Both the Session and Hero couldn’t be more different. The Session: compact, cube-like with one touch functionality and no need for additional waterproof housing. The Hero: bulkier, heavier and more cumbersome. You also need to make sure the Hero is fully waterproofed with its housing door securely shut – as users will know.GoPro’s Session sits in a fairly robust plastic cradle without the need for housing. This is quite nifty as it allows the cam sit remain coupled to its mount whilst still being able to remove the cam. You can’t do this with the Hero.
All standard GoPro mounts are compatible with both models. The main difference is how much more unwieldy the Hero feels in comparison to its Session sibling. Here at Sitons we tend to affix action cams to paddle shafts. It’s no real issue with either cam in place but when switching from one to the other you really notice how much use friendly the Session is. It’s cube shape also means it doesn’t snag as much as the wider Hero shaped cam.
We’re not sure whether it’s just us but one of the most annoying things with all point of view action cams is having water droplets attach themselves to the lens, obscuring the image. This is definitely an issue with both the Hero and Session – regular dipping in the drink helps to remove these. The Session, however, seems to cope better with moisture blobs, shaking them off quicker than the Hero. Shooting with sunny skies is always a wise move as images will be crisper and more dynamic than with overcast skies. That said both cam deliver print quality images (hi res) with no differences between either model. If you’re going to be filming video then the Session’s simple one touch mode is super quick to turn on and off. If you’re after photo then it takes a few seconds longer to switch both cams to the desired mode.
GoPro have developed a number of different apps to be compatible with newer cameras. Our Hero is standard and therefore doesn’t have this option. In contrast we can pair the Session with our smartphone, via app, and upload/check image/video more or less straight away, as long as you’re not on the water! If out afloat then you’d need a suitable waterproof case for your mobile. In our experience this is just one more piece of paraphernalia that, frankly, isn’t necessary whilst paddling. Unfortunately this does mean sifting through hundreds of images once back at base, with both models, but that’s part of the fun! Discovering that killer image amongst all the guff is, after all, part of the action cam experience.
For us the Session is revelatory in terms of practicality for our application. Its smaller dimensions alone make it ideal for paddling and shooting. That said the Hero would still be fine if we had to do away with the Session. It’s just in this instance, with both being available, we’d rather plump for the former, having the Hero as a back up. For anyone into proper pro type photography then one of the pricier Hero models, with additional settings, still may be the action cam of choice.