Looking for an action camera that can do it all? Look no further than the GoPro Hero4. This powerful camera can capture stunning video and photos, even in difficult conditions. The Hero4 is also great for recording outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking.
In this blog, we will discuss GoPro Hero 4 Black Review
Table of Contents
- 1 GoPro Hero4 Review
- 2 GoPro Hero 4 Silver Review
- 3 Conclusion
GoPro Hero4 Review
- 1/2.3 inch CMOS with 12 Megapixels
- MP4 recording at up 4K and 30 frames per sec at 60Mbits/sec
- Bundled housing is waterproof up to 40m
- Mounting kit included
- Remote control of Wi-Fi functions via smartphone/remote
- Amazing 4K image quality for action cameras
- ProTune modes offer improved quality and control
- A huge selection of third-party peripherals and GoPro accessories
- Optional LCD Panel
- Mounting bundles are less extensive than those of lesser-known brands.
- Premium price
What is the GoPro Hero 4 Black?
The Hero 4 Black was GoPro’s flagship action camera until the launch of the Hero 5 Black. This was the first GoPro that supports 4K at 30fps. Previously, this was only possible with a slightly slower 15fps.
The Hero 5 Black brought a few important improvements to the device, including waterproofing without the use of a case, electronic imaging stabilization, GPS, and touchscreen. However, many aspects remain the same, such as the highest resolution.
The Hero 4 Black still meets your needs and is even better if it is available at a lower price, thanks to the GoPro Hero 5 Black. The Hero, 4 Black’s video quality is excellent, even if you don’t want to spend as much.
Design and Features
The Hero3/3+ Black owners will notice subtle but significant changes to the Hero4, including the new battery compartment design. The battery compartment no longer slides into the back. Instead, it drops into the bottom. This works great and makes swapping out batteries much easier. This required a battery redesign, so you can’t reuse batteries from older models.
My conspiracy theorist side believes that GoPro made this move to make you buy new batteries for $20, PS16, or AU$34 apiece and an external charger. Blue Nook does have its non-OEM Wasabi packs available to purchase.
The buttons on the camera are another important change, this time for the best. While the layout is the same, the Wi-Fi power button to the right of the camera now has a “Highlight tag.” It can be tiring to go through hours of video trying to find that one moment.
When recording with the Hero4, press the button right after the cool moment occurs. The Hero4’s camera will tag the image so that you can quickly find it later in GoPro’s mobile app or desktop Studio software. Although it isn’t the first action camera to offer this feature, it is a valuable addition.
This button also opens your settings menus when you’re not recording. The menus of older models were confusing. But GoPro has made it easier by making everything more sensitive to the mode you are in. This means that if you press the settings button while in video-capture mode, you will only see the video settings.
This reduces menu hunting significantly due to the many options for resolution, frame rate, and other shooting options. You don’t have to enter a separate setting mode to turn Wi-Fi on. It won’t accidentally get in your bag and drain your battery.
The left side has a removable, easy-to-lose covering that protects Micro-HDMI ports and Mini-USB ports, as well as microSD slots supporting cards up to 64GB. Mini-USB ports are used to charge and transfer content from your microSD cards. They can also be used with optional 3.5mm stereo mic cables that allow you to attach an external mic.
Although it does not have a touchscreen, the Hero port on the back allows you to attach GoPro’s LCD Touch BacPac and Battery BacPac.
The front activity lights are now located next to the lens, along with the tiny monochrome display. However, the camera is about the same size as the Hero3/3+. You can use mounts and housings for the Hero4.
You get the camera, waterproof housing with a depth of 131 feet (40m), skeleton doors for better audio, horizontal and vertical quick-release buckles that attach to the bottom of the camera housing, and a pivot arm that allows you to mount the camera on top, side, or front of the helmet.
The small locking plug, also included, can be used to prevent the buckles from accidentally being released from the mount by vibration or force. The camera comes with a Mini-USB cable and a USB wall adapter. There is no charger included in the box. You will need a microSD card for storage.
