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Hands On With The GoPro Hero4 Session

GoPro Hero4 Session Main

We were really excited to get our hands on the GoPro Hero4 Session, as it seems like a great fit for use in the multirotor industry. Will it hold up and meet the needs of flying? How about its performance when stacked up against the Hero4 Black? Is the Hero4 Session right for me? Let’s dive in and take a look at the camera.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

It’s small, really small. The Hero4 session comes in at a fraction of the size of the regular Hero Cameras. It has some significant changes as well to its operation. Swapping to a one button setting that controls everything is the first thing you will notice. Move to the side of the camera and you will see a flap door that opens to take a micro SD card and the charging port. The battery is internal and cannot be removed like its brothers, but the battery packs a solid 1000 MAH’s into its small size. What’s impressive about the camera is it can be mounted in a variety of configurations and it internally can figure out which way is up. All settings are a breeze to configure in the GoPro app, just like the other cameras. Once you have your preferred settings dialed, the one touch can be pressed to start recording video or held to start the duration between shots inside the app. The camera retails for $399 which is one hundred bucks cheaper then the flagship Hero4 Black and the same price as the Silver addition. So what’s the difference and which is right for you? Let’s break it down based on size, function and camera specs.

SIZE

Nothing else in the GoPro line touches this camera in terms of size. If you are looking for something compact and small to mount as a video camera to compliment your FPV rig this will save you space and grams in your mini build. With the size you loose the option of 4k video, but still retain some other key video recording settings. The camera weighs in with a fighting weight of 74 grams. If you are counting grams and space, no other camera in the GoPro family will match this. Additionally the lens, protective case and entire camera are all packed into one unit to further save on space and weight. We mounted this guy to the top of our DJI Ronin from Aerial Media Pros and set it to snap some pictures while on set and the extra grams were hardly noticeable, but the plethora of pictures it delivered was a nice touch. With the boom in mini quad builds we can also see this size really being a home run for others as well.

FUNCTION

The one button makes use super simple and straightforward. With a camera this small it keeps things simple and easy to use. The Smartphone application makes it a breeze to swap your settings on the go and review your pictures. As with all GoPro products, simplicity and ease of use are at the forefront of this camera’s design.

SPECS

VIDEO

RESOLUTION

1440p

1080p

1080p SuperView

960p

720p

720p SuperView

WVGA

FPS

30, 25

60, 50, 30, 25

48, 30, 25

60, 50, 30, 25

100, 60, 50, 30, 25

60, 50, 30, 25

120, 100

FOV

Ultra Wide

Ultra Wide, Medium

Ultra Wide

Ultra Wide

Ultra Wide, Medium

Ultra Wide

Ultra Wide

SCREEN RESOLUTION

1920 x 1440

1920 x 1080

1920 x 1080

1280 x 960

1280 x 720

1280 x 720

848 x 480

PHOTO

RESOLUTION

8MP (Default)

5MP

FOV

Wide

Medium

SCREEN RESOLUTION

3264 x 2448

2720 x 2040

CAMERA SPECS

Our initial tests of the optics and camera are thumbs up. Image quality is just as superb as all the other versions of the GoPro Hero 4 cameras. As mentioned, the biggest difference on this camera is it does not have the ability to shoot 4k. You have the option of shooting in protunes, which will allow you to select your ISO, color profile, sharpness, white balance and exposure controls. You still get a choice of either 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second if you want to crank the video down to slow motion in post production. These settings give you a tremendous amount of latitude in post production which professionals can appreciate. One other feature we love is an optional loop record setting that will record until the memory card is full and then reset from there. This is perfect if you are building an FPV rig and want to attach a camera to record the action all the time. If you go for a flight and nail a really sweet move or want to watch back your video, you have the option. If you have a crash and want to investigate what went wrong, you are covered there too. If nothing exciting happens then not to worry. You just keep hitting record and when the card is full it will do its thing and keep going. Think of it as video insurance for your FPV rig giving you the clips if you need them aft er the fact. With this setting we imagine recording everything all of the time should we ever need it. The camera also boasts a low light setting for shooting in lower lighting circumstances. For a list of the settings and specs check out the included table for the full run down.

SNAPPING A PICTURE

The Hero4 session has an 8 meg photo capacity and multiple options for burst rates coming in at 3, 5 and 10 shots. You also have the capability to shoot in multiple options of time-lapse video. Program the camera to take pictures continuously by holding the one butt on on the camera for 3 seconds. It will automatically start snapping at your predetermined interval and go until you tell it to stop by pressing again.

IT’S SMALL, REALLY SMALL

This camera had a few other surprise uses on set due to its small size. This little guy can be used to strap onto our heavy lifter to get some snapshots of the rig mid flight. One day on set we placed the camera on one of our large pelican cases and set it to fire off a picture every 5 seconds while we were working, getting us some great behind the scenes pictures of our crew. Add it to a helmet strap and shoot some POV of your controller and maybe a shot of your downlink video makes it into frame for a cool perspective shot. With its ultra compact size it will get you thinking out of the box for some shots, not only in the sky, but also on the ground.

COMPARING THIS TO OTHER GOPROS

So let’s dive into our take on whether this GoPro is right for you. If you are looking for the ultimate GoPro for aerial filming with the most settings, then the GoPro Hero4 black will be the ticket. First time GoPro? Consider the Silver edition which gives you a back screen and might prove versatile off the drone as well as in the sky. Looking for the lightest and smallest way to get amazing video? Look no further then the Hero4 Session which gives all of the optics of the GoPro cameras packed into a tiny, varietal and powerful camera.

THE LAST WORD

We were really impressed with the size of the camera and all that they managed to pack into this unit. Lots of punch for such a small design. We loved the creative mounting options that the small form factor brings. While there are some pros and cons to the camera, we really liked this new member to the GoPro family. Hopefully the insight provided helps get your mind thinking about your next GoPro, be it for aerial or ground needs.

CONTACTS

AERIAL MEDIA PROS aerialmediapros.com, (888) 557-6791
GOPRO gopro.com, (888) 600-4659
MIKE STEIDLEY mikested.com
VISION AERIAL MEDIA visionaerialmedia.com, (203) 804-5909

 

 

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