GoPro HERO (2018) vs HERO6 Black

The HERO (2018) and the HERO6 Black look the same, but there are lots of differences in features and capabilities. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how they compare.
GoPro HERO vs HERO6 Black
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GoPro has now released a new camera called the HERO, bringing the current lineup to five cameras and continuing a confusing naming system. In the current range, there’s the HERO, HERO Session, HERO5 Session, HERO6 Black, and Fusion. To make things even more confusing, you can also still find the HERO5 Black available (and I have a detailed comparison between the HERO and HERO5 Black here).

GoPro HERO10 Deals

GoPro has released the HERO10 Black. The MSRP is $499, but GoPro is currently running some great deals:

And with the new model out, it's a great time to pick up a deal on the HERO9 Black. You can get it for $349 with a free spare battery, a 32GB SD card, and a 1-year GoPro subscription. More details here.

The HERO and the HERO6 Black look identical on the outside. But under the hood, they’re quite different. You’ll never see it–at least, not unless something goes horribly wrong–but they have different chips inside. The HERO6 Black is the first GoPro to use a chip they developed in-house, known as the GP1. It’s laying the foundation for future features and models. The HERO uses an older, third-party chip. And that difference explains why a handful of the HERO’s features seem more in line with older models like the HERO5 Black. In fact, there’s quite a lot about the HERO to suggest that it’s fundamentally a repurposed and rebadged HERO5 Black with a feature set that has been limited by the firmware. It’s a strategy GoPro has done before, such as the HERO4 Session becoming the HERO Session.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, some users have managed to hack the HERO (2018)’s firmware to replace it with the firmware from a HERO5 Black. It confirms that the HERO (2018) is a rebranded HERO5 Black with more limited firmware restricting the camera’s features.

The HERO and the HERO6 Black also happen to represent the extreme ends of GoPro’s standard lineup.1 The HERO is their new entry-level camera and has a stripped-down feature set. The HERO6 Black is the flagship model with all the bells and whistles.

They come at a very different price points. GoPro has given the HERO an MSRP of $199.99, while they’ve priced the MSRP of the HERO6 Black at $399.99. So not every user is going to be choosing directly between these two models. But if you are trying to choose between them, or if you’re just wondering how they’re different, here’s a rundown of how the HERO compares with the HERO6 Black.

Design & Build

Both of these cameras use the same case. It’s the standard, rectangular box that most GoPros have been, as distinct from the Session models that have a smaller cube-like body. So, from the outside, the HERO (2018) and HERO6 Black look identical aside from the subtle model number printed on the side. They’re the same size and weight, and they have the same buttons and screens and controls.

GoPro HERO vs HERO6 Black
At left is the GoPro HERO (2018 version). At right is the GoPro HERO6 Black.
GoPro HERO vs HERO6 Black
At left is the GoPro HERO (2018 version). At right is the GoPro HERO6 Black.
GoPro HERO vs HERO6 Black
At left is the GoPro HERO (2018 version). At right is the GoPro HERO6 Black.

Waterproof. Both the HERO (2018) and the HERO6 Black are waterproof without the need for an external housing. They’re rated down to the pressures of 10 meters (33 feet). If you need to your GoPro deeper than that, you’ll want to get a dedicated dive housing. The one that fits these models is the Super Suit.

Back Screen. They both have an LCD screen on the back that gives you touch control as well as being used for playback and live view. There are some very minor tweaks to the look of the menu system, but they’re fundamentally the same.

GoPro HERO vs HERO6 Black
At left is the GoPro HERO (2018 version). At right is the GoPro HERO6 Black.

HERO (2018) vs HERO6 Black: Shooting Video

Shooting video is the area where there are the biggest differences between these models. The HERO6 Black has an extensive range of resolutions and framerates available, all the way up to high-end video modes like 4K60 and 1080p240.

The HERO has a much, much-reduced range of video modes. There’s no 4K or 2.7K option; you’re restricted only to 1080p or 1440p.

Here’s the full chart comparing the available video modes.

