Unveiled: GoPro HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session and New Accessories


The entire GoPro line sees a refresh this fall with the introduction of a new flagship model, the HERO5 Black, as well as a new ultra-compact option, the HERO5 Session. To complement these new cameras, a plethora of new accessories has likewise been announced.

HERO5 Black

The 4K/12MP HERO5 Black is a substantial redesign over the previous HERO4 Black and Silver models. Though it retains the signature HERO form factor, a 33' waterproof protective housing is now built in. This means for anything short of scuba diving, the “naked” camera alone will suffice. 

Addressing one of the biggest challenges when mounting an action camera on something moving, the HERO5 Black features electronic image stabilization, which can be enabled when shooting at Full HD (1080p) resolution. Image stabilization is not available in 4K because the technology requires extra space on the sensor from which to crop a window. This shouldn’t be a big deal, since for fast-moving situations, the higher frame rates offered by the HD modes (up to 120 fps in 1080p) are generally preferred over the highest resolution.

Like the HERO4 Silver, the HERO5 Black will feature an LCD touch screen combined with an all-new, intuitive menu system. To make basic operation as seamless as possible—especially in the heat of the moment—the HERO5 Black features one-button control. This means pressing a single, easy to locate button powers the camera on and triggers recording. If that weren’t enough, the HERO5 Black will be the first GoPro to implement voice recognition. Just by verbal command you can start/stop recording, take photos, and even tag a highlight event with the Highlight Tag feature. Thanks to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you will also be able to pair the HERO5 Black with your smartphone to view a live image, access settings, automatically upload content to the cloud, and more.

Like its predecessor, the HERO5 Black boasts just about every video setting you could possibly want, from low-res but Web-friendly WVGA up to UHD 4K. For slow-motion effects, it can record 720p at up to 240 fps and 1080p at up to 120 fps. Video is recorded in the MP4 (H.264) codec at up to 60 Mb/s, depending on setting. Field-of-view settings include the familiar Narrow, Wide, and SuperView modes, among others. There is also a new “Linear” setting for wide-angle capture with significantly reduced fisheye distortion.

Photos are captured in the sensor’s full effective resolution of 12MP. In addition to JPEG, the HERO5 Black features raw and WDR (wide dynamic range) capture. WDR uses a single image, but expands the dynamic range for better detail reproduction in the highlights and shadows. This is most useful in high-contrast situations, such as on the ski slopes. Besides single-shot, time-lapse and burst record modes are also available.

I/O connectivity has been simplified. Gone is the proprietary HERO Bus and the legacy Mini-USB port has been cast away in favor of reversible USB-C. Out of the box, the USB-C port can be used for data transfer and battery charging. With an available 3.5mm mic adapter, you can use the port to capture audio from an external microphone or other source. Along with USB-C there is a micro-HDMI port; handy if you want to play back footage directly on a TV or in certain professional applications, such as transmitting with the VISLINK HEROCast, where a live camera feed is required.  

Speaking of audio, to overcome wind noise GoPro has bolstered its wind-noise reduction algorithms even further. In addition, the HERO5 Black has not two, but three built-in microphones. This allows the camera to pick out which mic has the cleanest signal and use just its audio. If the right and left channels are both receiving equally good audio, the camera is smart enough to default to recording stereo instead. It can also be locked into stereo recording via the settings for situations where you know wind noise won’t be a problem. Additionally, there is a pro setting where all three mics get recorded, allowing the editor to pick the best track in post or mix several tracks together.

HERO5 Session

The HERO5 Session retains the cube-shaped, ultra-compact form factor, and 33' waterproof rating of the original HERO Session. However, it has been substantially updated under the hood to give it performance that approximates the HERO5 Black, most notably 4K video recording at 30 fps. Also in common with the HERO5 Black, the HERO5 Session features electronic image stabilization at HD resolution.

Like the HERO5 Black, you are spoiled for choice with the HERO5 Session’s numerous video modes. These include up to 120 fps in 720p and up to 90 fps in 1080p, with MP4 bitrates up to 60 Mb/s. It also offers the Narrow, Wide, SuperView, and Linear field-of-view settings. Photos are captured at a slightly lower but still respectable 10MP using JPEG compression. Burst and time-lapse modes are likewise available.

