GoPro HERO5 Black

HERO5 & Karma Series
GoPro HERO5 Black
GoPro HERO5 Session – Coming Soon
Karma Drone
Karma Gimbal – Coming Soon

HERO5 Black

By now you’ve heard of the HERO5 Black, and probably all about the features that have been touted – touch screen, internal stabilization, voice control, etc. If you’re not familiar with the basics, I recommend watching the product overview video from GoPro.  Great, so you’re caught up.  In this post I’m going to make note of all of the things you haven’t heard.  It’s lengthy, but you’ll come away knowing all of the finer details of the new features, as well as answers to the questions you’ve probably been asking. In this article, when I refer to “HERO5”, I’m talking specifically about the HERO5 Black, not the HERO5 Session.


In terms of video quality, the HERO5 Black adopted the same sensor & video modes as its predecessor, the HERO4 Black.  You can expect to see similar video quality across the board between the old and new platforms if you’re trying to do some pixel peeping.  You get up to 4K-30 on the resolution spectrum, and up to 1080-120 on the slow motion front (240 if you go into Narrow FOV).  In my experience, I’ve seen noticeable color and sharpness improvements due to newer video tuning and better tolerances in the physical camera build. Photo quality also remains similar between platforms; however, the HERO5 comes with a slew of new photo features that expand the capabilities and quality if you’re looking to capture stills.

Aside from feature upgrades, there’s a considerable amount of new going on under the hood made possible by a new lower power/improved processor, new gyro/accelerometer hardware, GPS hardware, improved WiFi/Bluetooth hardware, and an entirely new audio system.  Most notably, the HERO5 comes stock with a 2″ touch screen on the back, electronic image stabilization (EIS), voice control,  a new de-fisheye’d mode for photos & video, RAW & HDR photo capture, stereo mics & ProTune audio, improved app connectivity/compatibility, and better battery life. On the firmware side of things, there’s been a considerable amount of features added to both ProTune photo & video settings.  Some of these were released in a recent HERO4 upgrade, but there are also newer software additions worth mentioning (manual shutter & iso lock).


Touch Screen

The screen is a welcomed addition to the more capable Black Edition camera after having one in the HERO4 Silver for the past two years.  There’s a whole new flow of selecting and adjusting the settings on the camera compared to previous models.  The camera actually does a great job of walking you through the different settings and placements of features.

Basically the things you need to know are as follows:

Slide from the Top: All of the camera level settings (screen lock, connections, voice control, lights, default modes)
Slide from Right Side: Mode specific advanced settings (ProTune, additional features)
Slide from Left: Playback/Files

The rest of the settings (modes, resolutions, FOV, etc) can be adjusted by simply pressing on the individual settings at the bottom of the screen.  Note – when opening the settings trays, slide your finger all the way across the screen (from edge to edge).

Live View of Settings Changes

One of the biggest features of how the user interface (UI) is designed is the ability to see settings changes in real time.  Previously if you adjusted white balance or exposure compensation you had to exit settings before you could see how the changes would effect your video.  Now you can scroll through adjustments to see what exactly each of the settings do in real time before setting anything.  This is especially useful for FOV changes, EV comp, white balance, shutter, and ISO adjustments.  *Pro Tip – you can scroll up and down anywhere on the touch screen when adjusting settings – to set the current view, tap on the setting value on the right.

Touch to Expose/Exposure Lock

If you hold down on the back screen in any location a box around your finger will pop up where the camera will now auto expose to.  You can move this box around by tapping in other spots on the screen or by dragging it around.  From here at the bottom you can either choose to lock the exposure at your desired spot, or let it auto expose from this spot. Once you set the location of the exposure, it’ll keep it there until you either turn off the camera, switch modes, or hold down your finger once again to bring up the dialogue.  You can press the X instead of the check mark to go back to normal exposure settings.  This function has replaced the spot meter setting, since spot meter essentially told the camera to expose in the center of the frame.

Change Settings without Touch Screen
If the rear LCD screen is unavailable (you’re underwater, surfing, gloves on, etc) – you can still access all of the video/photo settings using the front LCD screen. Simply press the mode button (side), directly followed by the shutter button (top). From here, use the camera as you may have been used to with the HERO4 or earlier – the mode button advances to the next item, while the shutter changes values. To exit the settings menu, either scroll down to the exit menu item or hold down the shutter button for 2 seconds. Note that while you’re in the settings menu for the front LCD, the back LCD will be unavailable until you exit.

Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS)

The HERO5 touts new EIS software that helps reduce the small jitter or shake you’re used to seeing from typical GoPro footage.  Basically the camera knows where it is in space at all times while you’re recording.  It’ll use those tiny location changes to warp, rotate, and reposition the footage to keep a steady horizon.  You will lose about 10% of field of view from the wide setting (because it needs to rotate/slide the image around), which is actually pretty minimal compared to other action cameras out there. GoPro optimized the amount of shake it would reduce vs the loss in field of view. If you switch into the medium FOV, combined with EIS, you’ll see a considerable improvement in the stabilization effects since it has that much more FOV to rotate/crop/adjust the original image.

