While popular opinion is that the jump from a Hero 4 to a Hero 5 camera may not be 100% worthy, we find the Hero 5 is a really sleek little gadget.
Stabilization may not be something that you are too concerned about when shooting still frames but when it comes to filming on the go, it’s a big thing.
In-camera video stabilization is not new as a concept but we haven’t seen it with GoPro cameras before. It’s designed to smooth out the vibrations you get when you’re filming while moving. How it works is basically by cropping – it takes video with a larger resolution and cuts the edge off the corners in order to make the footage smoother.
Obviously, this method of stabilization is not ideal but it seems to do the trick for an action camera, from which you would expect a (somewhat) shaky videos.
Voice commands is another new feature that we see in Hero 5. Now, it’s nowhere near Siri but it does accept 12 commands in 7 languages. 12 official commands, that is. Along with “GoPro Start Recording” or “GoPro Start Time Lapse” for example, you can also activate the camera with two more shout-outs: “That was sick!” and… “Oh, shit!”.
The first one seems a bit redundant – you would generally use the phrase after something cool has already happened – but “Oh, shit” often marks the beginning of epic stories worth documenting on video. Thumbs up for the sense of humor!
Some users, however, report that the newly introduced voice controls are not perfect under all conditions – apparently, they can easily fail you if you’re moving at a speed higher than 15 km/h.
Hero 5 Black has 3 built-in microphones that record simultaneously, then combines them in one audio track. This way your videos are recorded with reduced wind noise for example.
Another instance, in which you get better audio is when shooting under water – because with Hero 5 you no longer need a separate waterproof case for the camera. You can take the camera as deep as 10 m (33 ft) and it’ll be fine – and you’ll avoid the muffled audio the case causes.
Removable front lens
If you can prove that you have never scratched or damaged the lens of your action camera, we want to come to you and bow before you, master! (We’re having trouble keeping our regular came lenses unscratched, let alone ones used in extreme conditions). Hero 5 Black solves that as it allows for the lens to be easily replaced (and it helps that the lenses don’t cost an arm and a leg).
Improved menu system
The menu system has been tweaked as well to make operating the camera so easy that even your technologically-challenged mom could do it without a second thought.
Shooting photos in RAW
A RAW mode has been added for shooting photos with a GoPro Hero 5, which is great news for those of us who like to edit and touch up images – and if you’re shooting on the go, it’s very probably your photos will need some touching up.
Now this is when things get really interesting for everyone at the pCloud HQ. GoPro Plus is a paid cloud service that syncs the pictures and videos from your action camera to your other devices so you can easily edit the footage.
If there’s anything on the GoPro platform more confusing and screwed up than GoPro Plus, I don’t know what it is. This is the only solid blight on the Hero5 launch. And it’s ugly. Really ugly.
The service costs $5 per month but apparently it’s not worth it – and not just because you can only store up to 35 hours of footage or up to 62,000 pictures. As reported by users, it is a nightmare to work with, doesn’t really communicate well with your camera, syncs a lower resolution copy of the videos (1080 p instead of 4K), and doesn’t let you edit directly in the cloud. Yikes.
Skip GoPro Plus, go pCloud instead
GoPro have figured out the right direction – everything is moving to the cloud nowadays. However, they seem to lack what it takes in terms of execution. We recommend they leave the cloud to the real cloud pros like us.
The thing is, GoPro cameras allow you to create beautiful content and capture the incredible moments you share with your family and friends in crisp 4K video. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice image quality and resolution for the sake of using GoPro’s own cloud.
You shouldn’t sacrifice convenience either – let’s take a look at two scenarios.
Scenario 1: Use GoPro Plus
You shoot your videos/photos.
Connect your GoPro camera to a Wi-Fi network.
Plug the camera.
Wait for the camera to charge so the upload can begin (you can’t start syncing before the camera is fully charged. Wait for the upload to finish.
Open your GoPro Plus account on your computer.
Download the videos you uploaded (the resolution is no longer 4K but down to 1080 p).
Edit the videos or pictures.
Send them to your friends via another cloud storage provider, by email or another way.
Scenario 2: Opt in for pCloud
Record video or take photos.
Connect your GoPro camera to your computer via cable or just slide your card into the computer slot.
Download the videos/pictures straight to pCloud through pCloud Drive.
Edit the footage with a program of your choice.
Share with the world with a single click.
By choosing to go with pCloud, you not only cut the steps from 8 to 5, you go for easier steps. On top of this, as soon as you save your video clips and pics to pCloud, they’ll be immediately and automatically synced across all of the devices that you use (iOS, Android or Windows 10 Mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers, tablets) AND you’ll be able to access them through a web browser too.
The pCloud platform transcodes video content so you can play it on any device, even if your internet connection is suboptimal – so when you run into a friend on the street and they ask you how was snowboarding last week, you can simply take your phone out of your pocket and play that sick backflip you did.
Based on your pCloud plan, you’ll have either 500 GB or 2 TB of storage space to keep every single frame you shoot, and it will cost you as little as $3.99/month or $7.99/month respectively. Remember those 62,000 pictures you can keep in GoPro Plus? Well, with a 2 TB plan you can keep millions of photos. That’s a pretty sweet price for you to get your entire video library in one protected space, so frankly, there is no reason for you not to get an account if you don’t have one yet.