I bought a Go Pro Hero 4 Silver two months ago primarily because I wanted a camera that could take excellent HD video as well as still photos in all weather and terrain conditions. I didn’t want a point and shoot, as they are a little bulky and not ideal for attaching onto things.
I did my usual couple of days of intense research, watched dozens of videos, read tons of reviews and looked around for similar cameras, but only the Sony Action Cam HDR-AS100V had something that came close.
One thing I was really keen on was the screen on the back of the camera. Its touch screen and it is awesome because there is no need to press the front button or side button multiple times to go through the clunky menu. It works well even in the protective case, as GoPro supply a special back cover that can be accessed even with gloves. Not to mention all the wonderful accessories, there are hundreds of possibilities for the camera.
2016 has so far been a special year for Jo and I. In March we spent a week skiing in Austria, scaled a glacier and skied down it, went tobogganing down an icy road and walked in the pouring snow. In April/May we were in Mexico City and the surrounding areas and experienced all modes of transport (plane, hot bus, hot car, segway) and in late April my work sent me to Bali, where we worked hard 😉 and went quad biking in the rice paddy fields. This weekend we are off camping and I am hoping to test out the Night Lapse mode, but I have had plenty of opportunity to test out the camera and its features.
Having experienced the camera in various situations above, I am disappointed with the video camera and here is why:
- No image stabilization, I shake a little, not a lot, but enough to when holding the camera in one hand. This is greatly magnified when watching it on a TV or a computer screen. Likewise when I record with an accessory such as the head or chest mount or even a fixed pole mount, the video is all over the place. Yes, one can apply trickery to the video after uploading it to YouTube, but that is an extra unnecessary step. Why doesn’t it have built in optical image stabilization?
- High Definition video eats up a lot of space. A few minutes of video recording at 4K, 2K or even 1080P can result in a 1 to 4 GB file size.
- I am no film director, I just want to capture a moment and show it to my friends or family, and taking video in different situations is not easy, even if I thought it was just a matter of hitting record.
- One ends up with lots of large files that take hours to edit, because the GoPro program in layman terms is shit! – It is not easy although I figured it out in the end, it took me ages and multiple tryouts for one crappy video. I have at least 100 videos to edit and the thought of running through each one to take out a few seconds of film has made me not want to do it.
- One needs a beefy computer to run the program to edit the videos, don’t think for a minute it is possible on an app on your tablet or phone.
- Using the accessories are hit and miss, I have tried out the head, chest and arm mount, and all have their advantages and disadvantages.
- Biggest disadvantage of the head mount is that it is impossible to see what you are filming, your head bounces around or moves and without stabilization, your video is a big mess.
- Chest mount is great because at least one can see quickly see what has been recorded. For Skiing and Segway it is great. Not great on a quad bike because there is too much vibration.
- Batteries don’t last long if recording in 2K or 4K. I did buy extra batteries, so this wasn’t a big problem for me.
- If it has Bluetooth, I cannot get it to work with my Bluetooth clicker that I use on my selfie stick.
Those are my seven negatives so far. It is not specifically aimed at the Hero 4 Silver, but I am surprised that I have that many for a device that appears to be so popular. The screen though is great, and the waterproof casings and the touch screen casing, and I have a few more upcoming trips, so maybe by then I will have something more positive to post and a few more videos to show off.
Some positives are:
- It is light and small and when in the protective case it is simply amazing. It can take knocks, get dusty or wet it just works.
- The video quality is awesome provided the camera is kept still or fixed to a sturdy mount.
- Photos are excellent as well, again if mounted or held perfectly still.
- The accessories I have discovered can support my many cameras and mobile phones.
- The GoPro app is okay, the wireless connection is clever and works really well.
- The new Android App called Qlik is brilliant, although I don’t see how it links to my GoPro.
- The GoPro community is massive on Instagram, YouTube and even website forums. Getting help is not a problem.
Here is my first short video, I got a few more in the making to be uploaded.