GoPro Releases Karma Drone Alongside Hero5 Black and Session Cameras with Gorgeous, Action-Packed Video

GoPro has brilliantly teased us with its careful, controlled releases of Karma drone videos. Today, they've launched the new Karma alongside a pair of Hero5 cameras that are as wonderful to see as the Karma itself. Advanced stabilization looks impressive in the videos (see the mountain biking scene at 1:53), but something to note is how cinematic the image quality now looks. It won't be as easy to tell GoPro footage from other high-quality cameras. And about that Karma: does $799, remote, backpack case, and gimbal handgrip included get you excited?

Let's start with the Karma. GoPro decided to make the gimbal and actual drone system modular in their interaction. The Karma kit comes with an additional grip that the gimbal slides into in order to create a stabilized, handheld gimbal for your GoPro. When you're finished on the ground, simply pop the motor/head unit back into the Karma. While it's true that you still have to supply your own GoPro, the handgrip provides an extra feature that mobile video shooters are easily spending a few hundred dollars on anyway. There's no doubt GoPro hopes to take some of DJI's Osmo Mobile market.

The Karma has user-replaceable arms, propellers, and landing gear feet so you can replace whatever might get damaged or worn out in the future. While the Karma forgoes any obstacle-sensing safety features, it does have built-in no-fly zones to help you keep out of restricted airspace. Its compact form makes the drone quite small compared to its competitors too, with arms that fold away at its side. The drone, handheld grip, and remote easily fit into a custom-molded, thin-profile backpack included with the kit, all for just $799 and shipping October 23rd.

Hero5 Black

The Hero5 Black is the best GoPro yet. With a new voice control feature, the Hero5 Black also features a new power button setting allows a single-press, simultaneous power on and record function so you're always ready. The most exciting features, perhaps, come from those that help the Hero5 Black's video look much more cinematic. Built-in stabilization smoothes out video that also doesn't look nearly as distorted as typical GoPro footage. The 4K sample videos released today look incredible, as will raw and HDR photos, which are also now available with the Hero5 Black.

This is all built into a still-waterproof body that houses a touch screen and built-in GPS for accurate location tagging.

The Hero5 Black will be available October 2nd for $399.99.

Hero5 Session

The Hero5 Session is GoPro's next-generation cube-shaped action camera with many of the Black's same features, but in a more compact shape and at a more affordable $299.99. While it keeps the amazing image stabilization and 4K video quality, it drops the touch screen, GPS, and raw and HDR photo capture capabilities. Still images also drop to 10 megapixels, down from the Black's 12 MP shooting.

The Hero5 Session will also be available October 2nd.

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37 Comments

I hope they can compete with dji but I fear the phantom is too good to be beat.

Pat Black's picture

its at a pretty competitive price point i am thinking about picking um the Karma in addition just for a back up

The fact that you can get the drone, the handle, and a new gopro for $1100 is pretty crazy.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

That's a really attractive set of features for that price point.

Pat Black's picture

For sure, but they didn't seem to improve the settings for the top end Gopro which after 2 years is a let down, next week we should see some other really interesting products come out next week!

Anonymous's picture

All exciting stuff, especially the price. The video they posted last week flying through the library was particularly impressive.

I do wonder what GPS will do to the already short battery life of the GoPro camera.

Kyle Medina's picture

Would there be any real difference from the Hero5 Session video vs the Hero5 video?

I think the current session is worse than the 4.

Kyle Medina's picture

boo! I don't need it for photos but if I have to spend an extra $100 then so be it.

Adam Ottke's picture

This still has to be confirmed, but it could be that it's not quite the same. What's interesting is that it features the same stabilization and other similar video features. But the 10MP image quality makes me think it uses a different sensor. When you're hovering just barely over that 8MP 4K resolution, though, every little bit makes a difference in terms of the size of the pixels. It would be interesting to see a session with fewer (but larger) pixels on the sensor...or even a Hero5 version that's simply better in low light...

Hans Rosemond's picture

On the site it doesn't mention any compatibility with the Hero 3+ and older. I wonder if they are truly not compatible or they just want to push the newer models.

Kyle Medina's picture

Can see them pulling an Apple and only be compatible with Hero5 and newer.

Ughh that will suck. I loved that the 3 and 4 were the same size.

Taylor Osborn's picture

The $799 price tag is just the base model so no camera is included. It's actually $1200 if you get it with the Hero 5 black. That put's it in the Phantom 4 price range. Looks cool though. Should be interesting to see how it performs once released.

Adam Ottke's picture

Exactly. But I think they're a little more competitive if you consider what's included (especially the flexibility with how the gimbal is used with the grip).

Taylor Osborn's picture

Yeah agreed. Supposedly DJI is going to be releasing their drone that looks pretty similar to Karma. Things could get really interesting soon.

*$1000 for the whole kit.

Extremely competitive to DJI, especially for everything you get. Rumor has it DJI has some announcements of their own in the next couple weeks, curious to see what comes out of that.

Taylor Osborn's picture

The $1000 price is for the Session 5 not the Hero 5 black though.

Adam Ottke's picture

I suppose it's actually $1,100 for the Hero5 Black and Karma. But a lot of people that have the Hero4 will certainly appreciate being able to just get the Karma to add to it.

Usman Dawood's picture

Found out the info :)

Eric Lefebvre's picture

But then you also get a handheld motorised 3 axis Gimble as well.

Usman Dawood's picture

So for $799.00 you get a drone, a hand gimbal, and case plus you can use it with your old gopro 4.

Sounds like a no brainer to me :)

Michael Kormos's picture

I stil have my Hero3 Black Edition along with a dozen grips and accessories sitting in a case under my desk. I've used it once, to film my kids on bicycles. If anyone wants it, I'd be happy to sell it for pennies on the dollar.

Adam Ottke's picture

You should post it in our Gear For Sale/Wanted group! https://fstoppers.com/groups/gear-sale-wanted

frank nazario's picture

I just saw this video in 2k ... and blasted through a 1000w theater system ... sensory overload is an understatement... if GoPro delivers this in a quality package, competitively priced ... bye bye DJI.

E Port's picture

Can we get some solid video stats? Can't seem to find the field of view or bitrate of video.

I did find out that the video is defished and uses software optical stabilization. Not very pro sounding...

Adam Ottke's picture

At the end of the day, this is an extremely lightweight, $400 camera that still shoots 4K. At some point, software solutions will have to take the place of hardware options at that price-point and given the confines of the GoPro-sized body. I'm not too surprised. Instead, I'm rather pleased with how good the video does look in their promotional material. No doubt it's been massaged in a number of ways to get it there...but if you can do that with a $400 camera and some accessories, I'm impressed -- period.

Adam Ottke's picture

As for the video stats, I agree, however. I wish manufacturers didn't bury this information...people will figure it out eventually. Just tell them...ugh.

Maybe a stupid question but how rugged or waterproof is the drone?

David Cannon's picture

Has anyone seen if the gimbal handle is waterproof?