It’s similar to the Hero3+ Black, but the GoPro Wi-Fi Smart Remote doesn’t come with it. To take advantage of the new HiLight/Settings buttons, the remote was redesigned. An old model will still work, but you’ll need to pay $80, PS60, or AU$119 to get the latest version.
You don’t have to spend money on the remote. Instead, you can use GoPro’s mobile app to change settings, review, and transfer content. Connect the Black to your smartphone via Wi-Fi, and you are good to go. To make it easier and faster to connect to your Hero4, Bluetooth has been included. You can also update firmware using the app, which is much faster than loading a microSD card.
Wi-Fi doesn’t improve battery life, so turn it off if you aren’t using it. Although battery life is not great, it’s what you get for a small and powerful camera. My continuous recording at 4K at 30fps with Wi-Fi off took me about 50 minutes. With Wi-Fi on, it took around 40 minutes.
This is less than GoPro’s estimated time of 1 hour, 5 minutes, and 55 mins for similar conditions. So expect something in the middle. You’ll also be able to record for longer if you use a lower resolution and a slower frame rate.
There are so many options for resolution and frame rates, and this is just a straight-up video. You’ll soon discover that there are plenty of options for time-lapse and stills. You could list them all here, but I recommend going to GoPro’s specifications page for more information.
The Hero4 Black’s big advantage over the Silver is its higher recording resolutions, faster frame rates, and higher bitrate. Black is the best option if you want the best video.
GoPro claimed that they now offer manual controls for video and photos, but these adjustments are very limited. The camera’s Protune feature allows recording at 60Mbps.
Protune allows you to set the color to GoPro’s color profile, Flat or your own. You can also adjust sharpness and exposure 2EV and control the shutter speed for Night Photo and Night Lapse modes.
This gives you more control than most action cameras, but it’s not as easy as manual controls. You can set shutter speeds to 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 seconds but not 1/25th or 1/10th. Also, you cannot select an ISO sensitivity or manually adjust the white balance.
Specification for Shooting
The Hero 4 can shoot 4K at a full frame rate. However, Ultra HD resolution is now available at 3,840×2,160. This is in contrast to Hero 3 and Hero 3+, which offer 4K Cinema 4,096x 2,160. You have many other options. There is 2.7K (4,704x 1,520) at 60 frames per second and 2.7K (4:3 (2.702×2,028) at 30 frames per second.
There are high-speed options available for 1,440p (1.920 x 1.440) at 80 frames/second; 1080p (1.920 x 1080) at 120 frames/second; and 720p (1.280 x720) at 244 frames/second. These are only a few of the many resolution options available. Many people will only choose one or two resolution settings – perhaps one 4K option and one high-speed Full HD option, but there should be options for every occasion.
Time-lapse can be used to speed up or slow downtime. It is available in intervals of 0.5 to 60 seconds. You can also turn on looping if you want to use your GoPro as a car dashboard camera or a helmet for riding a bicycle. When the memory is full, the oldest files will be replaced with the newest.
There are many other shooting options available. SuperView mode allows for a wider angle of vision, but with a more distorted view, in 4K, 2.5K, 1080p, and 720p. You can also shoot 12-megapixel photos and time-lapse videos at 1,440p and 1,080p, respectively. You can also use burst mode to take up to 30 photos per second for up to 6 seconds.
GoPro has not changed from the 1/2.3 inch sensor used in Hero 3 and Hero 3+ Black for Hero 4 Black. It still has 4,000×3,000 pixels making it a 12-megapixel camera. This is a good size for an action camera and at the larger end for camcorders overall, although it’s not as large as a DSLR.
Mounting Options & Accessories
A small number of mounts are available for the GoPro Hero 4 Black. There are adhesive bases available for both flat and curved surfaces. There are two lengths of clips, as well as two link extenders that rotate 90 degrees in the pointing direction. These can be combined to make a pivot arm. The waterproof housing comes with a rating of 40m. You can also attach the optional LCD to the housing with an open back.
