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GoPro Announces 4K Hero4 Black, Silver and Hero Cameras

GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) today finally announced the much awaited Hero4 line of cameras, which had leaked earlier this weekend.

Everything that you see there is essentially correct, with the exception of the availability date which is now October 5th, not October 8th. Additionally, GoPro is not launching just the GoPro Hero4 Black and Hero4 Silver, but also a budget camera simply called the Hero. The official announcement came today, revealing GoPro’s full lineup of cameras ranging from $129 all the way up to $499. Yes, GoPro has decided that the new GoPro Hero4 Black will actually sell for a much higher $499 retail price, a solid $100 higher than GoPro’s most expensive cameras. Traditionally, GoPro’s Black editions have been the most expensive cameras and they have never sold for more than $399, but for some reason (being a public company may be one of them) GoPro has opted for the $499 price for the black edition and done away with the free ($80 value) Wi-Fi remote.

Some features not mentioned in the leak include the ability to capture 12MP images at 30 FPS and the plethora of custom and manual camera modes for both still and video, including a not-quite-uncompressed video mode to allow for a more fine tuned video for those looking to have more control over the final look of their videos. GoPro has also improved the Wi-Fi performance (hopefully adding 5GHz capability) and added Bluetooth so that users don’t have to lose their Wi-Fi connection to connect to the camera, which could possibly lead to a streaming GoPro in the future.

cam-represent-HERO4-silver cam-represent-HERO4-black

The GoPro Hero4 Black (right) and GoPro Hero4 Silver (left)

Yes, the GoPro Hero4 Black becomes the first camera in the world to shoot 4K at 30 FPS for under $500 which does make it an impressive feat all on its own.

The company is also releasing the GoPro Hero4 in multiple “mount” editions for both the Black and Silver with a standard, Surf (water tight housing and surfboard/SUP mounts) and Music (open clamp and mounts for high quality audio capture). As mentioned in the 100% spot on leak, the Hero4 Black will be the only camera that gets 4K video at 30 FPS and the Hero4 Silver will essentially do everything that the Hero3+ did but with the addition of a touch screen on the back for easier direct input.

GoPro Hero4 Surf and Music

GoPro Hero4 Surf and Music

GoPro also quietly added the GoPro Hero to its lineup, giving them a camera for essentially every price point. This camera sells for only $129.99 which makes it the most affordable GoPro camera ever and helps expand the company’s potential audience even more widely. People no longer have to look for used GoPro cameras in order to be able to afford them and if they can get the price down to $99 it will hit a sweet spot that virtually none of their competitors can even dream to compete with. Of course, with this significantly lower price ($129.99 vs $499.99) you lose quite a few features.

Namely, it will only do 1080P at 30 FPS and 720P at 60 FPS, making it a less attractive action camera than the Hero4 Black which can do 1080P at 120 FPS but it does open up these cameras to an even broader audience than ever before. It also does take 5MP stills at up to 5FPS, which is nice for anyone looking to take some GIFs or time lapses. It still comes with the famous waterproof housing and wide-angle field of view, but it does not have a screen on the back or any wireless functionality.

Will this last forever?

GoPro has made some incremental improvements to its high-end cameras, finally bringing 4K 30 to the GoPro Hero4 Black camera and a touch screen display on the Hero4 Silver. While there is going to be great debate about whether or not GoPro’s $499 price, which is a 25% price increase ($100) over the Hero3+ ($399) is justified, GoPro simply does not have any competition in this resolution or price point. Nobody can match its features and pricing, even though a major crop of competitors have started to pop up. At $499, the GoPro Hero4 Black is still the cheapest 4K 30 FPS camera that also happens to be incredibly compact and small as well as waterproof and durable. Of course, the $399 price would have very likely resulted in more people buying the Hero4 Black, but perhaps GoPro believes that $499 is not too high for the market they are trying to capture. Because keep in mind, there are a lot of fairly happy legacy GoPro users that have been waiting for a reason to upgrade and a lot of them may have not been anticipating a $499 pricetag when upgrading.

The good thing for GoPro is that it has expanded their line from $129 to $199 to $299 to $399 and $499. The company essentially as got a product for each $100 price bracket, which makes competing with them very difficult. It is expanding its audience both upwards and downwards, potentially giving it a customer base far larger than anyone could have anticipated. After all, $129 for a 1080P video camera that is also rugged and waterproof really isn’t that bad but they may find it more difficult to compete in the low end than they do right now. What GoPro needs to be careful of is getting too expensive and out of reach of the audience that knows them and can afford them. GoPro didn’t get big because they were in countless movie productions, they got big because virtually anyone could afford them and they were associated with extreme sports and fun.

As of right now GoPro’s stock just closed up 11.24% on today’s announcement (and Friday’s leak) which represents an increase of $9.23 and  a final price of $91.33, triple where it was at the launch of its IPO only 3 months ago.