GoPro Hero 4 Spec’s – How is it for Surf Photography?

I’ve got a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition, it’s a great video camera and I have used it for taking stills too, today PetaPixel had some unconfirmed photo’s and spec’s for the new Hero 4 cameras from GoPro, and it’s pretty much as everyone expected:

http://petapixel.com/2014/09/25/gopro-hero4-revealed-4k-video-30fps-first-built-touch-display/

GoPro Hero 4 black ediiton, photo via PetaPixel.
GoPro Hero 4 black ediiton, photo via PetaPixel.

Here are the headline spec’s:

Hero 4 Black edition:

  • 4K at 30fps, 2.7K at 50fps, 1440p at 80fps, 1080p at 120fps, 960p at 120fps, and 720p at 120fps
  • “Manual… controls such as color, ISO limit, exposure, and more”
  • Same size as the Hero 3 and 3+ so can use same housings and mounts
  • same stills performance as Hero 3+, (12MP 30 in a second)

Hero 4 Silver Edition:

  • 4K at 15fps, 2.7K at 30fps, 1440p at 48fps, 1080p at 60fps, 960p at 100fps, and 720p at 120fps
  • Touch screen LCD on the back
  • “Manual… controls such as color, ISO limit, exposure, and more”
  • Same size as the Hero 3 and 3+ so can use same housings and mounts
  • same stills performance as Hero 3+, (12MP 30 in a second)

It also says it has “2 x the dynamic range” – if that’s true it’ll make a big difference on those sunny days where the highlights are blown out on the current HEro 3+ black.

This shot from my GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition sadly overexposed the sky, you can see what it would have looked like in the reflection on the river.
This shot from my GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition sadly overexposed the sky, you can see what it would have looked like in the reflection on the river, with 2 x more dynamic range as boasted in the new Hero 4 spec’s this would have been a much nicer shot.

So what does it mean for surf photographers?

The video improvements mean that shooting 4k or 2.7k and cropping in could be a much more useful tool, especially when shooting from the top of a housing, it’s something I will experiment with soon before a bigger post on the official launch from GoPro.

it depends on their implementation of the manual settings, it’s very vague at the moment and could be a bit of a dead end if the controls are limited, but any type of manual control is better than none, it’s a bit of a shame that there’s no improvement in resolution or frame rate yet, but I expect there might be some more surprises on the official launch.

I also wonder whether any manual control could be added to the existing Hero 3+ with a firmware update, that would be awesome.