Friday, 29 September 2017 : GoPro just officially unveiled the Hero 6 Black at an event in San Francisco, and it will be on store shelves this afternoon around North America. It carries the same exterior design over from the Hero 5, waterproofing included, with the highlight features being increased frame rates, better overall image quality and speed, thanks to a new and custom processor. That improvement will come at a steep price: the company’s newest flagship camera will retail for $499, a hundred bucks more than its predecessor.
Weeks of retail store and website leaks mean we knew a lot about the camera coming into the event today, but now we have those specs confirmed, and we see the rest of the puzzle pieces. The big advancement is the ability to shoot 4K footage at 60 frames per second. GoPros have shot in 4K for a few generations now, but athletes and professional users have long clamored for a higher frame rate. Higher frame rates offer a smoother look that can be nice in the right setting. More importantly, they make it possible to create slow-motion footage.
The Hero 6 Black will be all about slow motion, too, because users will now have a ceiling of 120 fps when shooting in 2.7K, and 240 fps in 1080p, which means the footage can be played back 10 times slower without any stuttering. (Of course, you’ll still be able to shoot in more standard frame rates like 24 or 30 fps as well.) The Hero 6 Black also uses 5GHz Wi-Fi to transfer all this footage to your smartphone three times faster, according to the company. And GoPro is promising improved image stabilization, but it’s still done digitally, not optically.
The new camera still shoots 12-megapixel photos, in JPG or RAW, and GoPro’s Wide Dynamic Range mode. But it will supposedly perform better in low light than the Hero 5 Black, too, and offer better image quality in all situations.
Then there’s all the stuff that GoPro introduced with the Hero 5 Black, which also carries over to the Hero 6. It’s rugged as ever and waterproof out of the box to 33 feet. It has GPS, a 2-inch LCD touchscreen on the back, voice controls, and some neat instant-offloading and instant-editing features to help with the inevitable backlog of footage.
All of the image quality and performance advancements are largely thanks to the GP1, a new custom processor created specifically for GoPro by a company called Socionext. The chip has been in the works for three years, GoPro tells me, and it’s a big departure for the company: throughout its rise GoPro’s cameras were powered by Ambarella chips.
And that’s partly why the Hero 6 Black is a deceptively important camera for GoPro. The company’s immediate competition is teeming with newcomers, especially from China, many of which have gone after the same components (like Ambarella’s processors) that GoPro uses in its cameras. Switching to a custom chip is a way to differentiate from that competition, while also giving the company more control over the entire image processing flow. It should also make some of the camera’s smart features, like voice control, or auto editing, even smarter.
But more broadly, the Hero 6 Black is about GoPro’s business. The company suffered an extraordinarily rough financial year in 2016, and a part of that crash came from the fact that GoPro essentially took a year off between releasing the Hero 4 and Hero 5 cameras. Returning to a yearly release schedule could offer the kind of cushion the company’s been looking for as its business stabilizes.
Source : Internet