GOPRO HERO 6 Review After 1.6 Software Update

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The GoPro Hero 6 had a shaky start, a lot of people were complaining about grainy video quality and claiming the GoPro Hero 5 was still superior to the Hero 6. But through the magic of software updates GoPro has fixed a lot of the image quality issues on the Hero 6. But its still not perfect. Don’t forget to like comment and subscribe and you can watch some of my other videos here after you’re done watching this video. 

For the sake of this video you’re going to see footage taken with the GoPro Hero 6, Hero 5, Session, and a little bit from the iPhone 8 Plus and Sony Alpha 6000 with the kit lens. GoPro decided to go up market a little bit by pricing the new Hero 6 at $499.99 and keeping the Hero 5 at the same $399.99 from last year. The cheapest Gopro you can get right now is the session with a price of $149.99. If you want to pick either of these cameras up I’ll have links in the description below and I’ll keep them updated so you can get the best deal possible. It helps out the channel. 

From the outside the Gopro Hero 6 looks identical to the Hero 5. The only way to know which is which is by looking for the name on the left side of the lens which it self is hard to see in most conditions and the text is super small. GoPro should have at least given the Hero6 a different color way. But aside that you’ve got your LCD screen on the front that tells you basic info at a glance in almost any lighting condition, its current shooting mode, available storage, and current battery status. On the back you’ve got your led touch screen which works fairly well if you have smaller fingers. On the right side you’ve got your power slash mode button, and on the top you’ve got your record button. If you open the compartment on the left side you’ll find a USB type c port for charging and data transferring and a mini HDMI port just like the Hero 5. And just like the Hero 5, the Hero 6 also has the same 1220 milli amp removable battery. The Hero 6 also comes with the same accessories as the Hero 5, you get a mounting case, 2 3M bases, and a USB type c to USB cable. 

What really makes the GoPro Hero 6 stand out from the Hero 5 aside from improved image quality after the 1.6 software update which was released on November 20th… is GoPro's Custom-Designed GP1 Processor, the ability to now shoot in 4K 60 Frames per second which means smoother 4K video, the ability to shoot 1080p at 240 frames per second which means super slow-motion video in 1080p, HDR photo modes, and the best image stabilization I have ever seen on a camera or smart phone. You’ll also notice the screen on the Hero 6 is a little more color accurate than the Hero 5. The new processor on the hero 6 also allows for ever so slightly smoother and quicker graphics when navigating through the menus, a slightly more responsive touch screen experience and the hero 6 will start recording and save files a little faster than the Hero 5. The Hero 6 is also able to transfer files faster to your phone than then the Hero 5. The Hero 6 also keeps a smoother connection with your phone when you’re using the GoPro app as a view finder on your phone. When you move the camera theres much less of a delay and it keeps a consistently smooth image. Where as with the Hero 5 you’ll notice theres much more of a delay when moving the camera and the connection fizzles from time to time. The Hero 6 also now allows you to digitally zoom in on your subjects BEFORE you start recording, not during. There are a few more features that differentiate the Hero 6 from the Hero 5, but I feel these are the most important ones you should know about. 

The biggest standout feature of the Hero 6 is its digital image stabilization. When I first saw the footage from the Hero 6 I couldn’t believe how stable it was. For comparison lets put the Hero 6 up against the iPhone 8 Plus which uses Optical image stabilization on its main camera. Right off the bat you’ll notice how much smoother the video is but more importantly you’ll see the Gopro doesn’t have any of that back and forth movement that you can see on the iPhone 8 plus. You’ll also notice the Hero 6 has a wider field of view while its in linear mode where as the field of view on the iPhone is much smaller in general. You’ll also notice the Hero 6 has a cooler color palette while the iPhone has a warmer feel to it. When comparing the digital image stabilization on the Hero 6 versus the Hero 5 its a no brainer. To be honest while I was reviewing the video from the Hero 5 I was worried that I forgot to turn image stabilization on. But I assure you, its on. Here you’ll also notice the image on the Hero 6 is slightly sharper, colors are slightly more vibrant, and shadows are much darker. But although the image stabilization on the Hero 6 is incredible it dosnt work when shooting at 4K 60FPS or at 1080p 240 FPS. But all other shooting modes are fair game. And speaking of 4K 60FPS and 1080p 240 FPS, you can only view those files in your editing software if it supports HEVC. Something I learned the hard way while I was working in imovie. And the same goes for 2.7k 4:3 60 FPS and 2.7K 120 FPS.

