When it comes to action cameras, the GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition is the daddy of them all, so much so that it took us a whole three months to get our hands on one to test after in was announced in September. It was worth the wait though – this little thing blew us away! Designed for professional use, it also comes in a silver edition that has an LCD screen but a less powerful sensor – designed more for consumer use – or the ultra cheap ‘GoPro’: budget smashing brilliance.
However, if you’re at all serious about film-making, this is the action camera you need. For the HD-philes it films at a whopping 4k (that’s 3840 x 2160 pixels, enough to make screen grabs as high-res as a still shot on a DSLR), and for the slow-mo lovers it can shoot 1080p at 120 frames-per-second.
Not only that, but it comes packed with a whole other load of features to help you get the most out of your footage: SuperView is a handy little feature that extends the wide angle of the lens to capture even more of the surroundings (though for follow cam we’d advise you leave this off) and ProTunes automatically adjusts footage to make it as flat as possible, making colour grading your footage as easy as possible.
The spot metering function uses only the centre of the image to control levels, useful for shooting out of a bright window for instance, and it has automatic timelapse modes to better those set up/lifestyle shots. Footage is sharp and immersive, only getting grainy in really low light conditions.
Photo wise the GoPro Hero 4 Black also takes the prizes – it can shoot 12mp photos at up 30 per second and has a whole array of different options to do with metering, exposure, frames-per-second etc. Quite simply, this camera is the most advanced piece of filming and photographic equipment we’ve ever come across, packed with more features than our Canons that cost up to ten times as much.
Building on previous models, the menu system is much better navigated, making the vast array of options easy to access and change on the fly. The GoPro app (which is free) makes things even speedier.
Downsides? At high resolutions or frame rates the Hero 4 Black eats batteries – they’ll only last around the hour mark in the cold, but they are easily changeable if you have enough budget to spare. As well, if you couldn’t understand many of the technical terms earlier on in this article then this camera might not be the one for you – it’s designed to work best by cameramen with a working knowledge of filming techniques, so if you’re only looking to film your holiday with we’d either recommend the £afore-mentioned £99 GoPro Hero, or the Contour Roam 3.
All that said, this is the one camera to rule them all, the king of the action cams. It might sound steep at first, but £370 is not much for the amount of power and versatility you’re buying. Banger.