When do I use EIS?
EIS is turned on by default in the HERO5, but when should you turn it off? In my experience EIS does an excellent job in reducing small shakes and jitters commonly seen in handheld cameras or vibrating mounted footage. If you’re doing POV or action, it depends on the activity and mount whether EIS is right for the job.  The best use is if the camera is largely locked off in a single direction but shaking.  For example, chest camera mountain biking would be a great use-case (one direction, but often shaky).  I found head-camera skiing was a mixed case.  It definitely makes it smooth, but gives some interesting effects when you start looking all around.  It tries to pick center points to lock onto, so you’ll see the video footage sort of jump from one point in the frame to another part unnaturally. If you’re shooting in really dark environments you’ll get some interesting artifacts – so I recommend shutting it off for most lowlight capture.  All in all, very impressive results, and it will be my go-to setting when hand-holding the camera for vlogging (if I ever vlogged), or when my mounting options aren’t super steady.

*EIS is available in all modes 60 FPS and below.  EIS is not available in 4K.

Voice Control

Yes, we’ve all heard the HERO5 comes with voice control – but is it useful? Yes! To be honest I wasn’t a believer until I started using it practically out on the slopes. What it enables is on the fly switching between shooting a video to taking a photo to shooting a burst.  Before voice control most of us used the method of “set it in the mode you’ll use that day” or pretty close to that, especially if your camera was mounted.  Now even if a camera is on my head I’ll snap a couple photos, take a video, shoot a burst – all without ever touching anything. This video explains how it works:

GoPro Remo
If your camera is out of earshot, you can extend the range by using the Bluetooth connected GoPro Remo (sold separately). It has a microphone built in to accept all of the voice commands.  It can attach to your wrist or be mounted to you like a lapel mic (both mounting options included). Also, the entire face of the Remo is a giant shutter button, so it doubles as an excellent action remote.  With the GoPro RC it was always a bit tricky to make sure you nailed the shutter button instead of the settings or power button while doing your backflip.  Now with the Remo you’ll never miss the shutter button. The GoPro Remo will stay connected for up to 8 hours after the last button press via Bluetooth, and has a range of about 30 feet.

Voice Command List
If you ever need a reminder of the list, they can be found under camera preferences by swiping down from the top.  Scroll down under “Voice Control” and click on List of Commands.

GoPro Start/Stop Recording (works for video or timelapse – depends on current mode)
GoPro Start/Stop Video (starts video regardless of current mode)
GoPro Start/Stop Timelapse (starts timelapse regardless of current mode)
GoPro Take a Photo
GoPro Shoot Burst
GoPro Video Mode (Switches to video mode)
GoPro Photo Mode (Switches to photo mode)
GoPro Timelapse Mode (Switches to timelapse mode)
GoPro Burst Mode (Switches to burst mode)
GoPro HiLight, “That was Sick“, “Oh Shit” (sets a hilight tag 😛 )
GoPro Turn Off
*GoPro Turn On (Only available when connected & activated through GoPro Remo)

The one thing to remember with voice commands is to say “GoPro” before anything – sometimes it’s easy to forget.  The only commands that do not require GoPro are “Oh shit”, and “That was sick”.  Bonus points for enthusiasm. Don’t forget to enable voice control by swiping down from the top and tapping on the talking head icon in the top right.

Linear FOV/De-Fisheye

We all know and love the GoPro fisheye look, but sometimes it’s nice to get straight lines without doing heavy post work. The new linear mode is available for both photos and videos via the FOV menu setting. It warps the image in the camera to perfectly un-wrap the fisheye lens profile so lines are completely straight.  The shots don’t look very GoPro at all – which is super cool to have the option and variety without having to switch lenses. These days if I’m flying a drone or doing any sort of scenic shot, I prefer a de-fisheye’d look. I like flat horizons and straight lines! You lose a bit of FOV by going linear – it crops in to feel more like the Medium FOV vs. wide.

*Linear FOV is available in 2.7K & 1080P (16×9 video modes) up to 60FPS and all photo modes except RAW

RAW & WDR Photos

The HERO5 now supports RAW photo capture, as well as “wide dynamic range” (WDR) photos, which is similar to an HDR setting. Currently both settings are available in single photo mode.  I suggest using voice control to easily snap RAW or WDR photos.

RAW Photo Capture
Capturing RAW photos allows for much higher quality post production if you plan on editing the photo later.  There’s less compression and more information stored in every image. It’s a little hard to explain, but the gist is that it doesn’t pre-bake in any of the settings that have been pre-determined in terms of color/contrast/sharpness/noise, etc.  You have the freedom to choose how and what gets applied to your image.  If you’re shooting RAW it will also save out an adjacent JPEG image file.  GoPro developed its own .GPR raw file format using VC-5 compression that the GoPro Cineform team developed.  You’ll notice the file sizes are much smaller than that of a typical DSLR – which is due to the new compression algorithms for this type of raw format (The Weissman score is off the charts 😏). To work with the .GPR files, you’ll need the latest versions of Adobe Camera Raw or Adobe Lightroom. You can enable RAW by sliding past ProTune & WDR in the settings tray on the right.


The photo above was edited in Adobe Camera Raw. The same adjustments have been applied to both the JPEG and the RAW.  You can see the JPEG has more artifacts around the horizon shapes as well as a lack of color and smooth gradients in the sky.  Zooming way in we can see the JPEG has had noise reduction applied, where the RAW version has not.  The RAW will look grainier since there’s no noise reduction, but it’ll hold much more detail.  See detailed view below.


WDR Photo Capture
If you’re looking to capture a scene that has intense shadows and bright white, WDR is a setting that uses the 12-bit raw source to tone map the photo and present a wider dynamic range than a standard JPEG.  It does a great job of evening out a scene that would otherwise blow out or be too crushed in the blacks.  WDR can be accessed & enabled by swiping past ProTune in the tray on the right side.  WDR and RAW cannot be enabled at the same time.


