Photo Modes on the GoPro HERO6 Black

A rundown of the photo modes available on the HERO6 Black.

The still photos modes available on the new GoPro HERO6 Black are very similar to its predecessor, the HERO5 Black. It’s still a 12MP sensor that produces images at 4000×3000 pixels. There’s still the option to use JPG or GoPro’s RAW photo format, GPR. And there’s still that distinctive super wide-angle field of view as well as the option to reduce the lens distortion into a linear field of view.

But there’s also a handful of new features. Here’s a rundown of the photo modes available on the HERO6 Black.

Get the GoPro HERO8 Black for $299.98

With the new HERO9 Black just released, GoPro is running a great deal on the previous model, the HERO8 Black. You can get it for $299.98, and that includes a 1-year subscription to GoPro as well as a 32GB SD card.

The subscription to GoPro gives you unlimited cloud storage, discounted no-questions-asked camera replacement, and up to 50% off GoPro accessories.

You can find the deal at GoPro.com.

12MP Sensor

It’s still a 12-megapixel sensor for still photos, producing 4:3 aspect ratio images that are 4000×3000 pixels.

Unlike the previous models, there’s now no option to reduce the resolution to a 7MP or 5MP image. 12MP is the only option out of the camera.

RAW & JPG

With the HERO5 models, GoPro finally added the ability to shoot RAW files. They’re output in GoPro’s own RAW file format, .gpr.

These make available more of the information that was captured by the camera’s sensor, and therefore open the possibilities of better quality, but they generally require post-processing before sharing or printing.

The HERO6 Black continues to offer the option to shoot RAW. Counterintuitively, the files are often smaller in file size than a corresponding JPG version out of the camera.

You can also shoot JPG if you prefer the convenience of using JPG.

There are, however, some modes where you’re limited. If you choose the HDR option or Burst Mode, you’re restricted to using JPG.

HDR

The HERO5 Black had a new wide dynamic range option designed to bring out details that would otherwise be lost in the shadows and highlights. The new HERO6 has tweaked it a bit and now calls it by a more traditional name: HDR, or high dynamic range.

With these, the camera takes several images and stacks them on top of each other, taking the best details from each to create a composite image. HDR can be overdone with garish details and colors, but the implementation in the GoPro HERO6 Black is relatively subtle. Here’s an example:

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff”  label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Standard (No HDR)” label_two=”HDR”]


[/before-after]

If you choose to shoot in the HDR mode, you’re limited to using JPG. If you have the RAW option turned on, the camera will switch to JPG mode automatically when you activate the HDR option.

Digital Zoom

There’s a new zoom option. But before you get too excited, this is a digital zoom, not an optical zoom. So it’s functionally equivalent to cropping.

Zoomed in, the camera will still create images that 4000 by 3000 pixels, but they don’t have any more detail than you’d get by cropping a non-zoomed image.

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff”  label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Regular (No zoom)” label_two=”Zoomed In”]


[/before-after]

Fields of View

That distinctive fisheye look is the default again with the Wide field of view. But there’s also an option to use Linear FOV that greatly reduces the lens distortion. It’s a software solution, not an optical one, so it cannibalizes the stretches the original image according to an algorithm to reduce the distortion. You can get a similar effect in post-production using shots taken in the Wide FOV.

Here’s an example:

[before-after viewer_position=”center” orientation=”horizontal” label_position=”one” overlay_color=”#ffffff”  label_color=”#000000″ label_one=”Wide FOV” label_two=”Linear FOV”]


[/before-after]

Burst Mode

The HERO6 also has basically the same Burst Mode options as its predecessor, with one relatively minor new feature. I have a more detailed post on the new Auto mode for Burst Mode on the HERO6 Black.

ISO Range

The HERO6 Black adds one more stop of ISO range, going up to 3200. It’s still working within the confines of a small sensor, though, so the image quality at high-ISO is still only so-so.

Protune

The Protune options for still photos are basically the same on the HERO6 Black are basically the same as on the HERO5 Black. There’s still things like choosing the amount of photo sharpening and choosing either GoPro or flat color modes.

There are some relatively minor tweaks, like a new ISO 3200 option.

Photos Taken with a GoPro HERO6 Black

Here are a few more sample images I’ve shot so far with a HERO6 Black. Click on each image to open a full-resolution version.

1/120 sec at f/2.8 at ISO 1868.

1/1400 sec at f/2.8 at ISO 100.

1/490 sec at f/2.8 at ISO 100.

GoPro HERO6 Black / ISO 1475

1/900 sec at f/2.8 at ISO 100.

1/240 sec at f/2.8 at ISO 209.

1/160 sec at f/2.8 at ISO 1202.

More GoPro Tips & Tricks:

This post was last modified on October 9, 2020 4:20 pm

View Comments

    • There's no simple way to fire a traditional flash (strobe) with a GoPro. There's no hot shoe or strobe connection. The simplest solution is to use a video light.

  • Hi
    I'm planning to buy a GoPro Hero 6 this month. I want to make some short movies and also do some vlogging. Is it a good choice? Also, please tell me what all accessories must I buy along with it. I've heard that Hero 6's mic is not that good, it does too much work to try to cancel out surrounding noise and does not give a decent audio quality. Please tell me what should I do to make the audio quality better. Is Hero 6 worth buying or should I wait for new launches?

    Thank You.

    • It can certainly be used for making short movies--especially if they have immersive action footage--and while it's also possible to use them for vlogging, it's not a common (or necessarily the best) choice for that. The onboard microphones on the HERO6 Black aren't great, and if you're doing anything where the audio matters I'd recommend add an external mic. I have more details on that here.

  • Hi there,

    Great article! Doing some travel around Europe/skiing/swimming over the next year and wanted to know if you’d recommend this camera for the £400 price tag and how useable it is for everyday shooting?

    Thanks!

    • I have a separate post specifically on using GoPros as travel cameras here that might be of interest. The short version is that they can work well, but there are some important issues to factor in (poor battery life, ultra wide-angle, etc). For me, it would be a tossup between a GoPro and something like the Olympus TG-5 (I have a detailed review here). They're not the same and might not be considered direct competitors normally, but for something like this they really do face off. They overlap in areas like being waterproof, etc. The TG-5 is bigger but has many more traditional features that can come handy when traveling (zoom lens, better battery life, better exposure controls, built-in flash, etc). And they're priced similarly.

  • HI,

    I'm Guilherme.

    I'm from Brazil and i'm planning to travel to Europe this year. I'm thinking about buy the hero6 but i'm not sure. I'll use this camera mostly for taking pictures. My question is: Hero 6 only works with the photo mode "fish eye"? or is it possible to have a "normal mode"?

    Thanks

    • They have a Linear FOV mode which sounds like it's what you want. More on it, with an example, under the Field of View heading above.

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