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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hero 4 first impressions, and why I just might do it.

I have been working with GoPro Cameras seriously since the original HD - I loved that camera! - I have shot just about everything you can think of with it. Including two expeditions. I knew that a camera was coming, as they have released one every year since that original HD. Yesterday was the day.

They are a little early this year, but the hero 4 will be available in 5 days. The Blogoshpere has gone wild! I am impressed that they seem to be doing this roll out better than previous rollouts, as they have gotten cameras to testers early - unfortunately I didn't get one! - which leads me to believe they are in a much better position to roll out cameras in large numbers for the holidays. As opposed to last holiday where there were clearly shortages of cameras.

I have seen number of videos of the cameras, but I haven't seen a side by side of actual images. Yesterday I had several conversations with other "GoPro Power Users" and most of us were saying we weren't going to buy this camera. Here is why.

I don't need 4k at 30fps. I have no way to edit or view it. So the biggest feature is useless to me. I think this is a feature really only for full on professional film makers who need a disposable camera that can shoot 4k. (and by disposable I mean compared to a $100,000 Arri Alexa or a Red Epic) As much as I would like to shoot with a RED and use the GoPro as my "it might get hurt camera" that isn't going to happen.

I really want image stabilization, I am very curious why they aren't even a digital image stabilization, and I hope to find out when I am at GoPro Headquarters in November.

I must have better battery life, for the things I shoot, that is a killer - and was the primary reason I switched to the 3+ - and my initial realization that they made the battery smaller (1160mah vs 1180mah) said shorter battery life. To add insult to injury, they changed the shape of the battery, so the batteries I have for my 3+'s won't work.

So as of 9pm last night, I was done. I wasn't getting one.

But that was last night. This morning I had a number of thoughts. All of them bad(for my bank account).

Here is why I am now considering it.

Manual control of the exposure, and the ability to do night time lapse. I am intrigued. This sounds really interesting, and I need to see what it looks like. But this has me interested.

Yes, the battery is smaller, but the processor is much faster, which I read as more efficient, which may mean better battery life. Again, I will see what the first tests show us.

1080p at 120fps! Super crisp slow motion at full 1080p? okay, I am interested.

Finally, I needed two cameras for my Alaska shoot. Beyond that, I don't use two cameras at once. It hasn't happened. In the back of my head it may happen, the big advantage of two is you can move the camera less often. But in practicality I am not doing it. I can sell both to pay for a 4 and I will have some money left over for batteries.

I still want to see what the video tests look like, but right now... I am actually considering it.


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