ModeFPSDimensionsHERO6 BlackHERO (2018)
4K603840x2160
503840x2160
303840x2160
253840x2160
243840x2160
4K 4:3304000x3000
254000x3000
244000x3000
2.7K1202704x1520
1002704x1520
602704x1520
502704x1520
302704x1520
252704x1520
242704x1520
2.7K 4:3602704x2028
502704x2028
302704x2028
252704x2028
242704x2028
1440601920x1440
501920x1440
301920x1440
251920x1440
241920x1440
10802401920x1080
2001920x1080
1201920x1080
1001920x1080
601920x1080
501920x1080
301920x1080
251920x1080
241920x1080
720601280x720
501280x720

Stabilization. Both cameras have the option to enable the built-in software stabilization to get smoother footage. Also known as EIS, you can see some examples of it in action here.

The HERO uses an older version (same as in the HERO5 models) that works quite well but not as well as the newer version used in the HERO6 Black. You can see some side-by-side examples here.

Fields of Vision / FOV. The HERO offers three fields of vision, or FOV, when shooting video, although they’re not all available in all shooting modes. The default is the distinctive Wide look with fisheye distortion that provides that immersive look we’re used to. When shooting in 1080p, you can also choose a Medium or Narrow FOV. Depending on how you look at it, these are crops of digital zooms (not optical zooms). You can see some examples here.

The FOVs available on the HERO6 Black are different. The Wide mode is basically the same, but there’s also a SuperView mode (even wider) and a Linear FOV, which mostly corrects for the fisheye distortion to convert it to a more natural perspective. The Linear FOV is different to the Medium and Narrow FOVs on the HERO in that it’s a calculated correction rather than a simple crop.

Bitrates. The maximum video bitrate used on the HERO is 45 Mbps. The maximum bitrate on the HERO6 Black is 78 Mbps. Both are high enough to warrant some care in choosing a fast SD card.

Video Formats. The HERO produces H.264 MP4 video files exclusively.

Most of the video modes on the HERO6 Black also produce H.264 MP4 files, but some of the very high-end video modes on that camera use the newer and more efficient H.265 codec, which is also sometimes known as HEVC (for High-Efficiency Video Coding).

Zoom. The HERO6 Black has a digital zoom feature that you can control from the back screen. It’s not an optical zoom, so there are limits to how useful it is, but it’s there. The HERO doesn’t have the zoom feature.

Looping. The HERO6 Black has a looping feature that records for an interval and lets you select which section to keep. The HERO doesn’t have looping.

Video + Photo. One of the odd omissions from the HERO6 Black was the ability to take still photos while shooting video. It was something the HERO5 Black could do, but it’s replacement couldn’t. It still can’t do it, but the HERO can. It’s one of the only areas where the HERO can do something the HERO6 Black can’t.

HERO (2018) vs. HERO6 Black: Photos

The photo modes of the two models are quite similar. I have a more in-depth post on the photo modes on the GoPro HERO6 Black here.

[caption id="attachment_21388" align="aligncenter" width="678"]GoPro HERO6 Black GoPro HERO6 Black.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_21389" align="aligncenter" width="678"]GoPro HERO (2018) GoPro HERO (2018).[/caption]

Resolution. The photos from the HERO are a little smaller (10 MP vs. 12 MP). In practical terms, that comes to:

HERO (2018): 3648 x 2736 pixels
HERO6 Black: 4000 x 3000 pixels

Here’s a visual representation of how those resolutions compare. You can click on the image to see it full-size.

Image Formats. Both models capture images in the standard JPG format. The HERO6 Black also lets you capture still images in GoPro’s RAW format that have the file extension of .gpr (and is based on Adobe’s DNG format). By making available much more of the information captured by the sensor, the RAW format allows for potentially higher image quality, but the files aren’t easily shareable directly and need to be processed through an image editing app first. A further complication is that there aren’t many apps that can work with .gpr files (I’ve posted a workaround here).

Fields of View. By default, the images are captured in that distinctive fisheye look. On both cameras, that’s known as the Wide FOV. You can also choose to mitigate that fisheye look with different FOVs that look less distorted. It’s important to note, though, that these corrections are applied in camera by software algorithms; they’re not applied optically through the lens.

