Experiencing heavy sports activities are great, but it gets even better if you can capture these moments. Speaking of action sports camera, GoPro is the first name that comes to our mind. GoPro editions like GoPro Hero, GoPro Hero+, GoPro 3 have already won the market in large. Now they have released a new edition called “GoPro Hero 4“. The product assures more quality and more fun to taking pictures or videos. The following is the detailed dissection of GoPro Hero 4 black review.
GoPro Hero 4 black edition is the latest entry in the list, which is loaded with surprising features. GoPro is a compatible box type camera that is synonymous with heavy abuse and excellent image quality. GoPro Hero 4 silver can be described as its flagship model that comes with the price tag of $329 , which has come down since its introduction in the market. There are three variants available with the GoPro Session as the earlier version with the price of $199, GoPro Hero 4 Black being the top model with the price of $429.
GoPro Hero 4 Black Review
GoPro Hero 4 Black: Design and Build
The Hero 4 comes in the distinct box model, measuring 3.9 x 9.7 x 3.9 inches with a weight of 1.3 pounds. It is extremely light weight and compact in terms of the performance aspects it offers. The camera is protected by a solid transparent casing with a mount for rugged use and waterproofing. In terms of design, there is no difference to its predecessor and practically identical to the extended range of GoPro cameras.
The popular misconception with GoPro devices goes with the waterproofing feature. The camera itself isn’t waterproof, but the protective casing does add the layer. It can function till the depth of 40m, but care should be taken that the device should be perfectly capsulated in the casing as a single leak can completely damage the camera.
Also, the front end is designed as black with silver façade. There are three buttons employed in the device, with one on the top, one on the front and last one on the right. The front side has a lens that usually covers the extensive field of view.
GoPro Hero 4 Black: Display
GoPro Hero 4 black edition does not have a display screen. But the small menu view point at the back allows to select recording options very easy. Also, it has a built-in Wi-Fi; hence, you can easily connect your phone with an app and enjoy unlimited streaming.
The front end displays a small monochrome LCD, which shows you the menu options. Hovering through the menu is a bit weird and difficult using the three buttons. It also lacks LCD backlight, hence you may often find it impossible to see the menu options, if not in the light. While the lack of backlight significantly reduces the amount of usage, there is an easier way to take care of the problem. The Wi-Fi app does employ settings, from where you can adjust the camera settings with much ease. We ended up using the app more often to change the setting rather than going through the camera display.
GoPro Hero 4 Black: Recording
As far as the video formatting goes, there are many options, which go beyond the conventional camera. More so, if you are not into automatic mode and like to tweak the camera setting as per your preferences, you can easily do so. White Balance, Exposure, Metering Balance are some of the innate settings that can be adjusted from the app.
The camera comes with two mounts – a flat and a curved one. The waterproof rear door at the back of the casing allows you to capture the audio if you want some in your recording. However, the quality isn’t too impressive and not feasible, with the sports exceeding the 100 miles limit. If the sound is vital, then you can opt for an adapter for placing the external mic.
The number of accessories and mounts compatible with the device is the very reason to choose for GoPro Hero 4 black. The company has its own set of accessories available for the device and users can also try out third party accessories from PolarPro, which can widen the reach of product lines you wish to try out. While we loved the entire range of compatible accessories, the camera doesn’t include a tripod mount. Hence, you will have to end up buying one.
GoPro Hero 4 Black: Battery Life
GoPro Hero 4 battery Life is going to be a huge issue when rating the device. The company has allocated around 65 minutes of video recording on 4k mode, on a disabled Wi-Fi. However, the standard 1080p video recording can record up to 2 hours of nonstop footage on a single charge, which is a big plus. The big improvements come in the form of a replacement battery. The earlier models of GoPro didn’t have the option of replacing batteries, hence, you would have to recharge before using it. Whereas, Hero 4 batteries can be replaced, so you can carry as many batteries as you need.
GoPro Hero 4 Black: Resolution and Frame Rates
Right at the beginning, we mentioned that GoPro has endless features when it comes to resolution and frame rates. You have the wide range of selection of resolution and frame rates. For instance, 4K videos can be shot at 30fps or 24fps. You don’t get any higher frame rate options like 60fps at 4K mode, but most of the other cameras don’t as well. For 4K mode, you have two Field Of View (FOV): Ultra Wide and SuperView.
