Over the past 5 years, GoPro has become synonymous with action cameras. If you ask virtually anyone on the street, they’ll know what a GoPro is.
How have they accomplished this?
A lot of it is marketing, but a decent portion of that was creating products that are incredible durable and functional.
Today they release the GoPro Hero4 Session and it feels like one of GoPro’s first misstep’s.
Don’t get me wrong. I can see the exact person this is marketed towards. The small form factor is an admirable move. Often companies get comfortable with their recognizable design instead of trying to advance beyond the familiar rectangle design is an interesting move—but is it worth it? I’m having trouble saying yes.
GoPro has made a name for themselves by providing filmmakers, amateurs and average joe’s alike a tool to capture quite literally anything you throw at it, or whatever you throw it at. They’ve done so while not sacrificing image quality—they even have functionality with high quality external recorders like the Atomos Ninja Star. Whether the average consumer knew it or not, they appreciated the image quality.
The Hero4 Session takes somewhat of a step back from this mentality. In finding a way to make the hardware work in the space they’ve reduced the image quality a great deal. The obvious question is: is it worth it?
For some people (I always concede that there will be someone) the smaller design might be worth it. The smaller, cube shaped design does give you different and more functional mounting options. This is actually a fantastic improvement from the decent (sometimes shaky) hinge and knuckle mounts that the Hero4 Silver and Black sport.
What must be said though is that we’re not gaining a huge amount of real estate when moving from the Hero4 Silver or Black to the Session. For all of the advancement that we’ve seen in the Hero line of products, it’s hard to justify such a backwards movement in terms of image quality.
I’m sure there are some people out there thinking, “Yeah Bret, but there are some people out there that just need this and don’t care about image quality.” I would be inclined to agree with you if the price matched this quality. As it is now, the GoPro Hero4 Session is starting at $400. The same price as the visually advanced, more featured and more durable Hero4 Silver.
I think that the design and route that GoPro is making with the Hero4 Session is admirable. I really do. Sometimes technology comes out just a little bit before it’s time and we’re left with a premature version of what the actual original vision was. I can imagine in the R&D meetings for this they were imagining something greater than what we’re seeing today. That’s not good news for today, but once the technology catches up, it could mean great news for tomorrow.
The GoPro Hero4 Session starts at $400 and will begin shipping July 12th. In conjunction with it’s release are an array of new accessories that will work with the Session.
The Ball Joint Buckle, the Floaty, the Strap, the Jam, the Casey and the Windslayer. The Ball Joint Buckle allows you to rotate the camera 360 degrees while mounted and will be shipped with every Hero4 Session. The Floaty is a housing that allows your Session to not sink. An incredibly important tool when operating in water. Obviously. The Strap which allows you to attach the camera to your hand, leg, arm, wrist or foot. The Jam mounts your GoPro to musical instruments. The Casey is indeed a case for you to store all of the parts for your GoPro. Finally, the Windslayer slays wind. It’s a windscreen that blocks the rushing sound made by the wind.
The Floaty: $20
The Strap: $60
The Jam: $70
The Windslayer: $20
MINI GOPRO! HERO4 Session: Full Review, Tests, Comparison Footage (WIRED)
The new Hero4 Session, which goes on sale July 12 for $400, is a real-deal action camera from the leader in action cameras. It’s waterproof without a case, and it’s tiny enough that it almost disappears once you’ve mounted it. With all of these improvements, the Hero4 Session is a big step forward for GoPro in some ways, but it’s a step backwards in others.
Let’s start with the basics. The Session is a 1.5-inch cube that weighs only 2.6 ounces. It’s waterproof to 33 feet on its own, and doesn’t require any additional housing. In its included frame mount, the Session is 50 percent smaller than a Hero4 Silver or Black is inside its waterproof shell, and it’s 35 percent lighter, too. We’ve seen this form-factor before, most notably from last fall’s Polaroid Cube. The Cube was just splash-proof, though, and had lousy resolution and frame rates, where as the Session is an honest-to-goodness action camera. Speaking of resolution and such, here’s what the Session’s got:
• 1080p at 60 and 30fps (SuperView at 48 or 30fps)
• 1440p at 30fps
• 960p at 60 or 30fps
• 720 at 100, 60, or 30fps (SuperView 60 or 30fps)
• WVGA at 120fps
• Stills at 8MP with 10fps bursts
Notice anything conspicuously absent? Where’s my cinematic 24 fps? That’s my go-to mode for shooting less actiony stuff. Also, 720p at 100fps? 100? Are we suddenly on the PAL system here? Weird. You have the option of enabling the Protune feature (which gives you a higher bitrate), but then you’re limited to 1440p at 30fps, 1080p at 60 or 30fps, and 960p at 30fps, and you don’t have all the tweakable options you do with your standard Hero4 cameras in Protune. Some strange choices here.
Read full article at Wired “Review: GoPro Hero4 Session”
Smallest, lightest GoPro yet.
50% smaller and 40% lighter than other HERO4 cameras,1 HERO4 Session is the most wearable and mountable GoPro ever. With a sleek, versatile design, it’s at home anywhere—from the surf to the snow, to hanging with friends.
Ultimate mounting flexibility.
HERO4 Session comes with specially designed mounts and accessories that work seamlessly with other GoPro gear to give you more mounting options than ever.
The Low-Profile Frame gives HERO4 Session the lowest profile of any GoPro camera.
Use the Standard Frame with GoPro mounts to create a wide array of ultra compact gear setups.
Ball Joint Buckle
The Ball Joint Buckle gives you the freedom to change things up without having to stop and un-mount the camera.
(cover photo credit: snap from GoPro)