The best GoPro cameras in 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black

Need some help choosing the GoPro camera that’s right for you? We’re here to help. We’ve compiled the definitive list of GoPro actioncams past and present to bring you a guide to what’s on the market right now following the launch of the GoPro Hero7 family..

While there have been lots of GoPro cameras throughout the company’s history, the cameras in the current GoPro range comprise of a dozen or so models, designed to cover the entire user base from the newbie to the pro. Here is our rundown of the best GoPro cameras on the market:

The best top-spec GoPro camera

The GoPro Hero 7 camcorder

1. GoPro Hero7 Black

The new benchmark for action cameras

Megapixels: 12MP | Screen: 2in touchscreen | Connectivity: Wi-Fi (5GHz), Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K (60fps) | Frame rates: 60fps (4K), 240fps (1080p), 240fps (720p) | Waterproofing: 10m | Voice control: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 1-3hrs estimated

Gorgeous 4K video
HyperSmooth feature impresses
Voice commands need refining
Occasional unresponsive screen

 

Think the Hero7 Black is the same as the Hero6 Black? Think again. A serious upgrade on its past products, the Hero7 Black's main selling point is the debut of HyperSmooth, an impressive new image stabilization technology that brings a smooth, stable, flowing look to even handheld video. If that's a huge step forward, so is TimeWarp. A refinement of HyperSmooth, TimeWarp allows you to create a TimeLapse while walking around a scene, but also increase the speed by 30x for short, shareable and silky-smooth TimeLapse videos. It's enabled by a massive increase in the memory inside the GoPro Hero7 Black, which also gets a fresh new user interface. Add gorgeous 4K video footage and the Hero7 Black is the new benchmark for action cameras.

Read more: The best GoPro accessories

 The best bargain GoPro camera

2. GoPro Hero6 Black

No HyperSmooth, no worries

Megapixels: 12MP | Screen: 2in touchscreen | Connectivity: Wi-Fi (5GHz), Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K (60fps) | Waterproofing: 10m (60m with Super Suit housing) | Voice control: Yes | GPS: Yes

High-quality 4K video
12MP stills and RAW shooting option
Comparatively expensive

 The arrival of the Hero 7 Black means the Hero 6 Black is where to head to save money. Your sacrifice will be minimal. Thanks to a new GP1 chip that allows it to far exceed the capabilities of the previous GoPro Hero 5 Black, the Hero 6 Black boasts the ability to shoot 4K video at a frame rate of 60fps, or Full HD video at up to a super slow 240 frames per second. There’s also voice control for hands-free operation, GPS functionality and advanced audio processing that captures audio in stereo. For stills shooting, you have the option of capturing your 12MP stills in RAW format, allowing for post-capture tweaks at the computer, and there’s also HDR Photo mode for maximising detail in the highlights and shadows. Maximum burst speed is 30fps. The camera sports a touchscreen LCD and can be used underwater to depths of 10m without a housing.

Read more: The best cheap GoPro HERO6 Black deals

The best budget GoPro camera 

3. GoPro Hero5 Black

Outstanding specs will suit almost every user

Megapixels: 12MP | Screen: 2in touchscreen | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K (30fps) | Waterproofing: 10m (60m with Super Suit housing) | Voice control: Yes | GPS: Yes

Spec sheet still rivals Hero 6
Cheaper
4K video tops out at 30fps
Some features missing (Touch Zoom, HDR Photo)

If you don’t need the absolute highest standards of video quality and fancy saving yourself a quick £100/$100, then the Hero 5 Black is well worth a look. It still shoots 4K video but only at 30fps, and its slow-motion Full HD video tops out at 120fps, but honestly this should be more than adequate for most people’s GoPro needs. You still get voice control, the same level of waterproofing as the Hero 6, stereo audio and GPS. You don’t get HDR Photo or touch zoom; video stabilisation is less advanced than the Hero 6, and the Wi-Fi functionality is standard, as opposed to the 5GHz functionality for fast offload to phone that the Hero 6 has. If any of these are dealbreakers, or you absolutely need the best-quality video possible, get the Hero 6. If not, save yourself a bundle and still pick up a fantastic GoPro camera.