Stereo Microphones & ProTune Audio

The HERO5 has an all new audio setup, utilizing 3 different microphones to suppress wind and give proper stereo audio. It’ll constantly monitor all 3 mics and use the data to pull the best sounding bands from each.  It also uses the 3 mics to triangulate the location of sounds to figure out a proper left and right track to build the stereo audio. There are two new settings to manipulate the audio: Manual Audio Control and ProTune Audio.

Manual Audio Control
By default, the HERO5 automatically switches between wind reduction audio & stereo audio.  It’ll still kick out a stereo track but it won’t always be triangulating location.  If you enable manual audio control, you can choose to lock your GoPro in either wind reduction mode or stereo audio mode. You access manual audio control by swiping the right tray out and scrolling all the way to the end past ProTune, EIS, and Auto Low Light.

ProTune Audio Track
A new feature in the HERO5 is the addition of the ProTune audio track.  If enabled, your GoPro will save an additional high quality audio .wav file adjacent to your video file on your SD card. The standard GoPro audio on your video file will have a good amount of processing done to it – auto gain control (AGC), wind reduction (if manual audio control is turned off), and more.  The ProTune audio track allows you to control this processing in an additional audio file.  You can control the level of audio processing you want done to this separate .wav file with 3 different settings: Low, Medium, & High.

LOW – Applies minimal processing to the audio file.  Saves a .wav file with 3 separate audio tracks – one for each mic on the camera.
MEDIUM – Applies some processing, including your manual audio choice if enabled (stereo or wind).
HIGH – Fully processed audio (matches the audio that you’ll find attached with your video – but higher quality).

You can access ProTune Audio in the ProTune video settings under “Audio”.  By default it is set to OFF.

Improved App Connectivity & Compatibility

Coupling the WiFi/Bluetooth components with the new processor in the HERO5 allows for a much better connection experience to your phone or tablet. The GoPro app is now branded as “Capture”, and it’ll do a good job of walking you through the connection process. Basically you just need to connect to the HERO5 WiFi on your phone, and the app will automatically do the Bluetooth handshake. From here, file copying happens faster, as well as improved live-view.

Live Video Preview While Recording in All Modes
One major improvement is the HERO5 supports live video preview on your mobile device while you record in all modes.  In the HERO4, 2.7K-60, 1080-120, and a few other high performance modes do not support live video preview while recording.  For me personally, I use a phone to monitor my video recording while filming in the field.  I always limited myself to 2.7K-48 so I could have live-view while recording.

Auto Upload to the Cloud
GoPro has introduced a new cloud system for easy access to all of your content via web, desktop, or mobile device. Cloud access is part of a new subscription service called GoPro Plus ($4.99 a month). To access the cloud setup, connect your HERO5 to the Capture app, then click the cloud icon next to the camera on the home screen in the app.


The next time the camera is plugged in to charge, it’ll automatically connect up to your home network WiFi and upload your files to the cloud. Your files can also get uploaded through GoPro Quik on desktop or manually through a web portal ( You can then use the cloud to access your files from any device (web portal or Capture App). You will also have access to those files in GoPro Quik for easy & quick editing. If you plan on using the cloud often, you may want to get in the habit of recording short & deliberate clips so the action moments you want are easily found/downloadable from the cloud. One thing to note is GoPro Plus isn’t necessarily a backup system. The files uploaded to the cloud are 1080P 15Mbit versions of your files – so if you’re recording in 2.7K-60, the file on the cloud will be 1080-60 (for comparison, data-rates of files recorded on the camera are between 45 and 60 Mbit). This is great for fast access and sharing on the web – the quality loss isn’t really noticeable on mobile/web videos; however, if you’re expecting a full backup of all of your files, it’s not the same.

Connections Management & Battery
Lastly, you’ll notice there’s no physical WiFi button on the camera or big blinking blue lights; in fact, to turn off the WiFi connections, it’s a little hidden in the “Connect” menu from the top tray. At the very bottom of the Connect preferences is a “Wireless Connections” power button. This is mostly due to the connections being much smarter and using a lot less power – GoPro didn’t want people to have to think about whether WiFi was on or off. Bluetooth manages the WiFi connections – it’ll turn on WiFi for 20 minutes when you’re using the Capture app, and then power it down. From there, Bluetooth will remain on for 8 more hours, even if the camera is off (in case you want to use Bluetooth peripherals to power on the camera, like GoPro Remo or Capture app). After 8 hours if there’s no button presses, all connections will shut off. If you power your camera back on manually, Bluetooth will turn back on automatically for 8 more hours. You’ll be happy to know that after 8 hours of Bluetooth being on, the battery level will only drop by about 2%.

Battery Life

Battery life is always a big question – and I haven’t seen a lot of information floating around about the HERO5 battery. For starters, there’s a new battery (removable) in a new form factor compared with the old HERO4 batteries. The new one is 1220mAh, while the HERO4 was 1160mAh. The big kicker with the HERO5 is its new low power/lower heat processor. I did some quick and dirty battery tests, but here’s what I found:

2.7K-30 || all extras OFF || 1 hour 55 min recording time
2.7K-30 || GPS On, Voice Control On, Linear FOV, EIS On, WiFi/Bluetooth On, ProTune Audio On || 1 hour 43 min recording time
4K-30 || all extras OFF || 1 hour 40 min recording time

I first did the tests in 2.7K-30 so I could utilize all of those extra features (EIS, linear FOV, etc) to see if they had a significant effect on battery.  I can’t tell you which ones impact the battery the most, but the good thing is with everything on we’re only seeing a 10% loss in overall battery life. If we were to compare the 4K-30 results to the HERO4, our average battery life was around 1 hour 15 min of recording time.

