GoPro have unveiled a series of exciting new products: the long-awaited HERO5, the HERO5 Session, and, of course, its first-ever drone, Karma.
The GoPro story started when Nick Woodman bodged together a camera, strapped it to his hand and went surfing, that was in 2002. Within 10 years, that idea had made him a billionaire, and just a couple of years ago, the highest paid chief executive in America. At an event in the stunning Squaw Valley resort in California, which overlooks Lake Tahoe, Woodman leapt on to the stage carrying, quite literally, the weight of expectation on his shoulders. In his backpack, the Karma – GoPro’s first ever drone. A device beaten to market by several other companies, but one that was eagerly anticipated all the same.
As he unveiled it to his audience – a mixture of GoPro staff, athletes and journalists – the crowd’s whoops made the atmosphere at the last Apple launch seem like a genteel afternoon of county cricket. They were cheering for what is the first significant upgrade to GoPro hardware for two years. The top-of-the-line Hero5 Black and its dinkier brother the Hero5 Session both come with voice activation, meaning a holler of “GoPro, start recording” has the obvious effect. The introduction of electronic image stabilisation takes the edge off juddery bike rides - and the sound is improved too. As winds battered me during a trial run, at times the microphones built into the Hero5 Black outperformed the broadcast-quality lapel ones we were using for filming.
The Karma drone costs $799 (£615), without a camera. If you decide to get it bundled with the Hero5 Black camera, it will cost a tidy $1,099, or you can get it with the Hero5 Session for $999. A lot, in other words. But the key selling point – and one which got a bigger cheer here than the drone itself was the drone’s detachable gimbal. A gimbal, if you’re not a camera nerd, is a device used to stabilise a camera but adding a counter balance. It means, as you run about with the camera – or strap it to a drone – it won’t shake and bounce around.
Available for purchase Oct 23rd 2016 – https://shop.gopro.com/karma