Buy the ‘budget friendly’ GoPro hero 2018, or go for the HERO5 Black, or the HERO6 Black?

In this blog post we’re going to take a look at the brand new GoPro Hero 2018. The Hero is the youngest member of the GoPro family, and it’s released in April 2018. This is the most budget-friendly GoPro of the current generation. Currently it’s priced at $190 (Amazon), and that is around $100 less than the GoPro Hero 5 and around $200 less than the GoPro Hero 6.

They all look identical, but the inside is where you’ll find the differences. Let’s take a look at the most important features of these GoPro hero, HERO5 and HERO6.

Video quality, frame rate and resolution.

First of all, the biggest and most important difference can be found in video quality, frame rate and resolution.

The HERO6 can record up to 4K video in 60 fps and it also includes the GP1 chip16 which should produce the best video quality. It also has a more advanced image stabilization, which, by the way can only be used at 4K at 30 fps or lower.

The HERO5 comes very close to that with a max of 4K video at 30 fps. However, image stabilization on the Hero 5 it’s not available in 4K video, but it will work on all lower resolutions up to 60 fps.

The GoPro Hero is limited to a resolution of 1080p or 1440p at 60 or 30 fps including stabilization.

The Hero 5 and 6 both also include a more advanced color option, RAW picture mode and exposure control. The GoPro Hero does not have any of these options, so it’s all on Full Auto mode.

How does the GoPro hero perform?

Do these limitations on the Hero mean that it won’t be performing like a real action cam? The best answer this question is: Check the video (@01:57 min) related to this post and have a look at some comparison shots between the Hero 5 and the Hero. This should give a nice impression of what you can expect.

GOPRO HERO 2018 Review, demo, test, advise and footage VS GoPro HERO BLACK 5

If you have watched the video you probably agree that the video quality is pretty good! In my opinion, the 1080 or 1440p resolution footage is still acceptable.  Yes, there is a noticeable difference between 4K and 1080p, but for the average user, 1080p should be more than enough.  And, next to that, 1080p is easy to handle by most devices for editing and playback. Editing 4K footage is still too much for a lot of laptops, tablets and smartphones at this moment.

What is your opinion about the video quality of the Hero, compared to its bigger brother the HERO5? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below this article or comment on the YouTube video.

Image stabilization

If we take a look at image stabilization, the Hero performs almost identical to the Hero 5, but it’s nowhere near as good as the stabilization on the Hero 6. But, it does well enough. Stabilization on an action camera is always limited and it will result in a cropped image. But there is a good alternative
to in-body stabilization. You could use an external action-cam gimbal like the Feiyutech G6 gimbal.

This is a well-built and easy-to-use gimbal. It will make your action cam footage buttery smooth and that will make it more pleasant to watch. This gimbal is water resistant, it can be controlled remotely, and it comes shipped in a nice protection case.

Image/photo Quality

Both the Hero 5 and 6 can take stills up to 12 Megapixels. Even though the Hero is limited to 10 megapixels

The stills still look good enough in most cases. Also, in low light it still looks acceptable, for an action camera.

A few examples:

But if you buy a GoPro for stills only then I can recommend you to use something else, like a smartphone or a compact camera. Especially if you’re like me and you dislike lens distortion in your stills.

Timelapse videos

The GoPro Hero can shoot timelapse videos, but it’s very limited in options. Actually, you’ve got one option: 1080p and an interval of half a second. On both the Hero 5 and 6 you can choose from a lot of resolutions and time interval options. So, compared to that, the Hero is quite limited when it comes to timelapse videos.

Build Quality en exterior

I can only say that the build quality of the GoPro Hero is excellent, identical to the Hero 5 and 6. These three cameras all have the same waterproof body which is rated for a max depth of 10 meters. The cameras all have got two waterproof doors, one for connections and the other one for the battery and the micro SD cards. GoPro has used the exact same battery for all three models. So, you won’t have any issues finding the right battery for your camera. I can only say: GoPro, well done! By the way, I can always recommend you to buy an extra battery because they drain pretty fast.

The Hero also has got the same or a similar good performing 2-inch touch screen. It’s not a perfect touch screen, sometimes there’s no response, or unexpected response,but over all, it’s fast enough and it’s also very bright. Even in full sun conditions I never had any issues viewing the screen. It it still the best that I’ve seen  so far on any action cam.

And then we’ve also got Voice Control, which is also present on the Hero. And it also works very well, just like it does on the Hero 5 and 6, really no complains here.

You’ll find the following inside the package when you buy a GoPro Hero.

  • First of all, of course, the GoPro Hero camera itself
  • Next to that, the frame to mount the camera
  • two adhesive mounts
  • one battery
  • the instruction manual and a few stickers
  • USB type C cable

You can use this USB cable to charge the battery or to connect the camera to your computer. It’s also an option to connect to your camera with your smartphone over WiFi or Bluetooth. And once you’re connected to the GoPro App, you can remotely control your GoPro Hero.You can check out your shots or you can change the settings of your camera.

It is conclusion time!

My overall impressions of the GoPro Hero are quite positive. Although the camera is limited compared to the Hero 5 and Hero 6, it is still a very good basic budget-friendly action camera. The 1080p or 1440p resolution is acceptable for most users. Overall, in most common cases I can definitely recommend the GoPro Hero.

It is true that there are cameras on the market that are the same price or even cheaper that can produce 4K video, but remember that these cameras are mostly not native 4K cameras!  That means that the output is most likely upscaled 1080p or low resolution footage. That does not mean that every cheap alternative to the GoPro is a bad option. For example, the Yi 4K could be a good alternative to the GoPro Hero. This camera is even a bit cheaper than the GoPro Hero and it shoots native 4K video, but it does not have the same build quality as GoPro, and it’s also not waterproof out of the box.

The Hero 5 is almost two years old now, the prices are dropping, and sometimes the difference is less than $80 compared with the GoPro Hero. In that case, the Hero 5 might be the better option. I have also done a full review on that great camera, you can find it here. But of course, it all depends on budget. Below you check out the latest prices for each GoPro model.

Yi 4K
YI 4K+
Sony X3000R

By the way, I have also made a full review on the HERO session if you are interested.

Other information about the review video

This is the microphone used for my voice over: Rode NT USB

This video is made with Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Music used in this video:

Most of the footage is recorded with the
Sony a6500 mirrorless camera
Sigma 16mm f1.4
ND filter Hoya for Sigma:
Sony 16-70 lens

Links to Amazon products and Adobe CC pages are affiliated links. Please use them to support me.


Category: Tech Reviews
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