You’ll also notice the battery power is now measured in terms of % instead of the 3 bars in the HERO4. It’s much nicer to know exactly how much battery you have left at any given time.


The HERO5 has GPS built in, which is on by default. You can turn it off in the system preferences in the menu. When on, it’ll save the location for your pictures and videos. Also, if you load in your videos using Quik for desktop, you’ll have access to a range of telemetry gauges showing speed, G-Forces, location/route, distance/height, etc.  Just load the videos in Quick, double click on the individual video and a gauges icon will appear below.  If you’d like to save out that individual file, click the scissors button below to save a copy.

Expanded Video & Photo Control with ProTune

Lastly, we were given some exciting ProTune photo and video controls in the latest HERO4 firmware upgrade, but I will briefly outline them here since they come standard in the HERO5.  They are ISO limiting in Photos and manual shutter/ISO in video.  Both of these settings should be thought of as pretty pro-level adjustments.

ISO Limits on Photos
You can now set minimum and maximum limits for the ISO in all photo modes.  This allows greater control over shutter times and quality of your photos.  If you need fast action and don’t mind the quality loss of high ISO, you could set higher minimum limits to force photos into higher ISO.  For example, if I set my minimum and maximum to 100, the camera is going to look to a longer shutter time to make up for the need for light.  In a test I did in my house, at a 100 min & max, the shutter speed was 1/50 sec.  Setting the min & max to 1600, the shutter speed was 1/850 sec (~20x faster).  Utilizing this in the field, you can either force the camera into longer exposures with higher quality (low ISO), or force fast shutter speed to pause action without blur.

Manual Shutter & ISO Lock in Video
A huge new feature for the pro content creator is manual shutter lock and ISO lock.  In ProTune video, you now have the option to leave the shutter at auto, or lock it at the speed of the frame rate plus 3 additional stops down (multiples of the frame rate).  For example, if I’m shooting at 4K-30, I can lock the shutter speed at 1/30, 1/60, 1/120, or 1/240.  From here, you can set your ISO limit, or lock the ISO for full manual exposure control.  Currently if you’re in auto shutter, you can only limit/lock the ISO to a minimum of 400.  Once you lock the shutter, it will enable you to limit or lock the ISO down to 100.


These settings are very key when filming drone footage. If you look down, the camera tends to overexpose the ground since it tries to auto adjust to the scene.  In reality, you want the ground to be dark and rich – which usually requires an EV comp change. Instead of adjusting the exposure to combat the auto exposure, you can simply lock the proper exposure & ISO values before you start. I set my shutter speed and ISO lock for the scene looking straight ahead, which makes for rich footage whether you’re looking up, down, or backwards. Typically if you’re filming in bright daylight, even 1/240 sec isn’t quite dark enough – so you’ll want to make up the difference using ND filters (ND 4, 8, or 16).  ND filters are basically sunglasses for your camera.  ND 4 is the lightest, while ND 16 is 2 stops darker than that. Polar Pro makes some great filters and should be releasing some for the HERO5 shortly.

To lock the ISO on the HERO5, you must first set the shutter speed on something other than auto.  Next when you’re adjusting ISO in the ProTune settings, press the semi-transparent lock button in the bottom middle of the screen (it’s a little easy to miss).  Once the lock button is pressed, it’ll enable ISO 100 & 200. Something to note is you can still press and hold the rear LCD screen to set or lock the exposure location; however, it will disable your manual shutter & ISO settings.


Filming in lowlight using ISO 100 and low shutter speeds like 1/30 or 1/60 makes for some very unique and beautiful results.  You’ll have rich blacks and content without any sort of grain or noise.  It’ll be dark footage so I’ve used it for filming fireworks, music concerts, and camp-fires.  Try it out! The following is a crop from a video clip straight from the camera – 4K-30, shutter 1/60, ISO lock 100.




Oh yeah, it’s also waterproof without a housing.


Thanks for taking the time to get through this article! As always, if you have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask below. I will do my best to answer, or a passionate reader will help you out! I’ll be releasing more information about HERO5 Session & Karma in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!


Understanding Photos in the HERO4

New Features of the HERO4

Understanding Video in the HERO4

  • Bryce Twyman

    Great write-up Abe! Thanks for this!

  • Nigel Raynard

    Loved the ISO lock info, informative as always. Great to see this option available in HERO4 also. Thank you

  • Jason Fu

    Always enjoy reading your insights on the GoPro cameras~!!!!! Love the Hero 5

  • Rayanio

    Great article as usual. I have a couple of questions.
    1- Will the quality of a photo shot during a video using the voice command feature be as good as a photo shot using the single photo mode or timelapse? Will it be 12MP ?
    2- If I start timelapse while the gopro is recording a video will it stop and save the video?
    3- Any progress on the photo editing tutorials? Can’t think of any better chance for you to have some free time to work on one than after the release of a new product. otherwise you will be busy working on the launch of the next one 😛


    • So #1 was misrepresented in the product video. He was saying you can be in video mode (but not recording) and take a photo. It’s not possible to do both at once.
      #2, you need to stop video before you start a time lapse
      #3 Not yet………… soon! (as I always say)

  • Tommaso C.

    great “hands on” Abe! I’m writing my article about the h5 just now on the train 😉 and reading yours 😉 Best regards 😉 Tommy

  • Juan Pablo Alvarez Maynez

    Great article Abe, thanks for sharing… Just one question, I do mtb and I often scratches to the lens glass, I’ve changed 3 to my hero4! Is the glass on the hero5 replaceable?

