GoPro Hero4 Session Review

Divers who share this will always see more fish in their dives

    My pro skateboarder friend, Onur was skateboarding while I was writing the GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition review in October, 2015. He was recording his tricks via his cell-phone. This was not easy. Finding a place for his cell phone for a better shot, trying to locate himself in front of his cell-phone and etc.

    I asked him: “Why don’t you use GoPro instead?

    Okay, I am a scuba diver and use my cameras underwater, but as a review writer, I know how handy the GoPro is for skateboarders, too.

    Onur told me that his cell phone is doing well enough for wide angle video shots.

    But I need a smaller camera that has the GoPro quality to be able to mount it under my skateboard” he replied.

    All GoPro cameras were “big” for him.

    I also met scuba divers who want to mount their action cams to their diving masks rather than mounting it on their heads by using a head belt strap. This accessory was disturbing them in their dives. As a result, these divers either preferred not to buy an action cam or using their cams only for special dives like footage of their favorite shipwreck.

    GoPro was losing these action guys.

    Can an action cam be smaller?” I asked myself couple of times. The answer came from GoPro after 9 months they introduced the GoPro Hero4 editions.

    From now on, we have a newborn GoPro member: GoPro Hero4 Session. Smaller, lighter.

    GoPro Hero4 Session-2

    General Features of GoPro Hero4 Session

    It is small and light. This is the most significant feature of this baby action-cam.

    If we compare it with GoPro Hero4 Black Edition, it is 50% smaller and 40% lighter.

    GoPro Hero4 Session only weighs 74 grams. Sounds like a toy camera, doesn’t it?

    You can use it anywhere you’d like to. You don’t have to worry about enough room in your backpack, just throw it in your pocket!

    GoPro Hero4 Session comes with two frames:

    • Low-Profile Frame
    • Standard Frame

    Ball Joint Buckle

    Boll Joint Buckle gives you the flexibility not to un-mount your action-cam each time you want to have a different angle of view.

    Mounts you bought for your ex-GoPros can also be used with GoPro Hero4 Session.

    I know you want to learn about the video quality of GoPro Hero4 Session. Here it is:

    • 1440p30
    • 1080p60
    • 720p100

    And for photos…

    You can take photos with the 8MP camera.

    Time Laps mode helps you to capture shots from 0.5 to 60 seconds. You can set 2 seconds, for example and your GoPro Hero4 Session will take photos in every 2 seconds until you stop it.

    With the Burst feature, you can shot 10 photos in a second.

    Hero4 Session

    By the help of the famous GoPro App that GoPro owners are used to, you may adjust your settings. Don’t worry, it is still free.

    You may also want to use a GoPro Smart Remote for a better control of your GoPro Hero4 Session, but unfortunately, it is sold separately.

    IT IS durable. When I received my cargo, I opened the package and hold my GoPro Hero4 Session for the first time. Just after a couple of seconds, I dropped it accidentally on my marble apartment floor but it is tough, you know. No damage!

    And the UNDERWATER use…

    This really made me upset though, because GoPro Hero4 Session is waterproof only up to 10 meters (33 feet). GoPro celebrates that this version doesn’t need an extra housing and it is ready-to-go, but 10 meters? Come on…

    One ButtonOne button control is cool. When you push that button once, the camera is on and starts to record video. With a long press, the camera is on and starts to take Time Lapse photos.

    When you press the button while it is running (video or photo) the camera stops its action and turns off.

    Easy…

    SuperView and Auto Low Light features are still valid with your GoPro Hero4 Session.

    SuperView is a GoPro video mode that allows you to have a wider-angle (cool for selfies).

    Auto Low Light changes the frame rates according to the amount of light. So you can have clear photos Auto Low Lighteven in low light.

    Protune! It allows you to take professional-looking videos. A 74 grams of action-cam with Protune? That’s the differentiation!

    HiLight Tag will help you tagging your videos. Let me say, you are recording a kayaking adventure. Let’s suppose it will be a half an hour shoot. But the best part is the one when you free-fall from the waterfall! What you need to do is to push the button once while it is recording and tag that moment. You can also do this if you own a Smart Remote.

