There are several different types of Go Pro camera available today. In fact there are so many Go Pro action camera models it can be confusing. So we’re going to run down the list of Go Pro cameras and compare each model and talk about what each one is best for.
Choosing the Best Go Pro camera
The Best Cheap Go Pro Camera:
The Go Pro Hero + is the cheapest Go Pro camera available. It records 1080p full HD video at up to 60 frames per second which can be slowed down into slow motion footage using their included editing software. The Go Pro Hero + is a great budget action camera and provides all the basic features that you might want for shooting sports, action footage and more. It’s compatible with a multitude of GoPro accessories and third party accessories ranging from waterproof surfing mounts to helmet mounts.
Important note: this starter level GoPro camera doesn’t have an LCD screen on the back to review shots with though, so if you want that you’ll either need to upgrade to its slightly more expensive sister model, the GoPro Hero + LCD, or the much more expensive GoPro Hero 5 Black (below).
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The Absolute Smallest Go Pro Camera:
If you’re looking for the smallest Go Pro Camera, the Go Pro Session is going to be the best choice. It is cube shaped and measures only 1.5 inches by 1.5 inches and weighs just 2.6 ounces. In addition to a new 4K mode that records at 30 frames per second, the Go Pro Hero 5 Session camera records in Full HD (1080p) at up to 60 frames per second which can be slowed down into great slow motion footage using the free Go Pro editing software. It also has a super wide angle mode that shoots at 1440p and takes 12 megapixel photos. The Go Pro Session is waterproof up to 33 feet deep without any additional waterproof housing (though you can also get waterproof scuba housing for it to extend its range up to about 150 feet).
The highest quality Go Pro with a built in screen:
The Go Pro Hero 5 Black is the most popular Go Pro camera because it features a rear touch screen which allows you to navigate the menu and also preview shots when you’re setting them up and review them after you’ve shot them. It shoots 12 megapixel photos and 1080p Full HD video at up to 60 frames per second as well as 4K video at 30 frames per second. Out of the box it can be submerged in water up to 33 feet deep though you can also buy separate waterproof housing to enable it to go quite a bit deeper (196 feet). If you’re looking for the all around best quality Go Pro camera, we’d recommend the Go Pro Hero 5 Black in a heartbeat.
Factors to consider when choosing a GoPro action camera
Price: How much are you willing to spend? Keep in mind if you have a limited budget, the less you spend on the camera the more you can spend on the accessories that you may need to mount the camera or use it in specific ways.
Quality: We’re happy to say that these days all GoPro camera models offer excellent image quality (this wasn’t always the case). Today the main decision you need to make in regards to action camera quality is whether or not you want a camera that has the ability to shoot 4K video or not. If you’re not interested in 4K video then you can probably skip this feature and be happy with a lower priced action camera. But if you’re planning to keep your GoPro for a long time to come or you’re considering using it in certain environments where you want the absolute highest quality image possible, the 4K mode on the Hero 5 Black model may be worth the investment. Additionally, the Hero 5 Black model has extra image quality features which can allow you to color correct your footage.
Size & Form Factor: The GoPro Hero + camera which maintains the traditional action camera form factor is compatible with the widest array of GoPro accessories. The other models, the tiny cube shaped Session and the new slimmer and lighter Hero 5 Black won’t work with 100% of the GoPro accessories out there and while their mounting options remain the same some housing options will not fit. So you’ll want to keep this in mind as you shop for GoPro accessories.
Disposability: In some cases you may want an action camera that won’t break your heart if it breaks or gets lost. Imagine mounting a camera on a very high risk environment that could break– you probably wouldn’t want to put your most expensive camera in that type of situation. So in some cases you may want to opt for a cheap GoPro instead of an expensive model. You may even wish to opt for an even cheaper action camera similar to GoPro but not made by the GoPro company officially.
LCD screen? The GoPro Hero + model doesn’t have an LCD screen and neither does the Session. Having a color LCD screen on the back of an action cam can be useful not only to preview shots but also to easily navigate the camera’s menu system allowing you to adjust settings or delete accidental or unsuccessful footage or photos which can be nice if you’re running low on memory card space (and if you’re recording at 60 frames per second your memory cards will fill up at twice the rate of normal shooting). Whether or not you’ll find an LCD screen helpful in framing your shots and previewing what footage will look like is an important factor that you’ll need to consider when picking a camera model.