When comparing the GoPro Hero 5 to the Hero 6, on the outside it doesn’t look like much has changed. Even looking at the specs, it doesn’t seem like there are any huge updates after this one year cycle. Higher frame rate and video stability at 4k are not that big of a deal to a lot of people, especially if you already have a Karma Grip.
However, when you get both cameras and put them side-by-side, you’ll immediately notice huge improvements with the Hero6! Huge! I’ll list just a few.
GoPro Hero5 vs Hero6 Comparison
This is one of the biggest improvement I’ve seen so far. I don’t understand how it’s working but the image stabilization is magic in the Hero6 and is so much better than the Hero5. It almost makes the Karma Grip redundant, except you will still get these little nudge corrections in very rough situations (like running with the camera), where as the Karma grip is almost always smooth, especially with the mid 2017 firmware.
Not only does the image stabilization completely lock the image in place, it also works now in 4k. So it’s more than just image stabilization in 4k, it’s all around better image stabilization that also works in 4k.
The biggest improvement with the stabilization that I notice, it is stabilizes the rocking, or the tilting on the z-axis a lot better than the Hero5.
It’s safe to say we’re dealing with an all new sensor and image processor.
GoPro was supposed to be leaving Amberalla for a new partnership with Qualcomm of someone else like that, so that’s likely what we’re seeing in this camera.
Transfer Speeds From The GoPro To Computer
Transfer speeds for videos or photos from you GoPro Hero6 to your computer via USB-C is now insanely fast. With the GoPro Hero5 I usually got transfer speeds at 7MB/s from my camera to my computer via USB-C. I’m getting speeds of 50MB/s while using a slow Sandisk Evo card. With the Sandisk Extreme Pro I can get 50-60MB/s.
This is a huge improvement and the slow transfer speeds was something I always hated about the GoPro Hero5.
A lot has improved here. User interface is a bit more responsive, it’s also a slightly different color? I’m almost thinking the screen is adjusting based on the ambient light temperature. My rear screen on my GoPro Hero5 was also a little more blue, where as this Hero6 seems to change around, sometimes more green, sometimes more tungsten. At night it’s always more tungsten.
The screen all around looks crisper and brighter on the Hero6 and all around just looks better.
When you finish a recording the camera refreshes significantly faster on the Hero6 compared to the Hero5. It’s almost instantaneous where as the Hero 5 needs to wait probably one to two seconds before you can start recording again.
When shooting regular RAW photos, the Hero6 for some reason takes a fraction of a second longer vs the Hero5 in low light, it’s quicker in full light.
When shooting burst photography the Hero 6 refreshes significantly faster.
You now have the option for 5GHz wifi connections for better bandwidth.
Boot Up Time
When turning on both cameras at the exact time, the Hero6 lags behind the Hero5 just slightly. However, if you cold start into video (QuickCapture), in other words, you push the record button to start the camera and start recording instead of turning on the camera and recording, the Hero6 is a good couple seconds faster.
Better Compatibility With Micro SD Memory Cards
Yep, my micro Sandisk Extreme Pro works flawlessly now. No more corrupted files from using wrong memory cards.
I’ll add all this to my GoPro Hero6 and GoPro Hero5 Memory Card Tips as I continue to investigate. For now stick with the recommended cards.
Higher Data Rate With Video
They improved the video just slightly from what I can see. With the GoPro Hero5 I would top out at a data rate of 60Mbit/s. On the Hero6 I can get about 66Mbit/s. I noticing skin tones are pretty funky on the Hero6 currently.
With the new H265 high speed codec I can even get higher bit rates of about 85Mbit/s. See more on GoPro Hero6 memory card and HEVC record settings.
I remember Nick Woodman saying they were going to work on getting better colors, but in terms of skin tone, I think it’s a step back. We’ll see if they patch it later. GoPro is usually really good at putting out nice firmware upgrades. I’ll have to do some more testing on this one and I’ll update as I go.
This isn’t really GoPro Hero6 specific, but GoPro has been updating all their accessories to be compatible with their quick release system. So they have a few new items with these quick releases built-in, like the new hand grip. You can see all the accessories new and old in my guide to GoPro accessories.
What The GoPro Hero6 Is Still Missing
The Hero6 is a pretty nice camera that does just about everything I could want, except a few. Here are a list of some features still missing from the GoPro Hero6.
Exposure Bracketing – This one is a no brainer and it’s still not available in the camera. Exposure bracketing in the GoPro would allow me to shoot three shots at different exposures, usually +-1EV like DJI does, but I personally would prefer +-2. Or the camera should give us options. This would allow us and drone shooters to shoot proper landscape and HDR photography. There is an HDR mode, but that’s in JPEG only and we really have no control over what the camera is doing here. If we could shoot bracketed photos in night mode, a whole new world of possibilities would open up for landscape photography.
Burst Photography – It’s already build into the camera but with limited options. I’m not sure if they could do this, but it would be cool if the GoPro could burst as long as you held down the shutter button or until the buffer was full. Even my iPhone does this.
GoPro Hero5 vs GoPro Hero6 | Bottom Line
If you’re on the fence about which one to buy, the Hero6 is significantly better. You notice it in every way. It feels like more than just a 1 year jump in performance. This new GoPro has really just bitch slapped the competition.
If anyone says the new improvements in the Hero6 are boring or insignificant, they simply have no idea what they are talking about.
Now all GoPro needs to do is add a one button Proxy Generator to the GoPro Quik app so I can actually edit my 4k footage offline on my older computers. Common GoPro Premiere does it!
GoPro Hero6 Sample Photos
I haven’t had the Hero6 for very long but here are a few sample photos to look at. It’s a pretty fun camera to shoot photography with and the results are pretty impressive.
To process these shots, I used Adobe Lightroom and Macphun Luminar. It seems GoPro RAW files play nice with other photo editing software finally.