GoPro Drones – Ultimate buying guide.

If you already have a top-quality action camera and are looking for a top-class GoPro compatible drone to pair it with, then you have come to the right place. Perhaps you are a professional photographer and are looking to widen your expertise? Perhaps you are aiming to become a professional aerial photographer?

Whatever’s the case, if you are looking for great drones compatible with GoPro cameras, this list is going to help you with your task. Choosing a good professional aerial platform can be quite a tricky task, especially considering there are lots of drones to choose from. They all have different payloads, gimbals and stabilization systems, which makes them quite tangled up in the long run. In case you’re interested in non-GoPro camera drones, here’s list of top camera drones for you.

Luckily, this guide could become your best friend when looking for top-quality drones for GoPro. Why? Well, check it out and see for yourself what are the best GoPro drones for sale in 2017!

Table of contents :

1. Drones for GoPro Hero 4

2. Drones for GoPro Hero 5

3. Cheap drones for GoPro cameras (Hero 4)

4. GoPro cameras comparison

5. Gimbals for GoPro review

GoPro drones FAQ

Why is a GoPro camera on your drone a good choice?

Well, for starters, GoPro has a godlike status in the world of sports cameras. They are pretty much the equivalent of DJI in drone world. GoPro has only the best cameras out there, but they sure as hell are pricey. One thing that most beginners tend to forget when they want to mount a GoPro on their drone is a proper gimbal.

The gimbal is essential for the proper functioning of the camera. Don’t get me wrong, without the gimbal you will still get OK footage quality but you will also experience a lot of shakiness and some people (including me) hate it from the bottom of their very soul.

That’s why combining a proper gimbal with your GoPro is the right way to go for all of you looking for professional grade aerial footage. So, is a GoPro good choice for a drone? It most definitely is… But make sure to combine it with a drone with GoPro attachment 3-Axis gimbal.

Is a GoPro camera reliable enough for use on drones?

In terms of reliability, drones that work with GoPro cameras are more than decent. Like I have already stated above, you will need a proper gimbal (or a tightly secured mount) which will prevent GoPro from falling down. Once you have everything set up properly, there is no need to worry about anything going wrong. As long as you use your drone in an appropriate manner, you’ll be OK!

However, if you plan on using your drone for commercial purposes, you might want to investigate drone insurance policies. The majority of clients demand one with their contracts so it is best to think ahead and inform yourself.

Do GoPro cameras support FPV transmission?

If you want a straight out of the box solution for using your GoPro as your main FPV camera, then I am afraid that the answer is no. At the time of writing this article, GoPros do not support direct 5.8G FPV transmission straight out of the box. On the other hand, if you are willing to get your hands dirty (a figure of speech, don’t worry), there are several ways you can make this work. Keep in mind though, this requires several extra parts and a proper DIY spirit.

The fastest method is to purchase a quick start FPV package for your GoPro. It includes everything you need (from 5.8 GHz transmitter and receiver, monitor, antenna and all the necessary cables) but will cost you a significant amount of money. On the bright side, you’ll get a magnificent FPV experience in all of its glory.

How much does a GoPro weigh?

One of the biggest issues you will come across when trying to mount a GoPro on your drone (other than finding the perfect mount and gimbal) is the supported load. You see, many drones aren’t built for carrying cameras. Their motors aren’t powerful enough for lifting them or they’re just too heavy on their own and any further weight would significantly drag them down.

That’s why nowadays there is a maximum takeoff weight listed on virtually all drones. So, if you are wondering if your drone can support a certain GoPro, here’s a list of the most popular ones and their official weight.

Keep in mind that Hero 4 Session does not come with a case while all others do. That’s because GoPro Hero 4 Session is waterproof without the case up to 33ft. Make sure that your drone is one of those drone that can carry GoPro.

How much does a GoPro camera cost and where to buy it?

GoPros are the top brand when it comes to action cameras and as such, it is not surprising to see high price tags to their names. Even though you can get older models for approximately $200 or even less if you’re lucky and find them on sale, for newer ones that cost will skyrocket to much higher numbers.

As far as the selling channels are concerned, GoPros can be found either on their official website or through the most popular resellers such as Amazon or Best Buy. The prices slightly vary between each option so doing a quick research should eliminate any doubts with your purchase.

What is the newest and most advanced GoPro camera?

At the time of writing this article, GoPro is featuring 2 high-end cameras on their official website. We are talking about Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session. They can both brag about being a premium solution, but the latter brings somewhat of an improved experience. That’s mostly due to RAW and WDR capturing capability as well as a highly intuitive 2-inch touch display that allows seamless navigation through settings.

Other important features including Quikstories, voice control, wind reduction and video stabilization are present on both models. Regarding the price, you’ll find that Hero 5 Session is slightly cheaper. Plus, it weighs less too (and it’s smaller) and can be mounted even on some models that don’t support the weight of Hero 5 Black. All things considered, if you are looking to get the newest and most advanced GoPro camera, chances are high you will end up choosing between Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session. There are more detailed explanations about these 2 action cameras model down below near the end of this article.

GoPro vs other action cameras

If we are to compare GoPros with other action cameras, that comparison would be greatly influenced at which particular models are on the line. Instead of such method, instead, we’ll focus on the general differences that are common with GoPros and other action camera brands.

Starting off with the sensors, it’s safe to say that GoPros have second to none imaging solutions that other brands are merely trying to copy. Every now and then, a solid competitor appears but is quickly brought down to Earth with downsides in other departments such as audio quality and weight.

In most cases, GoPro cameras offer superior quality/weight ratio which makes them ultra-portable and allows lots of drones to carry them onboard. But, all that comes at a much higher price than alternative brands which is also worth putting into perspective before the purchase.

