Night running with the GoPro Hero 5

The GoPro Hero 5

As an avid runner and biker, I really love the GoPro range of products. Earlier this year, I actually wrote that the GoPro might be one of my favorite cameras. No wonder – it’s small, almost indestructible and it delivers pretty awesome image quality. I carry the GoPro on most of my runs and rides to capture beautiful scenes. If you follow me on Instagram you will see an almost daily supply of photos taken with the GoPro. Not a big surprise that I was really happy to learn about the latest release – the GoPro Her0 5. It’s even smaller than its predecessor and there are three specific improvements that really excite me:

  • No exterior housing, i.e. better form factor
  • Photos can be recorded in RAW format
  • Voice control

A shot in the dark

Earlier this week, I took the GoPro on a test run while out on a business trip in London. It was an hour before sunrise and it was pitch black in Regents Park. I do run with little lights attached to my running shoes and thought it would be cool to inspect the new features of the GoPro. Easier done than said: I placed the camera on a park bench (this would have been very difficult with the old housing) and used voice control to take the photo (“GoPro Take Photo”). This worked like a charm. The resulting jpg file was ok. But the RAW file was even better. I applied some basic noise reduction and added some structure in Lightroom. Here is the resulting image – i think it’s really cool:

GoPro Hero5, ISO 1600, 1/4s

The quality is not too shabby, is it? The RAW files do provide some flexibility. Just for the fun of it, I pushed the file by 5 stops. The amount of detail is surprising given that it was literally pitch black in the park. You can see that the color of the leaves has already changed.

GoPro Hero 5
RAW file pushed by 5 stops in Lightroom – basic noise reduction applied

GoPro Hero 5

In summary, I am pretty happy with the upgraded camera. The photo above would not have been possible with the older version. The added RAW capability is a really nice addition. Over the next few months, I will post some additional photos and experiences. In the meantime, here are two photos from a bike ride the other day. Both were edited in Lightroom. If you want to see more photos taken with the GoPro line of cameras, please visit my portfolio.

GoPro Hero 5
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5 Comments Night running with the GoPro Hero 5

  1. Joe November 10, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for this – I’ve been looking for some RAW processing of low light photos from the Hero5. Do you have the JPEG version available? Presumably it is pretty close to what you’d get with the Hero4?

    1. cpapenfuss November 10, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks for your comment – do you want to see the comparison between JPEG and RAW? Not sure if I actually have a JPEG. I think the GoPro only stores the RAW file. Happy to send you a few files. I am on the road today and will look into this over the weekend.

  2. Daniele December 5, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    thanks for sharing your experience – and nice pics! I would like to get a gopro but I’m torn between the session and the hero. I plan to use it to take some pics, in addition to movies, and I’m really tempted by the RAW capability of the hero (I’m always shooting RAW with my DSLR)… after seeing your pictures, I’m more convinced that the RAW capability could justify buying the hero instead of the session.
    Thanks again for sharing!

    1. cpapenfuss December 5, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Daniele – I would go with the Hero. The Session is nice but the lack of a screen is a drawback. Also, I find the Hero easier to carry & handle as it has more substance.

      1. Daniele December 6, 2016 at 8:51 am

        Thanks for the reply! Did you get more experience with the RAW files? Would you say that that capability alone could justify the hero over the session?


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