The best entry-level GoPro camera

4. GoPro HERO (2018)

The perfect gateway drug

Megapixels: 10MP | Screen: 2in touchscreen | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: Full HD (60fps) | Waterproofing: 10m (60m with Super Suit housing) | Voice control: Yes | GPS: No

Straightforward camera for first-time user
Burst shooting and video specs still impressive
No 4K
Fewer megapixels

This is not to be confused with previous cameras simply called ‘GoPro Hero’, which we’ll get to. This model is fresh to 2018, and is designed for the novice GoPro user, with voice control functionality and a touchscreen for easy operation. It shoots Full HD video at 60fps and can capture 10MP stills with a maximum burst rate of up to 10fps. For everyday shots and holiday videos, this is more than enough. You still get waterproofing up to 10m and video stabilisation, and users of this camera may find they enjoy the GoPro Quikstories app (available for all the newer models) which automatically creates and edits shareable video clips from your footage. If you’re not familiar with GoPros, or indeed cameras in general, this is your ideal starting point.

The best specialist GoPro camera

5. GoPro Fusion

A 360° marvel that opens new possibilities for filmmaking

Megapixels: 18MP | Screen: No | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 5.2K (30fps) | Waterproofing: 5m | Voice control: Yes | GPS: Yes

Twin-lens setup for 360° videos/images
'Overcapture' function expands filmmaking possibilties
Reduced waterproofing
Complex prospect for average user

While the GoPro Hero cameras do differ in ways that are both small and significant, they tend to be fundamentally the same proposition. Not so the GoPro Fusion. While Hero cameras have a single lens facing forwards to capture the action, the GoPro Fusion carries two wide-angle lenses facing in opposite directions, and with these it captures 360° images and videos of everything that surrounds it. What’s more, though, is the Overcapture functionality, which allows you to ‘pull’ 1080p Full HD videos from anywhere in the 360° frame, meaning you can effectively create complex camera moves and perspective changes from the same static shot, without once moving the camera. You can choose to shoot your 360° video in 5.2K 30fps or 3K 60fps, and you can capture 18MP 360° stills. It’s honestly bursting with features across the board, more than we have space for here, though it’s worth noting that it’s only waterproof to 5m, and isn’t compatible with the Super Suit housing to extend this. Otherwise, the Fusion is pretty over-specced for the average user, but professional content creators should seriously consider it.

The best (and only) GoPro drone

6. GoPro Karma

The brief foray into flight

Weight: 1006g | Dimensions (folded): 365×224×90 | Dimensions (unfolded): 303×411×117mm | Controller: Yes | Max Range: 3km / 9,840ft | Max Speed: 65kph / 15m/s

Well balanced controls
Very portable
Short flight time
Better drones available for similar price

This one sticks out a little from the other models on the list. As you may have noticed, it’s a drone. After launching to much fanfare in 2016, some debilitating technical problems necessitated a recall that meant that GoPro Karma struggled to achieve cut-through against serious competition from the likes of DJI, and earlier this year GoPro announced it would be selling off remaining stock and pulling out of the drone business. 

Honestly the now-fixed Karma is a better drone than its fate implies – as you’d expect, boasts full compatibility with newer GoPro cameras (generally Hero 4 onwards, though do check specifics), it folds up small enough to stash in a backpack, and it has impressive stabilisation capabilities thanks to the integrated Karma Grip gimbal (which can also be purchased as a standalone). Despite it being pulled out of the market, if you’re already invested in GoPro and you’re looking for a drone, the Karma is worth looking into, as GoPro has pledged it will continue to offer technical support to Karma users.

Read more: The 10 best camera drones in 2018

The best older GoPro cameras

The previous GoPro models are still widely available, and many of them can be picked up online for bargain prices. Here’s a quick run-down of the ones worth knowing about...

