As one of the largest manufacturers of action cameras around the world, the name of GoPro is music to the ears of photography enthusiast.
GoPro’s line of products has been popular for years because of their superior quality, performance, reliability and longevity. While it is no secret that GoPro products are more expensive than their counterparts in the market, one may argue that excellence and trustworthiness do come at a price.
If you are adventurous enough, and not too enthusiastic about the latest technology in the market, you may consider using other action cameras which offer almost similar specifications despite being more affordable, but they cannot guarantee you the reliability that GoPro offers.
Below is my thorough GoPro Hero 6 Black Review, I hope you enjoy it!
Small Comparison: Hero5 Black vs Hero6 Black
Indeed, the developers had handpicked all the best features of its predecessors, combined them together into the Hero 5 Black, and did not forget to include a horde of exciting new functions as well.
With the launch of the Hero 6 Black this year, GoPro builds on a strong foundation and improves on the features of the Hero 5 Black.
Fortunately, there’s not much difference in the design; so if you have bought Hero 5 Black specific mounts and gimbals, you may very well use them with this camera too.
The major upgrade, however, lies within the product. GoPro’s new image custom processor, GP1, is being introduced for the first time ever in the Hero 6 Black.
Compared to the Hero 5 Black, this is going to provide you with higher resolution and frame rate options. The GP1 processor is also expected to allow for better dynamic range and performance in low light conditions.
Further, the Hero 6 Black is able to record videos at 4K resolution at 60 fps. This is a huge improvement from the the Hero 5 Black which used to top out at 4K at 30 fps.
Moreover, the Hero 6 Black lets you shoot 240 fps slow motion videos at 1080p resolution, in contrast to the 720p resolution of its predecessor.
The electronic image stabilization also receives a boost with the Hero 6 Black supporting the same at 4K at 30 fps and 1080p at 120 fps.
Not surprisingly, the Hero 6 Black costs $100 more than the Hero 5 Black. While the improvements are extremely lucrative, shelling out a hundred dollars is no joke.
It is up to you to decide whether the upgrade is worth it, and to help you do that, we are going to lay out a detailed review of the Hero 6 Black and its latest features here.
For a more thorough comparison, make sure to check my GoPro Hero6 vs Hero 5 in-depth comparison!
Let’s Jump to the Review!
Product: GoPro Hero6 Black
My Rating: 9.5/10
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon
The Hero 6 Black boasts of the same design as the Hero 5 Black. The rugged, rubberized body is still there with the same two-tone black and dark gray motif.
The Hero 6 logo is written in glossy gray text on the left side of the camera, giving it a sleek, sophisticated appearance. The measurements are similar too – 1.8 inches by 2.6 inches by 1.4 inches, and the weight is around 4 ounces.
The camera features the waterproof body of its predecessor, and can resist water up to a depth of 10 meters without any protective covering.
As discussed previously in the Hero 5 Black review, this feature has a huge effect on the performance of the microphones, which no longer has to compromise with the sound quality.
Continuing the design trend of the Hero series, GoPro’s latest product also comes in a small, compact, boxy design which is not only easier to handle but also easier to pack in a corner of your bag while travelling.
A slight issue, however, arises when you try to mount the camera somewhere. GoPro offer numerous mounting accessories, but in order to mount the Hero 6 Black, you need to put it in its cage first.
Putting the camera in its cage, however, cuts off the access to the USB-C port, thereby making it impossible for you to recharge the batteries when you find them running out.
A possible solution is to leave the door of the USB-C port open before putting the camera in its cage, but you need to be careful because chances of sand, gravel and water entering the camera through the open door and damaging it eventually are quite high.
Usually, GoPro provides two adhesive mounts – one flat and one curved – along with the camera, in addition to the ‘mounting buckle’.
These may be sufficient for amateur usage of the product, but if you are a professional, or are planning to harvest more out of your investment, you will have to look at the other accessories and mounts offered by GoPro and even third party manufacturers.
Navigation and Controls
The LCD display measures no more than two inches diagonally, but is bright enough for outdoor usage. Further, the viewing angles are strong, making it easy to see the pictures in broad daylight.
The size could have been actually bigger if not for GoPro’s form factor. The interface is extremely user-friendly, and the touch input is fast and precise.
This is something that was needed since the small display allows for smaller icons and menus. Had the touch input been poor, navigating through the several settings would have been a huge headache.
Next to the lens, there is a secondary monochrome information LCD. It displays the mode, video resolution, frame rate, angle of view, battery and memory card capacity, and recording status.
This feature is particularly useful during shooting with the mounted camera facing you. The display is however, not backlit.
The Hero 6 Black maintains the sleek controls of the Hero 5 Black, by ensuring no more than two physical control buttons on its body.
The Power/Mode switch is located on the right side, and the Record button is situated on the top. The Mode button is versatile, and lets you toggle between video, still image, burst image, and time lapse image capture.
