Best GoPro camera 2018: ultimate action cams and the best GoPro accessories

First sold in 2004 as a waterproof 25mm film camera for shooting action sports, the GoPro has gone on to become the world’s best-selling action camera. Current models like the Hero7 Black are small, lightweight and offer up to 4K video recording alongside a host of advanced stills and video recording features. GoPro cameras can be taken anywhere, and attached to almost anything. 

But what’s the best GoPro camera? That depends a little on what you want from one of these action cameras, as they each offer something a little different, while they vary quite a bit in price.

Don’t worry though as we’ll take a look at each GoPro action camera, highlight the key features of each, and who they’re most suited to. Once you’ve picked out the perfect GoPro camera for you, we’ll take a look at some of the best accessories you can attach your GoPro too.

Best GoPro cameras 2018

GoPro’s latest flagship action camera is the business. While 4K footage is equal to the Hero6 Black it replaces, it’s the addition of GoPro’s new HyperSmooth video image stabilisation that really impresses, delivering super-smooth video capture. There’s a number of other improvements too, while the user interface has been overhauled and refined for a better user experience. Factor in its 10m waterproof credentials, 2-inch touchscreen, voice control and raw shooting ability, and you’ve got the best action camera money can buy.

Until the arrival of the Hero7 Black, this was our top choice. However, with the Hero7 Black bringing a host of new tricks to the party and with only a difference of around $10/£10 in cost, the Hero6 Black is really hard to recommend right now. Unless you see this for a massively marked down price compared to the newer model, spend the extra and get the Hero7 Black. 

It may no longer sit at the top of the GoPro range, but don’t discount the Hero5 Black as it still has a lot to offer. It might not be able to shoot at 60fps in 4K like the Hero7 Black and Hero6 Black, but most people should be more than satisfied with the 4K 30fps footage the Hero5 Black captures. It’s not short on other features either, with a 2-inch touchscreen, waterproof down to 10m without the need for a protective case, voice control and GPS. A great allrounder of an action camera that should be more than enough for most users, while the price now makes it even better value.

This is GoPro’s back to basics action camera. First off – it doesn’t shoot 4K. However, it does shoot nice and smooth Full HD footage. Using the same body as the higher priced models means its also waterproof down to 10m and supports a 2-inch touchscreen. There are better specified-action cameras out there for a similar price, but they don’t have the refined design and polished control of the Hero. The Hero is a great camera for the novice or casual user who just wants to capture the action without worrying about which frame rate or resolution they should be using.

While the Hero5 Session is no longer in the GoPro line-up, it’s still widely available. Sharing many of the same features as the Hero5 Black, the Hero5 Session can shoot 4K video at 30fps, and comes with image stabilization, voice control and is waterproof down to 10m. There’s no rear display though, simply a large Record button on the top that starts and stops. If you want to see what you’re recording and set different modes and options, this is all handled by the app (though it does have a simple menu system if you wish). Back to basics, but still captures the quality of video that you’d expect from GoPro.

Best GoPro accessories

Whether you’re a professional videographer, photographer or simply someone enjoying the convenience of a small camera, GoPros have opened up new possibilities thanks to the help of innovative accessories. This means the market for accessories is huge, and the options available potentially more diverse than any other camera system. From camera mounts to lights to microphones to filters to 360° time-lapse and more, there are almost infinite ways to pimp your GoPro.

Trace Action sports tracker

The Manfrotto PIXI Xtreme is a version of the popular mini tripod designed for use with GoPros thanks to the addition of a GoPro tripod mount adaptor. The PIXI Xtreme weights just 197g so you won’t even know you’re carrying it, and with a folded length of 21.5cm it will fit into almost any bag or even a pocket. The extended height of the tripod is 16.5cm, with simple ball head offering 360° rotation for positioning the camera. To get the height you need in some situations the PIXI Xtreme will need to be positioned on a wall or table.

Birdie GoPro accessory

If you’re fed-up getting shaky footage from your GoPro movies, you need a gimbal and the Removu S1 is a brilliant choice. The 3-axis stabilising gimbal is designed for use with GoPro’s Hero3, Hero4, Hero5 action cams, as well as its Session cameras. Delivering super-smooth footage and offering three main control modes (Pan, Follow and Lock), the Removu S1 is also rainproof, so you can carry on using it when the elements turn against you. It features a detachable handgrip, a removable battery, wireless remote control and is fully compatible with the GoPro range of helmet, body and bike mounts.