Size being the principle concern, the HERO5 Session’s design keeps things as simple as possible. This means an integrated rather than removable battery and all-in-one USB-C port for charging and data transfer. The port also serves as an HDMI output using an available adapter. Here, one-button control really pays off since there simply isn’t room on the body for much more. For additional control and playback capability, you can use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to pair the HERO5 Session with your mobile device.


With new cameras come new accessories. Since the HERO5 Black incorporates its own housing, accessories will center around the camera itself more than the housing. For most mounting scenarios, the Frame will be your go-to starting point. Surrounding the body for a secure hold, the Frame will allow the camera to attach to most GoPro mounting accessories—new as well as existing. It features the familiar “two-prong,” thumbscrew tightened-style interface dating to the earliest HEROs. There is also an adapter that enables the Frame to lock into the Mounting Buckle system, a quick-release alternative toward which more and more GoPro mounts are moving.

New mounts being released include the small and large Bar Mount. These can be used for handlebars, roll cages, seat posts, and other sorts of tubular configurations. Most notably feature captive thumbscrews—long gone are the days of dropping a wingnut in the snow and losing it forever. There is also an update to the Sportsman Barrel Mount for outdoor and sporting enthusiasts. 

While the HERO5 Black is waterproof and not merely “splash proof,” there are times you will want to take it diving or desire the additional protection afforded by an external housing. For you, my friend, GoPro offers the Super Suit Dive Housing. The housing features a capacitive LCD touch backdoor so that you can change settings with agility, as well as review recorded footage without having to remove that camera. Keep in mind the touch function will not work underwater; however, one-button operation will be unhindered.

Since the lens port of the Super Suit Housing is updated from the Dive Housing lens port, a range of new filters for underwater color correction will be available. There will also be a smaller selection of filters that mount directly on the camera itself for shallow water or dry land applications. Furthermore, the integrated housing’s lens protector is removable for easy replacement, should it get scratched or damaged. 

For the HERO5 Black, the new REMO remote control provides a simple way to trigger camera functions when the camera itself is mounted inaccessibly. If features a chunky button for one-button operation that can be pressed while wearing gloves. It also features a microphone so that you can take advantage of voice commands even with the camera placed out of earshot.

The HERO5 Black uses a revamped battery system, which means a new spare battery model. To help you charge not only GoPro, but all of your USB-powered devices, look no further than the Supercharger. When used with a GoPro HERO5, the Supercharger yields a high-amp output for fast charging, compared to most other USB chargers on the market. An assortment of plug adapters for international use come included. To charge batteries separately from the camera, there is a dual charger kit. The kit also includes one spare battery. 

For those using the HERO5 around the water but not taking it beneath the surface, the Floaty is sure to be a must-have. This high-visibility orange life preserver fits on the camera and makes it easy to spot, should your HERO5 fall overboard. There is a version for the HERO5 Black and another for the HERO5 Session.

For more information on the new cameras and accessories, please visit the B&H website. 


soo i was excited about them doing away with the frame only to find out (after studdy) that you still need a frame to attach it to anything  ! what the fu.. so i wrote gopro and called them out on this ,i asked how hard would it have bin to put a 1/4 20tpi hole in it and make a mount that will screw into it  ? they responded that i should not put a hole in it. what the Fu.. ???

i do have a question about the new seshion, what battery does this take and is it quick to swap out ?

Hi Orville - 

Given the reduced size of the case and the reduced interior area, a frame makes perfect sense and I applaud GoPro's engineers for this revamped design.  The battery is built directly into the camera and offers up to two hours of recording time on a full charge (depending on settings and usage). Currently the batteries are not user replaceable.

What about the Battery?
Got a lot of them for GPH4, easy to change them and continue recording. ....
And a touchscreen???? Why in the world you want something that drain more battery while warming up your camera?

It is a new battery, so our old hero 4 betteries will not work with the 5. It is still changeable though, unlike the session.

I have numerous, (hundreds) mounts and attachments for my GoPro 3+. Will my accessories fit onto the Black 5? What u=is the FRAME you mentioned as a starting point? .... I clicked on the hyperling and it took me to a FLOATY screen. This is very impoetant to me as I have amased my peripherals m=nicely for the 3+ and need to which WILL and WILL NOT fit on the GoPro 5 Black.