Ultra Wide offers broader viewing angle at 16:9 ratio, whereas SuperView delivers more depth to the video at 4:3 ratio. The video captured in SuperView compresses the quality to 16:9 to view it on the TVs and computers.
Changing the resolution at 2.7K, you have the frame rate options of 60fps, 50fps, 48fps, 30fps, and 24fps. Naturally, you don’t get high-quality resolution as 4K, but it is extremely useful if you want to try out 60fps option. It comes with Ultra Wide, Medium View, and Super View.
Shooting at 1440p offers, even more, frame rate options, from 80fps to 24fps. However, it only covers Ultra-Wide mode.
The most common 1080p ranges its frame rates from 120fps to 24fps and offers Ultra Wide, Medium, Super, and Narrow viewing options. The feature of 120fps is especially the well-sought bonus for the fans of ultra-slow motion recording and for time-lapse videos. Then, there is a 960p option with same features as the previous one.
Finally, the standard 720p and 480p comes with 240fps option. We don’t need to tell you how much effective it gets with 240fps.
GoPro Hero 4 Black: Video and Image Quality
Having a long range of resolution and frame rates is all good, but how does it fare in terms of footage? The Ultra-Wide mode covers 170 degrees field of view, which is pretty similar to fish-eye lens on the heavy duty cameras. The medium view offers 127 degrees, which can be seen in standard SLR lenses. Moreover, then there is narrow view with the 90-degree field, same as a 21mm lens.
In terms of video quality, it would be best to set the automatic mode on ProTune. It gives you the best image quality at higher frame rates. You do end up getting the less recording time in ProTune mode, but it pays off if you are really looking to capture shots at high frame rates. One can also try out the manual options, but tweaking requires skills in handling the camera settings extensively. ProTune not only provides high-quality images but lets you control the other options like exposure, white balance and metering.
In addition to these, you get the different color settings, which is extremely useful in terms of color correction during video editing and capturing videos at various color contrasts. All these settings are great to use, but if you are an average user like us, who just wants the natural color correction, then just leave the settings with GoPro color mode ‘ON’.
The most promising aspect of the camera is in capturing the 4K videos, which is a luxury of its own. Each frame is captured at 8 megapixels that deliver strong detailing to the edges. The users may be restricted at 30fps on 4K mode, but they can still try out the 60fps mode on seemingly high-quality video at 2.7K. Extreme sports users might end up using more of a 2.7K mode than the 4K mode, due to the availability of slowing down the speed with smoother frame rates. Other video modes are equally effective with a subjective focus on recording time and frame rate accessibility.
The video was grainy, especially when recording at the low spectrum of light. Under the singular spectrum of light, the quality is excellent, but the combination of lights does give out its weaknesses. While the color correction mode sorts out the issue to a certain extent, you can still see the noticeable difference in the quality. It also doesn’t employ image stabilization mode, but Ultra Wide feature negates the effects. Just don’t expect to be extremely smooth on violent shakes.
GoPro Hero 4 Black: Edit In App
The app is compatible with both desktop and Mobile, iOS , Android and Windows. The app allows you to get a video preview of the frame before you can start recording. However, higher quality recording seems to black out in the device. One of the surprising aspects of the app is that it allows you to perform firmware updates right from your smartphone. This can significantly reduce the amount of pain you have to go through to update the camera. You can also pair your devices with the Bluetooth feature.
Should I Buy or Not???
Hero 4 (black) is the best camera the GoPro can offer to the users. It is one of the best action cameras in the field now. The GoPro Hero 4 black review does point out that device has its own sets of flaws, but we are simply ready to forget all the shortfalls in comparison to its 4K video capturing. The device is compatible with a lot of accessories and the size makes it extremely easy to mount, may it be on a surfboard or on a helmet. You have the option of going with Silver with the difference in 4K video capturing, but Black is still better.
Also read this: 10 Best GoPro Alternatives That Are Equally Great