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GoPro HERO4 Black unboxing

With the GoPro HERO4 Black (US $499.99/CDN $649.99) comes an extra-powerful processor, better image quality and sharper detailed footage.

GoPro HERO4 Black-7 GoPro HERO4 Black unboxing

While those three features alone are worth considering an upgrade (or first GoPro purchase), what captured my attention the most was the new Night Photo and Night Lapse modes. You can now use the GoPro to get exposures of up to 30 seconds in both single shot and time-lapse settings! Get your tripods ready.

GoPro HERO4 Black unboxing
[What’s in the box]

Ultra-low light time lapse? Awesome. I’m already planning on taking this baby with me on an upcoming Aurora Borealis trip in a few months and if Nature will cooperate, I’ll update this review with Northern Lights GoPro footage once I’ve returned. Imagine the possibilities — from comets, shooting stars and Auroras to dance parties and other dimly-lit happenings.

GoPro HERO 3+ and HERO4 Black side by side

Until that time though, I’ve looked at the HERO4 Black vs. the HERO 3+ Black and comparing the two models, there’s several noticeable differences.

GoPro HERO4 Black with Bac Pac standard housing GoPro HERO4 Black with Bac Pac standard housing

The skeleton backdoor has been included even though the Black does not include a touch screen (its little cousin, the GoPro Silver, now does). This screen is included with the Black to be used for optimal audio quality during shooting.

GoPro HERO 3+ and HERO4 Black side by side

The battery door compartment now mimics digital cameras with a “push in and slide” door and is now located on the bottom of the camera instead of on the back. On all four sides, the HERO4’s camera texture is slightly different from the HERO 3+ (angled striped pattern in place of criss-cross).

GoPro HERO 3+ and HERO4 Black side by side

Microphones are still on the top and sides, however the LEDs have moved from the camera’s front center to the side and are now two vertical stripes in places of circles.

GoPro HERO4 Black-15

Another new feature introduced with the GoPro HERO4 is the tagging function: tap the side button to highlight key moments in a video to easily locate them later when editing.


[Low-light sunrise, day and night video captures in Tofino, BC]

I noticed a lot more options when scrolling through the menu screens. And speaking of options and changes, the wifi remote’s gotten a design overhaul with the addition of a Settings/Tags button.

Whale at English Bay-1 Whale at English Bay-2
[Night captures using tripod and GoPro iPhone app; English Bay, Vancouver]

It can be used with the GoPro 3 line, but you won’t be able to take advantage of the multifunction button features of the 4.

GoPro HERO4 Black-17

Tech Specs

– 12MP burst photos at 30 frames per second
– Time Lapse mode from 0.5 to 60-second intervals
– Video settings: 4K at 30 fps, 2.7K at 60 fps, 1080p at 120 fps, 720p at 240 fps
– Record stills and video on micro SD cards up to 64GB (class 10 recommended)
– Audio dynamic range now boasts 2x greater range over previous models

GoPro LCD Touch BacPac

Another item added to my GoPro arsenal is the LCD Touch BacPac (US $79.99/CDN $109.99), an easy-to-snap on live view display that’ll show you exactly what you’re shooting in real time. You can tap options right on the screen to change settings and later play back recorded captures.

GoPro HERO4 Black unboxing
[LCD Touch BacPac unboxing]

GoPro HERO 3+ with LCD Touch BacPac

This one’s also compatible with both GoPro HERO4 as well as the HERO3+ and HERO3. The LCD Touch BacPac also has a built-in speaker with volume control, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and is compatible with Standard, Skeleton and Blackout housing and comes with its own backdoors to accommodate the extra width.

GoPro LCD Touch BacPac

You can also take it into the water: one backdoor’s waterproof up to three meters (10 feet), another’s up to 40 meters (131 feet). For best audio quality though, stick with the Skeleton BacPac Backdoor. Included with the kit is a plastic case that snaps shut to protect the LCD screen while on the go.

An additional (included) mount makes it possible to attach the camera to maintain full range of pivot when attached to certain GoPro accessories.

GoPro Red Dive Filter packaging

We’re also looking forward to taking our HERO4 out snorkeling with the GoPro Red Dive Filter (US $69.99/CDN $92.99). A familiar scenario: those breathtaking moments underwater when the fish look great with your eyes but when you get the photos and video home to view on your computer, it’s a green world, right?

GoPro Red Dive Filter GoPro HERO4 Black, Chesty mount, Red Dive Filter GoPro HERO4 Black, Chesty mount, Red Dive Filter
[Snorkeling setup at the ready: GoPro HERO4 Black, Chesty mount, Red Dive Filter]

The red filter clips right onto the lens and gives the needed colour correction to give your shots and video the punch they deserve. You can use the red filter in both salt and fresh water at depths of 4 1/2 to 21.3 meters (15 to 70 feet).

GoPro Red Dive filter, tether, pouch

The glass filter comes with a tether cord to make sure it won’t get separated from you and your GoPro. Use the drawstring pouch to protect it between dives.

Molokini snorkel, Maui

Here’s one of our Molokini crater (Maui) snorkel shots taken a couple of years back with a (non-GoPro) video camera. I’ll be adding underwater footage here as well so watch this space as this little filter will hopefully translate to no more green!

Conclusion

The GoPro HERO4 Black offers better overall audio, video and photo quality over the HERO 3+ Black however 4k video is very time-consuming to render and obviously not meant for uploading to YouTube. Yet. The HERO4 Black lacks the LCD touch screen that the HERO4 silver does (at $100 less) although 1080p at 120 fps is an amazing enhancement (by comparison, the HERO4 silver shoots 1080p at 60 fps).

If this will be your first action video camera purchase, the biggest decision you’ll make here will be whether to go for the Silver with its LCD touch screen and slightly better battery life or the Black, with the heftier price tag (and the added BacPac optional purchase).

Prices quoted as of December 1 on both GoPro and Canadian London Drugs websites.

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