    • Kendall Martin

      It is replaceable and easily removable.

  • Gerard Karl

    Awesome, will the hero4 black and silver get the RAW and WDR photo options seeing as that is just a software update?

    • I don’t think so – there’s more going on under the hood – processing power and what not. Also the battery question is in the article above. Around 1 hr 45 min

      • Gerard Karl

        How long did it last in Chile and what was the temp, I live in Whistler and mainly use it for snow sports.

  • Armin Grissemann

    can i bring the gopro on the mountain,
    and the gopro start alone 4 or 5 hours later ? (for night timelapse)


    • Jeffrey

      If you hook the gopro to an external powerbank, and have an SD card with enough space, then yes!

  • Pingback: GoPro HERO5 Black: Die 15 besten Neuerungen | Videobearbeitung in Action()

  • Rowan Daya

    Great review, I have a few questions though

    1. How rugged is the Hero5, will it withstand falling and being dropped without a housing as well as the Hero4 Black did with the housing on?

    2. How would you attach a floaty to the Hero5 as theres no backdoor?

    3. How well would the touchscreen work when wet?

    4. The Hero 5 is rated for 10m underwater, is there a way to get a housing to increase the depth it can go to?


  • Sebastian Wirsching

    Thanks Abe for this awesome post on the HERO5! Been following you and your youtube channel & blog for over 4 years now. The videos you released a few years ago were so much ahead of time. Especially those USC edits with the Farro Twins. Can’t wait for more! PS: Will the HERO5 be available in the stores tomorrow, or just at first?

  • Liviu Zeican

    Hi.. I didnt spent to much time with my new hero 5 , but i cand find the way to chage te resolution in photo mode. Can you walk me through it? Thank you for this great article

  • Mihai

    Great review man! Does the Smart Remote still work with the Hero5?

    • David Newman


    • Ben

      Great question! Have the same thought myself

  • Goprouser

    4K @ 30fps ISO limit is 400 cant seem to find 100 anywhere even with the lock button on or / off

    • David Newman

      ISO Lock enables 100 and 200 modes. ISO Limit has a 400 ISO minimum.

      • Bjorn de Bruin

        Same problem here. Update installed to version 0.1.20 and while ISO lock is enabled there is no option to use anything under ISO 400. I am trying it through the capture app which could be the problem….

        Btw thanx for the in depth review

        • David Newman

          Confirmed. I filed a bug against the app.

    • Bjorn de Bruin

      Same problem here. Update installed to version 0.1.2 and while ISO lock is enabled in protune there is no option to use anything under ISO 400 while in 4K 30fps. I am trying it through the capture app which could be the problem…

      Btw thanx for the in depth review

  • Juan Irache

    Hi Abe, thank for the great review! Any idea if the Session also has the Manual Shutter option? From the full specs document it looks like it does not, but to me it sounds surprising that a feature that the more consumer oriented hero4 silver has the 5 sesion doesn’t. I see the session as an ideal tool for professional productions, where you would never use a gopro for filming handheld or on a tripod (you would at least use a dslr or mirrorless) but a screenless tiny 4k cam can get you those impossible angles. Does that make sense?

    • Adzix Adzix

      Hey there. It might seem weird, but afaik you’re right, there is no manual shutter option for the Session.
      If you’re already thinking about purchasing a tiny 4k cam for those weird angles, I’d really spend the extra 100 bucks.
      Like I said, that’s just me, but the differences in performance, frame rate options, low light abilities and so on really do add up to a lot of value for money, whereas the Session seems overpriced in comparison. Again, just my 5 cents.

      • Juan Irache

        Lol. Could not wait and bought the session a minute ago. I”m not worried about frame rates, butI am about low light perfirmance. Will find out soon 🙂

        • Adzix Adzix

          Heh 🙂
          Well I can totally understand that irresistable urge to purchase. Hope it does everything you want it to, maybe post an update once you’ve tried it. All my opinions are merely a reflection of what I read about it so far. I am just about to order the 5 black, hence me reading up on Abe’s blog, because his reviews are very in-depth and exactly what I want.

          • Juan Irache

            Good news! Kind of. Shutter speed is selectable in the Session too and when you do, you can theoretically choose between Max ISO mode and ISO Lock mode, which should allow you to set the exact ISO manually. However, when you select Lock mode the setting does not save and stays in Max mode. Might be a bug that needs to be fixed, or the app is showing a setting that does not apply to the session… not sure. Other than that, I am still a bit confused with the buttons and the battery went down to 40% in a minute or so after charging. It might just happen the first time or my charges is faulty. Hope you like your Black! 🙂

          • Sean

            Hey, sorry to jump in here but you said shutter speed is selectable. How? I don’t see anything related to shutter speed on my side using GP5 black

          • Are you using the camera screen or the mobile app? I only own the Session, so the way I can do it is: from the app, go to camera settings and enable Protune mode. Then you can select shutter speeds.

          • Sean

            Thanks for the reply. I’m using GP5 black – i’ve tried using the screen and the mobile app but i don’t see anything related to shutter speed. In protune i only see ISO settings. I have the latest software. Could you share screenshot with me?

