New GoPro: Lighter and Smaller, Drone Comes in 2016

With the new GoPro HERO4 Session, 50% smaller and 40% lighter than GoPro’s best-selling HERO4 Black and Silver cameras, GoPro are building the right size of camera for their own drone.

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The recently released GoPro camera, the HERO4 Session is really paving the way for the drone that the company wants to launch in 2016. Lighter payloads mean that drones can fly better and longer, and it is reasonable to believe that GoPro wants their drone to be competitive when they enter the market.

While there is not much information available, yet, about GoPro’s drone, the company’s founder and CEO, Nicholas Woodman officially revealed, recently, the company is working on a quadcopter drone, confirming rumours that go back to 2013 and one article The Wall Street Journal published in November 2014.

The WSJ article mentioned 2015 as the launch date. When 3D Robotics launched their 3DR Solo, this year, conceived to use GoPro cameras, some thought that was it. But the Solo is not the “GoPro drone” so much talked about, because GoPro is going to build their own drone. As we wrote before, it makes complete sense, as GoPro is facing competition from other small action camera brands, and needs to offer a new solution, integrated that allows them to tap this new market.

Besides the competition from other camera brands, GoPro is also faced with the fact that the new drone from DJI, Inspire 1, uses a camera conceived by DJI, meaning DJI is probably going to have their own cameras in their future drones, at least those lighter models that do not carry DSLRs or compact cameras. This means that soon GoPro cameras will not be flying on the DJI drones. A similar situation is seen on the Typhoon Q500 4K from Yuneec, which uses a proprietary camera system.

When GoPro enters the drone market, it will be interesting to see what happens. Manufacturers of other drones might stop creating conditions for GoPro cameras to fly with their drones. It seems as if there’s a battle ahead for the conquest of the skies. The other option is to partner with a company to do a drone specifically for GoPro cameras, something the 3DR Solo could have been, but it seems GoPro will go some other way, and have their own flying machine during the first half of 2016.

It’s with this note about the future that the new HERO4 Session is presented. HERO4 Session packs GoPro’s Emmy Award-winning image quality and performance into a new low-profile form factor. The new camera benefits from a durable waterproof design that eliminates the need for a separate housing and features simple one-button control to make capturing immersive photos and video quicker and more convenient than ever before. HERO4 Session is compatible with existing GoPro mounts and will retail for $399.99 MSRP at authorized GoPro retailers around the world and on GoPro.com beginning July 12, 2015.

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“With HERO4 Session, we challenged ourselves to produce the smallest, lightest, most convenient GoPro possible,” said Nicholas Woodman. “HERO4 Session combines the best of our engineering and user-experience know-how to deliver our most convenient life-capture solution, yet.” Woodman adds, “I’m so excited about the launch of HERO4 Session because now I can finally use mine in public!”

While being 50% smaller and 40% lighter than GoPro’s best-selling HERO4 Black and Silver cameras, the HERO4 Session captures GoPro-quality 1080p60, 720p100 and 1440p30 video along with eight megapixel photos in Single, Burst and Time Lapse modes. It features many of the same innovative features found in GoPro’s best-selling HERO4 Black and Silver cameras, including SuperView, Protune and Auto Low Light recording modes. An expanded set of controls and settings can be accessed when using the GoPro App or Smart Remote. This can be the prototype for the cameras used by future GoPro drones.

Operating the HERO4 Session is very simple. A short press of the shutter button quickly powers the camera on and video recording begins automatically. A long press of the shutter button powers the camera on and triggers Time Lapse photo capture. Press the shutter button again to save video or photo content and power the camera off. This simple one button design drastically improves the speed and convenience of capturing life moments as they happen.

HERO4 Session is built to GoPro’s famous rugged standards and is waterproof to 33 feet (10 meters). It features a sleek frame mounting system that is compatible with GoPro’s expansive array of mounts.  An innovative dual microphone system dynamically switches sound recording between microphones to reduce wind noise during activities. Audio performance during water-based activities has been dramatically improved thanks to HERO4 Session’s waterproof design that eliminates the need for a separate waterhousing, which can often muffle sounds.

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“At GoPro, sound quality is as important as image quality and we’re very excited about the stunning audio advancements we’ve made with HERO4 Session during water-based and windy activities. It’s incredible what this little GoPro can capture,” remarked Woodman.

Together with the HERO4 Session camera, GoPro introduced a collection of new accessories, adding to GoPro’s expansive array of mounts and accessories, providing infinite options for capturing unique shots and immersive content.

Two of the new mounts were designed specifically for use with the HERO4 Session camera. The Ball Joint Buckle, which comes included with every HERO4 Session, has a rotating axis that allows for a range of perspectives from a single mounting position and enables users to quickly change the angle of capture without un-mounting the camera. Floaty ($19.99) is an easy-to-spot flotation accessory that wraps around the HERO4 Session to keep it afloat. It’s specially designed to protect your camera while also allowing easy access to the shutter button and is perfect for worry-free shooting in and around the water.

 GoPro has also released several additional accessories that are compatible with all HERO cameras, including:

  • The Strap ($59.99) – Delivers nearly limitless mounting possibilities without limiting your range of motion, whether wrapped on your hand, wrist, or leg.
  • The Jam ($69.99) – For the musician in your life, The Jam mounts your GoPro to just about anything on stage, whether it’s a guitar headstock, drum hoop, keyboard, brass instrument, or a mic stand. Highly   adjustable, the Jam can score any angle you want.
  • Casey ($49.99) – GoPro’s first travel and storage solution to keep all your gear protected. Casey features a water-resistant, semi-rigid shell to protect against light rain and snow, while a padded interior with removable dividers protects your arsenal of camera(s) and accessories. It will fit inside your backpack, but is large enough to carry everything you need to capture your adventure.

gopro4session 003Finally, GoPro HERO4, HERO3+ and HERO3 users can also benefit from the new WindSlayer ($19.99), a foam windscreen that reduces wind noise to enhance audio capture during high-speed activities or in windy environments. It’s designed for use with The Frame or handheld shooting with just the camera.

New mounts and accessories will be available for purchase at authorized GoPro retailers around the world and on GoPro.com beginning July 12, 2015.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…