7. GoPro Hero 5 Session

Small and fast, with high-quality 4K video

Megapixels: 10MP | Screen: No | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K (30fps) | Waterproofing: 10m | Voice control: Yes | GPS: No

Small and portable
Voice activated
One-button controls can be frustrating
Poor battery life

Back before the great reshuffle, ‘Session’ was the GoPro designation for its smaller, simpler cameras designed to tempt the everyday user. Accordingly, the Hero 5 Session is exceedingly small, and so simple that it’s in fact controlled with just one button. There’s no screen either, though the Hero 5 Session does pack in useful features like Wi-Fi. Though now discontinued, this tiny model can still be picked up second-hand.

8. GoPro Hero+ LCD

Comes with underwater housing permanently attached

Megapixels: 8MP | Screen: 1.5in touchscreen | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: Full HD (60fps) | Waterproofing: 40m | Voice control: No | GPS: No

Always-on housing makes for easier diving
Useful touch LCD
Housing can cause compatibility issues
Fewer megapixels

While most of the older GoPro models require additional housing to be made fully waterproof, the GoPro Hero+ LCD, as well as the GoPro Hero+ and GoPro Hero (2014 version) actually come with this housing permanently attached. This makes them a little bulkier than most, which can lead to compatibility problems when attempting to pair them with accessories like gimbals, however the advantage is that you can dive to deeper depths without needing to remember to bring along your housing.

9. GoPro Hero 4 Silver

Introduced touchscreen to the GoPro portfolio

Megapixels: 12MP | Screen: 1.5in touchscreen | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K (15fps) | Waterproofing: Only with housing (40m) | Voice control: No | GPS: No

Competitive price against later models
4K video and fast burst shooting
LCD reduces battery life
Only waterproof with housing

This was the first GoPro model to come sporting a touchscreen LCD, and even though it has since been thoroughly superseded by later models, it still shoots 4K video and is an eminently capable camera. It’s also got time-lapse functionality and some useful night-oriented features like Night Lapse, expanding its utility in low light.

10. GoPro Hero 4 Black

The partner to the Hero 4 Silver, a slightly different proposition

Megapixels: 12MP | Screen: No | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K (30fps) | Waterproofing: Only with housing (40m) | Voice control: No | GPS: No

High quality 4K video for the price
Fast burst shooting
Only waterproof with housing
No LCD screen

This was released as a partner camera to the Hero 4 Silver. It’s mostly the same proposition but with a few key differences – while you don’t get the LCD touchscreen, the 4K video it puts out is of higher quality, 30fps as opposed to 15fps. It’s also worth noting that the lack of the screen means that the battery will last longer.

The best GoPro camera for kids

11. GoPro Hero Session (also known as Hero 4 Session)

A tiny cube that can take a beating

Megapixels: 8MP | Screen: No | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 1440p (30fps) | Waterproofing: 10m | Voice control: No | GPS: No

Extremely small and portable
Tough and waterproof with no housing
No 2K or 4K
Quality average compared to other models

Initially launched as the Hero 4 Session alongside the Hero 4 Black and Silver, this little cube was tweaked a little and rebranded as simply the Hero Session after poor sales that were probably caused by users being (understandably) confused about what the designations meant. Basically all you need to know is that it’s simple and tiny, with one-button operation and a form factor about half the size of the Hero 4 Black and Silver. Durable, with a rubberised build, this little model won’t blow anyone away with its video quality but could make a good inexpensive present for a younger user.

The best value GoPro camera

12. GoPro Hero 3+ Black

An older model, but still a solid buy

Megapixels: 12MP | Screen: No | Connectivity: Wi-Fi | Max continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K (15fps) | Waterproofing: Only with housing (40m) | Voice control: No | GPS: No

4K video
Close focusing distance compared to predecessor
No screen
Slower Wi-Fi than newer models

This slightly updated edition of the Hero 3 Black was released pretty soon after its predecessor, and bears much of the same specs. Where this version differs is with faster Wi-Fi, improved battery life and a new lens that offers a significantly closer minimum focusing distance of 18cm, as opposed to 1m on the original Hero 3 Black. Even though these cameras have been replaced several times over they are still surprisingly well-specced, with 4K video capabilities and the same 30fps burst mode we see on the Hero 6 Black today. Definitely worth not ruling this one out.

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