    This feature is good for your later displays and possible edits. It is easy to find your best moments in your videos.

    There are two microphones built-in your GoPro Hero4 . One is on the front and the other is on the back of your camera. What is the advantage?

    Dual Mic SystemLess wind voice! Less background sounds that will definitely ruin your video!

    Your GoPro Hero4 Session will automatically switch from one mic to another, following the main voice.

    The built-in battery system will allow you 2 hours of usage when fully charged (Wi-Fi off and @1080p30). You’ll have a USB cable to charge your GoPro Hero4 Session from your computer/Wall Charger/GoPro Auto (Wall Charger and GoPro Auto are sold separately).

    Auto Image Rotation will help you to correct your footage automatically. If you somehow mounted Auto Image Rotationyour action-cam upside-down, Auto Image Rotation is going to make it right side up!

    By the help of the built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you can access your GoPro App for controlling your GoPro Hero4 Session with your smart phone/tablet.

    You can also display what you shot on your smart phone/tablet and share them via Instagram, Twitter and etc. No need to say that you can purchase a Smart Remote and it is compatible with GoPro Hero4 Session.

    Last but not least, you may want to check out the GoPro Studio for editing. By the help of this software, you can easily view your work and share it with others.

    It is also exciting to create GoPro style videos by using GoPro Studio. Give it a try!

    Camera Control

    Versions of GoPro Hero4 Session

    There are two versions of GoPro Hero4 Session you may prefer to purchase:

    • Standard
    • Surf

    What is the differences between standard and surf versions of GoPro Hero4 Session?

    Technically, nothing.

    The only difference between these two versions is the mounts that come up with the camera you bought.

    Standard edition comes with:

    • Curved Mount
    • Flat Adhesive Mount

    Surf edition comes with:

    • Surfboard Mount
    • FCS Plug Mount
    • Camera Tether

     

    Don’t Like to Read? Watch Brent Rose’s Review Video Below

     

     

    What is in the Box?

    When I purchased the GoPro Hero4 Session (Standard Version), these were included:

    1. GoPro Hero4 Session cam
    2. USB Cable
    3. Low-Profile & Standard Frames
    4. Ball-Joint Mounting Buckle
    5. Buckles for Mounting
    6. Flat Adhesive & Curved Adhesive Mounts*
    *These will replace by Surfboard Mount, FCS Plug Mount and Camera Tether in Surf Edition.

    Hero4 Session 2

    Technical Specs with Comparison

    You can see technical specs of GoPro Hero4 Session below.

    I created a comparison chart for you guys to be able to see the differences clearly. If you still have some questions in mind, please don’t hesitate to ask me by using the comment section at the end of this review.

    GoPro
    Hero 4 Session
    Hero 4 Silver
    Hero 4 Black
       
    Video Resolution

    N/A

    N/A

    1440p @ 30fps

    1080p @60fps

    960p @ 60fps

    720p @ 100fps

    WVGA @ 120fps

    4K @ 15fps

    2.7K @ 30fps

    1440p @ 30fps

    1080p @ 60fps

    960p @ 100fps

    720p @ 120fps

    WVGA @ 240fps

    4K @ 30fps

    2.7K @ 50fps

    1440p @ 80fps

    1080p @120fps

    960p @ 120fps

    720p @ 120fps

    WVGA @ 240fps

    Photo Resolution
    8MP
    12MP
    12MP
    Weight (With Housing)
    74gr
    147gr
    152gr
    Lens
    F2.8
    F2.8
    F2.8
    Wi-Fi
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Bluetooth
    YES
    YES
    YES
    LCD Screen
    NONE
    YES
    NONE
    Battery
    1030mAh
    1160mAh
    1160mAh
    Photos per Second (Burst Mode)
    10
    30
    30
    Night Photo & Lapse
    NONE
    YES
    YES
    Protune
    Video Only
    Video & Photo
    Video & Photo
    Video Tagging (Highlight Tag)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Remote Control
    NONE
    NONE
    Music and Surf Editions Only
    Dimension
    38x38x38mm
    41x59x30mm
    41x59x30mm
     

    Details

    Details

    Details

     


    Pros & Cons of GoPro Hero4 Session

    GoPro Hero4 Session is the brand-new family member of GoPro.

