First impressions and test of the GoPro Hero4 Session

Its hard to find a reviewer that recommend this camera. Most say things along the line of, “Its the same price as the Hero4 Silver”, “Its almost the same size” and “It doesn’t shoot 4K”.
And still the Session was a no brainer for me.

 

gopro2

 

Intro

My first GoPro wasn’t the Full Frame 35mm film version in the picture above but the HD Hero2. It was back in the early days of the DSLR-boom and was at the time quite mind blowing.
Since then they have kept improving in both ergonomics and image quality. But if we are completely honest the change in quality isn’t that great. Sure they’ve added 4K and more frame rates but the footage out of an Action Cam still looks like footage from an Action Cam.

When I got the HD Hero2 the whole point was the size. Not the quality, the size in combination with the price and ruggedness. Everybody was sticking it to different stuff and using it for those weird angles that aren’t possible with a big camera.
For example I used it under water, put it in the glass when filming someone pouring a beer, FPV, etc. People put them on the Parrot drone which basically started the whole Drone Wave and without it there would be no DJI Phantom. Weather balloons. Down wells. And of course dogs.

leiaI used to put it on my dog companion “Leia” at the time. She was a 45kg Rottweiler and I could use the regular “chest harness” that are designed for people. GoPro them selves had the same setup in one of their early commercials.
When Gunpowder came into my life it became trickier. Both the harness and camera was simply to big. So I tried some different solutions trying to mount a smartphone but never had a good enough result.

First Impressions

gopro1

That’s why I got the Session. It is very small. In fact its tiny. Many say its close to the Hero 4 Silver but with that logic its almost an RX100, which is close to the LX100, almost the size of a G7, might as well strap my D750 to her. If one needs a camera with the small size as the biggest motivator that should not be compromised.

The camera is waterproof without any housing which is a big plus. Its very solid. Much more so than my old Hero 2. It has two buttons. The record button which by default is set to, press and the camera turns on and begins recording. Press again and it stops recording and then shuts off. The second button is primarily for the Wifi but can also be used in combination with the record button to navigate the menus and change settings. The easiest way to control the camera is of course with the smartphone app which also doubles as a monitor/EVF.

herosess

It records 1080p in 25, 30, 50 or 60fps. It can also shoot a square aspect ratio with an height of 1440p. This is useful since it lets you reframe the height in post in case you got to much of the car, board, or in my case the dog in the frame.
The files flow nicely in Adobe Premiere CC with no need for conversion. I haven’t tried them in Resolve 12 yet.

The Fetch Dog Harness is sweet. Fits snuggly on my small frenchie but would easily go on a bigger dog. No sharp metal pieces and two mounting points for the camera. She went along with it from the get go. She was only a bit spooked when she caught a glimpse of the camera behind her. Nothing that a couple of pets and calming reassurance couldn’t fix.

The unboxing and test

The video was recorded mostly in 1080p 50fps and then converted to 25fps in post. The clip of her drinking is shot in the 1440p mode 25fps. I had the camera set to Protune and the rest was default settings.
I’m happy with the design, the footage is more than good enough for a camera like this. And I also like that its Micro USB so I can charge it with basically any charger out there.
The harness is a winner. Much more expensive than the third party solutions, for example the Rollie. But I held both in the store and this is better. Simple as that.

Feel like picking one up? You can support by using the following link:

B&H
GoPro Hero4 Session
GoPro Fetch Dog Harness

Amazon:
GoPro HERO4 Session
GoPro Fetch (Dog Harness)

I will review it after I have lived with it for a while and put it through hell and back.
/Mattias

The video was recorded with a Nikon D750
Nikon D750
Nikon 50mm f1.8
Nikon 24mm-120mm f4
Nikon D750 Filmmaker’s Kit
Nikon D750 . 24-120mm Bundle