REVIEW: GOPRO HERO 6 BLACK

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to be given the new GoPro Hero 6 Black to try out. If you follow my blog, you’ll know that before this I had a Hero 4 Silver, and prior to that, I had a Hero 3 Black. So you could say I’ve been with GoPro for a few generations.

I’ve always been honest and upfront about what I really think about GoPro. Don’t get me wrong, they’re a great little device to have, especially when you’re travelling. But there’s still huge room for improvement. Although, slowly but surely, GoPro seem to be making those improvements. So have they managed to excel themselves with the Hero 6?

My issue with my first GoPro Hero 3 Black was the screen. There wasn’t one. You had to guess what you was shooting, and buy a screen separately, which I did. But even then you couldn’t use it while shooting under water. A bit similar to the Session cameras which are on sale now by GoPro. I just don’t get them. You can’t see what you’re taking a picture of or filming. Some people might love it, and love the mysteriousness. But for someone who does photography for a living, I like to know what’s in my frame, and whether I’m getting the money shots.

I then moved onto the Hero 4 Silver. I went for the Silver because the screen was fitted onto the back, and for some reason it wasn’t on the Black. No need for an extra screen like with Hero 3, so I could finally see what I was shooting, while I was shooting it. GoPro listened! But even though I’ve had the Hero 4 for the past couple of years, I’ve still had an issue with the quality of images on GoPro. They’re 12mp, so they’re never going to be the best. But in this day and age, I feel like GoPro should be able to bring better quality.

This brings me onto the Hero 6 Black, which I’ve recently just been given to try. Now you’re probably wondering why I skipped out the Hero 5. Don’t get me wrong, when it was first released, I did look into it. But I wasn’t sold on the improvements it had over my 4 to justify the extra money.

The Hero 5 was the first GoPro to be “naked” shall we call it. No casing needed. Which appealed to me when I first read about it. For someone who constantly was buying new cases every 6 months, due to scratches or just general wear and tear, it was a god send. No more lugging around lots of cases, and everything else. It was just one camera that did the job. But then I went to try one out, and as with my Hero 4 Silver, the quality was no different. They worked on this brilliant camera that didn’t need a case underwater, to then give it the same quality as the Hero 4. It was basically a naked Hero 4. To me the “nakedness” wasn’t worth splashing out a few hundred pounds/dollars. So I decided to stick to my Hero 4 Silver.

Then came along the Hero 6. Now this caught my attention. We had the naked case, and finally, improved image quality. Well so GoPro claimed. So when I got one, I went to check out the claims that it was better than it’s predecessors and put it to work.

My first outing with my new GoPro Hero 6 was to Cairns lagoon. At first it almost felt wrong putting it in water without its casing. It was nice not having to mess about with cases, and make sure they’re locked properly so no water got in. I could just switch it on, and start shooting. I must admit, the footage I got from it, was amazing and surprised me. The colours were a million times better than the old GoPro and were more true to form. Some people have complained the colours are a bit too vivid and not true to form on online forums, but I think they’ve just got used to the dullness that GoPro used to bring. I hated it when I went somewhere with clear blue waters or bright blue sky, because you couldn’t see that on the images I took with my GoPro, because the quality was so poor. So it was nice to actually get the bright blue colours of the Cairns lagoon and not have to spend hours editing after to get the picture to look like what it was supposed to!

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So had GoPro really upped their game with the Hero 6? I took it out a few days later to the Great Barrier Reef. If you visit the reef, you need a GoPro, or at least some form of underwater camera. So I was really going to push GoPro and see what it was made of. I also took my Hero 4 along so I could compare the two and the footage they both took afterwards.

And here were the results:

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Now I feel like I don’t have to tell you which one was which. The first one, where I’m wearing the black suit, is the Hero 4. The one where I’m wearing the blue suit is the Hero 6. These have not been edited in any way and are straight from the SD card. Colours are a lot more vivid with the Hero 6. There’s a lot more detail in the background, which you can barely even see on the image I took with my Hero 4. So yes, GoPro have upped their game. And if you are in the same boat as me (no pun intended) and have the Hero 4, didn’t like the look of the 5, so debating the 6, then yes, I definitely recommend. Not only is the “nakedness” a great little plus, as you’re no longer fiddling around and lugging around cases. You’ve also got a camera that can now produce some amazing footage.

The new Hero 6 also has another handy feature by allowing you to zoom in. Which came extremely handy when I was in the reef. Some fish are a little camera shy, so the minute you swim up to them and point a camera in their face, they tend to swim off. You have to stay back with your Hero 4, take a picture, and hope you can zoom in when editing and the quality won’t be too bad. Not with the Hero 6. You can zoom in, there and then. And surprisingly to me, you don’t lose as much quality as I thought you would.

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Zoomed in with the Hero 6

But as with everything, and especially with GoPro I find, there’s always something bugging me. And it’s something that didn’t bug me with previous models, so I feel like I’ve had to sacrifice this, in order to have the better image quality. And that’s battery life. It’s so poor on the new Hero 6. I charged it up fully before using, like you’re supposed to with new gadgets, and it still lasted a few hours in the water and by the time I got back to mainland, it was dead. My Hero 4, still had half of its battery life left, and was used for the same amount of time. So my next investment is apparently a spare battery for my new Hero 6, as annoyingly, the Hero 6 takes a different battery to the Hero 4. So if you was like me, hoping you could use your old spare ones, think again.

Another annoying thing I found with my new Hero 6, is when I was unpacking it. There’s no cover for the lens. You have this amazing camera, that no longer needs a case, but they fail to put in a lens cover for it, to keep it scratch free. You can pick one up off amazon pretty cheap, but still, it should be a given with how much you’re spending on the little gadget in the first place. So also something you need to budget for when considering buy the Hero 6. My wifi remote still works on my new one, so that isn’t an issue. Obviously you can still use accessories, such as a chest strap, floaty etc. It’s still the same mount as the old GoPro’s.

So would I recommend the new Hero 6? Yes. If you’re travelling, wanting to get some general footage, or like to go on an adventure now and then. Then yes, the GoPro Hero 6 is an amazing little gadget to have. Whether you’re a professional, or just wanting it to show off your adventures to your friends on Facebook, then I would definitely say consider it. It has its flaws, as with everything, but the improvements it has, definitely outweigh them. I can’t wait to go on some more adventures and get some more use out of my new GoPro Hero 6 Black.

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