GoPro HERO6 vs. HERO5: Is It Time to Upgrade?
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GoPro recently broke their two-year tradition by releasing the HERO6 Black only a year after the HERO5 series hit the shelves. The new camera promises the best video quality ever — but is it worth the hefty price tag?

Or is the HERO5 series still the best way to go? 2016’s camera series packed a lot of value into very small housings.

Let’s take a look at all of the available options and figure out which is best for you.

The Highest of the High End: GoPro HERO6 Black

gopro hero5 vs hero6 comparison upgrade

The newest GoPro, as you might expect, has all of the best features. Let’s take a look at what it brings to the table:

  • 4K video recording up to 60 frames per second (FPS)
  • 12MP photo (including RAW)
  • HDR photo with touch zoom
  • 2-inch touchscreen
  • Geotagging
  • Advanced video stabilization
  • Waterproof to 10m
  • Expanded voice control
  • QuikStories

It also packs a new chip that GoPro promises will double the performance of the HERO5 series. The video bitrate is higher What Is Bitrate & Why Is It Important? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is Bitrate & Why Is It Important? [MakeUseOf Explains] With today's technology, we can expect high amounts of speed and quality with everything that we do on our computers, our smartphones, and any other recent gadgets. However, while this increase in speed and quality... Read More (78 Mb/s with ProTune versus the HERO5’s 60 Mb/s), and advanced video stabilization should make for even smoother videos. Expanded voice control gives you added hands-free options.

QuikStories lets you view and edit your videos directly from your phone with the built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (the HERO6 now has 5GHz Wi-Fi, making it faster than the HERO5). Also, geotagging adds GPS information to your photos and videos. Here’s a video demonstrating how QuickStories works:

With an initial MSRP of $500, you’re looking at a serious investment in an action cam with the HERO6. That’s $100 more than the HERO5 Black, which already costs a good chunk of change.

So is it worth the extra cash? Increased framerates How Does Slow-Motion Video Work & How Can I Shoot It? How Does Slow-Motion Video Work & How Can I Shoot It? Everyone wants to walk away from an explosion in slow motion. Fortunately, with today's phones, it's easier than ever. Read More is definitely nice. And better video stabilization is always a plus. HDR photos are good The Top 7 Places To Learn The Art Of HDR Photography The Top 7 Places To Learn The Art Of HDR Photography Welcome to the art and craft of HDR. High Dynamic Range Imaging is an image-processing technique that allows you to represent a wider and deeper range of colors. The clarity and detail in the photos... Read More , but how often do you take photos with your GoPro? And touch zoom doesn’t help you at all — you can always zoom in later and get the same quality.

While we haven’t seen yet how much of an improvement this new cam is over the HERO5, it looks to be all in the details. The new chip and higher video bit rate will probably be noticeable. But the rest of the improvements will likely appeal only to professionals and very high-end users.

The Go-To: GoPro HERO5 Black

GoPro HERO5 Black GoPro HERO5 Black Coming Soon Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 494.99

gopro hero5 vs hero6 comparison upgrade

The previous holder of the GoPro throne is the HERO5 Black, a professional-level action camera that still stands out.

Here are the basic specs:

  • 4K video recording up to 30 FPS
  • 12MP photo (including RAW)
  • 2-inch touchscreen
  • Geotagging
  • Video stabilization
  • Waterproof to 10m
  • Voice control
  • QuikStories

The 4K video, touchscreen, and video stabilization were great when the HERO5 came out. And they still are. They’ve just been eclipsed — but only very slightly — by those on the HERO6.

Of course, those features mean the HERO5 Black is a bit bigger than its Session cousins. That said, it’s still very small, and it’s easy to put on a variety of mounts Best GoPro Accessories for Recording Outdoor Action Best GoPro Accessories for Recording Outdoor Action The GoPro is a fantastic action cam: it goes anywhere, films anything, and does it in style. And it comes with almost everything you need. Almost. Here are nine GoPro accessories that you need. Read More . It’ll go in your pocket or purse without any trouble at all.

The MSRP of $400 doesn’t look so bad now that the HERO6 and the Fusion have been announced. This is still a phenomenal camera and a great choice for anyone who wants the best action camera out there.

The Best Value: HERO5 Session

GoPro HERO5 Session GoPro HERO5 Session Stunning 4K video and 10MP photos in Single, Burst and Time Lapse modes. Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 367.37

gopro hero5 vs hero6 comparison upgrade

The Session cameras stand out for their small size: they’re barely bigger than the camera lens. And that makes them extremely portable. Combined with solid specs, that makes the HERO5 Session almost unbeatable for the price.

