and settings. Settings/Tag Button: Quickly adjust settings and tag video highlights to quickly find later for playback, sharing and editing (HERO4 Cameras ONLY).  WiFi remote does not work underwater.  Consumer review: Really useful, especially if you’re using any type of extension pole (I recommend a pole with a remote dock).

 GoPro POV Remote Pole 39″: (Remote sold separately);  My personal favorite is the Sandmarc Pole – no remote dock (Checkout my review here).

GoPro Headstrap Mount + Quick Clip

GoPro Rechargable Battery for HERO4

GoPro HERO4 Dual Battery Charger + Battery for HERO4

GoPro Battery BacPac: Extends Your Battery Life: Seamlessly attaches to the back of your GoPro to increase battery life, 15% greater battery capacity.

GoPro LCD Touch BacPac: Removable Touch Display: Seamlessly attacheds to the back of your GoPro for added convenience and control. Play Back Content Instantly: View the videos and photos you’ve captured, including audio and instant slow-motion playback.

Wasabi Power Battery for GoPro HERO4 and GoPro AHDBT-401 (2-Pack) – Highly rated

Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Dual Charger for GoPro HERO4  (with Car and World Plugs)

Smatree® 1290mAh Replacement battery (2-Pack) for GoPro Hero4 Camera

SanDisk Extreme 32GB UHS-I/U3 Micro SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme 64GB UHS-I/U3 Micro SDXC Memory Card

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Having a hard time deciding on which GoPro Hero 4 to buy? That is the big question for most consumers in the market for a new digital camera.  Take a look at the video below it might help you make up your mind.

 

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Filed under: Best Waterproof Camera Reviews

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