Price US $499

GoPro Hero 4 Black 2015 Review by A Better Ski

Overview –  The GoPro Hero 4 Black and Sony FDR-X1000V are two of the best cameras on the market today. We compared the two cameras head to head, but I must admit that this is a very basic review of the GoPro Hero 4 Black. I am not a tech guy, and both the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Sony FDR-X1000V have way more video formats and features than I will ever use. I want to touch briefly on some of these features and talk about how these two cameras compare on a very general level. If you want a more high tech review, then this is definitely not it, but for a basic point and shoot skiers perspective read on.

Video Quality – Both the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Sony FDR-X1000V are capable of taking ultra high quality 4K video, but I must admit that I am not a big fan of this format. Why? Well really for two reasons. First, the 4K video format is pointless if you don’t have the capability to view it. Secondly, it’s big, hard to work with, and very time consuming to edit. I also find that the video quality isn’t so much better than high definition 1080p 60p that I’m going to use it for everyday on the mountain. For me, 1080p 60p is more than enough, and it’s much easier to use. I find myself using this format 90% of the time. But this is a review for the GoPro Hero 4 Black, and you probably wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want to know about the 4K capabilities. So  this is a simple comparison of video quality between two of the best cameras on the market, but from a pretty basic perspective. 4K is a really cool idea if you want the best quality and you have the capabilities to view the video in it’s true format. We put the Sony FDR-X1000V against the GoPro Hero 4 Black to give you a better idea of what really is the best of the best. Unfortunately, without the capability to watch the video back in true 4K we can’t truly say which was better. I will say that both the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Sony FDR-X1000V looked pretty similar in 4K, but just like all of other tests we found the Sony to be slightly more natural looking. It’s also important to note that the 4K video of the GoPro Hero 4 Black was far less jumpy than the GoPro Hero 4 Silver. This is most likely because the Black can record at 30fps, and the Silver can only do 15fps. I wish I could talk more about the 4K video quality, but again without the ability to watch in back in it’s tre format it’s really hard to say which is better. I do however, want to talk about the video quality in 1080p for both cameras. If thhey truly are the best, then they should be able to take fantastic looking video at 1080p. Both the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Sony FDR-X1000V took great looking video at 1080p, and it was hard to give the edge to one over the other. I think the only thing we could say again is that we preferred the more natural look of the  Sony over the GoPro, but really the difference was pretty small. I think it will ultimately come down to preference over differences in actual quality.

GoPro Hero 4 Black 1080 60 Video Comparison

Sony FDR-X1000V 1080 60 Video Comparison

Video Format and Resolutions- The video quality of the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Sony FDR-X1000V are pretty similar our pick for best camera may come down to video formats and features of each camera. This is where I feel that the GoPro Hero 4 Black has the edge over the Sony FDR-X1000V. Both cameras capable of taking ultra high definition video at 4K 30p as well as high definition slow motion video at 1080p 120p, and 720p 240p. Both cameras are also capable of taking high definition 1080p 60p, 1080p 30p, as well as many standard definition formats. So where does the GoPro Hero 4 Black stand out? Well the GoPro Hero 4 Black can also take video in 2.7k 50p, 1440p 60p, and 960p 120p. The GoPro Hero 4 Black also offers 4 different video point of views including SuperView (most immersive wide angle view available), ultra wide mode, medium mode, and narrow mode. The GoPro also has some cool new night view features for both video and picture capture. So even though the Sony FDR-X1000V has a lot of similar ultra high definition and high definition video formats, the GoPro Hero 4 offers a lot more options to film in. Plus with the best image quality of any GoPro camera to date, you can be sure that the Hero 4 Black will deliver great videos. So although video quality was very close to equal between these two cameras, the GoPro Hero 4 Black definitely gets our vote for having the most video formats and features.

Ease of Setup/Use – The GoPro Hero 4 Black is quite easy to setup and has a very intuitive interface. Almost all of the video formats are spelled out for less techy people like me, and it was easy to figure out exactly what video format I was shooting in. It will probably still take some time to figure out what the best formats are for certain situations, but it easy to cycle through settings and change things on the fly.

 Software – The cell phone app is partially what makes changing settings so easy on the GoPro Hero 4 Black. It has a very intuitive interface, and it was quite easy to connect and cycle through settings. The GoPro Studio editing software was also much better than Sony’s Action Cam program, but I did find that GoPro videos were not the easiest to deal with. I also don’t have a great computer for video editing this was probably more of an issue for me and not everyone will experience the same issues.

Battery Life – This is definitely one area we’d like to see improvement for the GoPro Hero 4 Black. Even with the GPS and Wi-FI off we could only last until lunch before having to swap or recharge the battery. If you don’t film a lot, this isn’t a huge deal, but if you plan on filming every run, you’ll need an extra battery or two.

Sound Quality – The GoPro Hero 4 Black sounds pretty muffled when talking to friends before a run, but it’s also great at blocking out wind noise. It doesn’t sound crisp at all, but you won’t sound like you’re in a wind tunnel either.

Size and Fit –  The Sony FDR-X1000V is a really big camera that makes the GoPro Hero 4 Black seem tiny by comparison. The GoPro Hero 4 still isn’t a tiny camera, but it’s much nicer on a helmet mount than the FDR-X1000V. It’s a relatively low profile by comparison, and it works well on a monopod. We really liked in with the chest mount a well.

Summary – The GoPro Hero 4 Black and Sony FDR-X1000V are two of the best cameras on the market. Video quality was great for both cameras, although we might give the slight edge to the Sony since we preferred the more natural look. The Sony also has better sound quality and a far better battery life. Despite this we’d give the edge to the GoPro Hero 4 Black as our favorite ultra high definition camera. The GoPro Hero 4 Black is easy to use out of the box and has a very intuitive interface. Both the phone app and computer program were more user friendly than the Sony FDR-X1000V. Most importantly the GoPro Hero 4 Black has more video formats and features than the FDR-X1000V, and is ultimately what gives it the edge over the Sony FDR-X1000V as our favorite ultra high definition camera.

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