    A new product is always shown as a better product than the previous ones.

    But the reality is not always like that.

    To be able to help you to have a better understanding about GoPro Hero4 Session, I have listed the pros and cons of the product based on my own experience.

    Pros of GoPro Hero4 Session

    1. It is small and light (50% smaller and 40% lighter than the older models). This means that GoPro Hero4 Session doesn’t require much room especially while travelling and it doesn’t drag. I haven’t even felt it during my swimming test.
    2. One button use is a big advantage. You don’t have to deal with buttons you have to remember the functions. Press it once, it is on and recording. Press again it will turn off. Simple, easy.
    3. Waterproof up to 10 meters (33 feet) without a housing. This means you can use it underwater directly while you snorkel and swim.
    4. GoPro Hero4 Session is the first GoPro camera that can be side-mounted. We were using by using elbow joint mounts for this purpose before and it was dragging a lot.
    5. Longer battery life than GoPro Hero4 Silver even though GoPro Hero4 Session has a smaller battery. You can use this camera for 2 hours (Wi-Fi off and 1080p30).
    6. Audio system works well. Dual microphone system will reduce the wind noise and concentrate on your speech.

    Details and shopping from Amazon.com

     

    Hero4 Session 3

    Cons of GoPro Hero4 Session

    1. You cannot change the settings without using your cell-phone (App) or Smart Control, which is sold separately.

    Compared to GoPro Hero4 Silver (Same price):

    1. GoPro Hero4 is not cost-effective. GoPro Hero4 Silver has an LCD touch screen, higher video/photo resolution and replaceable battery. But they are both $400. In this case, we clearly see that GoPro Hero4 Session owners will be paying for small form factor.
    2. Image sharpness and details are quite low in GoPro Hero4 Session.
    3. Colors are not as bright as GoPro Hero4 Silver.
    4. In low light, images taken with GoPro Hero4 Session is red and noisy.
    5. SuperView mode is not that “super in GoPro Hero4 Session. Same snapshot taken by Silver and Session give us different results. Silver has a lot wider SuperView.

    What Does Seaman Say?

    GoPro Hero4 Session is a unique design and being tiny and light is a big advantage.

    If you need an action-cam small enough for special footage like animal behavior recording -which requires minimum stand out, GoPro Hero4 Session is what you are looking for.

     

    If you are considering buying a GoPro today, I would definitely suggest you to buy a GoPro Hero4 Silver rather than Session. I am sure you have clearly seen the benefits of owning a Silver on my comparison table above.

    GoPro Hero4 Silver offers LCD Touch Screen, pretty higher photo/video resolution, wider SuperView and replaceable batteries for same price.

    GoPro Hero4 Session

    For my own specialty, scuba diving, situation is even worse.

    Scuba divers often dive deeper than 10 meters (33 feet) and GoPro Hero4 Session cannot be enough. Because it is only waterproof up to 10 meters. So for scuba divers, no additional housing need seems to be not enough. When we consider that even GoPro doesn’t know when/if they are going to produce a scuba diving housing for their new product, we don’t have to talk a lot.

    There won’t be any new GoPro for 2015.

    So if you want to own a GoPro, simply buy a GoPro Hero4 Silver and a waterproof scuba diving housing. Then take it with you in your next dive trip and enjoy shooting your dive.

     

    You can check out my GoPro Hero4 Silver Edition Review here (opens in a new window).

     

    This is my personal thought tough; the choice is up to you.

    I wish you good shots and let the light be with you.

     

    Details and shopping from Amazon.com

     

    New Product Available. Read: GoPro Hero 5 Black Review

    GoPro Hero4 Session-3


    Divers who share this will always see more fish in their dives

      Comments

      1. Hey there.. what setting would you say is the best for 30m dive with the go pro 4 black? thanks!

        • Hello Lui,

          I just answered your question on DiveWithSeaman’s Facebook page. However, I also wanted to answer this question here also, because some other DiveWithSeaman readers may also need this information.

          I suggest video mode with a resolution of 1080p @ 60 fps. Fov should be W and the Low Light, Spot Meter and Protune is off.

          Thank you.

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