GoPro Compatible Drones Buying Guide :

 

Drones for GoPro Hero 4

Table : Drones compatible with GoPro Hero 4

ImageNameBatteryRangePrice
5. AEE AP923min500mSee price now
4. DJI Phantom 225min1000mSee price now
3. XIRO Xplorer G25min500mSee price now
2. Traxxas Aton Plus15min300mSee price now
1. 3DR Solo22min800mSee price now

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5. AEE AP9

When talking about drones with GoPro mounts, we simply can’t skip this drone. Surely,  among the best drones in this entire list is the AP9 by AEE Technology. Even though its big brother, the AP10 is a lot more popular, when it comes to bang for the bucks it does not get much better than this one.

However, the first thing you need to know about this affordable drone with GoPro attachment is that it does not come with a bundled camera and a motorized gimbal. While the former isn’t that big of a surprise considering other drones on this list, the latter could be a bit problematic for people who want smooth footage. On the bright side, the price completely justifies the lack of a motorized gimbal, making AEE AP9 a great entry-level solution. That’s why in the following few paragraphs I’m going to tell you why exactly is AEE AP9 a great choice for a GoPro drone!

How does it perform?

AEE AP9 Camera Mount

AEE AP9 drone that holds GoPro

This is not the best drone for GoPro on this list. Don’t get me wrong, there are much better GoPro ready drones on this list, but when it comes to price/performance ratio, AP9 is an outright champion. It does not come with a pre-bundled camera but it does come with GoPro and AEE S-series mount support which is most likely what the majority of you are looking for.

It is extremely fast and can reach up to 44 miles per hour. For those of you not familiar with drone speeds, let’s just say 44mph is pretty good! Its cruising speed is half that, which is just enough for you to capture some amazing aerial footage.

What about specifications?

When it comes to specifications of this drone that can carry GoPro, it is safe to say that it will not disappoint you. With around 23 minutes of drone flight time and more than 500 meters of lag-free range, this drone is by far the best bang for the buck in this list! So, is it worth purchasing over its AP10 brother? Well, if you ask me, I’d say it is. With a much cheaper price tag and similar performance, AEE AP9 is more than worth it!

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4. DJI Phantom 2

Of course, this list could not finish without at least one of DJI’s Phantom drones. For this occasion, we have handpicked their Phantom 2 V2.0 bundled together with the amazing Zenmuse H4-3D gimbal. Of course, there are other bundled gimbals as well that might suit your GoPro (such as the H3-3D for example) better. These names obviously reflect the GoPro camera weight balance (Hero 3 and Hero 4) and the type of rotation in question (3D). Now that we got that out of our way, let’s see if this old champ is still any good!

Main traits

DJI Phantom 2 Zenmuse gimbal

One thing is for sure though, the years have taken their toll on the good old Phantom 2. With plenty never models available, it’s pretty difficult to recommend it. Still, we have to confess that it was (in its time), by far, the best drone available. In fact, those red stripes next to its propellers were my wet dream for quite some time until I managed to save up enough money to buy it. So, if your wet dreams include red stripes and the awesome Zenmuse H4-3D gimbal, I don’t need to tell you twice that this model is made for you!

Camera support

In terms of camera support, you can either get Zenmuse H3-3D or H4-3D, both of which support GoPro Hero action cameras (3 and 4 respectively). However, you can mount Hero 4 on H3-3D but you will have to tamper around with the weight balance. Also, the mount is a tight fit for the 4 so it might end up pressing that button sticking out.

Also, keep in mind that you will have to install and calibrate the gimbal with the software provided by DJI. After doing that, your GoPro will be fully synchronized with its gimbal and you are good to go. For optimal results (if you were to buy this drone), we recommend you have the well-known Hero4 Black Edition as it can fully utilize gimbal’s stabilization features. And finally, this beast can fly for around 25 minutes and its respective range is cca 1 kilometer.

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3. XIRO Xplorer G

Another great bang for buck drone with GoPro attachment is coming from XIRO. Their Xplorer G version does not come with a dedicated camera, but it does come with a 3-axis gimbal which is perfect for your GoPro. It has amazing stability and offers a perfect aerial recording experience to its users. With that being said, let’s see how good it really is!

General performance

XIRO Xplorer G Gimbal

Xiro Xplorer G drone that holds gopro

The video and image smoothness is nothing short of spectacular. You can even see a real-time live preview by attaching your smartphone to the controller. Other than that, it is important to add that this little guy has handy features such as follow me drone feature, circle around me, hovering, and real-time live preview which we already mentioned above.

And finally, with its flight duration of 25 minutes and great range (up to 500 meters), there is no doubt that we are talking about a truly great drone. Another interesting thing about XIRO Xplorer G is the fact that it actually managed to preserve its popularity even after the release of XIRO Xplorer Mini. It’s not surprising though since Mini’s video quality cannot even be compared to that of Xplorer G with a GoPro onboard.

Don’t buy the wrong version

When buying XIRO Xplorer, make sure you go for the G version drone with camera mount. If you purchase the V one, you will pay extra money for a dedicated camera. While the image quality won’t disappoint you, it is still nowhere near a GoPro. With that being said, I would just like to add up that you don’t have to worry about stabilization since the above-mentioned 3-axis gimbal does a wonderful job at keeping your aerial footage smooth and steady! So, if you want semi-professional footage coming straight from your drone, and you don’t want to pay a lot for it, XIRO Xplorer G might be the best solution at the moment!

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2. Traxxas Aton Plus

Another one of popular drones with a GoPro mount comes from USA based company Traxxas. Traxxas has been a steady player in the industry. With their Aton drone, they have gained a massive amount of sympathizers craving for more. And indeed, the Aton is a great drone capable of carrying quite a decent payload. Your favorite GoPro camera is not a burden to this bad boy, don’t you worry.

