GoPro is one of the biggest names in sports videography and is a name that first comes to mind when the need for a portable, easy-to-set-up camera arises. Although, the past couple of years were a bit hard for the company as sales plummeted, and after introducing their first-ever drone, some literally fell from the sky.
Still working hard on making another hit, GoPro has returned with their latest action camera, the HERO 6 Black, and it boasts some pretty impressive features. Will it be the saving grace the company needs right now? How does it fare compared to its predecessor, the HERO 5? We answer those questions plus more in this comparison.
On the outside, nothing has changed with the new action camera at all. It’s made of the same robust, rubbery material that’s designed to go underwater for as deep as 10 meters without needing an extra waterproof case. Button placements are carried over — one up top to start recording and another one on its side to switch between shooting modes.
Underneath, the same 1220mAh battery is stored while connectivity ports are on the other side. Even the protective lens is still removable and replaceable. There’s virtually no way of telling the two apart except for the small print on the side of the camera.
The biggest upgrade of the HERO 6 has more to do with output. It can now shoot up to 4K resolution at 60fps, whereas the previous HERO 5 topped out at 4K 30fps. It might seem like a small detail but having the option to shoot smoother video is always a good thing.
Another difference is frame rate. The HERO 5 Black can capture videos at a speedy 240fps but resolution is limited to 720p. The newer HERO 6 Black, on the other hand, can shoot the same 240fps rate at a clearer 1080p resolution.
For more flexibility, the HERO 6 can also shoot at 2.7K at 120fps so you get nice slow-mo video with the ability to resize or re-scale your footage if the need arises. Other features that differentiate the new action camera from its predecessor include better low-light performance and dynamic range.
Of course, all this means nothing if we can’t see for ourselves. I brought both cameras during my travels and you may refer to the embedded video below (starting at 2:46) for some sample video comparisons.
You can easily see that the sky from the HERO 6’s shots is more vibrant than the pale blue color from the HERO 5. There’s also a noticeable difference in exposure. The HERO 5 has darker blacks which, in this case, worked well since it was able to bring out more details on the snowy mountain.
Although both are set to auto white balance, footage from the HERO 5 still turns out to be warmer as seen in the indoor shoot.
In terms of stabilization, the new HERO 6 really stepped up its game to remove unwanted jerks and jitters. The difference is day and night, and it’s impressive how the HERO 6 almost looks like it was mounted on a gimbal thanks to its electronic image stabilization.
Don’t get us wrong, the HERO 5 also has its own EIS, but just not as good as the new flagship’s.
One more thing to notice when the camera’s EIS is turned on is that the HERO 5 needs to crop the image by 10 percent to achieve a smoother shot, while the HERO 6 has improved this and only crops about 5 percent of the original image.
Additionally, stabilization on the HERO 5 can only be used until 2.7K resolution at 60fps, while the HERO 6 supports stabilization until 4K. The only limitation here is that EIS maxes out at 30fps with no support for the higher 60fps.
Onto low-light shooting: Footage taken with the older HERO 5 couldn’t achieve the same level of clarity shot on the HERO 6. Colors are also livelier and digital noise has been reduced significantly on the latter.
Although there were instances, like when we went ice skating, that we preferred the color and details shot by the HERO 5. It looked more natural and the ice on the floor is still visible, unlike the one shot by the HERO 6.
We now look at some photo samples from both action cameras.
This photo was taken at Italy’s oldest shopping mall and shows a good balance between light and dark areas. We like how the HERO 5 has a higher contrast which added detail to the metal structure of the mall.
While waiting for a train, we see the sun lighting the Swiss Alps from behind with a dark and shaded station in the foreground. Again, we see a more vibrant blue sky from the HERO 6 with good details.
But look closer on the warning sign in front of you and the HERO 5 was actually able to deliver a better, more legible image. Even when you crop them to 100 percent, the smallest details seem to appear better on the HERO 5.
At night, both proved to be capable shooters, but the HERO 6 showed more details by effectively capturing the cracks on the floor. One thing that I had been complaining about with my HERO 5 is that it easily overshoots light flares, creating an unwanted glow and losing details.
It’s very much distracting here since it washed out the person’s face. Meanwhile, we’re happy that it was addressed on the HERO 6 as it’s clearly the better photo.
Zooming in to 100 percent shows that the green motorcycle has a livelier color and less noise on the HERO 6 compared to its predecessor. Here are more sample photos:
As mentioned earlier in this video, the HERO 6 Black carries the same 1220mAh battery capacity as the HERO 5 Black. So it should technically last for the same amount of time right? Well, no.
We conducted a battery test on the two at full capacities, same video settings, and started recording until they both drained their batteries. After more than an hour and a half, the HERO 6 actually gave up first at 1 hour and 42 minutes while the HERO 5 continued on and reached 2 hours and 5 minutes. That’s 23 minutes of difference and could go a long way in real-world shooting.
Responsible for this result might be the HERO 6’s newer custom processor. Yes, it could produce better dynamic range, low light shots, and stabilize the camera really well — but at the cost of a more power-hungry chip. That’s definitely a trade-off to consider.
So the question here is this: Should you upgrade to a HERO 6 Black from a HERO 5 Black?
Well, you first have to ask yourself the question: Will you be using it to shoot serious action scenes with really fast movement? Are you after the best quality there is? Or are you more of a casual user who just uses a sports camera to document your out-of-town trips?
Because if it’s not for professional work, the HERO 5 Black is more than capable to document all your trips. It’s also worth every penny since it just dropped its price to US$ 299, making it a really attractive offering — not to mention longer battery life.