          • Sean

            Thanks Juan. Actually, i see the shutter option now – it’s under the video settings. That’s cool but i’m actually looking for it under the photo settings. The problem i was having was indoor pictures when the GP5 was selecting 1/100 automatically (resulting in ISO 1100) compared with a GP4 in the same instance selecting 1/15 (ISO 100) and being much clearer.


    Nice review Abe : )

  • Marc

    Hey Abe !
    Excellent review
    I use this hero5 since 2 weeks now… she’s really powerful and pleasant to use 🙂
    Small defects of hero4 are gummed, and the RAW mode is just a bomb !
    The work done on it is really impressive !
    Are you agree if I translated that in french on my blog, citing the source of course ?
    Thanks you 🙂

    • george

      Abe excellent review!

      Marc or Abe …
      What’s the file size of raw files?

      • David Newman

        RAW VC-5 (.GPR) files are between 3-7MB, depending on scene complexity and noise level.

      • bill wood

        4000 x 3000 pixels.

  • Troy Sullivan

    Awesome in depth article dude. Cant wait till my Hero5 arrives!! Thanks mate.

  • george

    When in Video+photo mode…can the photo be in raw?What resolution are the photos?

    • David Newman

      No, RAW is only enabled in single photo mode. RAW photos are 4000×3000.

      • george

        Thanks David.
        What about the size of raw files?(jpeg with hero 4 are about 2-2.5MB)..
        What about raw ,in photo time-lapse mode?

        • David Newman

          RAW VC-5 (.GPR) files are between 3-7MB, depending on scene complexity and noise level. Only single photo mode currently supports RAW.

          • keirux

            Oh, timelapse is not supported in RAW? This is my go-to setting when taking pictures as normally I want to capture unexpected moments!

          • Yeah, the encode time is too long to do anything under 2 sec timelapse. That may be supported in a later FW version

  • LOVED this… was looking for a more in depth analysis to link in my next blog post. Got it 🙂

  • Ben

    Is the Hero5 Black Frame stronger then then the Hero4 Session frame? I have a Session and have broken 2 frames already, on not that hard of impact drops, which is frusting. Hoping that the frame is more along the durability standards of the housings that have come with Gopro since the beginning! Great post Abe, always appreciated.

    • The frame is definitely more sturdy than a session frame

  • Selwyn

    Hi Abe , just got my Hero 5 and need some help. When I get to the RAW choice it says that RAW is temporarily disabled, not supported by current settiongs. Can you advise which settings to change so I can activate RAW. Thanks

    • You most likely have linear mode on in the FOV settings

  • keirux

    Hey Abe! Amazing reading, thanks for this post! I have a question in relation to WDR, I got the impression that it does not use several pictures to enhance the DR, so…is it like if we reduce the highlights and boost the shadows in LR out of a RAW picture? I mean, does this mode offer more DR than a regular RAW picture? Thanks! Keep up the amazing work!

    • You can achieve similar results by shooting RAW and editing. WDR is more for the easy-share and for people that don’t want to edit RAW later.

  • Hi Abe, nice work with the first part of the HERO5 & KARMA Series looking forward for the rest!

    Trying to make some sense of this. “Best” 1080p quality, film in 4K then downscale it to 1080p (which means uncompressed 1080p) after that export your edit in 4K to allow a higher bitrate ( on Youtube. Sounds good/ Abe approved ? 🙂

    • Hmm, that sounds a bit backwards. If you’re going to export and upload in 4K, there’s no point in downscaling in between.

      • Thanks for your reply! Alright, I was thinking it would be pointless at first too but after reading and looking at different information on internet it made me a bit unsure (e.g.

        I understand what you mean and also that uploading a 4K file to Youtube will allow for a higher bitrate. But when you choose 1080p to play it back on Youtube do you know if that 1080p will be uncompressed (4:4:4) or compressed (4:2:0)? I have read that a higher quality uncompressed file upload will result in less video artifacts. So by downscaling it to a uncompressed 1080p higher quality and then export in 4K, will that achieve a better quality when viewing?

  • Leroy Ashley

    I made a video testing the low light capabilities:

  • Michi Leber

    Sick post as always, thanks dude!

  • Sean

    Awesome review thanks. I used the GP4 black for lots of personal and professional work so i know it inside out. My first impression of the GP5 black after getting it yesterday is that the picture and video quality is noticeably poorer – most notably in lower indoor lighting. Like softer with more noise. Did you notice this at all? Here’s a sample of what i’m talking about

    • Oof, are you sure you’re on the same settings for both? What are your settings on each camera? (res/framerate/protune settings)

      • Sean

        Hey, thanks for the reply. By looking at the JPG exif data on both files (one from GP4 and one from GP5) i noticed that the lowest the GP5 will go in 1/100 shutter speed (resulting in ISO 1100). While the GP4 will go down to 1/15 (therefore ISO 100). This explains the noise and lack of sharpness. The last step i need to test is whether protune, when restricted to a max ISO of say 400 will then compensate by going lower than 1/100. I use the Gopros for a lot of events and 1/100 is a ridiculous shutter speed for indoor work. I often shoot successfully on 1/50 or even 1/30. Important to note that in both instances the cameras were in photo mode and auto.

  • Brian

    Abe, I’m not seeing a hero5 profile in lightroom – and i can’t even pick “gopro” as an option – have you seen this?