The FOV options are a bit different on each camera. On the HERO, you can choose from Wide, Medium, and Narrow FOVs. Those are essentially crops rather than corrections.

On the HERO6 Black, you can choose from Wide and Linear; Linear FOV uses software to correct the distortion (you can see some practical examples here). This mode can be especially useful when using the camera mounted on a drone.

Night Photo. The HERO6 Black has a special photo mode that’s designed for low-light shooting such as at night. It leaves the shutter open longer to allow more light in. The HERO doesn’t have this night mode.

Wide Dynamic Range vs. High Dynamic Range. Both models have a mode that is designed to compensate for high dynamic range images and to bring out details in the highlights and shadows. But the modes are not the same.

The HERO uses what GoPro calls WDR, or wide dynamic range. It’s the older method that was used on the HERO5 models. The HERO6 Black uses a newer version that they refer to as the High Dynamic Range (or HDR) mode. I’ve found the newer HDR mode to work better than the older WDR mode, but both offer some degree of highlight and shadow detail recovery. You can find some side-by-side comparisons here.

Zoom. The HERO6 Black has a digital zoom feature. It’s not a true optical zoom–it’s more like a glorified crop–so its a bit limited in its usefulness. The HERO doesn’t have the zoom at all.

Protune. Protune is GoPro’s name for extra settings that amount to an expert mode that lets you override or fine-tune parameters for various settings.

The HERO doesn’t have any Protune options. You mostly have to stick to fully automatic mode.

The HERO6 Black has several Protune settings for still images. They include options for exerting some manual control over the shutter, exposure compensation, setting maximum and minimum ISO, and adjusting white balance, sharpness, and color mode. You can find a more in-depth post on the Protune options of the GoPro HERO6 Black here.

Timelapse. Both cameras have timelapse modes, and on both, you can choose timelapse photo mode (which shoots a series of still images that you can compile into a video later using software) or timelapse video mode (where the compiling is done in the camera itself).

But the HERO’s timelapse options are much more limited. There’s no control over one of the crucial elements of a timelapse, the interval–it’s a standard 0.5 second interval. And in the timelapse video mode, you’re limited to 1080p output.

With the HERO6 Black, you have much more granular control over the timelapse settings. You can choose from 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 second intervals. You can also specify the field of view, image format (in timelapse photo mode), and Protune options.

The HERO6 Black also has a special night lapse mode that leaves the shutter open longer to let more light in when shooting in low-light situations. The HERO doesn’t have night lapse mode.

Burst Mode. Burst mode is a special still images mode that captures a high-speed sequence of images. It can be especially useful for capturing fast action and gives you more chances to get the shot you want when the timing is critical.

Both cameras have burst mode, but the HERO’s options are limited to 10 photos in 1 second. With the HERO6 Black, you get more options, including, faster, slower, and longer sequences as well as an auto burst mode.

HERO (2018) vs. HERO6 Black: Other Key Features

Wireless. Both cameras have built-in wireless features, so you can control the camera remotely (with the smartphone app or a remote) as well as download photos and videos to use in Smartphone apps like GoPro’s Quik app.

Voice Control. Both of these cameras offer voice control. When it’s enabled, you can speak some basic command to do things like start and stop recording or change the shooting mode.

One area where they’re different, though, is that the HERO6 Black offers Wake on Voice. Just like it sounds, it can turn the camera on with a voice command when the camera is powered off. It’s not available on the HERO.

Audio. Both cameras have built-in microphones. You can also plug in an external microphone (or another audio accessory) into the HERO6 Black (using a mic adapter), but you can’t do that with the HERO.

The HERO6 Black can also record a higher quality WAV audio file separately from the video file. The HERO’s audio is standard compressed audio embedded in the video file.

GoPro HERO vs HERO6 Black
At left is the GoPro HERO (2018 version). At right is the GoPro HERO6 Black.

GPS. The HERO6 Black has GPS and other metadata that can be used for telemetry. The HERO doesn’t.

