Which GoPro should I buy? It can be confusing. In this article, we go over other the basic differences and answer some frequently asked questions about the latest GoPros.
What This Covers
- The Reason GoPros Are So Popular
- GoPros Oldest To Newest
- The HEROs
- The Fusion
- The Max
- Best GoPros To Get
- What GoPros Are WaterProof?
- Which GoPros Have Bluetooth
- The Pros and Cons Of GoPros
Why GoPros Are So Popular
What are the advantages of GoPros compared to other cameras? They not only have super cool features, but they can also go places and take the knocks others can’t.
They are waterproof without casing to up to 33 ft (10 m). See the table below for the level of waterproof (depth) for individual models.
GoPros Oldest To Newest
The first GoPro HERO surfaced in 2014. Each autumn (northern hemisphere), GoPro releases a new HERO version. (You can basically estimate the release year of these by adding one to the HERO number.)
Apart from the HEROs, there are the recent GoPros additions, the Fusion and the Max, that allow 360 degree, spherical view captures.
The 2019 autumn release is HERO8 Black. This one is a major HERO redesign.
HERO5 introduced these new features (that advanced the earlier model):
- Waterproof body to 33 ft without need for special housing
- 4K video with image stabilization
- Voice control
Also, the HERO5 Black had a touch screen, differing to the HERO5 Session.
HERO6 Black out-performed HERO5 Black by delivering much better image quality than the early HERO versions.
This is mainly due to a better internal processor, giving it increased speed. This meant higher frame rate modes.
Advancements With HERO7
HERO7 advanced the gear’s performance with Hypersmooth providing improved stabilization for smoother footage.
HERO7 had these new Features:
- Live stream
The feature of SuperPhoto enhances color and dynamics of images.
The other new feature with HERO7, the live stream, allowed direct send of captures to social media.
HERO8 Black improves on the HERO7 Black
The improvements mean it will mount straight onto your helmet. Yes, it has built in mounting, so no need to add that bulky cage.
Though, it is slightly larger than the HERO7 version because of this. But then, the HERO7 with the cage is larger than the HERO8.
HERO8 Black has these new features:
- Super Photo has improved HDR
- Live burst
- Frameless mounting with folding fingers
- Advanced video stabilization with HyperSmooth 2.0
- HERO8 Mods
- Horizon leveling via the GoPro App
- 100Mbps bit rate with 2.7K / 4K
- Advanced TimeWarp videoing with TimeWarp 2.0
- A narrow digital lense feature
- Custom presets
- Customizable on-screen shortcuts
- Night lapse video
- 1080p live streaming
If you are wondering about the HERO (2018), supposedly it is a HERO5 Black that has been modified in its firmware.
Fusion was a later addition to the GoPro family.
It uses a gimbal-like stabilization and is promoted by GoPro as “the most versatile GoPro ever”.
One thing, though, the Fusion does not appear to have GoPro’s low-light improvements seen in the HERO range.
Some Advantages of The Fusion
The Fusion features 3K and 5.2K video resolutions. It delivers really clean 5.2 K spherical videos and is really fun to shoot with.
The 5.2K allows you to create immersive virtual reality experiences where you can feel like you are within your video.
It has an ‘overcapture’ feature where you can edit its capture of 360-degree videos to produce standard rectangular 1080p videos similar to those you would shoot with the HERO6/7 Black or other standard GoPro cameras.
This means you can do 16:9 HD or 4:3 cutouts from any part of the 360 sphere.
The GoPro Max is the advanced 360 degree GoPro. It is promoted by GoPro as “three cameras in one”. It has an 18MP camera, a 5.5 MP HERO photo mode as well a 16.6 MP stitched 360 degree feature.
It has a 270 degree 6.2 MP panoramic photo feature.
Like the Fusion, it delivers clean spherical videos to create immersive virtual reality experiences, but with 6 K30 source and 5.6 K30 stitched resolutions.
Like the HERO8 Black, it features frameless mounting with folding fingers but it does not have the HERO8 Black Mods.
