Photos Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black

GoPros are best known for shooting video, but cameras like the HERO5 Black can produce some fun and unique stills photos too. Here are some real-world examples.

GoPros are best known for shooting video. But they can be surprisingly good at stills photos, too. They don’t do everything the same way that more traditional cameras do, but GoPros offer opportunities for some fun and interesting shots.

Some features of the HERO5 Black really stand out when it comes to taking still photos: the ultra-wide-angle fisheye perspective; auto-everything exposure1 and fixed-focus; fast burst mode shooting; and, most importantly, they’re small size and rugged build that lets you take them pretty much anywhere.

Some of those features can be viewed as limitations or opportunities, depending on which way you approach it. The fixed ultra wide-angle lens isn’t a good choice if you’re trying to shoot traditional portraits, but it’s great for a close, immersive view or or dramatic perspectives.2 The limited manual control over exposure does definitely impose limits on what you can shoot, but the automatic settings also mean that there’s a good chance that you’ll get usable photos even from the most action-packed moments.

There are certainly some limitations you have to work with or around. Even with flagship models like the HERO5 Black, the low-light performance isn’t great. And the camera’s short battery life is a constant struggle.

Despite those negatives, cameras like the HERO5 Black can fun cameras to shoot photos with. They’re particularly well suited to action shots, obviously–after all, that’s why they were invented in the first place–but they can also be a fun option for general travel photography or capturing family photos with a difference. So I thought it worth putting together a collection of photos I’ve taken with the GoPro HERO5 Black to give a sense of what it’s like for everyday shooting.

The HERO5 Black has a 12MP sensor which produces images in a 4:3 aspect ratio measuring 4000 by 3000 pixels. While 12MP is on the smaller size compared to many other cameras, it’s plenty big enough for sharing photos online and even making enlargement prints. You can shoot RAW with it using GoPro’s proprietary .gpr format (actually, it shoots RAW+JPG), which is what I usually shoot with. The RAW files need processing, but the camera does quite a good job with its in-camera processing to produce good-looking JPGs. I have a separate post that goes into more details on the photo features and specs of the HERO5 Black.

Sample Images Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black

All of these were shot with a HERO5 Black. Most of them were shot in GoPro’s RAW format, .gpr, and processed in Lightroom. Many of them had some boosting of local contrast.

Others were shot in JPG, particularly any that used burst mode (which only works with JPG).

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₁₆₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

GoPro HERO5 Black / Washington DC

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₆₉₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₁₀₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₆₇₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

GoPro HERO5 Black

HERO5 Black / Svalbard, Norway

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₂₄₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₁₁₅₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₅₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 101 and ¹⁄₁₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 1150 and ¹⁄₆₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₁₅₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₂₂₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₁₀₅₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₄₀₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

Above and below of a small iceberg in the Arctic off the coast of Svalbard. Shot with a GoPro HERO5 Black in a dome port.

Taken with a GoPro HERO5 Black at ISO 100 and ¹⁄₄₀₀₀ sec at ƒ/2.8.

This is a good example of two issues. The first is that the water droplets in the top part of the frame are actually on the inside of the dome, the result of a leak. The other is that with the dark water at the bottom, the reflection of the frame around the camera’s lens is clearly visible.

HERO5 Black / Svalbard, Norway

HERO5 Black with a Dome Port / Kayaking in the Arctic


  1. Some GoPro models, like the HERO5 Black, give you some control over exposure using features such as exposure compensation and some manual controls through Protune.
  2. The HERO5 Black does have digital zoom, but it’s not a feature that I regard as particularly useful. Here’s an explanation of why.

More GoPro Tips & Tricks:

This post was last modified on October 1, 2019 12:44 pm

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