If you’ve been following my Instagram feed and site for a while you’ll know that my GoPro is one of my most used cameras for travelling, it’s just so robust and versatile!
So when the crew at GoPro sent me out the new GoPro Hero 5 Black to review I was stoked to get my hands on it and see how it handles!
Since then I’ve been hard at work putting it through it’s paces – surfing, scuba diving and shooting to help you decide if it’s adding the GoPro Hero 5 to your kit list.
So here’s my full review of the GoPro Hero 5 Black Edition…
GoPro Hero 5 Options
Unlike previous generations the The GoPro Hero 5 only comes in two options – the Hero 5 Black and the Hero 5 Session. Although I’ve only been testing out the Hero 5 Black I thought I’d touch on the Session too.
The Hero 5 Session is a small, compact and scaled down version, it’s perfect for heaps of outdoor enthusiasts, but it does lack the back screen and manual controls that the Hero 5 Black boasts. But for those on a tighter budget it is more affordable and from what I’ve read online is a solid upgrade on the original Hero 4 Session.
GoPro Hero 5 Black – What’s New?
My previous version was the GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition (you can read the full review here) so if like me you’re upgrading your first questions are probably going to be “what’s new” and “should I upgrade”
Case – the first thing I need to point out is that unlike previous GoPro models the Hero 5 Black is waterproof WITHOUT a case (both a pro and a con, as I’ll explain later), but to keep things in perspective I’ll be comparing it to a Hero 4 WITH a housing…
Size – despite the extras bulk of inbuilt waterproofing the Hero 5 still comes in at slightly smaller than the Hero 4 in a housing. The Hero 4 was pretty small anyway but I’m never going to complain with it being even more compact!
Weight – as every traveller knows keeping weight down is important! Again this smaller size means the Hero 5 Black is slightly lighter – about 118 grams compared with the Hero 4 at 150 grams.
Screen – the Hero 5 Black still has a built in LCD screen, but it’s certainly an improvement – with a better laid out menu, brighter and higher resolution. And because you don’t need a housing it can also be used a lot more!
Navigation – along with the updated design comes a newly laid out menu and the main controls have been slimmed down to 2 buttons rather than the previous 3.
Voice Control – yup you read that correctly, you can actually control your Hero 5 with your voice! Commands such as “GoPro take a photo” or “GoPro video” work surprisingly well!
Video – although the Hero 5 has the same video capabilities as the Hero 4 it does pack in some extra (and effective) stabilisation which is nice to have
Protune – The protune features have been added to, but more on that in a bit
Images – again no huge jump in resolution on the Hero 5, but it does now offer an HDR feature and most importantly you can now shoot RAW – which is an epic upgrade, especially for more serious photographers.
Battery – from my usage the 5 does seem to last a lot longer, which is great news!
One of my favourite things about the GoPro Hero 5 Black is the fact it gives a lot more control than previous versions. The pro tuning has been tweaked and now offers options for shutter speed control which combined with the new RAW format mode makes it even more suitable for serious photographers, especially in low light conditions. This also means you can get even more creative in post production.
Whilst the whole RAW thing won’t be a huge deal for a lot of people, if you’re considering using your GoPro as a primary camera on the road it’s a massive bonus.
The introduction of voice control is pretty cool too and I was surprised to find out it actually works pretty well! Still you’re not really going to find me shouting “GoPro start filming” in the middle of a packed surf lineup but it’s certainly have some uses for selfies and shooting and changing modes when you’re away from the camera or need to keep your hands free.
My biggest gripe with the Hero 5 though is the fact they’ve streamlined the buttons and moved a lot of the navigation to the screen.
Although the front button on the Hero 4 was far from ideal it was a physical button that could be used to toggle through modes – which takes out some user error as I’ve found myself accidentally changing settings and modes whilst holding the camera – mainly when its mounted to the front of my surfboard.
You can lock the screen but I often found myself forgetting, especially when I wanted to tweak the settings a bit. Over the last few weeks this is something that I’m quickly getting used to but it’s worth noting for when you first start using yours!
Still As Versatile
One of the best features of all the GoPro range is how versatile they are – which is especially true when travelling or for being a bit creative with how you use it!
There are literally thousands of accessories you can buy for your GoPro!
Luckily the new Hero 5 keeps the same standard mount that GoPro have been suing for a while, so the vast majority of accessories will still be compatible with the Hero 5 Black.
HOWEVER, due to the fact they’ve changed the shape of the body and more importantly the shape of the lens housing there are some exceptions. All your old GoPro housing wont work and more annoying of myself big ticket items like the KNEKT Dome (which I use for those awesome half over/half underwater shots) no longer fit, which is slightly annoying to say the least!
No Need For A Case – Or Is There?
One of the biggest things GoPro have been touting on the Hero 5 Black is the fact it’s waterproof from the off. Now this is great news for most people, but it does limit it to 10m.
This is ideal for snorkelling but if you’re into scuba diving (like myself) it does mean one of the first things you need to do is fork out for the newly named super suit (basically a shiny new name for the dive housing!) to take it down any further – priced at £44.99
Not hugely steep but still something you need to budget for. And unfortunately it wont fit inside your existing dive housing before you ask!
The lack of housing – which has been part of the GoPro range from the beginning – also makes the new Hero 5 less robust out of the box than previous models too.
I’m pretty sure that if you check out must peoples old kit you’ll find some serious dings and scratches on their protective housings, especially on the back!
This is something to keep in mind for the Hero 5 Black and I can see that some scratches on the touch screen would be a bit of a nightmare! It depends how hard you’re pushing it, but I’d highly recommend grabbing the super suit even if you don’t plan on scuba diving.
Only time will tell how robust it is without the casing, so I’ll keep you updated!
How Much Does The Hero 5 Cost?
One of the surprising things about the GoPro Hero 5 launch is the price point – the Hero 5 Black launch price is actually cheaper than the Hero 4 Black Edition was, which is great news, especially if you’re thinking about buying your first GoPro!
You can also grab some GoPro Hero 5 Bundle Deals with a whole heaps of mounts and accessory on Amazon too.
Should You Upgrade To The GoPro Hero 5 Black?
So this is the big question – should you upgrade to the GoPro Hero 5?
Well here are some of the most common situations you’ll find yourself in;
- Like all the new tech and have the cash to splash? Buy the Hero 5 Black
- Hero 4 taken a beating and in need of replacing? Buy the Hero 5 Black
- New to GoPro and investing for a solid camera for your travels? Buy the Hero 5 Black
- Serious about photography and would love the added controls and RAW? Buy the Hero 5 Black
- New to GoPro want the best and most flexible option? Buy the Hero 5 Black
- Looking for a gift but on a budget? Buy the Hero 5 Session
- Not fussed about the screen? Buy the Hero 5 Session
- Happy with your Hero 4 or previous GoPro? Save the cash for the moment!
- Want the most budget friendly option? You can still grab the original GoPro Session for £179.
Basically for those out there with a working GoPro its down to personal preference and budget on whether you upgrade, but personally I’m stoked with the Hero 5 Black and I’m looking forward to using it more over my next adventures!
Check out my review of the new GoPro Hero 6 too!
Have you got the new GoPro Hero 5 Black or Session?
What do you think of it?
**PLEASE NOTE: I did receive a free GoPro Hero 5 Black to review, but rest assured as always all opinions are honest and my own**
- Waterproof without any casing
- Compatible with previous GoPro mounts
- Voice activated
- Need extra case for scuba diving
- Touch screen can be fiddly