Is it time to upgrade from the GoPro Hero5 Black Edition to the GoPro Hero6 Black Edition?
There are now three cameras on the current GoPro line up, the Hero6, the Hero5 and the Hero5 Session with the fourth 360 enabled Fusion camera landing shortly.
As you might expect the new Hero6 has the most and best features of the three currently available GoPro cameras.
4K video recording up to 60 frames per second vs 4K video recording up to 30 frames per second
12MP vs 10MP photo (including the ability to shoot RAW – Jared Polin)
HDR photo with touch digital zoom
Advanced video stabilization
Expanded voice control
Both models are identical in terms size and shape. Putting them both side by side shows that they are almost identical bar some carefully placed labelling. The frame and associated mounts are also identical meaning that the Hero6 is compatible with Hero5 Accessories including the Karma Drone and gimble.
Both cameras utilise the same Micro SD cards. To get the most out of the camera the cards must be U3. Check out our recommendations here.
The above is true when thinking about battery compatibility and battery life. Both cameras use the same size and shape of battery with identical specifications. Despite better performance battery life in real world tests remains the same.
The Hero6 uses HEVC (H.265) compression, which is 40% more efficient than H.264 in the previous cameras. This is a big deal, because effectively you are getting almost twice the quality, massively reducing compression artifacts, especially when it comes to fine detail such as trees in fast moving footage.
This capability is even more pronounced in ProTune modes. The Hero6 in Protune mode records at 78Mb/s, which is about equivalent(ish) in quality to 150Mb/s H.264. A huge increase over the previous models, not least because the Hero5 Black Protune topped out at 60Mb/s. That’s 18Mb/s less than the Protune bitrate on the Hero6 Black. Not an inconsiderable amount, and the older camera uses an inferior compression system.
This will not only give a better overall quality, but also means that the Hero6 will cope much better with fast movement in complex environments (such as lots of foliage etc).
Having used my Hero5 and Hero6 whilst mountain biking and shooting at 1080p I know straight away that the stabilisation on the Hero6 is far superior. It’s simply super smooth even over cobbles and roots at both slow and fast speeds. In my opinion the electronic stabilisation is probably the new cameras greatest strength and the new GP1 chipset has a big part to play in this.
This edit will give you an idea of the stabilisation. The video has been compressed and uploaded to Facebook.
Video Quality and Frame rate:
The Hero6 has better frames per second than the Hero5 Black in pretty much all resolution settings. This includes the ability to shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second and 1080p at 240 frames per second. As with every new GoPro, GoPro claim that the Hero6 Black edition has better dynamic range and low-light performance.
The controls and interface on both the Hero6 and Hero5 are pretty much the same with the exception of a couple of trick new features.
Both cameras feature voice control but the Hero6 includes a wake on voice option. If you turn the camera off using a voice command the camera remains active and listens for 8 hours ready for another voice command.
The Hero6 has a touch zoom that works in a similar way to your smart phone. However this zoom is digital so zooming in too far will degrade the quality of the footage.
The RRP of the Hero6 Black edition is a whopping £499. The Hero5 Black is still very much part of the 2018 line up so it remains on sale and has a RRP of £399, although you can find it online a little cheaper.
Other than the £100 difference in price the only thing that really separates the Hero6 and Hero5 Black editions apart is the image resolution and the boost in frame rate brought about by the new GP1 chipset in the Hero6. Both are great editions but I’m not sure if its worth the additional £100 unless you are trying to film high definition video in slow motion. For most Hero5 owners this will probably not be the case. However if I were deciding between the two cameras having not owned a Hero5 I would definitely choose the Hero6.
How does the Hero6 compare to the other GoPro cameras?
Check out our latest comparison here.
I’d be very interested to hear the thoughts from Hero5 owners. Are you planning to “upgrade”?