When I watched the folks a GoPro hype the new Hero 5, I was pretty excited about it. I’ve reviewed every edition of the GoPro since the Hero 3 for B&H Photo and Video so I’m intimately aware of where this camera is amazing – and where it’s really lacking. Since I felt like the camera hadn’t really had a major hallmark, ground breaking improvement since the Hero 3, I was excited to hear that GoPro took a stab at so many of the issues that make this little action camera not-so consumer friendly.
User Interface Overhaul
The entire overhaul of the user interface is welcomed. To just simply tap the setting you want to change on the touch screen is such a phenomenal improvement than working with the previous two button navigation system. Sure you can change the settings on your phone through the App, but how does that work for you in the ocean? Or on a motorbike? Or anywhere that you may not want to have your phone on you? The idea of the touch screen is fabulous – although don’t expect the kind of response that you get from your phone. The screen is still tiny and I often have trouble tapping in just the right spot to change the setting to what I want. Also there are plenty of times when it doesn’t seem as responsive as it should be. For example – if it’s wet. There is no “water-proof housing” with this camera. The weather proofing is built into it’s hard exterior. That part is nice and so much less clumsy but if the screen is wet chances are slim to none that you are going to be able to change the settings through touch. Your back to the two button navigation. I also found that the longer I worked with the camera and the warmer it got, the less responsive the screen was to touch. Still just having the option made me feel so much better about trying to work with this camera and teach it to entry level consumers.
The next important thing that GoPro needed to do to make this camera consumer friendly, was stabilize the video. All it took was one video clip walking around with the camera handheld to make most people put it back in the box and not bring it out again. The image stabilization was non-existent and every vibration, every foot step, every tiny movement was amplified. The addition of image stabilization was something I was incredibly excited about. Here’s few clips to demonstrate what I mean. These are straight out of camera and they are all shot over pretty rough terrain.
It didn’t let me down but it’s not exactly “floating” video. You can still see some jello-ing and vibration. The movement doesn’t really look smooth, but it’s miles over what it used to be. You can actually watch it and appreciate what you’re seeing as opposed to just wondering what is actually happening in the video. But mounts are still important – as you can see this internal stabilization only goes so far. Securing the camera in a spot where it moves as little as possible is still an important part of working with a Hero 5.
Overall I’d say this one is worth it. If you’re holding on to a 3, 3+ or 4 and wondering if the new camera is worth the investment (after all for the most part the optics didn’t change) – I’d say yes. Simply for the convenience of this user interface verses what you have and the stabilization. These are two things that make working with the Hero 5 way more fun and much less frustrating than it’s predecessor.
Plus the addition of the Quik App lets you easily link the media from your camera to your phone and cut any clip down to shareable five and fifteen second pieces. Then gives you the option to post them on social feeds directly from the App. It’s easy to share great clips without ever having to bring the video clips into a computer for editing.