As far as the introduction goes, I believe I should also mention that Traxxas has a successful background in terms of RC vehicles. As a matter of fact, they are among the most popular brands of high-end RC cars and aren’t looking to step away from the throne anytime soon. But, are they that good when it comes to drones too? Well, let’s see!

Features

traxxas aton gimbalStarting off with the features this little fella is equipped with, there are dual GPS systems, air brakes, return to home, 2 flight modes (sport and film) and a rather bright LED lights along with their respective status bar. As we already mentioned in the previous sentence, the Aton has 2 flight modes. The sports mode is used for drone racing – while it’s switched on, the drone clocks in at over 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). The film mode is, as its name suggests, used for filming. The speed is lower but the controllability and stability are greatly improved.

Specifications

Moving forward to the specifications, I’m happy to tell you Traxxas is more than good in this department too. With around 15 minutes of flight time and cca 300 meters’ flight distance, this guy is a true steady Eddie in its price range. All credits to Traxxas – great job!

From what I can see, this is potentially the best drone for GoPro cameras currently available! With a solid dose of versatility between filming and racing, and brilliant aerial footage quality, I suppose there aren’t many better drones than Traxxas Aton Plus!

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1. 3DR Solo

It’s abundantly clear that 3DR is not that big of a deal in the drones’ market. They’re not nearly as popular as DJI… or even other companies such as Yuneec or Autel Robotics. So, with that being laid out, how come their Solo model is so darn popular nowadays and why is it one of the best drones for GoPro Hero 4 camera?

The fact is, 3DR Solo is one of the most popular drones with GoPro mount. Well, the shortest answer would be that it offers a wide variety of features topped off with a great build quality and decent hardware. All three characteristics are on point for the Solo, and it’s safe to assume consumers noticed that.

What can you expect from this drone?

If you want a more precise approach, let’s start off by saying 3DR Solo highly intuitive drone that does not come with a dedicated camera. So, it’s safe to say the primary audience are people who already own an action camera and are keen on creating aerial photography masterpieces.

Despite that, it does not come with a gimbal either so that’s just another expense that’s going to exploit another couple of bucks out of your pocket. But, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad drone. On the contrary, 3DR Solo delivers incredible performance in terms of a plethora of features that come with it. Autonomous flight drones, other smart flight modes, even GPS (What is GPS and best drones with GPS list is here) – those are just some of the awesome features 3DR Solo has.

Specifications are nothing short of brilliant either, especially now that its price has dropped to an all-time low. If we are to be more precise number-wise, 3DR Solo can fly as long as 22 minutes and go up to 800 meters without losing connection.

Final thoughts

Combine all that with the fact its controller incorporates an HDMI port that you can use to set up your own FPV system with FPV goggles… plus a fully fledged 3-axis gimbal purchasable separately. Sounds awesome, right? Luckily, as I’ve already said – the customers noticed the sheer quality this drone possesses, so it’s actually ranking quite high in the charts. All things considered, 3DR did a fantastic job with 3DR Solo and I can’t wait for their next model. Hopefully, they’ll give us a more affordable Mavic Pro killer as that would really spice up the market.

 

Drones for GoPro Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session

Table : GoPro Hero 5 Compatible drones

ImageNameBatteryRangePrice
2. GoPro Karma17min3000mSee price now
AirDog ADII Table1. AirDog ADII15min150mNot available.

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2. GoPro Karma – smallest GoPro drone ?

GoPro Karma is one of the newest foldable drones for GoPro available on the market. This GoPro Hero 5 drone is made by the worldwide popular GoPro, an action photography giant that’s a household name across the globe. With that being said, I was extremely happy when their Karma drone got released but was extremely disappointed when they had to pull it off the market due to technical issues. Needless to say, this was a huge hit to GoPro’s ambitions in the drones market.

Can GoPro Karma go up against DJI Mavic Pro?

GoPro Karma Gimbal

Nowadays, even though the technical issues have all been resolved, GoPro Karma still cannot go up against, what looked like it would be, its main competitor – DJI Mavic Pro. In terms of specifications, things are pretty obvious – GoPro Karma falls short with lesser operating range (3km compared to 7km) and battery duration (17 minutes compared to roughly 25).

By the looks of things, it is quite obvious that Karma simply cannot compete with the likes of DJI Mavic Pro. In terms of portability, Karma falls short too with DJI wonderkid being the ultimate foldable drone out there. Still, things aren’t that bad for GoPro’s first drone. You see, even though Karma lacks in specifications and size, it makes up for it with versatility revolving around handheld photography.

Camera options

As far as the camera support goes, you will be happy to know that GoPro Karma supports not only Hero 5 Black but Hero 6 Black as well. Add to that a separately purchasable harness for Hero 4 Black and Silver and you’ll get yourself a solid array of viable action cameras with this little birdie. Moving forward, within the GoPro Karma package, you don’t only get the drone but a handheld stabilizer as well – Karma Grip. At the moment, that’s the only characteristic that Karma uses to attract audience… And judging by their sales, it seems to go pretty well for them!

Lastly, it’s no surprise Karma is often used as a drone for real estate agents for creating aerial footage of property they are trading. That’s because it comes from an established brand and is purchasable bundled together with a state of the art action camera solution. And as far as I can tell, those 2 things are keeping GoPro Karma in the race despite several other downsides.

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1. AirDog ADII – smallest GoPro drone ?