The Hero 4 has a smaller, low-resolution LCD at the front. This allows you to view your settings as well as previous GoPros. It allows you to configure most controls, though it will not show what the camera is seeing. The optional BacPac LCD (which costs an additional PS55 for the Touch model) is required.
This is why the bundle is not as generous as lesser-known brands like ISAW, which has its Edge and Wing models. GoPro is the market leader and offers a wide range of optional mounts. These include chest harnesses, head straps, floating hand grips as well as suction cups, handlebar mounts, and dog harnesses.
There are so many options at the GoPro store. You can also choose from three Black bundles: Standard, Surf, or Music. Each comes with a different mount and housing. Above is the Surf bundle.
Manual Controls And Smartphone App
GoPro is known for offering manual controls that are precise and powerful, such as the ProTune settings. This is one way GoPro stands out from other action camera manufacturers. These preset allow for a variety of color temperatures, although there is no manual option. They also offer a flat profile that allows for more flexible grading after production.
The ISO limit reduces graininess in low lighting but at the cost of brightness. It is available in video mode up to 6,400 and photo mode up to 800. ProTune also offers exposure compensation, sharpness, and three levels of sharpness. There are nine levels ranging from -2 to +2 EV. Most importantly, ProTune mode allows for higher shooting resolutions, but not in 4K.
Auto Low Light is a non-ProTune feature that adjusts shutter speed and frame rate to maintain brightness. Night photos can be taken in auto mode with open shutter times of up to 2 seconds and preset times of up to 30 seconds. This is because there is no LCD preview. It will take some trial and error to get it right.
It is difficult to access all of these settings through the small LCD screen on the front. The Hero 4’s Wi-Fi is integrated so that you can control it using the GoPro app for iOS or Android. The camera has an automatic pairing function that makes setting up Wi-Fi settings and changing settings much easier. The battery life is reduced by 25% when you use Wi-Fi with the app, which is only 50 minutes in 4K.
Image Quality & Performance
GoPro is not an accident. GoPro has managed to stay ahead of the curve in terms of features and image quality. Although the Hero 4 Black offers 4K quality that is superior to conventional camcorders and 4K-shooting cameras, it’s not as good as other action cameras. The color is vibrant, but the image quality is not as sharp as the top 4K camcorders. This is due to the 60Mbits/sec 4K data rates, which is lower than those of the top 4K consumer camcorders and equals HD at 15Mbits/sec.
Although the 240fps mode for 720p is quite impressive, iPhone 6 owners will get used to it. The quality is good considering the shutter speed of 1/240th. However, the image is soft.
It is worth noting that Hero 4 lacks image stabilization (IS), but this feature is starting to appear on action cameras from other manufacturers, such as Sony. Although IS will not be very effective in extreme sports that have jerky motions, it could have been helpful for recording less chaotic situations.
Full HD at 24, 25, or 30 frames per second is the best for image quality, with ProTune turned on. The data rate is 45Mbits/sec. This is significantly faster than AVCHD and can be clearly seen in the difference. ProTune does not increase the data rate for Full HD, but it is 50% higher for 4K. Full HD with ProTune is the best choice if you don’t need the additional resolution of 4K.
The GoPro can only record mono audio internally. However, a USB adapter is available that allows you to hook up a stereo mic instead. Even though the audio quality is not great, you can find other options if you need them.
Frame rate and Resolution Options
The Hero4 Black offers a variety of frame rates and resolution options. 4K footage can be shot at 30fps, 25fps, or 24fps. Some action shooters prefer 60fps, but it’s not possible. I can’t think if any consumer cameras support 4K at 60fps. The 30fps and 25fps frames match the NTSC or PAL broadcast frame rates. 24fps can still be used for projection in theaters.