HERO (2018) vs. HERO6 Black: Batteries & Battery Life

Both take the same batteries. It’s also the same type of battery used by the HERO5 Black.

When you’re using the same settings, the battery life is much the same between them, give or take. But the HERO doesn’t have the high-end video modes that drain the battery more quickly, so in day-to-day shooting, you’re more likely to get slightly better battery life out of the HERO simply because you’re limited to video modes that don’t use quite so much juice. But neither of them have what you’d call stellar battery life, and the battery life is highly dependent on what settings you’re using and how you’re using the camera (i.e. whether you’re using the back screen a lot), and even environmental factors like temperature (lithium batteries don’t work well in very cold conditions). So I always make sure to have spare batteries  on hand.

Both have a [USB-C connection](GoPro has now released a new camera called the HERO, bringing the current lineup to five cameras and continuing a confusing naming system. Because this isn’t the first time there’s been a GoPro HERO. There was an earlier one released in 2014. And well before that, there was the HD HERO and another HERO that’s now usually referred to as the Standard Def. HERO. And let’s not forget the HERO+ and the HERO+ LCD. With all of those HEROs, you’ll often see the newest version called the HERO (2018) to make it clear which version is being referred to, and that’s the model I’m focusing on here.

The HERO (2018) is the latest addition to GoPro’s current lineup, which also includes the HERO Session, HERO5 Session, HERO6 Black, and Fusion. I’ve previously posted a detailed side-by-side comparison between the HERO (2018) and the HERO6 Black.

But there’s also another model that’s remarkably similar and some key respects. It’s the older HERO5 Black. The HERO5 Black has been superseded by the newer HERO6 Black, but since it’s readily available and you can find some good deals on it that brings it into the same ballpark as the HERO, I thought it might be useful to provide a detailed side-by-side comparison in case anyone is trying to choose between them.

The HERO and the HERO5 Black look identical on the outside. And they share quite a lot of similarities under the hood too. But there are also key differences. In broad strokes, the HERO5 Black can do everything the HERO can do, and quite a lot more besides.

The HERO (2018) is designed as the simplified, entry-level camera. The HERO5 Black was, before the HERO6 Black came along, GoPro’s flagship camera, and it’s packed with the kinds of bells and whistles that comes with that territory. But there’s quite a lot about the HERO to suggest that it’s fundamentally a repurposed and rebadged HERO5 Black with a feature set that’s artificially limited by the firmware.

After I originally posted this, some users figured out ways to hack the firmware of their HERO (2018) camera to turn it into a fully functional HERO5 Black. Which confirms my original suspicion that the only difference is in the camera’s firmware, which on the HERO (2018) provides a more limited set of features. It’s something GoPro disapproves of, and it’s not something I’m going to explain how to do here, but you can find instructions elsewhere on the web.

Design and Build

They use the same case, so from the outside, they look identical. You have to look very closely to see the subtle model name printed on the side. They’re the same size and weight. They have the same buttons and screens and controls.

GoPro HERO vs HERO6 Black vs HERO5 Black
From left to right: GoPro HERO, HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black.
GoPro HERO vs HERO6 Black vs HERO5 Black
From left to right: GoPro HERO, HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black.

Waterproof. They’re both waterproof without the need for a separate housing, rated down to 33 feet (10 meters). If you need to go deeper than that, both are compatible with the same Super Suit dive housing.

Back Screen. They both have an LCD screen on the back that gives you touch control as well as being used for playback and live view.

HERO5 Black vs HERO (2018): Video

Shooting video is the area where there are the biggest differences between these models. The HERO5 Black has an extensive range of video resolutions and framerates available, all the way up to high-end video modes like 4K30 and 1080p120.

The HERO (2018)’s video options are much slimmer. You can shoot in either 1080p or 1440p up to a maximum of 60 fps. The HERO doesn’t shoot 4K or 2.7K video.

Here’s the full chart comparing the available video modes.