It uses the Max HyperSmooth video stabilization.
It can live stream at 1080 p.
Compared to the Fusion, the Max has 6-mic processing for advanced wind-noise reduction.
Best GoPros To Get
Usually the latest is always the best GoPro to get because it has advanced features.
What’s great about the HERO8 Black is that it features a new line of accessories, called Mods, to enhance usability.
But, if you want to save some dollars consider, buying an earlier model GoPro, like the HERO7 Black.
Even the HERO4 Black records at a usable frame rate (30fps).
But, you can choose between HERO7, HERO6, or HERO5 for use with a drone.
It really depends on what you intend using the GoPro for. The HEROs are best for action footage and are waterproof to fair depths compared to the Fusion and the Max.
Why Buy A Fusion or a Max?
The Fusion and Max, both, have spherical capture, meaning they can capture a 360º view of a surrounding area.
It’s like having 2 GoPro HERO Blacks strapped together back to back. And…No stitch lines!
One with a 360 degree capture like this is the best GoPro for capturing footage to view through virtual reality headsets. This would give you a sense of being ‘inside’ the recorded scene, being able to turn your head and take in every part of the scene around you.
It’s a whole new way of viewing the world unveiling with this technology.
It would also be amazing fitted to a drone to capture all directions at the one time. The trick is finding a drone that’s suitable.
What GoPros Are Waterproof?
|HERO8 Black||Yes||33 ft|
|HERO7 Black White Silver||Yes||33 ft|
|HERO6 Black||Yes||33 ft|
|HERO5 Black||Yes||33 ft|
|HERO5 Session||Yes||33 ft|
|HERO (2018)||Yes||33 ft|
The HERO8/7/6 Black are waterproof without housing to 10 meters (33 ft).
The Fusion and Max are waterproof without housing to 5 meters (16 ft).
Older HERO Versions
Older GoPros came with housing for waterproofing.
If you happen to have the HERO+ LCD, HERO+, HERO (2014), these have a non-removable housing that can withstand depths of up to 131 ft (40 m).
Similarly, the HERO4 models come with the standard housing that can withstand depths of up to 131 ft.
Older ones had waterproof housing taking them to deeper levels. You can find out more about these here.
With housing GoPros can go to greater depths.
For HERO (2018), HERO7 and HERO6 Black users, there is the Super Suit housing, where the camera can be used to a depth of 60 m.
For HERO8 Black and HERO7 Silver and White, there is the Protective Housing, where the camera can work to a depth of 131 ft (40 m).
And, according to the manufacturers, “You can safely take the Standard Definition HERO camera down to 100 feet underwater when it is in the Wrist HERO Housing or the Quick-release Housing”.
Which GoPros Have Bluetooth / Wi-Fi?
|HERO7 Black White Silver||Yes||Yes|
It seems Bluetooth has limited capabilities, however.
From the manufacturer “Bluetooth requires less energy than Wi-Fi to connect the GoPro App to your camera. In the current implementation, the Bluetooth is used only for “waking the camera up” from a low power wireless state.”
The Wi-Fi is used to control the GoPro.
From the manufacturer “After waking up the camera, you still need the camera to connect to the mobile device via Wi-Fi for any additional functionality (preview, start/stop, mode changing, etc.).
The Pros And Cons Of GoPros
Some might say they seem complicated to use – not as simple as the digital camera. But given the versatility of where these can go outweighs that issue once you become familiar with using them.
The GoPro Hero models after HERO5 have voice control.
The commands work in up to 10 different languages, depending on the model and are configured via the settings.
For a list of commands, see my article on GoPro Voice Commands.
How Much Does It Cost To Buy A GoPro?
You might find GoPros ranging from around $200 to $400 for the unit itself. Set extra dollars aside for the accessories that you’ll need.
If you are looking for a gift for an outdoors person, consider a GoPro.
How much is the latest GoPro? I suggest you check out Amazon for prices as a guide.
The Fusion can be around the same as the HERO6/7 Black, depending on where you look.