At the top spot sits a brand new GoPro Hero 5 drone that has just started shipping out to people who preordered it. I’m talking about none other than AirDog ADII, a drone with a highly innovative spirit. Kickstarter never ceases to amaze us with awesome tech gadgets… and that’s the case with this one. After collecting more than $300,000 which was the initial goal, AirDog ADII finalized its campaign with a blast from 256 backers… and it’s just a matter of time before it becomes available for purchase.

Honestly speaking, I am really excited about this action drone with camera mount since it looks outright awesome and performs even better. I loved the original AirDog, but it had some issues which I couldn’t get over. Hopefully, ADII will outshine its predecessor and shape the future of athlete-oriented smart drones.

Smart features galore

AirDog ADII GimbalThe first thing that I’d like to get out of our way is the operating range of this little birdie. With only 150 meters, AirDog ADII is clearly not an exploration GoPro compatible drone. Luckily, it’s makers are making that known as the primary targets of their creation are extreme sports lovers. They will use AirDog ADII to record themselves in their dangerous endeavors and won’t bother going over 150 meters.

So, if we look at it from that perspective, such short range is actually a good thing. Even more so since its limitation enables better implementation of smart flight features. Yes, AirDog ADII sports a whole bunch of these. The most important one is definitely Follow Me which was polished to perfection.

Fully waterproof controller

In terms of airtime, AirDog ADII is expected to fly around for approximately 15 minutes. It’s not a lot, but definitely not too low either, especially for such a compact drone. AirLeash is another vital part of ADII’s identity. This 100% waterproof wristband enables you to control all aspects of ADII’s flight without worrying about water splashing it. Needless to say, such a feature comes as icing on the cake for surfers, kitesurfers, flyboarders and pretty much everyone enjoying extreme water sports…

Expensive drones are not an option ?

As far as premium GoPro Hero 5 drones are concerned, I’m afraid that’s about it. You’ve had the chance to see 5 great models, all of which great for recording aerial videos with your GoPro. However, their prices are somewhat high (especially the first 2 models) and I doubt many casual users will opt for them. I see GoPro Karma and AirDog ADII as commercially viable aerial platforms, mostly used by people who make money with their recording capabilities. Aerial photographers are definitely leading the charge here, but since AirDog ADII is primarily focused on athletes, I wouldn’t be surprised if YouTube gets a plethora of hiking drone videos.

 

On the other hand, If you aren’t interested in pursuing a career as an aerial photographer, then you don’t really need to spend a lot of money on a drone that can carry GoPro. That’s because professional-grade aerial footage isn’t a must for your casual needs. Nope! Instead, what you can do is purchase one of these cheap GoPro drone alternatives which do a surprisingly decent job. There’s no hardware image stabilization though, which could be a turnoff for some of you… but for casual needs, they’re more than appropriate.

Cheap drones for GoPro cameras

Table : Cheap GoPro drones for sale

ImageNameBatteryRangePrice
3. Ionic Stratus8min150mSee price now
syma-x8g-featured2. Syma X8G12min100mSee price now
1. MJX Bugs 315min300mSee price now

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3. Ionic Stratus

Ionic-Stratus-Drone

The first cheap drone for GoPro on this list goes by the name Ionic Stratus. Honestly speaking, it’s not nearly as popular as the other 2 models listed below, but it still has some noteworthy traits that go heavily in its favor. Mainly, I am talking about specifications and solid build quality which we’ll talk more in the next 2 paragraphs. For now, let’s see what kind of a camera solution it has in store for its potential buyers!

Ionic Stratus does not come with a camera! Obviously, this is not surprising at all considering the dirt cheap price it goes for. It does not come with a motorized gimbal either. However, it does support GoPros and other action cameras which can easily be mounted on a tiny camera mount that comes with the package. Video quality is not that good even when using the latest GoPro camera.

That’s because the mount (and the drone itself) isn’t stable enough thus it produces a good deal of shakiness. People suggest hot-gluing a piece of wood in between the mount and the drone which can reduce vibration. While you’re at it, you can also tamper around with the angle if the default one is not your cup of tea.

Specifications of Ionic Stratus are fairing pretty good within this price point. WIth up to 10 minutes of flight time and 150 meters of range, there’s nothing bad to say about the numbers. However, when you attach a GoPro to this birdie, the airtime will suffer. With the camera onboard you will be looking at approximately 7 to 8 minutes of flight, depending on the camera weight. All things considered, with stellar numbers, GoPro support and a great price tag to its name, I’m sure Ionic Stratus will be the first option of many…

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2. Syma X8G – One of the cheapest drones with GoPro mount

The second model on this list is Syma’s X8G drone with camera mount. It’s definitely not the best drone for GoPro overall, but if you’re running on a low budget… this one might be great for you. It’s one of those cheap drones that work with GoPro but actually provide their own action camera bundled together. Considering its price, this is not a bad option for a starter drone for beginners. Syma X8G comes with a full HD 8MP camera whose quality is not exactly the best on the market. Luckily, with just a little bit tampering around with the connector, you can pair it with your GoPro in a matter of minutes and enjoy the glorious 4K aerial footage.

When it comes to the actual performance, it has to be said that Syma X8G possesses 6-axis gyro system for optimal flying (and image) stability which has become a proper standard on the quadcopters market. This enables smooth flight and good responsiveness from the provided controller. Other than that, it is also equipped with hovering mode, 360 rotation, and headless mode.

Specification-wise, its flight duration is around 12 minutes while its range goes somewhere around 100 meters. If you’re looking for a drone that will go much further from 100 meters.. our list of best long-range drones should help! Still, I’d say Syma X8G stands well with these specs considering it’s a rather cheap model.

Charging time of its 2S 2000mAh LiPo battery is standing decently at just over an hour (70 minutes to be exact). Needless to say, we’ve seen worse chargers that take more than 3 hours to charge up. All in all, it’s a great starters drone that is definitely worth opting for. Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced drone pilot looking for a new toy, there is no doubt Syma X8G can make your dreams come true!