One of the appeals of GoPro action cameras is that they can be mounted remotely. If you want a tough, durable and dependable system, then the Rokk Mini is a great option. At its core is this adjustable mount, which you can then attach a wide range of bases to, including this suction cup pictured here. We tried this combo when attaching a GoPro to the bodywork of a car, with the rigid hold of the cup securely holding the camera in place. To complete the system, you’ll need to also invest in a top plate (there’s a dedicated GoPro top plate). 

3DR Solo

With the fantastic options shooting timelapse stills and video with GoPro cameras, a simple way to create dynamic results is to make the camera rotate during shooting. The GoPole Scenelapse allows you to do just that, offering a rotation of 360° over the course of 60 minutes. Simply set up your GoPro, wind the unit and let it do its thing. The GoPole Scenelapse is fully mechanical so no batteries are required, and it features a standard tripod screw on the bottom allowing you to attach it to a mini or full size tripod. On the top is a removable GoPro mount with a high torque thumb screw, so you can attach your GoPro or even a small DSLR or mirrorless camera. The small and easy to use unit weighs just 85g/3oz and is compatible with all GoPro cameras.

TurnsPro Time Lapse Camera

The Tenba Shootout 14L ActionPack is designed to allow you to comfortably carry a large GoPro system while you’re participating in an action sport or simply exploring the city or countryside. At just 1.4kg the bag is lightweight and the padded straps with waist belt make it comfortable and secure. Inside the bag are four removable pods, and two wallets, so you can organise your kit and gain quick and easy access to exactly what you need. The capacity of the bag allows you to carry up to four GoPros, mounts, batteries, cables and other accessories etc. Plus there’s enough room to carry a small hydration pouch and food. There’s even a tripod attachment at the bottom of the bag large enough to accommodate a travel tripod.

The GoPro Remo is a waterproof (up to 5m/16ft) voice controlled remote for the Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session cameras. This means that while both cameras offer built-in voice activation, the Remo is said to improve voice activation in noisy conditions and allows you to activate the cameras from a short distance, or works as a one button remote from up to 10m/33ft away. The Remo comes with a strap allowing it to be worn on your wrist for convenience. It can also be clipped to clothing. With 13 commands available the Remo certainly adds convenience to shooting but it’s not cheap for what it is. And unlike the older GoPro WiFi remote there’s no screen so you rely on voice commands and scrolling through functions.

One of the problems of travelling with a GoPro is that battery life is obviously finite. You can of course buy an extra battery or two, but if you’re out in the field and away from a power outlet, charging can be difficult. Plus, if you’re shooting a long time-lapse you can’t change batteries part way through. While GoPro does manufacture its own portable power pack, the Anker Powercore 20100 provides a much higher capacity at a seriously low price in comparison. Anker claim the pack can charge smartphones up to seven times, and can even charge a MacBook using USB-C, so plenty of juice for GoPro cameras and you can even charge up to three devices at once! To ensure the safety of your devices the Powercore features smart-charging PowerIQ and current-stabilising VoltageBoost providing the fastest possible safe charge up to 2.4 A. Then there’s surge protection and short circuit prevention.

The GoPro Pro 3.5mm Microphone Adapter allows you to connect professional microphones with a 3.5mm jack to your Hero5 Black or Hero5 Session camera. This allows you to drastically improve sound compared to the camera’s built-in microphone. So whether you want to use a lapel, condenser or shotgun mic etc. this is an essential accessory. The adaptor connects to GoPros via, and is powered by USB-C, allowing for stereo sound to be recorded. It also features a 106dB stereo analogue to digital converter. With the GoPro Pro 3.5mm Microphone Adapter in use the GoPro side door will be open so the camera will no longer be waterproof, but this accessory is geared more towards vlogging than capturing great action sound.

Whether you’re skiing, mountain biking, white water rafting, or any other activity, GoPro’s chest mount is a great piece of kit to not only capture the action. Fully adjustable to fit a wide range of adult sizes, the placement’s great for getting some unique angled shots, though you will have to move your whole body to change the framing.