Last year’s GoPro Hero 5 Black was somewhat of a sea change for GoPro’s Hero range, and a camera called GoPro’s “greatest hits”. The Hero 6 Black, however, is very much an evolution of a now established winning formula. It improves in many key areas, including in its top-end resolution and frame rates, as well as offering significantly better image stabilisation and upgrades in overall image quality.
1. Design, controls and screen
In terms of physical design, nothing has changed. The camera body is identical to the Hero 5 Black. The Karma drone and Karma Grip – are compatible with the Hero 6 Black. There’s still a 2-inch touchscreen on the back. Colours on the Hero 6 Black’s display are far punchier compared to the washed-out look of the older model. Hero 6 Black is swifter to respond to voice controls. The Hero 6 Black remains waterproof to 10 metres without the need for any external housing, which is a welcome feature.
2. Specs and sensors
The big star of the show is GoPro’s custom-designed GP1 processor. The Hero 6 Black can do 4K/60fps. Hero 6 Black can now do a super-smooth 1080p/240fps slow-motion. There’s even 2.7K and 120fps resolution in exchange for slow-motion dramatics. The Hero 6 Black can now do image stabilisation at 4K/30 and still achieve it at 1080p/120fps. Now the GoPro app can detect when there’s new footage on your GoPro and then download it to the camera to be automatically edited together into a highlights reel.Wi-Fi performance has also seen a performance boost. It now allows for faster 5GHz connections, which translates to 3x faster file transfers.
3. Video and image quality
The fancy GP1 processor responsible for bolstering global tone mapping, resulting in improved colour and dynamic range. The latter has been bumped up by the equivalent of 2-stops. Auto-exposure adjustments have been upgraded – meaning that scenes that quickly transition from dark to bright adjust far more quickly during videos – as has low-light performance. The Hero 6 Black’s capabilities far eclipsed what was available with the Hero 5 Black.
While not as smooth as when using a gimbal such as the Karma Grip or FeiyuTech G5, it’s less ‘floaty’ and less limited by the speed of a motor to adjust the camera angle. It’s by far the best electronic image stabilisation. The 12-megapixel still images have improved as well with full HDR on the Hero 6 Black. RAW support also remains if you want more to play around in post processing. The ‘Linear’ field of view option remains if you want more natural shots without that typical GoPro barrel-distorted look.
4. Battery life
The Hero 6 Black uses the same batteries as the Hero 5 Black. Expect around 1hr 45mins of continuous video at 1080p/30fps. Shooting at 4K/60fps is obviously the most draining. expect less stamina overall when shooting multiple clips with more screen-on time and fiddling around.
Charging is via a USB-C connection, so it’s easy enough to carry a portable battery charger with you if you don’t have spare batteries. Charging from empty takes about an hour.
The GoPro Hero 6 Black improves over the Hero 5 Black on multiple fronts. It’s the best action camera you can buy today.