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1. MJX Bugs 3

MJX might not be the most known drone manufacturer out there, but that is only because they (still) don’t make high-end models. When it comes to entry-level ones, their GoPro compatible drone “MJX Bugs 3” is more than capable of providing you with excellent time! Even more so if you already own a GoPro and you’re just looking for a solid aerial platform to mount it onto. That’s because MJX Bugs 3 is one of the cheapest drones compatible with GoPro cameras (best drone for GoPro under $200 !). But, there’s more to this marvelous little bugger… so let’s take a closer look at it and see what else does it have to offer!

In terms of specifications, it is pretty clear that MJX Bugs 3 does not fail to deliver. It has roughly 300 meters of range and more than 15 minutes of active flight time. The latter heavily depends on the type of camera you mount on it. For that matter, you’ll be happy to know that it supports not only GoPro’s but Xiaoyi’s and Xiaomi’s as well.

The stabilization isn’t going to blow you away, but it is still decent and won’t give you that usual jelly effect that most other, similarly priced, models tend to output. That’s due to a bulky frame and tight camera mount which doesn’t suffice to wind. Furthermore, you should also know that MJX Bugs 3 features brushless motors. More precisely, 1805 1800KV brushless motors which work exceptionally well on a 310mm drone.

With that being said, it’s quite clear that MJX Bugs 3 does wonder in terms of aerial photography which is why it’s not only being bought by beginners but more advanced users alike. So, all things considered, if you already own an action camera and you’re looking for a solid platform for aerial photography, it’s quite obvious that MJX Bugs 3 is a greatly affordable GoPro drone. That’s it about GoPro drones for sale, now we’re going to review most popular GoPro cameras & gimbals.

Review of GoPro cameras :

Those of you who already have a GoPro for your new drone can skip this section. However, for those who are yet to buy one, here are the best 3 models that are currently available on the market, plus Hero 5 Session model which could be interesting to some of you. I have already mentioned 2 of them in the introductory FAQs but now we are going to dedicate a bit more attention to them…

GoPro Hero 6 Black vs GoPro Hero 5 Black vs GoPro Hero 4 Black

The 2 most popular GoPro action cameras are surely the Black editions of Hero 5 and 4. They are basically in the same lineup but have surprising differences in design and features. But, just a few moments ago GoPro announced the 6th edition of these baddies so instead of doing 2-camera comparison, we’ll be up against 3 of them. Why? Well, people who already have GoPro Hero 4 Black will be able to determine whether or not they should upgrade to Hero 5. On the other hand, people looking to buy one of them will have a much clearer picture to suit their needs… perhaps the all-new Hero 6 Black is worth considering too? So, without much further adue, let’s see what do all of these action cameras have in store for us!

Sensors

GoPro Hero 4 Black boasts a 12MP 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor which was the pinnacle of imaging solutions back in 2014. As a matter of fact, many other brands of action camera are still using this sensor even to this date which just goes to show that GoPro is ahead of time.

As a matter of fact, GoPro Hero 5 Black uses virtually the same 12MP 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor. However, there are several differences in their performance. First off, H5B offers in-camera image stabilization (electronic image stabilization or EIS) which greatly removes shakiness and vibration from videos. Following up, H5B’s sensor supports HDR (GoPro calls it WDR) and RAW image format which could be interesting to professionals.

GoPro Hero 6 Black continues in the same fashion most likely with the same sensor but several important technical upgrades. Without going into too much detail here, I’d just like to point out that H6B will effectively double the framerate when recording in high resolutions… but more on that below.

 

Hero 6 Black vs Hero 5 Black vs Hero 4 Black: Video Quality

GoPro Hero 4

GoPro Hero 4 Black enjoyed a massive popularity when it was first released, all due to its spectacular video recording capability. At that time (let me remind you, this was all the way back in 2014), the Silver version could record 4K videos but only in 15fps. While a dedicated touchscreen display was planned as a major selling point, more people turned their heads towards the “screenless” Hero 4 Black that sported double the frames with 4K recordings.

Of course, in addition to 4K at 30fps, Hero 4 Black can also record 2.7K at 60fps and 1080p in 120fps, suitable for slow-motion videos. Obviously, the 5th edition offered quite a bit of improvement across the board so it’s not surprising to see many people upgrading to it… But, with the release of Hero 6 Black, I’m sure many people will have difficult decisions to make.
GoPro Hero 5 Black

As far as the video quality is concerned, GoPro Hero 5 Black was the best action camera money could buy… until the Hero 6 Black showed up. It supports resolutions up to 4K thanks to its 12MP sensor and can even record slow-motion footage in 240fps. Backlight scenes have received a well-deserved upgrade balancing out the quality.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for audio quality which seems to be at the exact same level as GoPro Hero 4. Even though there are 3 microphones present, none of them seems to be at the front which fails to deliver great results. Don’t get me wrong, audio quality is decent, but nowhere near what professionals demand.

GoPro Hero 6 BlackWhen it comes to the newest model, Hero 6 Black, I’ve already told you that it is almost identical to the 5. But, there are several improvements, most important of which is surely the video resolution upgrade. Well, technically not resolution but FPS upgrade… You see, GoPro Hero 6 Black might sport the same exact sensor like the 5, but with upgrades in the technology surrounding it, Hero 6 Black can achieve double the framerate when recording in glorious 4K.

That means you will not be stuck at 30 frames per second anymore – you’ll get to enjoy buttery smooth 60fps. Lower resolutions have received framerate updates too – FHD can now be recorded in 240fps meaning fully fledged slow-motion footage (10% speed at 24fps) in 1080p are finally here. Improved image stabilization and better color accuracy are also here, as well as low-light photo improvements which are barely noticeable if we are to be completely honest.

