Andrew Whitefordwrote a review of GoPro HERO4 Black Edition on December 8, 2015
Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've used all GoPro models since I first bought a Hero2. You know that in the future, there will be a future improvement (like with all gizmos) but at present, this is simply the best action sports camera available.
The product info is spot on. It can shoot high frame rates for smooth slow motion, and it can shoot beautiful 4k...and it can do everything in between. Cameras with similar output (4k, 1080x96, 720x240, 2.7k x60...) are in a very different price range and camera style.
If you're looking for an easy point and shoot, or small form factor and ease of use, check out the Hero+ or the Session. Both are outstanding cameras. As is the Silver, so you can more easily line up shots with the LCD screen. But...for having the option of taking complete control over your settings and aiming on the highest quality end product- you can really do no better than the Hero4 Black.
You can "set it + forget it" with some standard settings, and you can go deep in customizing everything for each shot, like you would with your RED, ARRI, or Flip Phone. In finding out how you should adjust your settings, it's great to use the App, so that you can get direct feedback as to how your settings are changing the look of your photo or video. Test out different time-lapse speeds with different interval settings, and check out the results using the free GoPro Studio software. It does an incredible job of taking your photos and turning them into a time-lapse movie...and it does a wide array of other beneficial things that really let you take control of maximizing workflow, editing, and output.
Pro-Tune is where the nitty gritty settings live when it comes time to craft something...but know you can also simply set the color as "GoPro" and white balance on "auto" and you've got some instal-bangers right there. When you get into night shots, or very dark or bright shots, then I'll start using exposure compensation (often -.5 or -1.0 on bright days above the clouds) or film with a more flat color if I know I'm going to do color correction or cut the footage with another camera. (Using a flat color profile can give you more dynamic range, and setting the white balance locks it in...but don't forget to change these settings back when the time comes, especially with your exposure compensation.)
So you get the camera, you get into the settings, you start editing...and you run into questions. I'm constantly looking at GoPro's help section as well as their tutorials- or anyone's for that matter- to increase my own knowledge. The internet is pretty darn good at answering questions...you just need to know what to ask. With each bit of knowledge you gather, it increases your own creative abilities. It's a really nice positive feedback cycle...
Back to the camera. Besides being a little processing powerhouse, it's versatile. And maximizing the versatility comes down to using your imagination for how you want to set up a shot- which comes back to the basic, but wonderful mounting options. You can get really elaborate and mix and match- but the go to mounts for me are:
helmet mounted, Chesty, or 3-way arm. I more selectively use the pole/frame mounts, suction cup, and tripods. I'd highly recommend picking up "the frame" and using the additional protective lens cover, along with the 3 way arm. When water gets involved, then it goes into it's full case...
and that comes back to something I've come to take for granted: When it's in the case, it's crazy tough. I've scraped it on rocks, I've bashed it in dirt and snow, and taken it deep underwater...and obviously, it's A-OK. I wouldn't toss it off a high rise, but you probably shouldn't be doing something like that anyways.
A few other things that are nice to pick up: the double battery charger, extra batteries, extra micro sd cards, and anti-fog inserts for your really cold or wet endeavors.
Any questions GoPro or otherwise, feel free to hit me up!