Reviews / Underwater videography

GoPro Hero 4 Black Review


Just over a year ago I got a Hero4 Black to Replace my Hero3 silver which was destroyed in Thailand when the housing flooded at Coral Island near Phuket. GoPro market the Hero4 as  ” the most advanced GoPro ever”,and the Hero4 is definitely a big step up, I started noticing the quality difference immediately.  Everything that you shoot with the Hero4 Black seems brighter, clearer and smoother. I like to shoot photos on the 12MP setting and it gets some pretty decent results , obviously the big disadvantage that a GoPro has is the lack of zoom , but for panoramic shots and medium distance stuff it takes a remarkably good photo.

For underwater video and pictures I slap a red or magenta filter onto my GoPro which makes a huge difference , especially at depths of 6 to 12 meters where the natural light is still stronger.I usually use the Polar Pro filters  I prefer to shoot at 60 fps in widescreen 1080 HD mode for underwater work. The camera comes with the GoPro standard housing and although it is waterproof until until 40m I find it superior in every way to the so called Dive housing which is waterproof until 50 meters , however I hated the dive housing , it is big and clunky with a lot of air space and it always seems to mist upon the edges.

The standard housing is much smaller and more smug and I have had zero problem with it misting up. The GoPro hero4 Black edition  does not have the built in touch screen like the hero4 Silver does. The only reason I can think of for this is that it uses for battery and GoPro wanted to give us the option of choice , however I find it annoying. I have an LCD touch screen as it’s kind of essential for filming underwater , but it also makes the camera much bigger and bulkier and also requires you to shell out for a new set of backdoors , especially annoying if you already had the Hero 3 which cam with the dive housing and now you have to shell out again for the LCD backdoors of the standard housing….I really feel the screen should be a standard feature.

You can read up on GoPro’s specs for the camera here on their site. The only problems I have with GoPro are their extremely high prices , especially for those of us in the developing world and also their over accessorizing and over pricing every little piece that you may need . Wanna tripod mount it or put a screen on it? Be prepared to pay a premium rate for such luxuries and also there are always endless upgrades needing to be done , especially for underwater use , anyone remember the rounded lens of the old Hero2 which blurred underwater. For example GoPro have changed the battery so now none of my spare batteries will fit. You will also have to buy a super high speed memory card to take full advantage of the high frame rates on the Hero4 Black and depending on where you live these are not cheap. I use the SanDisk extreme pro card at the moment which is a class 10 95m/s speed card.

So although it’s pricy and GoPro you really start to get the feeling that GoPro is trying to milk you for every penny with all these little upgrades, the Hero4 Black edition is a remarkably versatile and rugged little camera and I still feel it is the leader of the action cameras for the time been. If you want an easy to use, all in one solution to get underwater and start shooting some pretty snorkeling and Scuba Diving footage in high resolution and with fast frame rates and high mega pixels for photos, I can recommend the Hero4 Black edition. However if you are on a budget and not looking for pro quality and just want to document your ocean vacation I would honestly  rather recommend the GoPro Hero plus , which is comparable to the Hero3 silver and offers 30fps 1080 video for a quarter of the price.

Here is a little sample of some video I shot with the GoPro Hero4 Black edition in Brazil







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