 

Design

The design of Hero 4 Black was already seen in older generations. Rough edges, rubber padding on the sides and nicely enclosed insides were the biggest characteristics of its appearance. It is slightly smaller than H5B which is not surprising considering it does not have a dedicated touchscreen display. The exact dimensions of this action camera are 41 x 59 x 29.6 mm.

Hero 5 Black is basically a water-resistant Hero 4 Silver with a couple of added extras. The 2-inch full-color touchscreen display (more on that below) works like a charm, although people with big thumbs might have difficulties at first. Water resistance without the casing goes up to 10 meters, but you can get the external housing unit for approximately $50 if you want more protection. As I’ve mentioned above, H5B is bigger than H4B standing at 44.6 x 62 x 32.7 mm.

The newest addition to GoPro’s lineup of action cameras, Hero 6 Black, retains the exact same design like its predecessor. To charge this baby up, you’ll be using USB type C which is a nice addition if you ask me. Of course, this is not a completely new feature as it was introduced with H5B. As far as the camera itself is concerned, it works with the majority of older GoPro accessories and is officially supported by just one drone – GoPro Karma. However, it will most likely be supported by AirDog ADII as well since the dimensions should be matching those of GoPro Hero 5 Black.

 

Interface

Due to the processor excessively heating up when recording 4K at 30fps, H4B had to give up on its touchscreen display. Instead, it retained the conventional buttons which are used for navigating through the menus. Even though new users will have to use Google for answers, I’d still say the menus are fairly intuitive and understandable. It’s easy to switch through them quickly, perhaps even quicker than on a tiny touchscreen. So, at the end of the day, it’s safe to say taht H4B fares pretty well in terms of interface.
With the addition of a dedicated 2-inch touchscreen display, Hero 5 Black offers seamless navigation through all menus. With a plethora of available features, recording modes, and connectivity options, it can be frustrating to navigate quickly. However, that miniature 2-inch display might not be the best solution as some people suggested it catches bad input. Plus, if you put your H5B in external housing you’re losing the “touch” navigation and have to rely solely on buttons.
I have already mentioned a couple of times that H5B and H6B are pretty much identical. But, despite their outer appearance being the same, their interface not necessarily is. You see, H6B has several upgraded features (auto exposure, touch zoom and auto white balance to name a few) including supposedly improved touchscreen display that will better capture your input. Plus, switching between menus will be faster than on H5B since H6B sports twice the power of its predecessor.

 

Battery duration

As always, the battery duration of H5B (and all other action cameras) heavily depends on the user’s recording preferences. Whether they’re recording in 4K or 1080p, whether they’re using WiFi, voice commands, Bluetooth, and all that good stuff.

  • GoPro Hero 4 Black
    This GoPro model is running on 1160mAh Lithium Ion battery. Depending on the circumstances explained above, you can expect anywhere from slightly less than 1 hour all the way to 2 hours.
  • GoPro Hero 5 Black
    If everything is turned off you can expect around 2 hours... but if everything is on, you can consider yourself lucky with approximately 45 minutes.
  • GoPro Hero 6 Black
    Judging by the fact that both H5B and H6B are running on the same 1220mAh Lithium Ion battery, I suppose the duration will be somewhat equal… perhaps a bit less if you record 4K in 60FPS as that requires a lot more processing power.

 

Features

GoPro Hero 4 Black has a fair share of features but is greatly beaten by the 2 newest models. With main traits in the ranks of Bluetooth, WiFi, and photography modes (for example HiLight Tag, TimeLapse, Loop, Protune, Night Lapse, QuikCapture and more), H4B cannot be put in the same basket as other 2 models.

With smartwatch support, Bluetooth and a bunch of other new features, GoPro Hero 5 Black shines in full light. On top of all that, this camera also features voice commands that work on pretty huge distances. However, some users have complained about bugs and suggest voice command feature to be used only in low noise scenarios.

On a brave notice, GoPro Hero 6 Black continues where its predecessor left off. In addition to all of the above-mentioned features, H6B brings forth improved connectivity. More precisely, it will be based on 5.8G WiFi which is supposedly a lot more powerful than conventional one. Furthermore, it also provides with an enhanced QuikStory feature with smartphone offload being 3 times faster than H5B.

 

GoPro Hero 5 Session vs GoPro Hero Session

Even though these 2 cameras look identical, there are serious differences in terms of their performance. Price tags are also pretty far away from each other which just goes to show that we are talking about 2 very different action cameras.

Of course, the main trait of all action cameras from the Session lineup is their ridiculously small size and weight. This allows them to be seamlessly placed on virtually anything you can think of. They offer unparalleled portability which makes them extremely popular in the world of vlogging.

The nomenclature behind Session series is actually quite confusing. The first Session model that came out together with Hero 4 Black and Silver was called, of course, GoPro Session 4. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that big of a success since it was priced extremely high and way competing against other GoPro models. But, then came the GoPro Session 5 which added several big improvements that made it viable for people looking for extremely small and lightweight imaging solution.

After that, Hero 4 Session has pulled off the records and rebranded as just Hero Session. Right now, it serves as the basic, entry-level model with Hero 5 Session as the current Gen flagship. With the release of Hero 6 Black, many expected Hero 6 Session, but that hasn’t happened… at least not at the time of writing this article.

Despite all that, there is one question that still remains – how do Hero 5 Session and Hero Session compare against each other? Well, let’s take a closer look and find out!

Features

Extra features are always major selling points of action cameras. While the current flagship does a great job featuring 2 awesome functionalities, the entry-level model does not have a lot to brag with.