ResolutionFPSFOVDimensionsGoPro HERO5 BlackGoPro HERO (2018)
4K30Wide3840x2160
25Wide3840x2160
24Wide3840x2160
SuperView3840x2160
2.7K60Wide2704x1520
Medium2704x1520
Linear2704x1520
50Wide2704x1520
Medium2704x1520
Linear2704x1520
48Wide2704x1520
Medium2704x1520
Linear2704x1520
30SuperView2704x1520
Wide2704x1520
Medium2704x1520
Linear2704x1520
25SuperView2704x1520
Wide2704x1520
Medium2704x1520
Linear2704x1520
24Wide2704x1520
Medium2704x1520
Linear2704x1520
2.7K 4:330Wide2704x2028
25Wide2704x2028
1440p80Wide1920x1440
60Wide1920x1440
50Wide1920x1440
48Wide1920x1440
30Wide1920x1440
25Wide1920x1440
24Wide1920x1440
1080p120Wide1920x1080
Narrow1920x1080
90Wide1920x1080
80SuperView1920x1080
60SuperView1920x1080
Wide1920x1080
Medium1920x1080
Linear1920x1080
Narrow1920x1080
50SuperView1920x1080
Wide1920x1080
Medium1920x1080
Linear1920x1080
Narrow1920x1080
48SuperView1920x1080
Wide1920x1080
Medium1920x1080
Linear1920x1080
Narrow1920x1080
30SuperView1920x1080
Wide1920x1080
Medium1920x1080
Linear1920x1080
Narrow1920x1080
25SuperView1920x1080
Wide1920x1080
Medium1920x1080
Linear1920x1080
Narrow1920x1080
24SuperView1920x1080
Wide1920x1080
Medium1920x1080
Linear1920x1080
Narrow1920x1080
960p120Wide1280x960
60Wide1280x960
50Wide1280x960
720p240Narrow*1280x720
120SuperView1280x720
Wide1280x720
Medium1280x720
Narrow1280x720
100SuperView1280x720
60SuperView1280x720
Wide1280x720
Medium1280x720
Narrow1280x720
50SuperView1280x720
Wide1280x720
Medium1280x720
Narrow1280x720
30Wide1280x720
Medium1280x720
Narrow1280x720
25Wide1280x720
Medium1280x720
Narrow1280x720
480p240Wide848x480

Stabilization. Both cameras have the option to enable the built-in software stabilization to get smoother footage. Also known as EIS, you can see some practical examples of it in action here.

Stabilization isn’t available in all the video modes of the HERO5 Black. You can see which modes it’s available in here. On the HERO, the stabilization is available in all of its video modes.

When using the stabilization option, you do get a very slight cropping of the available view.

Fields of Vision / FOV. The HERO offers three fields of vision, or FOV, when shooting video, although they’re not all available in all shooting modes. The default is the distinctive Wide look with fisheye distortion that provides that immersive look we’re used to. When shooting in 1080p, you can also choose a Medium or Narrow FOV. Depending on how you look at it, these are crops of digital zooms (not optical zooms). You can see some examples here

The FOVs available on the HERO5 Black overlap, but there are also some extra options. It also has Wide, Medium, and Narrow FOVs, but there’s also a SuperView mode (even wider) and a Linear FOV, which mostly corrects for the fisheye distortion to convert it to a more natural perspective (particularly useful when filming from drones). The Linear FOV is different to the Medium and Narrow FOVs in that it’s a calculated correction applied by the camera’s software rather than a simple crop.

Bitrates. The maximum bitrate used (currently) on the HERO (2018) is 45 Mbps.1 The maximum bitrate on the HERO5 Black is 60 Mbps. Both are high enough to warrant some care in choosing an SD card that’s fast enough.

Video Formats. Both cameras produce MP4 video files encoded with the widely used H.264 codec.

Looping. The HERO5 Black has a looping feature that records for an interval and lets you select which section to keep. The HERO doesn’t have looping.

Video+Photo. The HERO5 Black has the ability to capture still images while simultaneously recording video. The HERO (2018) doesn’t.

HERO (2018) vs. HERO5 Black: Photos

The photo modes of the two models are quite similar. I have a more in-depth post on the photo modes on the GoPro HERO5 Black here.


