There is no denying that GoPro has for a long time cornered the market on action cameras and that their name has even become synonymous with the wide-angle, “point-of-view” shot. Of course, in a market that has quickly become over saturated, there are plenty of competitors like Sony, Contour and Drift that make cheaper (and arguably better) video cameras, but GoPro’s long lineage, constant innovation, superb marketing and industry wide adoption maintains their stronghold. Now with their release of the Hero+ and Hero4 Session in their 2015 lineup, GoPro attempts to broaden their appeal to everyone in the market. So, which is better: the Hero+ or the Hero4 Session?
Hero4 Session: Small & Simple
Aimed at people who want an action camera with a smaller foot print, the Hero4 Session is 50% smaller and 40% lighter than the standard Hero. This is due to its completely redesigned waterproof body:
HERO4 Session is rugged and waterproof to 33’ (10m), eliminating the need for a separate housing. Its convenient, ready-to-go design makes it easy to get out the door quickly to capture and enjoy your session.
Also, they simplified the cameras operation with a single button press.
A single press of the shutter button powers on the camera and begins capturing video or Time Lapse photos automatically. A second press of the shutter button stops recording and powers off the camera. It’s that simple.
Though it doesn’t have 4k video like its series counterparts, it still packs a pretty good punch with 1080p60 video and 8MP still photos, however, so does the cost at ~$300. Not bad for video professionals, but this price puts it outside of the amateur budget.
Hero+: Affordable With WiFi
Placed right in the middle of GoPro’s Hero lineup, the Hero+ is $100 less than the Hero4 Session and has the same 8MP stills and 1080p60 video specs. And unlike the entry model Hero, it has the same WiFi connectivity as the Session. The most notable difference is that iconic Hero body, which is not inherently rugged or waterproof. For this, you’ll have to use the supplied housing, which in my opinion, is perfectly fine for almost any user: amateur or professional.
Professional videographers may miss the Session’s Protune™, dual mic and subtle picture adjustments, but as someone who has used these cameras extensively, I really don’t think that these are huge selling points for an action camera.
The Best Action Camera for You
Ultimately, your needs and budget will determine which camera is best for you, and with six cameras in GoPro’s lineup, you may find the others to be a better fit. If you want an action camera with a small foot print and customizable picture options, than the Hero4 Session is a great camera for you. However, if all you want is a camera you can stick most anywhere to get a creative angle, than get yourself the Hero+ and use the $100 you saved for some nice mounts.
* All photos are courtesy of GoPro and their affiliates.