Testing GoPro 4 in Low Light

Testing the GoPro 4 in Venice

A project needs documentation. Since this task is not my favorite part of work I was looking for a simple point and shoot kind of solution with video capability. Ok, slightly extreme video capability was a major must. In the end I opted for a GoPro.

As a first step I headed out for challenging it with difficult situations. First observations after a few test snapshots in a totally non-scientific testing:

  • The GoPro is the first thing ever I needed the instructions for getting it out of the sales box (no joke!). Also the mountings and arms to be attached are far from “natural” handling.
  • General handling for shooting the GoPro is not terribly bad but also not really convenient. In lack of a display you have to always connect it wireless with the mobile phone to get a rough idea about what the framing will be. But even then there is no good preview in photo mode. In low light situations it’s more a guess, trial and error. Hope to never run out of batteries. Maybe I have to shoot blind in future (now it’s a joke).
  • Metering of the GoPro seems a bit special, no matter whether opting for spot metering or not. I never had to compensate exposure up and down so much in standard situations with any other camera. But well, that’s not a big deal, just a bit more work.
  • Image qality in daylight is reasonably fine when used as a photo camera (not best print quality, more than sufficient for display on screen)
  • Working with a fixed focus camera requires a bit of practice. The wide angle helps in increasing sharpness all over the image. But no focusing capability is definitely special.
  • A fixed aperture of 2.8 is interesting. I haven’t yet managed to create really planned blurry background even though having such a wide aperture only. A tiny sensor and the extreme wide angle lens ensure maximum sharpness all over.

Finally I wanted to see how far I can go in low light. (Some of my tour clients will remember this spot and capture). The Bridge of sighs I decided to be a good place for testing the GoPro low light performance. The place is pretty dark all around, though having high contrast within the spotlighted bridge. See the featured image.

Fixed focus, fixed aperture setting, shutter speed automatically chosen by the camera – even worse than shooting in automatic mode of a classic camera. Or said in other words: as simple as you can go.

Back to the main question. How far could I push to the extremes in low light? Unfortunately not far at all!

Image quality of the GoPro in challenging light situations is ……. ahm ……. well ……. let’s kindly say there is some room for further improvement. Limiting the ISO settings down to 400 maximum did not help much. Not even going down to ISO 100, which actually I do not understand yet. With this step at least I would have expected a much cleaner file. More testing needed.

Partly the bad low light image quality can be fixed in post processing. But that always is a compromise. And with the GoPro output on top we are forced to work with jpegs. (If somebody of you knows how to shoot RAW with this camera withot hacking the software I’d be happy you let me know).

As long as shooting in daytime image quality is reasonably fine. In in low light situations the GoPro on the other hand does not feel very comfortable. Don’t expect a file you will print.

On the pro side the GoPro is very difficult to destroy, it is extremely versatile in water, heat, cold or whatever. The GoPro is tiny and lightweight and has dozens of gadgets for mounting and shooting. Especially for kind of adventure project documentation snippets it is a fantastic tool. Just low light shooting should not be the main task – or better it should be avoided.

It’s all about choosing the right tool for a specific task. On top the camera definitely is fun and encouraging for pushing creativity. Time to practice a bit for learning how to trick the camera do exactly what I want it to do even though not having any choice on the main important settings.

Settings of the featured image: Tripod, ISO 400, Protune On, EV -2, resolution 7MP wide (cropped in post). The camera decided to shoot 1/5 sec with its fixed aperture of f2.8. A minimum of noise reduction and sharpening was applied in camera but done in Lightroom 5 instead.

x

 

We love to believe in the value of change.

Destruction gives place to new.

New often mistaken for better.

Nature, monuments, traditions – nothing sacred.

No questions. No balance.

Emotions and senses vanish.

Lost vocabulary: dignity and respect.

Priceless universal goods traded for profit.

Temptations plentiful.

Consequences ignored.

Our grandchildren will hold us responsible.

Acting today impacts the future.

We shall better preserve.

We shall better take care.

Irreversible destruction is everlasting.