GoPro Hero 5 Session incorporates both Quik Stories and Voice Control features. The former will basically turn your GoPro footage into a stylish video with just one tap required to start the process. The latter, however, will give you several voice controls that allow you to start/stop recording (among other functionalities) on your GoPro action camera.

Design and battery life

I have already stated that these 2 models look identical when placed next to each other. With that said, it’s not surprising to see that they sport basically the same built-in batteries which are not removable (without the help of any tools, at least). That’s actually not a problem since they’re both equally good at providing enough juice.

When all extra features and functions are turned off and both cameras are recording videos in 1080p, the battery will last for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. However, I’m sure that number will go slightly lower if you crank the resolution up to 4K and turn on WiFi or Voice Commands.

Imaging Quality

In terms of video quality, it is fairly easy to say that Hero 5 Session has a huge advantage. Not only can it record videos in 4K while Hero Session goes only up to 1080p at 60fps, but H5S also has access to in-camera image stabilization. This allows it to smoothen videos and remove jerky footage caused by various sources of vibration.

Photo quality falls heavily on H5S side as well. It can shoot 12MP images while the cheaper version can only output 8MP. Additionally, Hero 5 Session has access to Night mode which keeps the shutter open for a longer period of time allowing more light to come into the lens. Hero session, unfortunately, doesn’t sport the same feature. Lastly, both models possess Burst Mode, but H5S does so with 30 frames per second while the entry-level model goes up to 10.

Price

Here comes the punch line…. As most of you have already realized, GoPro Hero 5 is a lot better than the entry-level model. But, of course, the price gap puts an exclamation mark on that claim as it is more than huge. You see, GoPro Hero Session will cost you approximately 170€ while the flagship GoPro Hero 5 Session will squeeze out 360€. Yup, for the price of 1 H5S, you can get 2 HS and still afford a quick meal at McDonald’s. But, as I’ve already stated, comparing these 2 models isn’t even fair due to such a huge price gap. While H5S is a fully fledged flagship device with incredible performance and whole heap of supporting features, HS is just an entry level device aimed at indie filmmakers and beginners who want to try out what it feels like to operate with such a miniature action camera.

 

GoPro Smart Remote

GoPro Smart Remote

Smart remote for GoPro cameras has been released all the way back when Hero 2 was the flagship model. If we are to be more precise, GoPro Remote was bundled together with the WiFi BacPac package for GoPro Hero 2. The hardware was not tampered with until very recently, up until GoPro Hero 4 came out. It was then renamed to GoPro Smart Remote and received several modifications.

Today, we are looking at a stylish GoPro accessory nicely packed inside a tiny body. It still retains 3 huge buttons which are easily accessible even with big, padded gloves. These 3 buttons practically mimic the buttons that are present on GoPro cameras. Record, Settings and Power/Mode buttons are all here, as well as a monochrome LCD display. This mechanism allows intuitive navigation through the menus without major difficulties.

Inside the package, you will not only get the GoPro Smart Remote but a wrist strap, USB charging cable with GoPro proprietary plug and several GoPro stickers. The best part about this accessory is the fact that it can effectively control a GoPro camera up to 180 meters away. Plus, it can connect to several GoPro models at the same time, allowing you to perfectly synchronize your recordings and burst photos and take control of your devices.

How to connect to multiple GoPro cameras

  1. Make sure the latest firmware has been installed on all devices
  2. Enable WiFi on each camera and start the pairing process
  3. Turn on the GoPro Smart Remote
  4. Hold the settings button for 4 seconds

Success – you have paired all of your cameras to your GoPro Smart Remote!

There are some limitations, though – you cannot use any settings on any of your connected cameras. In fact, if you press the settings button nothing will happen. That’s why you need to make sure each connected camera has already been locally set up with the correct settings.On the bright side, you can still use the HiLight Tagging feature on Hero 4 and above.

GoPro Gimbals :

Stepping down from aerial photography, now we are moving towards handheld solutions for action photographers. With 5 awesome GoPro gimbals, you will be able to turn your shaky footage into buttery smooth elegance. Here are our top 5 picks:

5. FeiyuTech G5

FeiyuTech G5 GimbalThe 5th spot on our best GoPro gimbals list goes to FeiyuTech’s G5 – a top notch 3-axis gimbal that is primarily aimed at GoPro Hero 5 Black users. It is nicely poised with a highly durable aluminum alloy made with precise CNC processing. An interesting thing about this beauty is not only its stellar design (which breathes quality from all angles) but also the fact that its motor arm is made out of 1 big piece of metal. Needless to say, that greatly improves its overall durability and sturdiness.

When it comes to the hardware found inside, FeiyuTech G5 relies on brushless motors. They can boast with great power efficiency and quiet operation which is of utmost importance for professionals. In terms of camera support, FeiyuTech G5 not only supports GoPro Hero 5 Black but Hero 4 models too… as well as other similarly sized action cameras. You can customize your setup with counterweights that allow you to adjust the gravity center for the optimal results.

Among the features, you will find a selfie timer button which will provide you with an enjoyable selfie experience that will automatically rotate the camera towards you to get the perfect selfie. Combine that with H5B voice commands and you got yourself the ultimate selfie rig. Lastly, I would like to add the fact that FeiyuTech G5 is a splash-proof gimbal meaning you can enjoy water-based activities without worrying about ruining it.

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4. EVO SS

EVO SS Gimbal4th spot shines light onto the EVO SS, a highly versatile gimbal that not only works within the GoPro ecosystem but also retains support for other action cameras such as Garmin Virb Ultra 30 or Yi 4K+. The former works outstandingly thanks to a specialized adapter that goes onto the bottom part of the gimbal which then allows you to mount EVO SS on virtually any GoPro accessory that you can find.