Although if you plan to use your action videos for broadcast and want to have a lot of flexibility in shooting and editing, then you can’t go wrong with the HERO 6 Black at US$ 399.
iPhone 12 Pro vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Pixel 5: Camera shootout
Which flagship takes the best photo?
By now, most smartphone brands have introduced their respective flagships. Samsung unpacked the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Google revealed the more affordable Pixel 5, and Apple unveiled the most-awaited iPhone 12 Pro.
In this shootout, we took the three flagship smartphones for a camera showdown. These photos were taken around Brooklyn, New York. And if you’ll ask… Yes, we still did our part by wearing masks and following social distancing protocols.
Anyhoo, grab your pen and paper since this is a blind shootout. It’s labeled A, B, and C to make it easier for you to take notes. As usual, no post-processing was done except for putting the images in a collage for faster loading and preview. The answers can be found at the end of this article.
Okay, we’re just messing with you. It’s not that blind test where you have to scroll up and down to find out the answers in different labels. The results are as follows:
A – iPhone 12 Pro
B – Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
C – Google Pixel 5
If you observed them closely, these flagship smartphones have their strengths and weaknesses. Notably, these smartphones differ in terms of focal length, depth-of-field, color balance, and more. Mainly because these flagships use different camera systems and are powered by different processors.
But if you’re wondering what is the point of a camera shootout between the best smartphones you can buy today, it’s about helping people decide based on their preferences, lifestyle, and usage.
The iPhone 12 Pro captured bright and sharp processed photos with a greenish tint. It produced a clean cut-out for its portrait mode, with an improved depth-of-field anyone would love. It’s the perfect camera system for average users needing a smartphone for their daily grind.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra took cooler yet vibrant photos with inconsistent exposure in varying scenarios. It produced images that are expected from a flagship phone, but it’s not as seemingly competitive compared to the iPhone and Pixel’s camera performance.
If anything, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offered the best camera experience it can provide to those in love with Samsung’s smartphones such as Samsung fans and other loyalists (like yours truly).
On the other hand, Google’s Pixel 5 offered strong contrasts and proper white balance in its photos, yet slightly underexposed during the day. However, it’s a real beast when it comes to night photography — even without its night mode.
For what it’s worth, this shootout proved that flagship smartphones aren’t made equal. They exist to serve different tastes, lifestyles, and usage that are apt for every consumer. Whatever your choice is, we’re sure you’ll be taking great photos. Just make sure you polish your skills and you’ll be ready to go.
So, which of these three took the best photo for YOU? Let us know in the comments section, and tell us if it’s your GadgetMatch!
POCO X3 NFC vs realme 7i: Camera shootout
A battle of affordable phones!
The POCO X3 NFC and realme 7i retails for PhP 12,990 and PhP 11,990 respectively. With just a PhP 1,000 price difference, will the phones have a wide gap in camera performance? Let’s find out in this shootout.
Excited to see the results? Here they are:
POCO X3 NFC: 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A, 7B, 8B, 9B, 10B, 11B, 12B, 13B
realme 7i: 1A, 2A, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7A, 8A, 9A, 10A, 11A, 12A, 13A
If you analyze the photos well, the POCO X3 NFC captures photos that are warmer — with a greenish tint — and somewhat underexposed, while processing a creamier bokeh and softer blur. On the other hand, the realme 7i produced brighter photos with an extra boost on its vibrance and contrast, as if it’s ready to go on your social media posts.
Having a PhP 1,000 difference didn’t make much of a difference. After all, both phones cater to different consumers with varying preferences.
Which affordable smartphone is the one for you?
Most users picking the POCO X3 NFC are captivated by its performance, apt for their gaming. But even though you’re after power and performance doesn’t mean the camera should be lackluster — which is the case for this smartphone. It’s not as camera-centric as the realme 7i, but its photos are enough to accompany gamer and performance-oriented individuals.
On the other hand, the realme 7i makes the perfect companion for those looking for a smartphone for their daily grind, and mostly spends their time browsing and using social media platforms. Its camera system produces carefully processed photos so that it’s ready for posting — you barely need to edit it.
At the end of the day, these affordable offerings — despite the price differences — can offer decent camera performance. You just have to choose which one suits your budget and lifestyle.
How did you feel about the shootout? Let us know by sharing this story and tagging us on our social media channels.
Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE (2020): Camera shootout
Battle of the small phones
Now that we have the Pixel 4a in our hands, it’s time for another smackdown! Priced at US$ 349, we tested it against Apple’s US$ 399 iPhone SE that packs the powerful A13 Bionic Chip. With two compact phones sporting single rear cameras, which one will shoot better?
Make sure to jot down your answers, as the results of this blind test will be at the end of this article. As usual, photos were labeled, resized, and collaged (this time) for you to load the images faster. No post-processing nor any color adjustments were done in any of the photos. So, let’s begin!
Pixel 4a: 1A, 2A, 3B, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9A, 10A, 11A, 12B, 13A, 14A, 15B, 16B, 17A, 18B
iPhone SE: 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A, 5B, 6A, 7A, 8A, 9B, 10B, 11B, 12A, 13B, 14B, 15A, 16A, 17B, 18A
If you observe closely, the iPhone SE produced warmer yet vibrant photos and well-lit, wider portraits. During daylight, it provides more details while it gets pretty noisy in lowlight.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 4a captured cooler photos. Portrait-wise, it has better focus compared to the iPhone SE despite the cropping. But this affordable phone shines better with its HDR and Night Sight, doing a great job in lowlight!
At the end of the day, both phones took photos that are rich in colors and manageable highlights. They also have decent backlit shots and creamy depth-of-field which might appease smartphone photography enthusiasts. For US$ 399, we already have an impressive camera performance. There are no losers here.
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