Send me a message and I'll get back to you shortly. Please double-check your email address entered!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contact

Arved Gintenreiter Limited
20th Floor, Central Tower
28 Queen’s Road Central –
Central, Hong Kong, China
Email: info@arvedgintenreiter.com
Phone: +356 79342250
BR/Tax ID: 67772696

Cameras, lenses, and accessories are tools for creating visions, not more and not less. Each tool has pros and cons in handling and capabilities, each has its raison d’être for different projects; no ideology wars. The following selection simply reflects personal preferences for my photographic workflow, style, and philosophy.

Large Format

Medium Format

Tripods/Heads

Disclaimer

The materials displayed on this site including all photos, text, graphics, software, advertisements, names, logos and trademarks (“Content”) are protected by copyright, trade mark, and other intellectual property laws unless expressly indicated otherwise.

You must not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, frame, upload to a third party, post, transmit or distribute this content in any way except as expressly authorized in writing by me, Arved Gintenreiter, personally.

This site is owned and operated by Arved Gintenreiter. Your access to this site is conditional upon your acceptance and compliance with the terms, conditions, notices and disclaimers contained in this document.

Your use of, and/or access to, this site constitutes your agreement to be bound by these General Conditions. Arved Gintenreiter reserves the right to amend these General Conditions at anytime.

Privacy Policy

Arved Gintenreiter is fully committed to safeguarding your privacy on the website by having implemented the high standards of the European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) directive. Respecting your privacy this website also does not place any tracking cookie on your device.

Nonetheless some information is shared with Arved Gintenreiter while using the website. Please read the following policy to understand how your privacy is ensured and how given information will be treated. This policy may change from time to time so please check back periodically.

This Privacy Policy is effective as of April 15, 2018.

What information may be collected?
Information is collected in several ways. For example, some personal information is gathered when you checkout for payment filling in shipping and billing information. You may as well be asked for your email address. If you contact me I may keep a record of that correspondence.

For analytical purpose data such as approximate location (country, city), visited pages on the website, and technical data about the devices visiting the website can be collected. Using anonymized and aggregated data ensures that a single user will not be singled out.

In case you believe that any inaccurate or inappropriate information has been obtained or disseminated through your use of this site, you should please contact info@arvedgintenreiter.com.

How is the information used?
Primary goal in collecting information is to manage the shipping, billing, and communication process. Only if you agreed on, this information might also be used to notify you of other products or services available in a newsletter.

For shipping reasons your address information can be passed to a delivery service. In case other companies are hired to provide limited services like packaging and processing only the information needed to deliver the service will be provided, and any partner is contractually prohibited from using that information for any other purpose.

Beyond that no information will be disclosed except having your permission or under special circumstances, such as when believing in good faith the law requires, or under the circumstances described below. The following describes some of the ways that your information may be disclosed.

For increasing your privacy instead of using Google Analytics the user behavior on the website is monitored with a locally hosted analytics software where just Arved Gintenreiter has access to the data. No monitoring data is ever shared with a third party. When leaving the website, the tracking stops until you return to the website. Your user behavior not related to the website is not monitored.

How can I control my personal information?
Arved Gintenreiter offers you choices for the use and sharing of personal information. You may contact info@arvedgintenreiter.com if you wish to view, edit or delete your personal information from the database. Commercially reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate your request.

How is my financial-related information protected?
Keeping your personal financial information private is vitally important. As a matter of policy, information provided by you is never ever sold under any circumstances. With payments through the paypal interface (credit/debit cards) for safety reasons Arved Gintenreiter does neither see nor receive any of your banking data, which can be seen by paypal only.

Because of the global nature of the Internet, when you give information, that information may be sent electronically to servers outside of the country where you originally entered the information. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.

Therefore, information disclosed by use of this site (as with any site), by posting a message or using e mail, potentially could be collected and used by others. As a result, while protecting your personal information, we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to Arved Gintenreiter Photography, and you do so at your own risk.

Once I received your transmission, commercially reasonable efforts are made to ensure its security in my systems.

Questions
Questions regarding the privacy policy, or other policy related material can be addressed by clicking the “Contact” button in the side menu and filling in the contact form. Or you can email to info@arvedgintenreiter.com directly.