Which GoPro should you buy?

Updated for April 2018: A brace of brand new GoPros has entered the fray...

In a world where action lurks down every YouTube link, three Heroes just aren’t enough.

No, when every leap, splash, crash and climb (no matter how insignificant or embarrassing) must be recorded in total clarity, a new Hero is needed.

A Hero that will capture every concussion in 4K at 60fps, before automatically editing them into a fame-worthy compilation of pain to share with your burgeoning fanbase. That Hero is the GoPro Hero6 Black.

What if you're not sure about spending ₹45,000 on a top-end action snapper, though? While the days of deciphering the differences between Silver and Black might be behind us, the GoPro range can still look bewildering to a novice.​

Thankfully, we’ve sifted through the spec sheets to assess just which GoPro will suit your style of shooting – so you can get back to planning your Supermarket Parkour Compilation.

BEST FOR… NOVICES

GoPro Hero (₹18,990)

GoPro’s first new model for 2018, the Hero (yes, the numbers have been ditched for this one, and it’s simply “Hero”) is a slick entry-level addition to the main action cam range that’ll fit the same cradles, cages and mounts as the pricier Hero5 and Hero6 models.

While you can forget about 4K, super slo-mo recording (and built-in GPS), the Hero totes many of the same features found in more premium-priced GoPros: a 2in touchscreen, voice controls, digital image stabilisation, QuickStories (which automatically moves footage to your phone and edits it into easily sharable clips) and waterproofing to 10m. And 1440p or 1080p video at a smooth 60fps (or 10MP stills) is hardly slumming it on the footage front.

It does lack the ProTune feature for manually controlling various camera settings, but if you’re simply looking for a sturdy, small and simple-to-use action cam that documents your outdoor exploits, the Hero ticks all the boxes.

BEST FOR… 360º SHOOTERS

GoPro Fusion (₹TBA)

The Fusion is GoPro’s affordable 360º action cam, with two 180º lenses located on opposite sides of the 8cm square body. Working in tandem, these two ultra wide-angle cameras capture everything around them, then software stitches their separate videos and images together into single 5.2K versions ideal for VR viewing.

Perhaps more impressive for extreme sportspeople is the Fusion’s OverCapture feature, which takes all the data and transforms it into a single flat image format. You can opt for a “tiny planet” video that bends and squeezes the entire 360º image into a single, striking frame, or punch out a single 1080p flat frame from the video that follows a particular object or person as they move around. With the latter, you can essentially shoot everything around you and just cut out the best frame for your highlight reel, ditching the rest.

Eagle-eyed viewers might notice that the stitching isn’t always 100% spot-on, and some softness creeps in towards the edges of the frames, but both issues are par for the course for 360º cams. In any case, the excellent electronic stabilisation and punchy image quality more than compensates, and the inclusion of a selfie stick/low-rise tripod is a thoughtful design touch.

Read the full GoPro Fusion hands-on review

BEST FOR…EVERYDAY STREET SHOOTERS

GoPro Hero Session (₹​22,750)

Haven’t got the readies for a pro-level shooter? Even in its trimmed down line-up, entry level doesn’t mean basic: GoPro’s Hero Session is a tough cube that's perfect for shooting videos destined for YouTube or smaller screens. 

The only survivor from GoPro’s previous array of action cams, the Session is an ultra-portable shooter designed for quick-click recordings.

Ditching a screen in favour of a compact shell, the Hero Session has a straightforward one-button interface for touch-to-go action. More advanced operation requires a smartphone, connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, to frame, shoot and share.

It's not well-suited to longer shoots - the battery is good for just two hours - but for speedy, impromptu filming on a budget, it's tough to beat. 

Though it lacks 4K, recording in 1440p at 30fps is plenty good enough for most budding YouTube sharers, while 8MP stills will fare well against most smartphones – especially when you’re 30ft below the waves.

Read the full GoPro Hero Session review

BEST FOR…PRO ACTION SNAPPERS

GoPro Hero6 Black (₹​45,000)

So, you want to truly go pro? While the new Hero6 Black might look identical to the Hero5 Black, almost all of its shooting specs have been supercharged to deliver a properly top-end box of rugged recording.

What do you get for the ₹18,000 price hike over the 5? Everything that its predecessor had to offer (think touchscreen, Wi-Fi, case-free waterproofing and the rest) plus a chip. More specifically, GoPro’s new GP1 processor - and it makes the world look much, much nicer.

Take the image stabilisation: it might not be optical, but GoPro’s new three-axis digital offering is so darn good that it doesn’t need to be.

Frame rates have been dramatically increased, too, so you can now shoot in sumptuous 4K at 60fps, or create super dramatic slow-mo footage in 1080p at 240fps.

In fact, image quality generally is a cut above anything else in the range, with refined auto-exposure, more delicious dynamic range and stellar low-light performance. It all adds up to satisfyingly smooth, properly watchable videos that look good even on bigger screens.

You will, though, need hardware that can handle the new HEVC codec used to record 4K footage. If you don’t own a recent MacBook or Kaby Lake-equipped Windows machine, you’re probably better off with the the Hero5 Black.

If you do, though - and you’re happy with a battery that’s only good for 45 minutes of 4K/60fps recording - then the Hero6 is easily the best GoPro going.

Read the full GoPro Hero6 Black review