It’s difficult to see any changes in the latest GoPro Hero6 Black. A major reason is that the size appears the same as last year’s model, including the two-inch diagonal display. I had to delve into the inside features to discover and appreciate the differences. Hero 6 holds the GP1 processor, the first custom chipset from GoPro. That feature makes it possible to record 4K video at 60fps and create a very slow-motion Full HD video at 240fps.
About the GoPro Hero6 Black
A new video code is supported by updated mobile operating systems like iOS 11. The High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) reduces camera-to-phone transfer time and the amount of internal storage demanded from the iPhone. Previous file sizes are reduced in half, making raw footage offloading almost as easy as shooting video with the Hero 6 Black.
There’s no difference in the size or weight of the GoPro Hero6 Black. Although just 1.8 by 2.6 by 1.4 inches with a weight around 4 ounces, the camera is built to withstand knocks and falls. The familiar rugged, rubberized body of its predecessors features a two-tone black and dark gray motif. There’s no need to add external housing unless a dive exceeds 33 feet in depth.
Improved video quality is always a plus, and GoPro delivers it with the 2017 Hero 6 Black. Fast action is captured at 60fps in 4K video. Slow motion is good whether being shot at 240fps at 1080p or 120fps at 2.7K resolution. The company-added software-based image stabilization, GP1, slightly crops footage a bit to reduce shakiness. The processor delivers better image quality and dynamic range to resolve low light problems whether shooting indoors or out. Specifically,
Video mode features improved color and brightness while reducing blurriness.
Photo mode has reduced noise to enhance a higher ISO than previously available when using GoPro’s low light video.
The top frame rates, such as 4K 60fps and 1080p 240fps footage, do not support digital stabilization. It does a satisfactory job at:
- 4K up to 30fps
- 2.7K up to 60fps
- 1080p up to 120fps
Automatic exposure enhancements like better white balance in assorted diving depths and time-lapses in dim conditions improve video quality. Nevertheless, the lens and sensor are the same ones used in the Hero 5 and offer no improvements on their own. Those are provided by improved firmware and the GP1 processor.
Shooting in 4K results in using every pixel the sensor has and less quality video. Shoot lower resolutions with Narrow or Medium fields of view to reduce distortion. Linear mode is also an option for reduced distortion by using a wide angle that is less than the full view of the lens. It’s only available for 2.7K or 1080p filming.
Comparison between GoPro Hero6 Black and Predecessor GoPro Hero5 Black
How does Hero6 Black compare to its predecessor Hero5 Black? The 6 has better image stabilization and twice the performance found in the 5’s 1080p240 and 4k60. Touch Zoom makes it simpler to get closer to the target, while HDR Photo produces sharp, colorful images. Greater bandwidth (5GHz!) provides a faster offload to the cloud and phones. The GoPro Hero6’s visual detection and sensor point out the best images to include in QuikStory.
Image quality and control improve in the newer model. Examples include:
- Color accuracy results in vibrant natural colors that display what is perceived by the human eye
- GTM (Global Tone Mapping) for video. Exposure’s improved on high contrast shots to keep details on the whole scene
- Exposures are supported to a maximum 10 seconds in Auto Exposure (AE) mode compared to the 2 seconds of HERO5 Black
Replacing the need for a magenta or red filter to film underwater scenes, the GoPro Hero 6 Black uses Auto White Balance (AWB) in its place. AWB enhances automatic scene detection and delivers close-to-accurate colors in a variety of lighting conditions and environments.
The compact size of GoPro Hero6 Black makes it easy to fit into narrow and/or small areas. The gimbal stabilization and Karma detachable stabilizer enhances steadiness when the unit is mounted to something on the ground or in the air. (The Hero6 has no tripod socket.) Underwater mounting is available using a cage (available separately). Mount the camera with the mounting loops at the bottom. The cage blocks access to the USB-C port, eliminating power access. Removing the door covering the port before placing the camera in the cage resolves the problem, but leads to the possibility of breaking the door and destroying the waterproof capability of the Hero6.
Two adhesive mounts are shipped with the camera. One is flat while the other is curved. There’s also a mounting buckle, which is the foot that slides into the mounts. Diversity is the key to filming. There are mounts for helmets, dashboards, and even the dog’s collar.
Video compression codec HEVC/H 265 is supported by Samsung Galaxy Smartphones and iPhone 8. The codec is gradually replacing the traditional H 264. Navigating menus and changing settings is as simple as tapping the proper screen area. GoPro Hero6 Black has only two physical control buttons. The power/mode switch is on the right, while the record/shutter button is located on top of the unit. Toggle the Mode actions like still and burst image as well as video and time-lapse image capture. Voice commands cause the unit to perform tasks such as recording, taking pictures, and shooting a burst of images.
- Super-slow-motion 240fps video
- Improved image stabilization
- Voice commands
- Much better Wi-Fi transfer speeds
- Automatic powers down when recording stops (if started with GoPro Start Recording voice command)
- Takes patience to learn to operate
- Awkward controls
- Shooting at wide angle results in fish-eye distortion
Efficient stabilization, quality 60fps video at 4K, and impressive support of extreme slow-motion video establish the Hero6 Black’s position in the upper echelon of the cam marketplace. The internal upgrades and waterproof capability make it an incredible video camera for underwater filming. Photos use a 12MP resolution with a flat color profile. JPEG shoots provide the ability to balance shadow and highlights. End results and in-use qualities justify the higher cost for the camera.