[caption id="attachment_21386" align="aligncenter" width="678"]GoPro HERO (2018) GoPro HERO (2018).[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_21385" align="aligncenter" width="678"]GoPro HERO5 Black GoPro HERO5 Black.[/caption]

Resolution. At 10MP (megapixels), the photos taken with the HERO are a little smaller than the 12MP images from the HERO5 Black. In pixel dimensions, that comes to:

HERO (2018): 3648 x 2736 pixels
HERO5 Black: 4000 x 3000 pixels

Here’s a visual representation of how those resolutions compare. You can click on the image to see it full-size.

Image Formats. Both models capture images in the standard JPG format. The HERO5 Black also lets you capture still images in GoPro’s RAW format that have the file extension of .gpr. By making available much more of the information captured by the sensor, the RAW format allows for potentially higher image quality, but the files aren’t easily shareable directly and need to be processed through an image editing app first.

Fields of View. By default, the images are captured in that distinctive fisheye look. On both cameras, that’s known as the Wide FOV. You can also choose to mitigate that fisheye look with different FOVs that look less distorted. It’s important to note, though, that these corrections are applied in camera by software algorithms; they’re not applied optically through the lens.

The FOV options are a bit different on each camera. On the HERO, you can choose from Wide, Medium, and Narrow FOVs. Those are essentially crops rather than corrections. Or, put another way, the result is like a digital zoom (not an optical zoom).

On the HERO5 Black, you also have Wide, Medium, and Narrow FOVs, but there’s also an extra one: Linear. The Linear FOV uses software to correct the distortion that you can see when straight lines get that strong curve. You can see some practical examples here. This mode can be especially useful when using the camera mounted on a drone, but it’s also useful if you just don’t want that bulging fisheye look.

Night Photo. The HERO5 Black has a special photo mode that’s designed for low-light shooting such as at night. It leaves the shutter open longer to allow more light in. The HERO doesn’t have this night mode.

Wide Dynamic Range. Both models have a mode that is designed to bring out details in the highlights and shadows.

GoPro calls it WDR, for wide dynamic range. I’m a bit ambivalent on the results it gives, and it doesn’t work as well as the better HDR mode in the HERO6 models, but it does recover some detail in shadows and highlights. You can find some side-by-side comparisons here.

Protune. Protune is GoPro’s name for extra settings that amount to an expert mode that lets you override or fine-tune parameters for various settings.

The HERO doesn’t have any Protune options. You mostly have to stick to fully automatic mode.

The HERO5 Black has several Protune settings for still images. They include options for exerting some manual control over the shutter, exposure compensation, setting maximum and minimum ISO, and adjusting white balance, sharpness, and color mode.

Timelapse. Both cameras have time lapse modes, and on both, you can choose time lapse photo mode (which shoots a series of still images that you can compile into a video later using software) or time lapse video mode (where the compiling is done in the camera itself).

But the HERO’s time lapse options are much more limited. There’s no control over one of the crucial elements of a time lapse, the interval–it’s a standard 0.5-second interval. And in the time lapse video mode, you’re limited to 1080p output.

With the HERO5 Black, you have much more granular control over the time lapse settings. You can choose from 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 second intervals. You can also specify the field of view, image format (in time lapse photo mode), and Protune options.

The HERO5 Black also has a special variation on the time lapse photo mode that’s known as night lapse mode. It leaves the shutter open longer to let more light in when shooting in low-light situations. The HERO doesn’t have night lapse mode.

Burst Mode. Burst mode is a special still images mode that captures a high-speed sequence of images. It can be especially useful for capturing fast action and gives you more chances to get the shot you want when the timing is critical.

Both cameras have burst mode, but the HERO’s options are limited to 10 photos in 1 second. With the HERO5 Black, you get more options, including, faster, slower, and longer sequences (30/1 (30 photos in 1 second), 30/2, 30/3, 30/6, 10/1, 10/2, 10/3, 5/1, and 3/1).