Two field options are available for 4K: SuperView and Ultra Wide. Ultra-Wide uses the traditional 16:9 ratio of the image sensor to capture the widest possible view. SuperView captures more information in the top and bottom frames by using the entire 4:3 image sensor. The footage is then compressed into a 16-:9 frame to be played back on HDTVs or widescreen computer monitors.
The top frame rate can be dropped to 2.7K (1520p), which increases it to 60fps. Other frame rates are 50, 48, 30, 25, 25, and 24fps. Shooting at 2.7K produces footage that is better than 1080p but requires less computing power to edit. This is a good compromise for shooting at 60fps. GoPro offers an in-camera crop option. It is called a Medium field view by GoPro when shooting in 2.7K. Ultra-Wide is also available.
SuperView is also available at 2.75K in 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. This mode allows you to roll footage at either 30fps or 25fps. SuperView modes all use the entire sensor, so the field is always Ultra Wide.
Next is the 1440p quality run. This is only available in Ultra Wide at 80, 60, and 50fps. It is not available at 48, 48, 25, 30, 25, or 24fps. It’s best to avoid this option unless you are using the 80fps mode.
HD 1080p is available in 120, 90, and 60 frames per second. Slow-motion lovers will love 120fps. This allows you to reduce footage to one-quarter speed and still maintain smooth motion. SuperView can also be accessed at 1080p at 80-60, 50, 48 and 30, 25, or 24fps.
Another resolution in-between, 960p is available at 120fps, 60fps or 50fps. However, it only works with Ultra Wide perspectives. It’s an excellent option, but it is not as good as 1080p. Original HD resolution (720p) can be shot at 240 or 120 frames per second, 60 frames per second, 50 frames per second, 30 frames per second, 25fps with Ultra Wide or Medium field of view options. Slow-motion photographers will love the 240fps option. However, it is only available in narrow mode.
There’s also 720p SuperView, 120, 60, or 50fps, and good old-fashioned standard definition 480p, available at 240fps but without the full Ultra Wide Field of View that you get at 720p240.
GoPro Hero 4 Silver Review
- Excellent video and photo quality
- Simple but sophisticated
- Vivid touchscreen
- High-quality Wi-Fi
- Battery life is limited
- Pixelation can cause some problems
- Can’t deal with bright, direct sunlight
Design and Features
You get the camera, waterproof housing with a depth of 131 feet (40m), touchback and skeleton doors, horizontal and vertical quick-release buckles, and a three-way pivot arm that allows you to mount the camera on top, front, and side of helmets.
The small locking plug, also included, can be used to prevent the buckles from accidentally being released from the mount by vibration or force. The camera comes with a Mini-USB cable to charge via a computer or USB wall adapter, but there is no charger. You will need a microSD card for storage.
GoPro cameras have kept the dimensions of the Hero3/3+ the same, so even if you own one, those housings can be used. Your old batteries are not allowed.
Redesigned battery compartment so you can slide the door open at the bottom to load the puck into the slot. This makes it much easier to swap batteries but also requires a new battery design. My conspiracy theorist side believes that GoPro made this offer to make you buy new batteries for $20 (AU$34, PS16) and a new charger (although Blue Nook has its non-OEM Wasabi packs already in production).
The Micro-HDMI and Mini USB ports are protected by a removable, easy-to-lose covering. There is also a MicroSD slot that supports cards up to 64GB. You can use the Mini USB port to charge and transfer content from your microSD card. It can also be used with an optional stereo mic cable (3.5mm) so that you can attach an extra mic. The Hero port allows you to attach GoPro’s Battery BacPac. However, this will block the screen.
Although the button layout of the camera remains the same, the WiFi power button to the right is now a “Highlight Tag.” It can be tiring to go through hours of video trying to find that one moment. The Hero4 records immediately after the cool moment occur. It’s then tagged so that you can quickly find it later in GoPro’s mobile app or desktop studio software. Although it isn’t the first action camera to offer this feature, it is a great addition.
