First Ride: GoPro HERO4 Silver Edition

Edit shows better low light sensitivity, touch screen convenience

Cameras Gear Video
A native touchscreen makes choosing settings and previewing shots much easier than prior models.

A native touchscreen makes choosing settings and previewing shots much easier than prior models.

Our new GoPro HERO4 Silver Edition camera showed up on Thursday and we wanted to quickly put it through the paces to see how it stacks up against the company’s prior top-of-the-line effort, the HERO3+. While the HERO4’s press materials tout an impressive number of new features and upgrades, the two we’re most optimistic about are its new touchscreen back and much-improved low light sensitivity.

We hardly got the HERO4 charged before shooting this sample commute footage–the camera was set at 720p resolution, superwide mode at 60 frames per second.

With little more than charging the battery, we took it on the commute home as captured in the video above and can already see much improved transitions between harsh light and shadows. The picture is also less washed-out looking and more vibrant than the Hero3+.

We’ll be taking the HERO4 to the Santa Cruz Super Enduro this weekend to give it a more thorough test and see how it does in the often-difficult mottled light of forest canopy.

The HERO4 comes with an array of mounts and accessories--including new housing backplates that are compatible with the new unit's touchscreen.

The HERO4 comes with an array of mounts and accessories–including new housing backplates that are compatible with the new unit’s touchscreen.

While most HERO3 accessories are compatible with the 4, the batteries are not. We hope this translates into longer battery life.

While most HERO3 accessories are compatible with the 4, the batteries are not. We hope this translates into longer battery life.

With what seems like a new competitor coming into the market on a weekly basis, GoPro attempts to raise the bar yet again with the HERO4.

With what seems like a new competitor coming into the market on a weekly basis, GoPro attempts to raise the bar yet again with the HERO4.

Our initial still photo test yielded good results, though we've only shot in the HERO4's default mode thus far.

Our initial still photo test yielded good results, though we’ve only shot in the HERO4’s default mode thus far. We’ll be taking it to the Santa Cruz Super Enduro this weekend for more testing.

The staff of B2 Coffee in San Jose, Calif. look good in through the lens of the GoPro HERO4.

The staff of B2 Coffee in San Jose, Calif. look good through the lens of the GoPro HERO4.

This close-up is a cropped image from the HERO4's 12 megapixel wide photo mode.

This close-up is a cropped image from the HERO4’s 12 megapixel wide photo mode.

HERO4 Silver Edition
  • $399
  • 2.7K video at 30 fps
  • 1080p (1K) video at 60 fps
  • 12-megapixel stills
  • Nightlapse setting
  • Protune on photo and video
  • Highlight tagging

For more information visit gopro.com.

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born editorial director Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and pedaling for Mtbr, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.


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