Another interesting thing about EVO SS is the fact that it can be used either as a handheld, body-mounted or object-mounted gimbal. You can place it onto your helmet, bike handlebars or go the old fashioned way and use it as a handheld stabilizer. Whichever mounting method you opt for, I am sure EVO SS will not disappoint you with its performance.

As far as controlling this thing is concerned, it possesses a Bluetooth radio which allows it to be controlled via your smartphone. More precisely, there is a dedicated app which lets you control the gimbal’s orientation. If that’s not good enough for you, there is also a standalone remote controller which can be purchased separately. All in all, with lots of different mounts available (for GoPro and other action camera brands), great build quality and interface, EVO SS is definitely a worthy option.

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3. Roxant Pro

Roxant Pro Video Camera StabilizerRoxant Pro is a very interesting gimbal, not so much by its performance like its brilliant design which will turn quite a few heads its way. First things first though, Roxant Pro is not a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer. Nope! It’s a basic video camera stabilizer that doesn’t just work with miniature action cameras such as GoPros but with DSLR cameras too. The only limit is the camera weight which cannot exceed 2.1 lbs. Now that we got all that out of our way, let’s see what’s this video camera stabilizer all about!

Obviously, Roxant Pro is the cheapest gimbal on this list which comes as no surprise considering it does not have a 3-axis mechanism for hardware stabilization. Instead, thanks to its precisely engineered construction and shake-free design, it is able to effectively create smooth videos coming from your action or DSLR camera. Roxant Pro is made with no-slip grip material and sports a custom lower arm that will allow you to walk, run and pass over obstacles without any serious shakiness showing in your footage.

Come to think of it, Roxant Pro is primarily aimed towards indie filmmakers who will greatly benefit from this little device. Not only will it greatly improve the quality of their work but will also keep a lot of money in their pockets with an aggressive price tag that goes slightly over $60 mark. If we take into account everything already mentioned about Roxant Pro, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s more than a solid option for beginners… and people on a strict budget.

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2. GoPro Karma Grip

Karma GripThis accessory comes with the GoPro Karma drone package and effectively transforms your aerial photography platform into a handheld or body-mounted one. And, if you don’t mind me stating – it does so with proper ease. But, is it worth purchasing separately on its own without the GoPro Karma drone?

Well, if you ask me, I’d say it is more than worth it! Especially to people who want buttery smooth videos of their trips/adventures/family gatherings. You can rest assured your footage will be safe from any sort of jerkiness and vibration. Thanks to GoPro Karma Grip’s smooth brushless motors and precisely manufactured design, video shakiness will be a thing of the past. Plus, it can do so for up to 2 hours of battery duration per charge which should be more than enough for most people’s needs.

Moving onto the features, GoPro Karma Grip gives you basic controls of the camera and its orientation. These include start/stop recording, change recording modes, adjust the camera angle and plenty more. Additionally, it also supports HiLight feature which will mark the best moments of your footage which will pop up once you start editing the video with GoPro software. All things considered, if you want a great aerial platform that incorporates handheld and body-mounted capabilities too, then go for GoPro Karma package as it provides everything you might need in a single (perfect) package!

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1. EVO GP-Pro

Evo GP Pro GimbalAnd the best 3-axis gimbal for GoPro and similar action cameras title goes to EVO GP-Pro. We are talking about a marvelous device with a relatively high price tag to its name which could drive off a small portion of potential buyers. However, those who dare to buy this beauty will surely be amazed by the sheer video smoothness that EVO GP-Pro delivers. So, with that said, let’s take a closer look at the number 1 spot for the best GoPro gimbal out there!

And it’s not just a GoPro gimbal. Nope! EVO GP-Pro works with plenty of other brands including the popular Garmin Virb Ultra 30, Yi 4K+, SJCAM 4000 and so on. Plus, if you get it off Amazon you are getting 1 year USA warranty which will save you a lot of nerves if something is to go wrong… which is, at least in my honest opinion, highly unlikely. Moving onto the actual setup here, this gimbal works with brushless motors and retains a plug and play mechanism straight out of the box. Plus, there is also a 3.5mm AV output jack on the handle which allows you to pass video through to an external monitor. Keep in mind this will only work with GoPro Hero 3 and GoPro Hero 4 cameras.

Furthermore, the build quality of EVO GP-Pro is second to none. Believe it or not, this gimbal was made from aircraft grade aluminum which makes the sturdiness of the build really stand out. It sports a matte black finish and incorporates a modular design with each of its components working perfectly together. Now comes the best part – the actual footage quality. You see, even though the price of this gimbal isn’t that high, it actually incorporates incredible production value for what it’s worth. Walking, jumping, running up and down the stairs with this thing in your hands… the footage will show no shakiness whatsoever. It’s miraculous – you have to try it out for yourself to really understand what I’m talking about. What I am basically trying to say here is that, even if we put everything else aside (the build quality, camera support, ease of use) and just focus on the footage quality, EVO GP-Pro still deserves to be at the top spot!

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4 comments

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1

Hi, Thanks for the wonderful reviews. Can you tell me which of these drones is compatible with the GoPro Hero5 Black?

Thanks, Mark

2

Great post Vito! I've been doing my research on the cheapest drones to use with a gopro and it has come down to the Syma X8G (currently available on ebay for bid at about $70) and the MJX Bugs 3 on sale at Gearbest for $90. I've seen great reviews for the MJX Bugs 3 as well as some great test footage after rigging it up with a G-2D gimbal. Its price and flight time beats that of the Ionic Stratus and I'd love to see it included in this list.

4

Hey, what is the best for an automatic safe return home. I need to know and avoid stealing