Confession: I love my iPhone. I use it for everything — texting, emailing, surfing Instagram, checking the weather in Zimbabwe, you name it. But I would say it chiefly functions as my camera, literally capturing thousands of images of myself and my family every year. Do I use my phone as an actual telephone? Rarely. Because I’m too busy taking pictures to actually want to speak to someone!
So, the idea of investing in an additional camera was, well, not one that I embraced. But then I happened upon images and videos taken on a GoPro device, and let me tell you that once you see this over-the-top, action-packed footage, you can’t get it out of your head. Crisp and clear, the gorgeous shots are the ones you’d end up deleting off your smartphone because they would look like crap. You know the ones — when you’re whitewater rafting in Argentina, jumping out of an airplane over the French Alps or dirt biking in the Sahara.
Just kidding, I’m not doing any of that with my iPhone … because that sh*t’s expensive, yo! It’s not going anywhere near water, or any activity that might prove risky.
Enter: GoPro. Since the brand was founded in 2002 it’s been synonymous with outrageous adventures. (Wakeboarding! Windsurfing! Canyoning!) But, alas, none of those really rad activities are relevant to my life. As a mom to four kids, my days are spent keeping it real … at the town pool. Luckily for us non-thrill-seeking pedestrians, GoPro’s advanced technology is just at home in our backyards as it is kayaking the fjords of Norway. Yep, it can film your dad cannonballing off the family diving board just as well as it can capture a hike up Machu Picchu. The key similarity between these two activities — however vastly different they are — is that neither are places you’d want to bring your beloved smartphone.
I’ve been tinkering around with GoPro’s latest camera, the Hero6, for a few weeks now and there are lots of reasons why it’s becoming my favorite gadget, which I've summed up for you here.
1. Quality Footage
First and foremost, the photo and video clarity is off the charts. Not to bore you with specs, but the big difference between Hero6 and its predecessor Hero5 is the fact that it’s churning out higher quality footage (specifically, 4k resolution at 60 frames per second) in a much more stable manner. Whereas owners of previous iterations had to purchase an additional stabilizing accessory, the Hero6 has an internal stabilization feature on the menu that takes the shake out of your footage. Which is hugely helpful if you’re trying to film as you bike down a rocky path … or if you’re a dad attempting to capture your son's graduation while simultaneously sobbing.
2. Voice Control
Also great is the camera’s voice control. “GoPro, turn on.” I kid you not, it’s really that easy. Once activated, voice controls can be used to tell the camera to turn on, turn off, start recording, take a photo, shoot bursts, start a time lapse video and more. The GoPro team gets that if you’re using the camera to the best of its ability — say, while shredding at Whistler … with snow gloves on — then being able to speak commands to the camera is incredibly useful. I found the feature invaluable while immersed in water filming my kids on a sunny day at the aforementioned town pool. Squinting and covered in sunscreen, turning the camera on and choosing the right setting would have been taxing. Commanding the camera to take a video, however, was easy peasy.
3. Mount It Anywhere
Hero6’s vast number of mounting options is what elevates the entire GoPro experience. With dozens of mounts available, the camera can be attached to your head, chest, wrist … really anywhere you can strap it. And that’s just our bodies. Suction a mount to your car’s dash board, attach one to your kayak’s oar, clamp it to a steet sign as you skateboard by. The options are literally limitless in what you can shoot and how you can shoot it thanks to the worry of damaging the device being eliminated.
Or you can be like Beyonce and just opt to shoot a music video on a GoPro … like she did with 7/11, which has since garnered more than 467 million views.
4. Bada$$ Apps
What has really sealed the deal for me — besides wanting to copy everything Queen Bey does — are the two proprietary apps that sync up to the Hero6. First, the GoPro app connects to your camera and pulls the most recent videos and photos, giving you a bigger screen to edit/approve/delete/share your collection from. The second app from GoPro is Quik, which is actually free and works with all photos and videos (Read: You don’t have to own a GoPro to download and use this editing tool!). The highlight of Quik is a crazy amazing editing feature dubbed QuikStories that uses GPS, face detection and audio to identify the best clips and splice them all together into a cohesive video montage set to music. Upon downloading Quik, the app immediately proffered up an edit of photos and videos from my family’s trip to Massachusetts last summer. Comprised of 30 or so images and set to a reggae beach song, the video brought tears to this mom’s sentimental eyes. Attempting to do this myself would have taken me HOURS. And editing the video — swapping out the soundtrack, adding photos or videos or deleting them — can be done in minutes.
Another example: After my day at the pool, I came home, connected my apps to my camera and about a minute later QuikStories had created a video of my daughter posing underwater, my son barreling down water slides and my other son clinging to the wall of the pool, petrified. After tweaking the title (QuickStories creates one for you, but it can be edited), the video can then be shared to Instagram (your stories or your feed), Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter or Pinterest or emailed or texted.
5. It's Pervasive
My ultimate message here is that while the GoPro Hero6 won’t ever replace your smartphone’s camera, it will absolutely go more places than your smartphone can — whether it’s because it’s waterproof and kid-proof, or because it can capture some pretty ridiculous angles thanks to every mount possible. We don’t want to put our precious smartphones in harms way, but we also don’t want to miss out on all the awesome footage possibility our lives offer up on the daily. The Hero6 is your answer, and at $399, it’s a steal. If you want to spend less, consider the Hero5 or Hero (still excellent cameras that simply offer less shooting features) or if you’re a pro who’s looking for something more technical, the Fusion is the option for you.
Shop all of the GoPro cameras below, alongside my favorite mounting options.
GoPro Hero Session
GoPro The Handler Floating Hand Grip
GoPro Sleeve & Lanyard
Suction Cup Mount
GoPro Head Strap + QuickClip
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