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What GoPro optics are the same?
  • Does anyone know, what GoPro optics are the same: focal length, sensor, and distortion?

    My guess is that most GoPro cameras have similar optics and maybe even similar sensors (at least in size), and that the differences mainly lie in processing and/or a sensor update with identical resolution. Without actually knowing, I expect GoPros 3-5 and Session 4-5 to be identical, maybe even including the budget GoPro Hero.

    Can anyone confirm, or refute any of this?

    I only have the Hero4 Black myself, but I have had most of the GoPro cameras at one point.

  • 19 Replies sorted by
  • Hero3 and Hero3+ have different lenses as far as I have been able to uncover.

    The sensors have been Exmor from Sony.

    The SOC has been variations from Ambarella.

  • Hero 3 Black: Ambarella SOC A7 (A770 designated on chip), sensor IMX117 (ifixit teardown)

    Hero4 Black: Ambarella SOC A9, sensor probably IMX117

    Hero5 Black: Ambarella SOC A9SE7, sensor still IMX117 (

  • Thanks, super valuable information :-)

    I vaguely remember something about a change from 3 to 3+. The optics have remained the same since 3+, right?

  • As I recall the change to the optics was the near field / far field focus points. Probably only minor or no changes after that. Unfortunately I'm not able to google a satisfying link to give correct details.

    Here is a review comparission of the Hero3 and Hero3+ which states "33% sharper lens with 2x reduced imaging artifacts" -

    "The GoPro HERO3+ Black's new lens appears to be adding a more spherical (fish-eyed) distortion the image, for example the park bench in the foreground. The image is sharper overall, though even after the v1.04 firmware update, there is still some defocusing near the image edges (download the original files above), something that wasn't apparent with the GoPro HERO3 Black."

    What really stokes me is that the Sony IMX117 sensor seems to have been carried around for 4 itterations in a row from hero3, hero3+, hero4 and hero5!

    There Hero4 to Hero5 differences seems to be of more practicall nature. However thanks to the water prrof construction the sound from the Hero5s built in mics is really sub-par to here Hero4 without the polycarbonate housing.

  • If anyone have a pointer to the Ambarella SOC in the Hero3+ give a reply!

  • Hero3+ silver have the Ambarella A7 core.

  • Some digging around tonight:

    The Sony IMX117 was release in 2012 and made it into the Hero3. This sensor allready accomodated full 4K at 30 fps. But this was not fully exploited until the Hero4 with Amabrella A9 soc. Previous 4K limitations because of the A7 SOC.

    The upgraded sensor - the Sony IMX377 was not out until 2016. I'm not sure about the availability date for large quantities, but it did not make it to the Hero5. The IMX377 does 4K at 60 FPS, 1080p at 120 FPS and 720p at 300 FPS. Also the Ambarella A9 soc is only 4K 30 FPS capable. So new camera need both.

    My guess is that there will be a Hero6 in 2017 with the IMX377 and the fastest Ambarella 4K/60FPS SOC chip A2 or A22 which also includes HEVC support.

  • Very cool, it has been a while, since I have visited Ambarella :-)

    It's like looking into the future.

  • I am also trying to understand how the different crop modes are created?

    The IMX117 sensor i natively 4000x3000 and the 4K video is 3840x2160. 1080p is just a 2 times downscale of 4K, which makes sense.

    What I do not really understand is 2.7K, which is 4K video downscaled to 2704x1520. This is 1.420118343195266 downscale, which to me seems like a horrible downscale factor, 1.5 I could understand. 2.7K 4:3 uses the whole sensor, which is a crop of 1.479289940828402 and also a mess.

    Does this not make 2.7K inherently useless, worse than 1080p? 2.7K medium uses pixels one to one, which is clean.

    1080p medium is just the 2.7K medium downscaled, which is a 1.408333333333333 downscale. Again not very clean. 1080p narrow is one to one, which is good.

  • Actually 1440 also uses the full sensor area, so this is also a very weird downsample by a factor of 4000/1920.

    I think these are very weird design choices.

  • Apparently Ambarella have lost GoPro as a customer for the Hero6.

    "The company also disclosed that GoPro, which has been a big customer, has probably dropped it as a supplier for future products. That loss triggered a flurry of changes to analyst models, including at least one upgrade and more than one cut to price targets.

    The general consensus toward GoPro in this case seems to be: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” However, there’s no 100% guarantee that the company’s business is gone, as Ambarella management simply said they’re very confident that their chips aren’t in the Hero 6 camera due to a lack of design activity."

    I have previously read rumors about the use of a Samsung processor in the Hero6.

  • @EspenB

    Issue can be that Ambarella does not support latest Sony stacked sensors.

    And may be GoPro is going for it.

  • This one? 1000 FPS! ;-)

    It makes sense since GoPro really needs to up the ante with the Hero6 to be competetive. The chinese has the same Ambarella and IMX117/337 for half the price point (or less) of GoPro.

    I also wonder if GoPro can put in an OIS - Optical Image Stabilizer in the current form factor body?

  • Why do we need GoPro if the smartphone can do the same. :-p

    They really need OIS as well.

  • Why do we need GoPro if the smartphone can do the same. :-p

    Because smartphone is fragile thing and hard to mount secure:-)

    But GoPro margins are really huge.

  • Wow, that's interesting, would be interesting to see from GoPro. They need to up their game.

    I wouldn't be surprised if DJI is going to move the actioncam marked, they have some really nice cameras with little distortion. I think the purchased of Hasselblad makes it even more likely that we can expect a lot from DJI.

    Conserning my questions on GoPro downscale, does confirming with standard resolution like 1440p really outweigh benefits of the more custom size downscales like 1500p. This would be the downscale of a 4000x3000 sensor to 2000x1500, which to me makes a lot more sense.

  • Remember that GoPro uses (like all others) off the shelf parts from Sony, Ambarella, Samsung, etc.

    I have high hopes for the Hero6. This time they simply can't use the same sensor as found in the Hero3-Hero5 range anymore.

  • Due to a bad sctratch on one of my Hero4s I obtained a replacement lens from China. The lens replacement was pretty easy apart from the small connectors inside.

    However, when I popped the outer lens ring off the appeared to be a small rubber gasket under it. The gasket was damaged and is therefor non-re-useable. Its the gasket in the top right corner of the attached photo. I found a replacement on ebay but wonder what the purpose of this part is. And if its really necessary to be in place.

    s-l1600 (1).jpg
    1500 x 997 - 36K