After so many camcorders that I’ve lost count, ranging from amazingly good-for-the-bucks, cheapy Chinese action cams to professional Canons, I think I may have found a perfect compromise. It won’t accept external lenses and isn’t exactly what most would call cheap ($380+), but for my purposes it clicks essentially all of the “most needed” boxes. The new GoPro Hero6 Black is a winner. It fits in my pocket provided I don’t need accessories … and OMG, are there accessories! It shoots 4K video in 60 fps (for top quality, that’s mandatory) and high-res 12MP stills. It won’t boot quite as fast a modern digital camera, but the end results are what matters. No wonder this is the standard of the industry … literally everyone else is screaming…me too, me too!!! But ultimately, to quote Highlander, there can be only one. Jaw-dropping video quality, truly tiny size and extreme flexibility are only a few of its merits. I wore it on a chest mount for the toboggan sled down the Great Wall in China with stunning documentary-quality results.

The body of the camera does not require a case for water-proofing down to about 33 feet and you can live stream to a tablet or phone as a monitor (and control it) depending on the level of resolution you’re shooting at. At 4K and 60fps, the processing is just too extreme to allow that … but you can set it to watch before you hit “record”. The lens has two settings … wide and narrow. It comes with stabilization, impressive night performance, time lapse, stereo audio, rear touch screen, lossless professional¬†RAW format, HDR,¬†optional long-distance remote, true slo-mo …¬† when you hold it in your hand for the first time you notice the weight, this ain’t no cheesy “me too” toy.

This is one serious piece of kit.

 

(Shown with my highly-recommended silicone case)

 

(and, IMHO, the not-so-optional remote)

Additionally, there are simply so many accessories for this thing that it defies description … just check out eBay and look for GoPro stuff … it’s mind bending how much is there. There is an abundance of cheap non-official add-ons … I have probably over 50 … and my total investment is less than 30 bucks. Virtually all generic cameras use the GoPro mount. As a result there are thousands of add-ons.

Not to put a damper on the party, buuuut, there are two issues. Firstly, while in the factory-supplied bracket, there is NO access to the charging input. And anything this powerful loves juice … so you can’t use an extra battery pack with the bracket. I’m thinking of using a Dremel to resolve this issue. The next issue is an issue ONLY if you haven’t taken the time to read the fine print, so to speak, in the instruction manual. You must, as in ABSOLUTELY MUST, use the memory cards they “recommend”. Even high quality, fast cards can’t keep up with the data flow. Failure to do so will result in hair loss when you’re in the middle-of-nowhere and it won’t run. You’ve been warned …

I have additional batteries and a specialized charger for them. By the way, I’ve found I get around 40 minutes in time lapse without an external battery.

The old saying ” a picture is worth a thousand words”, may have to be changed to ten thousand when it’s from a GoPro 6 … yes, it’s that good.

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