We all know GoPro as the brand for action cameras. However, that’s not the only way you can use them. Many YouTubers like Casey Neistat, Tim Schmoyer and Louis Cole are using GoPros to create vlogs and other videos for their channels. So the question is: Is using a GoPro for vlogging a good idea? And if so, which is the best choice?

Why using a GoPro for vlogging is a great idea

GoPros have many benefits when you compare them to other cameras.

Portable

GoPros are designed to be super portable - which is really useful for vlogging. While other cameras demand a whole bulky camera bag, you can always fit the GoPro in your pocket. This is especially useful if you use the camera outside your house a lot, or if you’re a frequent traveler. Also, since it’s so small you are able to use it in public without drawing a whole lot of attention to you (which can happen easily when you’re carrying around a camcorder, for example).

GoPro Hero5 Session

Quality sound​

One of the biggest problems with most cameras on the market is that their audio is useless. You will almost always have to buy an external microphone. Not only does that cost money, it’s also another piece of equipment to carry around and set up before you can start shooting. This makes your video recording process more complicated and can slow you down quite a bit.

GoPros, on the other hand, handle audio much better, especially, if you’re close to the camera. Like other microphones, you will have to be careful in windy weather. However, the most recent GoPros have become a lot less susceptible to wind noise.

4K resolution

If you’re looking for a cheap 4K camera, get a GoPro! This is really one of the most impressive things about the GoPro: How can a camera this small and cheap create these amazing 4K pictures? Other brands really need to step up their game.

Sturdy

If you get the right protective gear, GoPros are hard to break. I mean, that’s the point of an action camera, right? In general, while other cameras need very careful handling, you can be much more lax with a GoPro. This is especially convenient if you’re new to cameras, have a history of breaking electronics or if you just have a very action-filled day. If you have kids or pets, this might be very practical as well. Additionally, the latest GoPro models are waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters). Below I will explain which accessories you can get to protect your GoPro.

The disadvantages of using a GoPro

Of course, using a GoPro for vlogging also has a few disadvantages that I don’t want to leave out.

Mediocre battery life

Maybe it’s because GoPros are so small, but their battery life has always been a little underwhelming. In order to avoid running out of battery, you can buy extra batteries. Be aware, though, that not all GoPro models have the option to exchange batteries.

No stabilization​

It might seem kind of weird that an action camera doesn’t have image stabilization, but that’s the case with some of the GoPro models. How big of a disadvantage this truly is depends on your personal vlogging style and taste. People don’t necessarily expect vlogs to look super smooth, and a certain shakiness can add to the immediateness of your videos. However, if you’re truly bothered by the lack of image stabilization, you can either buy one of the more advanced GoPros or a stabilizer.

No flip screen​

When it comes to vlogging cameras, most people are looking for a flip screen solution. Why? Because with a flip screen it’s much easier to have control over your image: You’re always aware if you’re on camera and how you look. A flip screen can also help you see problems with your image quickly. Recording without a flip screen can be odd if you’re used to having one. However, it can also be liberating, because you’re less busy looking at a screen and can be more present to deliver your content.

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Limited audio options​

If you love good audio as much as I do, it can be a little annoying that there is no easy way to connect a GoPro to an external microphone. You will have to buy an (expensive!) adaptor and then deal with a bulky cable. Not ideal.

​Which GoPro should you get?

​GoPro cameras are in their fifth generation now, with each generation containing a few different versions of the camera. With so many choices, how do you select which one to get?

GoPro HERO5 Black​

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The GoPro HERO5 Black is the most advanced camera of the 5th generation. Although it has many features, the touch display is probably the biggest reason why people choose this camera model. After all, shooting without a display can be a little tricky - especially when you’re vlogging.

The HERO5 Black comes with a maximum resolution of 4K (“Ultra HD”) at 30fps. If you want to shoot more than 30 frames, you can do that in lower resolutions: 1440p offers a maximum of 80 fps, and with 1080 you can shoot up to 120fps. That’s pretty cool if you want to do smooth, slow motion effects.

Different from the previous models, the HERO5 Black finally offers decent image stabilization. That was a much-needed feature, and it’s particularly useful if your vlogs are very action-filled.

Another improvement over the previous generations is its advanced wind noise reduction. However, it’s not completely perfect. In fact, excessive wind can result in the GoPro not understanding your voice commands. Yup, you read that right: You can control the GoPro HERO5 Black with your voice.

Again, this is a feature that’s more interesting for people who shoot a lot of action stuff. If you’re using it while you’re biking or skateboarding, for example, this feature could be very useful.If you don’t just want to record videos but also take photos once in a while, the HERO5 Black can do that 12MP at 30fps.