    This is with gpr files

    • Yeah, they won’t get released as a profile until the next release of lightroom/cam raw. Should be pretty soon. This only happens with GPR – I had to call adobe and ask. They confirmed it had to do with not wanting to leak info about H5 with the previous release.

  • Dimitris Komninos

    Hi Abe, thanks for this post, very useful. I own the new hero 5 and i have a small problem. Can you please tell me how i can prevent this exposure changes in my videos. I was shooting at 1440, 50fps and protune off. Coming from the hero 3 it looks very weird.

  • Giorgos Kyropoulos

    Thanks Abe,
    may I ask you? I owned hero4 silver and hero4 session and finally the hero5 black, I did too many time lapses from previous models and I try a new time lapse on a bright sun day with hero5 black. I noticed that the sequence of pictures are not the sane as about exposure. I mean that the pictures looks brighter or darker from one to another. I noticed that on a bright sun day. When i try time lapse indoor and night all looks great.

    Any idea?

  • Capediver

    the manual states that there are 3 camera status lights on the 5….front top corner, top left of LCD screen and underneath…this last does not flash when recording, only when charging…am I missing something?

  • Mark

    Could anyone advise me ! I have just purchased Hero 5 and will be using it on my helmet mainly off road trail bike riding
    what settings should I use 1080 ? with what frame setting Thanks

    • Sean

      I would use 1440 it’s a square format and will give you more picture to work with when you’re editing. You can push the frame rate as high as you need as it’ll help you with slow motion when editing – if you need that. However, i think the higher frame rates would use more battery

  • pineapplechunks10

    Hi Abe, have you had any problem with screen/light bleeding on the hero 5. I see on the gopro community that it is a common ‘problem’ which i have too. Is this anything to worry about? One of the Gopro forum managers (Jeff) has stated that this is to be expected however many have disagreed with his statement. What do you think?

  • Christian Rose

    Nice write-up, the only piece of info I couldn’t find is regarding the refresh rate of the GPS, Is it 1hz, 5hz or more? Perhaps someone knows the chipset used in the H5?

  • Matt Hahn

    Hey Abe, I’ve found that you can’t do exposure control when you have Protune on in either photo or video – is there a reason for this?

    • Matt Hahn

      Never mind – just saw that was added as I updated my camera!

  • Glenn Gauci Grech

    so my session 4 gives me app preview not supported when i record in 1080p60 .. can you comfirm that all resolutions work with this anc capture app? (android phone)

    • Capediver

      Glenn, I have tried most of the settings via the app and all that I have tried are supported by Preview while recording. I haven’t tried the lower res and higher FPS combo’s but if 4K @30FPS can preview, I don’t see why all the others can’t. Once nice touch is that ProTune settings are also much better visible via the preview…before you could not see the changes made in preview and had to shot and check later.

      • Glenn Gauci Grech

        Well im gonna be a pest. But since you took the time to reply (thanks) can you spare a couple of mins and try out 1080p 60 and 1080p120 please ? And also .. do you have android or apple ? Maybe that makes a diff too ..dont know

        • Capediver

          1080@60 and 120 are my two standard settings, 60 FPS because the new GP5 supports electronic image stabilization at this rate and 120 for good slomo in post. Both of these are visible in the preview while recording. I use Android (SGS5) with the older version of the Capture app 2.15…

          PS I should have qualified my first statement, I am referring to video mode…some previews are not available such as timelapse.

  • Iain

    What an incredible article. This has really helped, thanks so much. What’s really odd, is that when I read that you could get 240fps @1080 if you go in to narrow, I was really surprised. I think when I first read this, I checked on my HERO5 if you could and saw that it was possible. Since going back to my camera after editing Protune options etc, 240fps @1080 seems to have completely gone. Reset all settings, and I can’t get 240fps @1080, even when narrow is selected. Is this definitely right? Thanks so much Abe.

  • Capediver

    Abe, great in-depth article as usual!
    I have a few questions
    Wifi…seems the wifi keeps restarting the camera via bluetooth. I understand that the bluetooth will keep polling when the wifi is left on while the camera is off but why does it start the camera without any prompt from the phone (other that establishing or maintaining the connection)? eg after using the App, I end the App, leave camera wifi on, switch off the camera and a few seconds later the camera restarts on its own. This never happened with the GP4B.
    So I spent a bit of time testing with gimbal attached on chesty on bicycle:
    Stereo only sucks, too much gimbal buzz and audio switching up and down and left to right.
    Wind only is OK
    Auto is a gamble as you can hear the camera mics hunting as it tries to determine best sound source

    With ProTune settings:
    Medium setting seems to make no difference, only High and Low.
    Separate audio files are generated when ProTune is on in either High, Low or Med. Only issue is, all the Low audio files are dead, some don’t even synch with the Video ie one video test clip was 1:17mins…the corresponding audio file was also 1:17mins but the progress indictator had already reached the end of the audio file and audio was still playing…if I tried to go to a position in the audio file that was the same as an audio “event” in the video, the audio was not the same….the event was much later in the audio file than the video file. Very weird! (player is Windows Media Player Classis – for some reason its the only player I find that handles 4K on my machine (i7 2.5Ghz, Win 8.1).

    So for me the best was:
    Audio on Wind Only and Protune on high. Just spin the audio section out of the video Protune menu and add it to the audio submenu it would be easier to control. Adjusting audio via ProTunes does mean you are stuck with a set ISO as there is no “auto” ISO in ProTune.

