GoPro – HEROing the Karma.

At an event yesterday, September 19th 2016, GoPro unveiled the HERO 5 line of action cameras – the HERO 5 and the HERO 5 Session – and the highly anticipated GoPro Karma Drone. GoPro founder, Nick Woodman, proudly proclaimed that the HERO 5 series of action cameras and the Karma were the products that he had envisioned to create when he founded the company 14 years ago. The new HERO lineup of cameras pack voice control, much-improved audio and video recording and an incredible amount of durability in the same compact body. On the other hand, the Karma drone is being marketed an all-in-one “life-documenting hardware solution”.

HERO 5 Black and HERO 5 Session

The HERO 5 Session and the HERO 5 Black.


On the surface, the HERO 5 Black looks very familiar to the HERO 4 Black, however GoPro has made a number of improvements that not only increase the quality of the video shot by the HERO 5 Black, but also improve the user experience. For starters, the HERO 5 Black has a 2″ inch, touchscreen display – a significant omission on the HERO 4 Black. The HERO 5 Black is also completely dust and water proof without the transparent housing that had become synonymous with GoPro cameras – an inconvenience to a lot of customers. It also has an inbuilt GPS and can also capture images in RAW – a feature that professional photographers will appreciate.

GoPro cameras are known for having muffled audio in their otherwise beautiful-looking videos, but the HERO 5 Black aims to change that preconception. It has 3 microphones on board that enable it to get a clean and crisp audio track. The camera essentially “cherry-picks” the best sound from each microphone and combines it into a brand new track.

The GoPro HERO 5.
The GoPro HERO 5.

The GoPro HERO 5 Session receives substantial updates when compared to last generation’s HERO Session. For starters, the HERO 5 Session can shoot 4K videos and capture 10MP still images, up from the HERO Session’s 1440p videos and 8MP still images.

The HERO 5 Black and the HERO 5 Session, both, add image stabilization that aims to perfectly smooth out jittery and shaky video to make for a more professional-looking video. GoPro states that the addition of stabilization makes the experience more dream-like because you see the footage as you remember it. Both the HERO 5 Black and the HERO 5 Session also add voice control that allow you to control the camera with your voice in seven different languages – English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese and Japanese. So now you can say, “GoPro take a photo” or “GoPro start/stop the video”.

GoPro also launched a new subscription-based, online suite of software tools to make editing and sharing the videos you shoot much easier. Dubbed GoPro Plus, users can access and share their uploaded footage and edit them using Quik on any device – iOS, Android and Desktop. Another feature that you get with GoPro Plus is “auto-upload”. The HERO 5 line of cameras will automatically upload all the images/videos you have captured to your GoPro cloud account whenever they are connected to WiFi if you have a GoPro Plus account.

The Quik editing suite.
The Quik editing suite.

The HERO 5 lineup of GoPro cameras will be available starting October 2nd, 2016. The HERO 5 will retail for $399 and the HERO 5 Session will retail for $299. GoPro also claims that even though they have redesigned the HERO 5 Black and the HERO 5 Session, they will work perfectly with all your existing GoPro mounts.

GoPro Karma


Alongside the HERO 5 lineup of cameras, GoPro also unrelieved the GoPro Karma. The GoPro Karma is GoPro’s entry into the drone market, however, in reality, the Karma is more than just a drone. GoPro states that it is a all-in-one “life-documenting hardware solution”.

The best feature of the GoPro Karma is that it is a drone, a handheld stabilization device and a mounted stabilization device – all in one. The Karma Stabilizer (the gimbal attached to the head of the drone) can be removed from the Karma drone and attached to the Karma Grip to convert it into a handheld stabilization mount (that can also be attached to other GoPro accessories) for your GoPro camera. Other than that, the Karma is a standard drone that can help you take stunning aerial shots.

The Karma Gimbal + Karma Grip mounted on a quad-rider's bagpack.
The Karma Gimbal + Karma Grip stabilization mount on a quad-rider’s bagpack.
The Karma Gimbal + Karma Grip being used as a handheld stabilization mount to capture shake-free video with a HERO 5 Black.

The GoPro Karma is compatible with the HERO 5 Black, the HERO 5 Session, the HERO 4 Black and the HERO 4 Silver. GoPro also bundles a lot of accessories with each Karma: they include the Karma controller, 6 propellers (2 extra), the Karma Ring, the Karma Battery and Charge, the Karma Grip and a Karma Case.

GoPro also announced the GoPro Passenger App. This app works in conjunction with the Karma controller and gets a friend view your flight and also control the GoPro mounted on the Karma.

The GoPro Passenger App in action.
The GoPro Passenger App in action.

Both, the GoPro Karma and the GoPro Passenger App will be available on October 23rd, 2016. The GoPro Karma will retail for $799 (without a camera), $999 (with a HERO 5 Session) and $1099 (with a HERO 5 Black).

The following is GoPro’s video to introduce the HERO 5 line of cameras and the Karma drone. The video is shot using the GoPro HERO 5 line of cameras and the Karma drone and showcases the quality of video that can be captured by regular consumers like you and me. To be very honest, this might be one of my favorite commercials/videos yet.

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