Compared to most other modern digital cameras, GoPro cameras are pretty slow to power on. So if your camera's off when you want to start shooting, it can be a frustratingly slow process between powering on and starting shooting.
One feature that helps speed things up a bit is to use the Default Mode setting to select which shooting mode the camera starts in when you power it up. If you find that you're shooting video more often, you can set the camera to start in that mode when you power it on. Or photo or burst modes, and so on.
While that's a way to reduce the time between powering on and shooting, there's an even quicker option on many of the newer GoPro cameras. It's the QuickCapture feature.
It's designed as a one-step way to begin shooting. Push one button once and the camera powers on and starts recording.
Not all GoPro cameras have QuickCapture. These are the ones that do:
- HERO (2018)
- HERO6 Black
- HERO5 Black
- HERO5 Session
- HERO Session
- HERO4 Black
- HERO4 Silver
- HERO4 Session
- HERO+ LCD
- HERO (2014)
There are a few tricks to using QuickCapture. Firstly, the feature has to be enabled. On some models it's enabled by default; on others, it's disabled by default. To check, or to toggle it, go to Preferences > QuickCapture > ON or OFF (it's slightly different menu settings on older models but the same idea).
Secondly, you're limited to shooting video or time-lapse photos. It doesn't work with the other shooting modes like burst mode or time-lapse video.
And thirdly, there's a trick to using it. Here's how to shoot video with QuickCapture. With the camera turned off, if you press the shutter button on top (with the red circle) it will turn on and immediately start recording video without you having to hit another button. It remembers the last video settings you used and will resume those settings.
To begin capturing time-lapse photos, rather than do a normal press of the shutter button, you hold it in for three seconds. The camera will then power and immediately start capturing time-lapse photos.
And the final trick to know is that when you hit the shutter button again to stop the filming, it doesn't just stop the filming--it also turns the camera off. So if you want to do anything else, you're going to have to power the camera up again.
Common GoPro Questions
Here are some common questions I get from GoPro users.
How to Maximize a GoPro's battery life
There are several factors that influence how long the GoPro's battery life lasts. Among them include what mode you're recording in (4K uses more power than 1080p30, for instance), the health of the battery, and even the environmental temperature (lithium batteries don't perform well in very cold temperatures). But there are some things you can do to maximize battery life. Not every GoPro has all of these features, but start with these:
- Minimize use of the back screen
- Turn off wireless
- Turn off voice commands
- Turn off GPS
- Turn off Protune
- Use QuickCapture mode
Is it normal for GoPro cameras to get hot?
Yes. Depending on the model and the shooting mode you're using, it's normal for GoPros to get quite warm while shooting. They can get hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch. It's especially noticeable when shooting high-resolution and high-framerate video. Some newer models have an overheating protection mechanism that will shut the camera down if it gets too hot. I have more details on GoPros getting hot, here.
How can I control a GoPro remotely?
GoPro makes a range of wireless remote controls. They don't all work with all GoPros--for example, the HERO (2018) isn't compatible with this type of remote control. Many of the newer models also work with the GoPro mobile app. Not every model can be controlled remotely, but most of the newer models have wireless compatibility that can be used for at least some methods of remote control.
Can you take pictures with a GoPro?
If you've been using a GoPro for a while, this might seem pretty obvious, but if you've never used one, it's not quite so self-evident. GoPros are best known for dramatic action videos, but they can most certainly take still photos too. In fact, they can be a very interesting alternative to a traditional camera so long as you work within its limitations. I have more more details here.
Do GoPro wireless controls work underwater?
No. You can't use the mobile app or a wireless remote control if the camera is fully submerged in water. They will normally work just fine in rain and spray--just not submerged. I have a more detailed explanation here.
Do GoPro touchscreens work underwater?
No. If they're just wet above water, they can work to some extent, although often less reliably. But the touchscreens won't work underwater.