Interestingly, you no longer need to use buttons to control recording. The camera is responsive to voice commands which can be used to take photos, begin recordings, shoot burst of images, start time lapse recording and even add a HiLight to video.
Video and Sound Quality
The most lucrative feature of the GoPro Hero 6 Black is that it is capable of shooting 4K videos at 60 fps. Although the Hero 6 isn’t the first camera in the market to offer this feature, it does come with the reliability of the brand name.
Besides, the new image processor, the GP1, is an exciting piece of specification that allows for faster frame rates and better stabilization.
The Hero 6 Black is able to shoot at 1080p at 240 fps, thereby allowing you to smooth action to one-tenth speed with 24 fps playback.
The Hero 6 indeed improves on the specifications of its predecessor, as is evident in the electronic image stabilization feature. Understandably, this feature is still not available at higher frame rates, but it works pretty well at 4K at 30 fps, 2.7K at up to 60 fps, and 1080p resolution videos at up to 120 fps.
The electronic image stabilization is a feature that helps the camera to compensate for jerky recordings by cropping into the image. This is particularly useful when you are shooting videos at places where a lot of camera movement is inevitable.
The sensor and the lens are the same as what the Hero 5 Black had. So it is probably prudent not to expect a huge difference in video quality in this camera.
The automatic exposure is enhanced while recording videos and time lapses in low light conditions, and the white balance at different diving depths has improved, but those can be attributed to the GP1 processor and better firmware than the sensor and lens themselves.
Another change is the video compression codec that the Hero 6 Black allows. It is widely known that the H.264 codec is used by most videos, but the highest frame rate footage like 60fps at 4K, 120fps at 2.7K, and 240fps at 1080p are compressed using HEVC, better known as H.265.
This is a comparatively new codec that is not yet supported by a lot of gadgets, but is gaining popularity rapidly with manufacturers using it more and more in the latest devices. The iPhone 8, for instance, support this codec.
Apart from the 4K, 2.7K and 1080p resolutions discussed above, the GoPro Hero 6 Black also supports a lot of other formats. If you are looking to shoot at 4:3 aspect ratio, you can record in 4K resolution at 30 fps and 2.7K at 60 fps.
While shooting at 1440p at 60 fps or lower and 720p resolution at 50 or 60 fps, the 16:9 aspect ratio can be enabled.
The best thing about the Hero 6 Black is GoPro’s ProTune feature. Once you enable this feature and adjust the settings, you no longer have to worry about specifying minute details for your recording.
The GoPro basically takes control of your video, irrespective of the resolution, frame rates, and field of view, and lets you record with a flat color profile, and adjust in-camera sharpening, ISO limits, and white balance. If you prefer color grading your shots, you are definitely going to love this feature.
The Hero 5 Black offered 12 MP photos that are sharp with crisp details and vibrant colors, and the Hero 6 Black provides the same thing as well.
The camera comes with RAW support, and also boasts of a Wide Dynamic Range mode that allows you focus on more details across highlights and shadows.
If you are more into images that look and feel natural without the curved lines brought about by wide-angle lenses, you can easily opt for the Linear mode. The latter is available for only 2.7K and 1080p though.
Coming to the sound quality, the microphones function better to those on the Hero 5 Black. Because of the lack of case, they can pick up more sound clearly, and the wind reduction does an amazing job as well.
In addition to great looking videos, you now have the luxury of adding a certain depth to your recordings, thanks to the audio features. For a more enhanced audio, you can look at some external GoPro microphones.
The Hero 5 Black uses a physically different battery than Hero 4 Black, which is continued in the Hero 6 Black as well. Honestly, the battery life is not great, especially if you are shooting at 4K resolution.
The battery compartment also contains the microSD memory card slot. The battery can be charged via USB Type C which is what smartphones are found to be using these days.
It is, however, prudent to carry a spare battery around at all times, so that the unavailability of charging points do not affect your Hero 6 experience. You can also check my tips on how to extend your GoPro battery life.
The new features include astounding image quality, electronic image stabilization, dual microphones, and an improved design that does not require a waterproof case (up to a depth of 10 meters).
On the other hand, if you are looking to upgrade from the Hero 5 Black, the decision needs a lot of thinking.
Sure, the Hero 5 Black had its own set of cons – low battery life, poor touchscreen responsiveness, and lack of EIS while shooting in 4K, but there isn’t much major improvements in 6.
Finally, it is up to you to evaluate whether this merits an upgrade or not. It is pertinent to mention here that the Hero 6 Black is on the expensive side – as much as $100 more than its predecessor – and probably not the one for you if you are on a budget.
However, if you are looking for a solid camera for your travels that caters to your photographic needs and gives you extra control over your images and videos, this is the latest and the best GoPro model in the market currently.
You may not opt for buying a GoPro again if you are happy with your Hero 5 Black, but the improvements, although slight, make for significant improvements in performance.
I hope you liked my GoPro Hero 6 Black Review! If you have any questions then please leave a comment below 🙂