    Improvement over GP4B? Hmmmm…the audio was never a problem for me, only inside the dive housing. I understand that maybe the audio may now be much better inside a dive housing but I don’t know many guys who actually talk that well underwater except if you want to film synchronised swimming and record the hydrophone! (:smileywink:I just had to add that…but I think it really is a fringe element that wants better underwater audio….or wants to film in torrential rain, but then the camera doesn’t need a case for that now does it?

    Can you give some advice on how to run the audio? Most of my filming is mountain biking or road cycling.

  • Hi Abe, Can we expect the H5 Session article soon? I got it on day 1 and am loving it, but have a couple of areas where I’d like to know your point of view. Thanks!

  • no66

    GPS / IMU data overlay in Quic now I see. Hope this also comes to Studio and possible to extract data.

  • Hi! Could anyone with Hero5 help me with these questions, please:

    What’s the shutter lag in photo mode?

    Can Hero5 be used in photo mode without turning on the back screen at all?


  • Tuan Do


    Ive noticed that you wear the Dakine Heli vest. I was wondering if it is possible to mount the GoPro with the Karma grip on it somewhere by the shoulder? Is there any accessories available for such a thing that you know of currently? I dont really like riding with backpack when I am boarding.


  • jacob schoemaker

    Thank you very much for the information!! Very cool!
    Just wondering, isn’t the LCD Screen where you can choose all the settings exposed for damages if it doesn’t have a housing?

    • RC


  • Edin
  • Abe,

    Would it be possible for you to post a high-ISO RAW file taken under artificial lights (such as fluorescent or mercury vapor lights)? I am trying to determine if what I am seeing on mine are a camera problem or a software problem. Don’t want to return it unless I am sure.


  • Velvy Appleton

    Hi Abe- thanks for the great review. I’m really enjoying this camera! 2 questions: 1) When i’m shooting video, the viewscreen on the back goes black after about a minute or so… is there a way to keep the screen lit for the duration of the video? or is this a problem with my camera? 2) I’ve been shooting in TimeLapseVideo mode– is there a way to set the preferences for TimeLapseVideo in terms of frame shooting interval and also playback FPS? many thanks! ~v~

    • RC

      Just change your screensaver setting.

  • Garrett Lawrence

    Is there a silent mode? The beeping would be too loud when I use it for hunting

    • Jeffrey

      You can turn off the beeping sounds in the preferences.

  • Mark

    Hey Abe!

    When shooting a good photo, is it better to capture a still image from a video or not at all?

  • alexh

    Great article – Any recommendations on good underwater (red) filters?

  • Luke Stone

    Hey Abe,

    What settings would you recommend for stick mount and stick mount follow footage snowboarding? I edit my videos with imovie.



  • e98fab

    This guy compiled all the Hero5 reviews from Amazon and Best buy and one of the complaints they saw over and over is that the new firmware won’t let you use off-brand batteries with the Hero. Is this true? If so, that is BS. Their batteries are pricey and don’t last so I’ve often just packed a bunch of generic ones. Anyone else experienced this?

    • RC

      Wasabi batteries work, but they don’t last as long (11-14 minutes less). OEM batteries are always the best, and at $20 each, that’s not bad at all. The batteries for my DSLR are over $50 each and the ones for my camcorder are over $100 each. Be glad you only have to pay $20.

  • Mp

    Hey Abe!

    Just get the gopro 5.
    Was wondering whats the best video settings for skiing. Basically helmet mount.
    ISO 400, Protune on, Sharpenning low and 1080 60fps??? what about the video stabilaziation??

    Thanks again

    • RC

      Why don’t you just leave it at the default settings, and choose the resolution/framerate that you like best? Unless you plan to edit the footage later.

  • Pingback: Video Settings in the HERO5 Black()

  • Serge Rossi

    Excellent review. But the new spot metering behavior (having to use the touch screen and setting forgotten after the Gopro is powered down) makes it totally unusable in my case : installed in a car during track driving and touch screen inaccessible. Spot metering is mandatory when filming from the inside of the car. With default metering, the inside of the car is correctly exposed and the exterior is over exposed.
    That’s really a terrible design flaw and I will probably have to sold it and get a GP4 or a Garmin Virb 🙁

  • Andrew

    Hello and thanks for this very thorough review. Can anyone tell me if there’s a way to spot meter whilst in the additional waterproof casing, ie when you can’t access the touch metering via the screen? I use it all the time with my Hero 4 when photographing sunsets or from inside sea caves when swimming. Thank you very much.

  • Wayne Fuller

    Love your informative article on GoPro Hero 5 Black, but can someone tell me what I am doing wrong. Very new to GoPro and when videoing – it changes to time lapse video in the middle – why?? Thanks

  • Klaudia Marcjanik

    Hi i just got the gopro hero 5 for my holidays to Greece . I dont know much about it coukd you give me the best setrings for outside shots sunny . Nature . Beach . Thank you i tried taking a few pics when out hiking and they are terrible so grainy very disappointed

  • Soufiane Amm

    Hi ! I want to purchase a hero 5 for aerial 3D reconstruction purposes and if someone who already have it can tell me if gps data are available when using the timelapse mode.
    Thank you in advance !

  • Ahmet Han

    hi, with same protune settings; 1080p Narrow 60fps and 2.7k medium 60fps . when scale up the objects in same size 1080p is more clear. what is the reason for that. here is the sample video at link. thank you.

  • Mat

    WoW! Thank you for all the infos. Very well explained