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GoPro late last year teased us with footage from its first consumer-oriented, camera-equipped drone. Karma, as it’s called, was expected to arrive earlier this year but was hit with an unfortunate delay.
On Monday, the GoPro Karma finally got its debut alongside the company's next-generation Hero5 action cameras.
The GoPro Karma is a foldable, small-form-factor drone that can neatly tuck away into an included backpack. It includes a removable three-axis image stabilizer that sits up front to record action without the propellers in the shot. Away from the drone, it be used as a handheld stabilizer, a pretty big deal considering GoPro cameras don’t have internal image stabilization (excluding the Hero5’s electronic IS).
Control comes courtesy of a gamepad-style controller complete with display so you can see everything the drone sees. Users can fly the drone manually or have it follow them around autonomously.
GoPro also announced two new action cameras today in the flagship Hero5 Black and the mainstream Hero5 Session.
The Hero5 Black is described as the most powerful and easiest to use GoPro ever. It’s capable of shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second and 12-megapixel still images – now in your choice of RAW or WDR (wide dynamic range). It can also capture distortion-free wide-angle imagery using a new linear-view setting and we’re also told that its audio-recording capabilities have improved thanks to a triple-microphone array.
The Hero5 Black also has an integrated two-inch LCD touch panel with refined controls, voice control with support for seven languages, a built-in GPS for geo-tagging, the aforementioned electronic image stabilization and is waterproof down to 33 feet (10 meters) without needing a separate case. If you’re planning to go any deeper than that, you’ll almost certainly want the added protection that a waterproof case would provide.
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said the Hero5 Black is the camera they’ve always wanted to make, it just took them 14 years to get there.
The cheaper Hero5 Session can also do 4K video at 30 frames per second although it’s limited to just 10-megapixels on the photo side. Like its bigger brother, it also features voice control, electronic image stabilization and a linear-view recording option but is missing the Black’s RAW / WDR support, GPS and stereo microphones.
The GoPro Karma goes on sale October 23. Expect to pay $799 for the drone by itself, $999 with a new Hero5 Session or $1,099 when paired with a Hero5 Black. The Hero5 Black, meanwhile, will sell for $399 by itself while the Hero 5 Session will command just $299. Both are set to go on sale October 2.