Continuous Photo. The HERO5 Black has a continuous photo mode; the HERO doesn’t. This is similar to burst mode in that it takes a quick series of shots, but it functions a little differently. In burst mode, you first switch to that shooting mode and then hit the shutter once. It will then shoot the full sequence that you’ve designated. Continuous photo mode works in the regular photo mode. You hold down the shutter, and it will keep shooting until you release the shutter. In continuous photo mode, the HERO5 Black takes four photos per second up to a maximum of 30 photos.

HERO (2018) vs. HERO5 Black: Other Key Features

Wireless. Both cameras have built-in wireless features, so you can control the camera remotely (with the smartphone app or a remote) as well as download photos and videos to use in Smartphone apps like GoPro’s Quik app. When set up with a GoPro Plus Subscription, both cameras can automatically upload to the cloud.

Voice Control. Both of these cameras offer voice control. When it’s enabled, you can speak some basic command to do things like start and stop recording or change the shooting mode.

Audio. Both cameras have three built-in microphones. You can also plug in an external microphone (or another audio accessory) into the HERO5 Black (using a mic adapter), but you can’t do that with the HERO.

The HERO5 Black can also record a higher quality WAV audio file separately from the video file. The HERO’s audio is standard compressed audio embedded in the video file.

GPS. The HERO5 Black has GPS and other metadata that can be used for telemetry. The HERO doesn’t.

HERO (2018) vs. HERO5 Black: Batteries & Battery Life

Both take the same batteries. It’s also the same type of battery used by the HERO6 Black.

When you’re using the same settings, the battery life is much the same between them, give or take. But the HERO doesn’t have the high-end video modes that drain the battery more quickly, so in day-to-day shooting, you’re more likely to get slightly better battery life out of the HERO simply because you’re limited to video modes that don’t use quite so much juice. But the battery life on both of them is likely to leave you underwhelmed, which is why I always make sure to have spare batteries on hand.

Both have a USB-C connection, so they’re compatible with the SuperCharger for fast charging.

Accessories

For the most part, they’re compatible with the same accessories. They use the same standard GoPro mounting system, are the same size and shape so can use the same housings and frames, and they have the same ports.

There are some important exceptions, however.

  • External mics.The HERO5 Black will take external microphones, while the HERO won’t.
  • Karma Drone and Karma Grip. The HERO is not compatible with the controls on the Karma drone or grip.
  • GoPro Remotes. The HERO is not compatible with any of GoPro’s remotes, including the REMO or the Smart Remote.

HERO (2018) vs HERO5 Black: Which Is Better?

The HERO5 Black is a better camera. It can do everything the HERO can do and quite a lot more. So if you can find a good deal on the HERO5 Black that brings it within striking distance price-wise of the HERO, it’s hard to think of a good reason not to go with that.

The HERO can’t do anything the HERO5 Black doesn’t also do, but it does have the virtue of simplicity. If you just want to keep things simple and don’t need 4K video or any of the other higher-end features of the Black range, then the HERO can be appealing.

Where to Find Them

I buy most of my gear at Amazon and B&H Photo.

GoPro HERO (2018): Amazon | B&H Photo

GoPro HERO5 Black: Amazon | B&H Photo

Since these are both now technically discontinued models, they’ll become harder to find new. But there’s a good chance of picking up used copies–I buy most of my used gear from KEH; you can check their current GoPro inventory here.


  1. GoPro’s own comparison chart says that the maximum bitrate on the HERO (2018) is 60 Mbps, but in my tests, I’ve not seen anything higher than 45 Mbps come out of it. It’s possible they might increase it later with a firmware update. 

), so they’re compatible with the SuperCharger.

Accessories

For the most part, they’re compatible with the same accessories. They use the same standard GoPro mounting system, are the same size and shape so can use the same housings and frames, and they have the same ports.

There are some exceptions, however. The HERO6 Black will take external microphones, while the HERO won’t. And the HERO is not compatible with the controls on the Karma drone or grip.

There are some important exceptions, however.

