Action camera maker GoPro may dominate, but it has heaps of competitors that have imitated the style it practically created. A new camera is on the way, though, and it could blow the other guys out of the water.
It’s called the “Session” and it’s a new ultra-small take on GoPro’s market dominating action camera, fitting in with GoPro’s “Hero 4” line-up of cameras that launched late last year.
But rather than just offer another model with the same established rectangular design, GoPro has taken a different route with the Session.
“It’s quite a bit of a departure of our current form-factor,” said GoPro’s Chris Kinman, telling us the Session was “substantially smaller [and] substantially lighter” than any camera the company had ever made before.
“It will get into nooks and crannies our other cameras couldn’t,” said Kinman. And when you see the camera, you’ll believe it.
For this model, which sits just below the Hero 4 Silver in the current range, GoPro has put the camera on a diet, literally cutting the camera in half and making the Session 50 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter, throwing all that GoPro camera technology, support for Bluetooth and WiFi, and two microphones into a body that basically resembles a small cube.
This small cube is a little different from the previous rectangular prisms we’ve seen out of GoPro, and the company has had to change some of the camera modes to make the Session work in 2015, as this Hero 4 model lacks 4K video capture, going all the way up to 1440p in the GoPro 4:3 “SuperView” mode which expands to a wide frame which is more detailed due to the sensor being the same aspect ratio, while the Full HD 1080p mode is also here, capturing in native 16:9 widescreen. Both of these modes will run at 30 frames per second, while 960p (4:3) will net 60 frames per second, and 720p HD will see as much as 100 frames per second, providing some slow motion action when you need it.
Images are also possible here, with 8 megapixel shots out of the Session in both single, burst, and time lapse modes, and this can be controlled using the one button found on the device — one main button, anyway — and using either the GoPro Bluetooth remote that used to come with cameras and is now optional, or that smartphone tablet link most os use via the app available on Android and iOS.
The lens is also still very wide, offering a 170 degree viewing angle, which won’t go far enough to get you in the frame, but will show everything you’re doing, with the camera clipping into GoPro mounts using two frames, one of which is slim and low profile.
The microphone system is also particularly interesting, with those two aforementioned microphones able to pick up wind noise at either side and switch to the different mic dependent on which is noisier. Is the front picking up more noise? No worries, it goes to the back.
GoPro’s battery is also interesting here, as it is non-removable and built into the unit, only switching on when you start the camera recording and going into standby when it goes off.
Estimates put the battery close to two hours, and we suspect this will charge using either the standard miniUSB GoPro cameras have used for yonks, or the more modern microUSB most smartphones and tablets charge from.