Hi Tom -

    Mount your HERO5 Black camera to a wide range of available mounting solutions with The Frame from GoPro. In addition to adding some impact protection around the sides, The Frame features a 2-prong accessory mounting point which interfaces with 3-pronged accessories, such as the included mounting buckle, opening up a world of limitless placement possibilities. The Frame also has openings for access to the USB and HDMI ports, controls, and interfaces.  Most existing accessories that  arecCompatible with 3-Prong Accessories will still work.


I need as t least 18MP before I'll buy.

Goog point. Upgrade the pixels for still.


Looks like us still guys get passed over again. No significant upgrades to the still side since the Hero 3 ...

I think the option of shooting RAW is a very significant upgrade to the still side. What were you hoping for?

What is RAW? ... in layman's terms, please.

RAW is straight from the image sensor without any of the adjustments normally applied to JPG. It has an expanded color range that along with an non-destructive photo editor, like Adobe Lightroom, allows you to bring out the best in each photograph. It saves more information in the light and dark areas and allows you to make the choice on what information to keep or discard when processing each photo. The only real downside to RAW is increased file size, which can be over double the size of a JPG, and the need of using a photo editor that understands how to read the RAW format used to capture the photo. A good analogy would be like having the master tapes used in recording a music album vs the finished retail CD. You get everything.... not just what they want you to hear.

Hopefully, the software to convert the raw files come with the camera, because it usually takes Apple and Adobe a while to catch up, and my guess is neither company will be in a hurry to update their conversion software to please GoPro users. For those who do not know, every camera model produces a unique raw file. 

The .gpr files that GoPro produces are supported by Adobe since Lightroom 6.7 or Camera Raw 9.7... the current version. It's a good thing I checked, my copies needed updated.

I have Lightroom 6 and I cant open their .gpr files

As was mentioned above, check the specific version of Lightroom 6 you are using and make make sure to update if it is not. Raw files can be used in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), version 9.7 or later, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC (2015.7 release or later) and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 (version 6.7 or later).

For example, JPEG is like baking a cake. You gather all the ingredients on the table, pour into a bowl and mix. This is like what the sensor captures and prepares for encoding. The cake mix is now placed in the oven and baked. This is what happens to all the image raw data. The white balance, brightness, contrast, gamma etc is basically locked in(or baked in) to reduce the file size. You can adjust the image after but not to the same degree as RAW. Using RAW is like having all the ingredients before baking and then being able to adjust the quantitys before being baked. You cant do that in JPEG. For example, you can determine white balance after you shoot because it has not been baked in which means white balance is not really necessary when shooting. Raw is like about ten times the size of jpeg but has so much more information within the file. In video world most movies are shot in RAW to give them the most control in post to achieve all those amazing images.

Hi Chris and to those looking for pictures.

I have been using my video software (Cyberlink PowerDVD 15) for Hi Res Bitmap pictures / snapshot that works better for me than still pictures.

I preview the video and when I see something I like, I back up and pause the video just before an area that I want to get a still picture from, then I click on the forward arrow fast with my mouse at a frame at a time. usually 1080P @ 60 FPS.

When I see just the right picture I click to capture a snapshot.

This picture can be saved as a jpeg or a Hi Res bitmap, in Cyberlink's Snapshot folder.

I really love this because I can get pictures exactly how I want, expressions and images that I could never be that lucky to capture snapping pictures.

Using this method I now just shoot video and then grab my pictures via 60 FPS later in post.

Try it and I think that you will love it.

If you shot the scene on video then you have the pictures!

Just a FYI,


PS. I'm not a professional but then again a professional would not be using a GoPro for pictures.

Probably a Canon or Nikon.

Also... I have had the GoPro Hero 3+ then the Hero 4 Black and tomorrow UPS is bringing me the new Hero 5 Black.

I have rarely used my GoPro to shoot pictures, it's always Video!

I'm siked for my new Hero 5!

Heading out on a ocean fishing trip this Saturday...

My new Hero 5 will be getting some great video both above and below the surface! 

Yowza Yowza!


Thanks for the tip, Bud. I am new at shooting video....usually shoot still photos. 

Yes, let's use an action camera to shoot stills.