  • __External mics.__The HERO6 Black will take external microphones, while the HERO won’t.
  • Karma Drone and Karma Grip. The HERO is not compatible with the controls on the Karma drone or grip.
  • GoPro Remotes. The HERO is not compatible with any of GoPro’s remotes, including the REMO or the Smart Remote.

HERO (2018) vs HERO6 Black: Which Is Better?

The HERO6 Black is a better camera. It has many more features. But it’s also priced considerably higher, which is itself a deciding factor in many cases. Because, let’s face it, budget is usually an important issue in deciding which to buy.

Taking price out of it, the HERO is designed as a simplified, entry-level camera. It’s a good option for people who want a rugged, waterproof camera to capture video and photos to share online but aren’t looking to dive deeply into video editing or overly concerned about getting the best possible quality. If you’re looking for a camera to take with you on family holidays or to share clips on Youtube, the HERO is probably more than enough for what you need.

The HERO6 Black is a more serious camera, with a price to match. It’s a better option for people who need things like 4K video, looking to do serious slow motion, want better sound quality by adding an external microphone, plan to do a lot of shooting in low light, or just want more control over the shooting options. Used properly, those extra features and settings can result in better quality. But they’re also features that, if you’re not using them, can also be overkill.

So there’s no one-size-fits-all answer as to which is best. At such different price points, it’s really an apples-to-oranges comparison. It really depends on what you plan to use it for and which features are important to you.

Where to Find Them

GoPro HERO (2018): Amazon | B&H Photo

GoPro HERO6 Black: Amazon | B&H Photo

Both of these models are discontinued. For now, you can still find them in stores new, but as they become harder to find a better bet might be picking them up used. I buy most of my used gear from KEH; you can check their current GoPro inventory here.


  1. There’s also the GoPro Fusion, but that’s quite a different kind of camera. 
GoPro Hero — Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with Touch...
  • 2 inch touch screen: Quickly switch between modes, frame; The perfect shot and check out your footage on...
  • Waterproof + durable built tough and waterproof down to 33 feet (10 meter), Hero goes where your...
GoPro HERO6 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with...
  • HERO6 black automatically sends your footage to your phone where the app turns it into a quik story an...
  • With 4k60 and 1080p240 video, HERO6 black delivers 2x the performance compared to HERO5 black with an all...

GoPro HERO6 Black vs HERO (2018) Compared

 HERO (2018)HERO6 Black

VIDEO SPECS

Resolution / Max fps1440p / 60
1080p / 60
4K / 60
4K (4:3) / 30
2.7K / 120
1.7K (4:3) / 60
1440p / 60
1080p / 240
720p / 60
StabilizationStandardStandard
Max Bitrate45 Mb/s78 Mb/s
FOVsWide
Medium
Narrow
Wide
Medium
Linear
SuperView
File Format (Codec)MP4 (AVC / H.264)MP4 (HEVC / H.265)
MP4 (AVC / H.264)
Protune-
Digital Zoom-
Looping-
Audio TrackAACWAV + AAC
External Mic Compatibility-
HDMI Video Out

PHOTO SPECS

Max Photo Size10MP12MP
FOVsWide
Medium
Narrow
Wide
Linear
File FormatJPGRAW (.gpr)
JPG
Protune-
In-Camera ProcessingWDRHDR
Top Burst Mode10 / 130 / 1
Continuous Photo-
Night Photo-
Photo Timer-

TIME-LAPSE SPECS

Timelapse Photo
Timelapse Video
Nightlapse-

INTERFACE SPECS

Built-in Touchscreen
Front Screen
Voice Control
WiFi / Bluetooth
USB Port TypeUSB-CUSB-C

DESIGN & BUILD SPECS

Waterproof Body
Dimensions2.6 x 1.8 x 1.4" / 65 x 45 x 35 cm62.3 x 44.9 x 33 mm
Weight4.1 oz / 116 g

OTHER SPECS

Battery Type1220 mAh1220 mAh
GPS-
Memory CardRecommendationsRecommendations
* Not every feature is available in every shooting mode. As examples, video stabilization is not available in every resolution/framerate combination and the option to save RAW images is not available in burst mode.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2021-09-22 at 11:39. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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