Here are the basics:

  • 4K video recording up to 30 FPS
  • 10MP photo
  • Video stabilization
  • Waterproof to 10m
  • Voice control
  • QuikStories

Most of what you’re missing from the HERO5 Black is the touchscreen. The camera’s non-4K video modes have slightly lower frame rates than its big brother, too. Beyond that, however, you get the most important functions.

Losing geotagging isn’t a huge deal, and unless you’re planning on doing some serious photography, you probably don’t need RAW photos from your GoPro RAW Files: Why You Should Be Using Them for Your Photos RAW Files: Why You Should Be Using Them for Your Photos Almost every article featuring advice for people just learning photography stresses one thing: shoot RAW images. Here's why that's good advice. Read More .

The biggest advantage of this model is, of course, the size. It’s tiny, and can easily fit in your pocket. And when you mount it on a helmet, chest strap, or hold it on a hand grip, you’ll barely feel it at all.

With an MSRP of $300, it’s easier to pay for, too.

Easy Entry: HERO Session

GoPro HERO Session GoPro HERO Session Simple, grab-and-go operation with a compact, waterproof design and weight of just 2.6oz (74g), HERO Session is the perfect camera for first-time GoPro users. Buy Now At Amazon CDN$ 261.00

gopro hero5 vs hero6 comparison upgrade

Don’t want to drop several hundred bucks on an action cam? The HERO Session has you covered. At less than half the price of the HERO5 Black, it’s much easier on your wallet. But you’ll be sacrificing some of the big draws of the HERO5 series. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • 1440p video recording
  • 8MP photo
  • Waterproof to 10m

You miss out on 4K, voice control, and video stabilization. All in all, it’s still a great action camera.

1440p resolution video is very clear, and the fact that it’s small, durable, and waterproof makes it viable for lots of different uses. Not having the stabilization might provide to be detrimental, but there’s always the possibility that you can smooth things out with video editing software.

The biggest draw here, of course, is the price. The MSRP is $150, and that’s a solid deal for what you’re getting.

What About the Fusion?

gopro hero5 vs hero6 comparison upgrade

If you’ve seen GoPro’s new lineup, you might be wondering about the Fusion. It’s certainly an interesting idea. It hasn’t been released yet, but the specs are impressive. It offers 360-degree spherical video The 10 Most Insane 360-Degree Videos From Facebook The 10 Most Insane 360-Degree Videos From Facebook You've probably seen a couple of Facebook's mesmerizing 360-degree videos already. Most are great, but some are downright incredible. Here are 10 of our favorites. Read More , 360-degree audio, gimbal-like stabilization, and even more advanced wind noise reduction.

It can be used to film in virtual reality, can turn spherical videos into normal ones, and can do most of the things that other GoPros can (with a few exceptions). Is it worth waiting for?

That, of course, depends on what you want a GoPro for. If you want to film 360-degree videos for virtual reality, it’s going to be a great tool. If you’re not looking for that level of power, the $700 MSRP might be a bit much.

We’ll have to wait and see when the reviews start rolling in. The built-in “gimbal-like” stabilization is certainly appealing, but when you can get a gimbal for a couple hundred bucks, the Fusion will have to blow everything else out of the water to be worth it.

Is it, according to GoPro’s Chief Executive Officer, Bill Woodman: “arguably the most versatile creative tool ever made”? That seems like a stretch.

Time to Decide

Does the increased framerate make the HERO6 a better buy than the HERO5? It seems unlikely unless you’re specifically trying to film extremely high-definition shots in slow motion.

Better video stabilization is nice… but are those two features worth another $100? GoPro has run into this problem before You Shouldn't Waste Your Money on a New GoPro - Here's Why You Shouldn't Waste Your Money on a New GoPro - Here's Why Should you upgrade your live action camera, or is GoPro doomed to failure? We investigate. Read More . Their cameras are so durable and capture such great film that upgrading is difficult to justify.

Will you buy the HERO6? Will you stick with your HERO5? Or have you switched to another option entirely? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. Shafiq Khan
    October 20, 2017 at 10:44 am

    I still have the Hero 4 silver - I was questioning if I should upgrade to the Hero 5 when it was released. But I'm guessing upgrading to the Hero 6 is a defo.

  2. Robert Clark
    October 20, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I used to have a GoPro, but when it suffered water damage it worked out to expensive to repair. I switched to the Olfi cam. Their latest one.five can shoot Ultra High Definition 4K video at 24fps, 16Mb still images and has gyro stabilisation - all for £150