THE GOOD

  • Touch screen
  • Up to 4K at 30fps (“Ultra HD”)
  • Image stabilization
  • Advanced wind reduction

THE BAD

  • Bigger than the other two models listed here

The GoPro HERO5 Session

GoPro Hero5 Session

The GoPro HERO5 Session is a more basic version of the GoPro HERO5. This is most obvious in the design: While the HERO5 Black still looks like a small, nerdy camera, the HERO5 Session is designed as an even smaller cube.

The portability of the HERO5 Session is one of the greatest features of this camera: This camera will truly never get in the way and is maybe the best travel camera you can buy.

Honestly, when holding it in your hand for the first time, it’s hard to believe what this thing can do. However, it’s actually less different from the HERO5 Black than you would think:

Just like the Black, the Session shoots footage up to 4K30. Its other resolutions are slightly downgraded to 1440p60 and 1080p90. That’s still plenty of frames, but you should be aware of this if you plan on shooting a lot of slow motion footage.

It also offers image stabilization, voice control and advanced wind noise reduction.The most important thing that’s missing from the GoPro HERO5 Session is the touch screen. This might be a problem for a lot of vloggers because without a screen, it can be difficult to get the framing right. However, it’s important to note that GoPros didn’t have touch screens until generation 4. So if you’re used to an older model, this might not be an issue for you at all.

If you’re wondering whether you should buy the 5 Black or 5 Session, it makes sense to think about your priorities as a videomaker: How important is the size to you? Do you need a screen? How big is your budget? This will make it easier for you to make the right decision.

THE GOOD

  • Small
  • Up to 4K at 30fps
  • Image stabilization
  • Advanced wind reduction

THE BAD

  • No screen

GoPro HERO Session

GoPro Session

There’s another camera in the current GoPro lineup and it doesn’t carry a “5” in its name: The GoPro HERO Session. This is the most basic version of the GoPro right now. That means, first of all, that it is the most budget-friendly.

Honestly, if you need a super small and relatively cheap camera, I’m not sure if you can do better than the GoPro HERO Session right now - especially since it shoots up to 1440p30. If you need more frames, you can also shoot in 1080p60.Just like with the GoPro HERO5 Session, you’ll have to do without the screen if you choose this camera. The Session also doesn’t offer voice control or image stabilization. While you probably won’t miss the voice control, having no stabilization can be a little tricky. Its wind reduction system is also less advanced compared to other models. So if you’re outdoors a lot, you might want to choose the HERO5 Session instead.

When should you get the Session? I think the Session is best when you’re looking for a budget-friendly small camera and don’t necessarily need the best of the best. In all other cases, I would probably prefer the HERO5 Session or the HERO5 Black because of the higher resolution and the more advanced features.

THE GOOD

  • Small
  • Budget-friendly
  • Up to 1440p30

THE BAD

  • No screen
  • No 4K
  • No image stabilization
  • Less advanced wind reduction

So, this is my overview of the current GoPro product line. I think all of them would work great for making vlogs. Which one you should get depends on your individual needs as well as your budget.

Which accessories should you get?

Another thing that depends on your personal needs is which accessories you should get for your GoPro. Generally, you don’t need to buy anything with your camera besides an SD card. However, you can do so much with your GoPro that it would be almost beside the point to get one without any accessories.

Here’s a small selection of what’s on the market.

Protective case​

To protect your camera, you can get a case that will deal with environmental influences much better than the camera itself. This is especially useful if you use your GoPro outdoors a lot.

Check out case options for the Black here.

gopro case

Windscreen​

To improve any issues you might have with wind, it’s a good idea to buy a windscreen. I have not found any windscreens for the Session models, but here’s one for the Black.

Straps and mounts​

One of the reasons why the GoPro is so much fun is that you can mount it anywhere, including in your car or on your body. There are all kinds of accessory bundles available that will offer you a nice selection of different mount possibilities.

Monopod​

If you want to hold your camera steady while filming or if you’re filming yourself a lot, a monopod (or “selfie-stick”) can be super helpful.

Although accessories can be fun, you definitely don’t need to get them right away. It can make sense to wait a little bit and find out how often and in which way you’re really going to use your GoPro.

GoPro Monopod

Do you already vlog with a GoPro?​

I’d love to hear from people who use a GoPro for vlogging in the comments. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Let us know!​

Written by Anna
Anna spends a lot of time thinking about YouTube, video and the future of TV. She has worked as a composer, actress, director, writer and online marketer. When she's not working on a new creative project, she's probably stuffing herself with vegan burgers. She's German but spends most of her time in Barcelona because they have better beaches.