Although the GoPro Hero 6 has truly amazing digital image stabilization, when you’re shelling out $500 for an action camera you’re probably going to expect amazing video quality as you should. But even after the 1.6 software update color accuracy is a bit of a problem especially with the color red. First lets talk about the Porsche Cayman GT4. Its clearly a white car with red accents. But the excessive saturation on the Hero 6 makes all of the red sections look orange. Which is incredibly weird cause both the Hero 5 and GoPro Session had no problem picking up that they were red. And this is also the case with the red BMW. On the hero 6 the BMW looks orange in every angle where as the 5 and session had no problem picking up a more accurate red color. But from these video samples you can clearly see the Hero 6 has a much sharper image, a higher dynamic range, its has more contrast, and it gets blown out much less than the 5 and session. But again theres a lot more color saturation going on. which I personally feel gives it more of a cinematic affect. But other colors like blues, golds and green have no problem coming out correctly. Hopefully this is just another software issue that GoPro will be able to address in a future update.  

The GoPro Hero 6 also reduces the amount of field of view options down to three. In most resolutions you’ve got linear, wide, and superview to choose from. In linear mode the Hero 6 has the narrowest field of view but you’ll notice theres almost no image warping, lines stay straight and you get the most realistic image. In wide mode the Hero 6 is able to take in more of the scene but you will notice previously straight lines start to curve inward. This is your classic action camera look. And then theres superview which takes in even more of the scene. But you will notice the theres even more warping going on. But superview is a good option if you’re going to be recording in a cramp area. Like for example if youre doing a car review and you want to get as much of the interior in a single shot or if you’re recording yourself while playing CQB paintball or air soft. But if you want the best quality from your GoPro then you want to shoot strictly in linear mode. 

Its obvious the GoPro Hero 6 is better than the Hero 5 particularly when it comes to image stabilization and image sharpness, but there are a few key areas where the Hero 5 out performs the Hero 6. Like I mentioned earlier both of these cameras have the same 1220 mili amp battery. Keep in mind battery life on a camera varies a lot depending on which shooting mode you’re in. But I noticed that while I was out getting footage the battery on the Hero 6 drained about 13% faster than the Hero 5. And this was with them at the same screen brightness and screen off time and while shooting at 1080p 60 frames per second. You would be safe to assume the Hero 6 has better battery life than the Hero 5 but as of right now it doesn’t. Again, I feel there is the possibility GoPro will be able to dress this battery issue in a future software update. After all the hero 6 does have their in house designed GP1 processor. 

Another area where the Hero 5 out performs the hero 6 is the internal microphone. Right now you’re hearing me through the internal mic on my Sony alpha 6000.  Now you’re hearing me through the internal microphone on the GoPro Hero 5. Obviously audio quality has been reduced… But now you’re listening to me through the microphone on the GoPro hero 6 and audio quality has gotten even worse. The microphone picks up much less of my voice and overall sounds pretty muffled. I don’t know if this is a hardware issue or if GoPro will be able to fix the audio quality through a software issue. Cause right now the Mic on the GoPro Hero 6 is pretty bad. 

Just like the hero 5, the hero 6 also has voice commands. You can tell them both to start or stop recording, take a photo, or turn off among other things. But now with the hero 6 you can verbally tell it to turn on as long as you have wake on voice activated. So the Hero 6 will go into a low power mode for 8 hours and still listen for the hot word before fully turning off. Obviously this will reduce your battery life. But while testing them, I noticed voice commands were pretty responsive on both cameras. The biggest difference I noticed was that the Hero 5 had way more false positives than the hero 6. The Hero 5 got a whole bunch of burst shots I did not ask for. 

So lets answer this $500 question, is the GoPro Hero 6 worth an upgrade from the Hero 5? If you’re an average Joe then no. You can always just stabilize your shaky footage from your Hero 5 in post, albeit its not going to look as good as the Hero 6. I agree on what liunus said, the hero 6 is more a prosumer product. A GoPro for professionals or content creators that want better image quality from their GoPro. The image stabilization alone on the Hero 6 is worth paying the extra $100 over the hero 5. In order to get that type of stabilization from your hero 5 you’re going to have to invest in a gimbal. Image quality is better than the Hero 5 and I think it has the potential to get even better through software updates. GoPro is probably ironing out the kinks in their new GP1 processor. But keep in mind the Hero 6 does take a hit in both the battery and audio quality department. Is this the best GoPro ever? It depends on who you ask. If GoPro kept the price of the hero 6 at $400 then it would have been.