GoPro Hero 5 Black in practical test: What can the action cam really do?


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]After GoPro publicly announced a few days ago that the company is withdrawing from the drone market, the focus of the company will probably be forced more strongly on the sale of the action cam series GoPro

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the GoPro Hero 5 Black and shed some light on the features of this powerful mini-cam.

We have tested the camera underwater as well as under icy conditions in Norway on a sledge ride with huskies.

The following video shows the practical test of the GoPro Hero 5 Black in Germany and Norway:

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Go Pro Hero 5 Technical data

The GoPro Hero 5 has voice control and is waterproof up to 10m without the need for an additional housing.

Videos can be recorded with a resolution of up to 4k and 30 frames per second. Other possible settings are:

  • 2.7k at 60 FPS
  • 1440p at 80 FPS
  • 1080p at 120 FPS and therefore also suitable for slow-motion recording

The small action cam takes pictures with 12MP. The photos can be optimized with the ProTunes app before shooting.

Furthermore, the cam has a USB port so that photos and videos can be transferred directly to the smartphone or laptop.

The housing of the camera is very high quality and offers an outstanding quality. Everything is finely crafted and the touch display as well as all buttons work without any problems even after a longer period of use (1.5 years now).

The basic equipment of the GoPro Hero 5 set includes the camera itself, a USB-C cable, two adhesive strips and a rubber cover.

There is a voice control, touch display and the possibility to use GPS tracking.

An underwater housing (waterproof up to 60m) can be purchased for 55€, if you want to go diving with this Actiocam.

The exact dimensions of the GoPro Hero 5 are 6.2 x 4.5 x 3.3cm. The camera is really small and also lies well in the hand.

Video and photo recordings in practical test

The small, handy action cam makes cinema-quality video recordings in UHD with an approximate running time of almost 70 minutes. With Full-HD, the battery lasts for just under 2.5 hours and thus more than twice as long.

So if you want to shoot more 4k-films, you better pack some extra batteries.

As you saw in the test video, the shots in Ultra HD at 30 frames per second look just fantastic. If the picture isn’t fluid enough, you can of course switch to 2.7k and 60 FPS and get a much smoother picture.

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With the ProTunes app, you can optimize the video settings before recording. For example, you can adjust the ISO value, brightness or even reduce wind noise. The use of these settings makes a noticeable difference in our practical test.

Especially videos that are taken in rather bad light will get a much better result by a small previous optimization.

The electronic picture stabilizer is much better than the one used in the GoPro 4. Unfortunately, this feature is not applicable for Ultra-HD recordings.

Start Go Pro Video – Voice Control

Very cool is also the voice control with which the 5 Black can be operated by voice command. There are a total of 13 different voice commands, e.g:

  • Take a GoPro photo
  • GoPro Video Making
  • Switch off GoPro
  • etc.

The voice control works incredibly well and direct, so GoPro did a really great job. The operation via smartphone over the WLAN is almost superfluous.

When we did the Huskeytor in Norway and I strapped the GoPro on my head, this feature was especially helpful.

Shooting photos is best done with the “wide” setting, otherwise the quality will quickly suffer due to the larger zoom. At this point, it should also be noted that the Gopro is well suited for taking pictures, but cannot and should not be compared with a classic SLR camera that has different zoom settings.

Nevertheless, our photographies are very good, but at the beginning, some practice is needed in order to be able to use the different modes, wide, linear, medium and narrow in the practice.

The 5 Black offers both JPG and RAW file formats so that professional photographers can get the best out of their pictures afterwards.

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The action offers 12 MP which stores photos with a resolution of 4000×3000 pixels. The exposure time can be set up to 60 seconds, so it is even possible to take pictures of northern lights. It is also possible to take nice photos in darker places.

The quality of the photos shown here is no longer the original format, but has been compressed a little so that they can be loaded quickly, especially for slower internet connections.

As already mentioned, the Hero 5 can also be operated by voice control or via app. Especially for selfie recordings or when it’s a bit colder outside, this function shows its value.

To take pictures of the northern lights we simply set up a tripod and attached the GoPro to it. Then we waited in the warm car until the northern lights showed up. Afterwards we simply took the photo with our smartphone. The range is about 4m, anything further away can cause problems with the signal strength.

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For all Youtube who are thinking about using the GoPro Hero 5 as a selfie camera, you will probably be disappointed. The built-in microphone is not completely “noise-free”, so there is always a need for some post-processing. At this point it should be noted that there is no action cam on the market that can produce completely interference-free audio without the use of an external microphone.

Nevertheless it is possible to connect different microphones to the GoPro 5. We tested it in combination with the Sennheiser MKE 400 microphone and were very satisfied with the result. The only drawback: The GoPro needs a stable stand, because the microphone is already longer than the small Minicam itself.

The Hero 5 Black cuts a fine figure both above and below the water. Since I am a diver myself (Rescue Diver), I also took underwater pictures in 4k.

The quality is simply outstanding and ready to be shown on a big movie screen. My depth gauge showed just under 9.5m, I didn’t want to go any deeper, because GoPro itself shows a maximum diving depth (without underwater housing!) of 10m. Up to this limit the camera worked perfectly without any problems.

From a certain depth, however, the light decreases strongly, so that it is highly recommended to use a flashlight or a spotlight. For the GoPro 4 we have purchased an underwater housing including a strong spotlight to produce the best possible images.

On the device in the middle where the housing of the GoPro Hero 4 now sits, the holder of the GoPro 5 can also be attached. This device is universally applicable for all GoPro models. The purchase price was not cheap, but for a diver like me it has paid off several times.

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There are plenty of accessories for the GoPro 5, but they all have their price. We bought a stable transport bag, a strap (as seen on the Huskey photo), a selfie stick and an underwater case. Of course it always depends on what you want to do with this camera in detail.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one package of action at a good price (with Full-HD video recording), you can check out this offer.

Differences Go Pro Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session

The Hero 5 is also available in a slightly cheaper version called “Hero 5 Session”. The differences are mainly in the price and the built-in performance.

The Hero Session is much smaller than the Black version and measures only 3.8 x 3.8 x 3.6 cm.

The picture resolution of the session is 10 MP and not 12 like the Black-Edition.

Both cameras can produce video in Ultra-HD, but the 2.7k version with 60 frames per second is only possible with the Hero Black. Furthermore, there is no possibility to produce slow-motion recordings in Full-HD with 120 FPS.

The Session is also waterproof up to 10m and does not require an additional case. Unfortunately there is no underwater housing available for the Session. Furthermore the Session has no screen on which the video recordings can be viewed and the battery is not exchangeable.

Conclusion about the GoPro Hero 5 Black

The Hero 5 Black delivers fantastic, almost cinematic, Ultra-HD images that are very dynamic and fluid thanks to 30 FPS. The image and depth of field is truly remarkable and will satisfy even the most demanding camera enthusiasts.

The touch display and voice control, as well as the remote control of the action cam via mobile phone via app, make using the Hero 5 an absolute breeze.

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The electronic image stabilizer is, compared to the previous model of the GoPro Hero 4, by lengths better and works perfectly. The only drawback is that it cannot be used with a video resolution of Ultra-HD.

Furthermore, the slightly shorter battery life of about 70 minutes for 4k recordings and the microphone can’t be classified in the highest league. The microphones used in Actioncams are generally not the best, because the application area is clearly Actoin recordings and not to provide the best audio quality (although this has already improved compared to the previous model!).

The current price of just under 320€ is in our opinion also very good.

All in all, we are completely satisfied with the GoPro Hero 5 Black and can warmly recommend it.


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