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Cameras are such an important part of our travel business and family memories. We are always looking for the best videos during our travels. When Hunter tries trapeze for the first time or Kelly feeds a dolphin; we want to capture those moments.
Finding a camera that takes excellent footage (above ground and in the water) is tough.
We thought we found an excellent camera with the GoPro Hero. But, did we?
We bought this camera a few months ago and have been testing it out on our travels. We want to share our review of the popular GoPro Hero.
GoPro Hero Black Review
The GoPro Hero Black is the latest action camera offering from GoPro, with several new features from the previous Hero Black. The new camera offers:
- HyperSmooth 2.0: The latest and best in-camera stabilization from GoPro includes three modes; On, Boost, and High. HyperSmooth 2.0 shows significant improvement over the Hero 7 Black stabilization.
- Streamlined design: With folding attachment legs and a re-imagined shape, the GoPro Hero carries much easier than previous models. Additionally, the lens offers the most impact-resistant glass ever included in a GoPro
- Expandable Mods: New media mod, display mod, and vlogging light mod offer light attachments, mic attachments, and a view screen. The new Mods make the GoPro a contender for a full-time camera for vloggers, in addition to a great action camera.
- Live streaming: Stream directly to your social channels in 1080p while also saving to your SD card.
- TimeWarp 2.0: Super smooth time lapse videos while moving through an activity
- LiveBurst: Record the moments 1.5 seconds before and after your shot, so you can choose the best single frame for the perfect photo – or an amazing, shareable video
- Touchscreen and voice control
- Waterproof without a case down to 33 feet
- Video Capture Resolution: 4K UHD 2160p
The stabilization on the Hero Black amazed us. We found no need for a separate gimbal while using this camera. I’ve used it for hiking videos (smooth video while walking in the woods) and we use it while walking in the parks. The camera takes the jiggles right out of the video.
The video quality is spectacular! Part of the reason we bought the GoPro Hero was because the video quality of our Garmin Virb Ultra 30 was, quite frankly, terrible. We wanted an action camera that matched the quality of our main vlogging camera. The GoPro Hero Black meets and exceeds that quality.
We’ve attempted the live streaming option a couple of times, without much success. Unless you have a very strong wifi signal, the live streaming drops out. We haven’t tried pairing it to our cell phone hotspot, but that might be a workable option. For now, we just don’t use this feature.
We’d love to try the mic and forward-facing screen, but they seem to always be on backorder. Watching some reviews on YouTube, the Mods do not work effectively, anyway.
GoPro Hero Video
Here is one of our videos using the GoPro Hero Black. We used this camera during our visit to LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel. We used this camera for our room tour, during meals, and even at the pool (underwater).
GoPro Hero Black Review: Buyer Beware!
We must give you fair warning with regard to one issue with the GoPro Hero Black. You’re taking a risk using it underwater (isn’t that one of the main reasons to buy an action cam?).
We used our Hero only 3 times in underwater applications before the lens began to leak. We use a tempered glass screen protector on the lens and had never dropped the camera (we’d only owned it for a few months). To say this was a disappointment would be an understatement.
GoPro customer support provided a one-time replacement of the camera. While we appreciate this exception to their warranty, it meant we would be without a waterproof camera for two trips with multiple water activities. If you sell the camera as an action cam with underwater capabilities (without a separate case), then the camera should work, underwater, as stated by manufacturer.
When this happened, we researched online for a “quick fix” and found this to be a fairly common issue with the GoPro Hero — and all other models that do not “require” a separate waterproof housing for underwater filming.
Going forward, we have ordered an after-market underwater case for the GoPro, just to be extra-safe and ensure that we always have a waterproof camera option for our trips.
Replaceable Lens Cover
The GoPro Hero Black included a replaceable lens cover. GoPro eliminated this option on the Hero Black, probably in favor of a more sleek design. However, this means that if the lens breaks (or leaks, as we mentioned above), there is no repair or replacement option. Basically, your camera is dead.
GoPro offers a few different options to protect your camera lens from damage, since the lens is not repairable or replaceable.
- The GoPro Roll Cage offers a protective silicone sleeve to safeguard the camera body from scratches and impact. The Roll Cage also includes an integrated replaceable lens to protect the lens from scratches, dirt, and damage.
- The GoPro Super Suit provides a full dive housing for the GoPro Hero Black. This option also increases the depth of waterproof capability to 60m (196 ft). This will protect your lens, as well as eliminate the water leakage issues, mentioned above. We found a much less expensive third-party option to use for our Hero Black.
- We chose to use the tempered glass lens protectors for our GoPro. The tempered glass protects the lens from dust, debris, scratches, and impacts. It does not solve the water leakage issues with the lens.
Regardless of choice, with the lens exposed and not replaceable, you need to do something to prevent scratches and damage to your GoPro Hero Black lens.
GoPro Hero Conclusions
In our GoPro Hero Black review, we believe it to be an excellent option for your action cam needs, with a few caveats. Take some necessary precautions (use a waterproof, protective case and have replacement attachment fingers on hand) and this will create fantastic videos.
Pros of GoPro Hero Black
- Excellent video quality
- Near perfect stabilization
- Very portable and sleek design
- Many in-camera modes that we find useful, including time-lapse, low light Night Mode, and slow-mo capture
Cons of GoPro Hero Black
- Extremely unreliable waterproof capabilities
- The fold-away attachment arms give me great concern. They can be replaced, if broken, but again, I don’t want to be without a functional camera, when needed
- No replaceable lens cover, like the Hero Black
GoPro owns the action camera market. While we do like this camera, we do not like the fact that competitive options don’t really exist. You do have the Garmin Virb, that we’ve used and the DJI Osmo Action, but neither really competes with GoPro. This doesn’t really give GoPro much incentive to correct known issues, such as those with waterproof capabilities.
GoPro did do right by us by replacing the broken camera, even though the warranty does not cover water damage. However, when you use a camera for business, like we do, we need it to work — at least more than 3 times — underwater.
Do you own a GoPro? What do you think of this camera?