GoPros are best known for video, but I often get asked whether they can take still photos too. The answer is yes, they most certainly can take still photos.
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GoPro is currently running a deal for the HERO7 Black and HERO7 Silver that gives you $100 off either of them by trading in any old digital camera in any condition (including old GoPros). It brings the price for the Black down to $299.99 and the Silver to $199.99.
It doesn't matter what brand the old camera is or even if it still works. GoPro covers the cost of shipping your old camera in as well as 2-day shipping of the new camera.
The deal is only available at GoPro.com.
GoPro Still Photo Formats
All GoPros can take still photos as JPGs.
Some of the newest models can shoot RAW as well using GoPro’s own .gpr format.
- GoPro HERO7 Black
- GoPro HERO6 Black
- GoPro HERO5 Black
- GoPro HERO5 Session
The RAW format isn’t available in all still photo modes. It’s not available in Burst Mode, for instance, and it’s only available for time lapse photos when the interval is set to 5 seconds or longer.
I have a more detailed post on using GoPro’s RAW format for photos here.
Fields of View
By default, the GoPros have a very wide-angle fisheye perspective. Some of the newer models also include a Linear field of view option which greatly reduces the lens distortion.
Some models also include cropped and smaller modes: Medium and Narrow.
High-Dynamic Range (HDR)
The HERO6 Black includes an HDR mode. The HERO5 models have a wide-dynamic range mode (or WDR) that is similar but not quite as aggressive (or as effective).
There are a few different ways to trigger still photos on GoPros.
You can obviously use the shutter button on the top of the camera.
You can use the mobile app.
On the HERO7, HERO6, HERO5, and HERO (2018) models, you can use voice control.
On many models (but not all), you can use one of the GoPro remote controls. One of them, the Remo remote, also works with voice control with the HERO5 and HERO6 models.
The HERO7 Black is thus far the only camera that includes a self-timer. For earlier models, you can use a workaround to start the time-lapse photo mode to shoot a continuous sequence of photos and simply stop it when you’re done and delete the shots you don’t want. It’s not particularly elegant, but it works.
Controlling the Exposure
All GoPro models have auto exposure. Some of the higher models–the ones with Protune–also include options to control ISO and, on some models, shutter speed. Some of them also have exposure compensation. All of them use a fixed aperture–you can’t adjust that aspect of the exposure.
Some models have a spot meter, while some newer models have an updated and more flexible version called Exposure Control.
Still Photo Examples
Here are some examples of still photo I’ve shot with various GoPro models. If you’re looking to use a GoPro as an everyday photo camera, I’ve written up more details on pros and cons of doing that.