GoPro has just released the latest iteration of its famous digital camcorder range and it’s quite the departure from their previous devices.
Thankfully it’s also great news for mums and dads looking to record their young children in action. The GoPro HERO4 Session is a mid-range digital camcorder with better output and features than the entry level device, but not quite reaching the heights of the high-end HERO4 Black with its 4K capture capabilities. You can read our full features review here. One thing that may surprise you, however, is the Session’s flexibility. It’s not just about catching epic barrels and fully sick airs, it excels as a family-friendly camera for five key reasons:
It’s waterproof to 10 metres out of the box. You don’t need to put a case around it as with traditional digital camcorders, you can just throw it in the pool, the bath, the sprinklers, around drinks and so forth without fear. We even put one in the bottom of schooner of beer and let it sit there while it recorded the bubbles in time lapse. As well as that base flexibility, without a case the sound recording isn’t muffled in these situations. The GoPro HERO4 Session features front and rear speakers, with small channels around them that actively direct water away. Plus, the software will revert from one speaker to the other depending on which is getting the better recording at any given instant.
2. Built like a brick potty
Anyone with children will be well aware of their incredible destructive capabilities – a lounge room can become a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the time it takes to make a vegemite sandwich. The HERO4 Session is built like a rock – it’s actually quite the marvel when you hold it in your hands. I’ve already taken mine on an extreme test run, which it soldiered through without a scratch. We’ve also heard of people hitting them with a golf club to no ill effects.
3. A compact camera that's hard to lose
Far smaller and sleeker than your standard digital camcorder, the HERO4 Session is easy to mount to your children – there is a junior chesty and a head strap that work well with kids - so they can take it with them into little hidey holes and cubby houses. As well as not impairing movement by catching on things – which might lead to damage or simply unmounting – you can get a more diverse range of video content.
4. One button control
It’s incredibly easy to activate. There is one big button on the top – press it to start a video, press it again to stop. It is that easy. I taught my four-year-old how to operate it in four minutes, and he was off recording the world from his perspective like a pro. It’s an exciting prospect to know that I can let him do some filming without stressing about it being broken or getting wet.
5. Stellar stills and fantastic footage
The HERO4 Session can capture excellent, wide-angle footage in 1080p at 60 frames per second, and even 100 frames per second if you pull it back to 720p. It looks very sharp, too. But it also takes great 8MP stills. You simply hold down the button (rather than press it) and it begins taking snaps at increments you set – like every half a second. When I am juggling nappy bags, bottles and squirming kids covered in vegemite, it’s a huge benefit to only have to carry around the one piece of tech to get both stills and video footage at a great quality.
GoPro made its name with twenty-something hell raisers risking life and limb in extreme situations, but in my opinion the HERO4 Session opens the door to a new audience with equal vigour. The family man or loving mum, with little hell raisers of their own.