The button opens your settings menus when the camera is not in use. The menus of older models were confusing. But GoPro has made it easier by making everything more sensitive to the mode you are in. This means that if you press the settings button while in video-capture mode, you will only see the video settings.
This reduces menu hunting significantly, as there are many options for resolution, frame rate, and other shooting options. You don’t have to enter a separate setting mode to turn WiFi on. This means it won’t accidentally get in your bag and drain your battery.
You can also use the 1.5-inch touchscreen at the back to change modes and settings. Simply swipe up from the right to select your model. Next, swipe up at the bottom to change your mode settings.
It is far more efficient than the tedious button-mashing that is required to use the buttons and the small screen on the front. The screen is still not lit, so it can be difficult to change the time at night. It lights up perfectly and can be used to preview your shots and review them after.
GoPro’s mobile application allows you to view, review, and even transfer content. Simply connect the Silver via WiFi to your smartphone, and you are good to go. Bluetooth has been integrated into the Hero4 to make it easier to connect. You can also update firmware using the app, which is much faster than loading a microSD card.
You can connect to the camera’s WiFi to connect to an optional remote wirelessly that mimics the front LCD screen and three buttons on the camera. A new version of this remote supports tagging with Hero4 cameras.
WiFi doesn’t improve battery timing, so turn it off if you aren’t using it. Although battery life isn’t the best, it’s what you get for a small, powerful camera. My continuous recording tests at 1080p at 60fps with WiFi off took me about an hour and thirty minutes.
Although it’s not as powerful as other models, such as the iOn Air Pro 3 and Drift Ghost-S, the former has a built-in battery, so there is no need to swap out in the field. The latter is quite large.
GoPro’s Hero4 Silver camera is the first to have an integrated screen. This makes it much easier to frame your shots and navigate its many functions than previous models. Technically, it’s not the highest-end model. The screenless ‘Black edition captures 4K footage at 30 frames per second and has a faster frame rate. This will be a great way to excite geeks. However, if you don’t care about ‘4K/30fps’, the ‘Silver edition is more affordable and easier to use.
The image quality is exceptional, and you can still shoot in super-smooth slow motion and experiment with creative features like night and time-lapse shooting modes.
The camera produces excellent still photography with 12-megapixel images. Burst mode captures action sequences quickly with up to 10 frames per second. The GoPro is a great companion for any expedition due to its superb imaging and ease of use. Advanced users will still be able to enjoy many of the more advanced features.
Remote & App
The GoPro Hero4 Silver is extremely easy to use. The buttons on the exterior cover basic functions such as turning on the camera and taking photos. Additional options can be accessed via the touch screen on the rear. You can either get a remote control or an app to place it where it is not reachable.
The battery is generally good, although the rear screen can significantly decrease it. You can always rely on the LCD screen, and spare batteries are readily available for a fair price.
The Hero4 Silver and other GoPros can be connected to a smartphone or tablet for remote control, as well as to send live video to apps such Livestream and Meerkat. This allows you to stream directly to the Internet.
Livestream introduced the option in its iOS app to allow users to choose a WiFi-connected GoPro over the iPad or iPhone camera to be the video source. (Meerkat is another streaming service that can accept GoPro streams directly from its iOS app. Sony action cameras can also be used with Ustream, a rival streaming service that runs on Android or iOS devices.
It’s easy to set up: Just connect to the Silver using an iPhone as you would normally. GoPro Hero is one of the three input options available when you open the latest version of the Livestream App. It follows the Front Camera and Rear Camera. Your videos will appear on your Livestream channel after a 10-second delay.
The GoPro Hero4 is a top-of-the-line action camera that can capture stunning 4K video and 12MP photos. It’s also equipped with a host of features that make it perfect for capturing your most extreme adventures, including a built-in touch screen and Wi-Fi connectivity. After testing the GoPro Hero4, we found that it lives up to the hype and is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an action camera that can do it all.