Go Pro Hero 4 offers relatively little for HAB / Weather balloon enthusiasts

go pro hero 4

Go Pro Hero 4 Black

Prior to it’s launch next week, information is appearing about the new iterations of the Go Pro Hero cameras. Using what data there, we can take a look at what the cameras hold for the HAB / Weather balloon enthusiast.

The new cameras come in 2 premium versions, The GPH4 Silver, likened to the performance of the old GPH 3+ Black, and the new GPH4 Black. There is also the budget Hero.

The GPH4 Black boasts impressive 4k resolution at 30 frames per second. This improves the image quality but as with the high resolution functions of the GPH3+ Black, it drains the battery quickly and is unlikely to last HAB flights over 1 1/2 hours.

The GPH4 Silver offers touch screen control. Why this may be handy to set up your shots in the payload, or onto something you are carrying in your payload, it does add extra weight that you may just not want to carry.

Both new cameras have a redesigned battery. There is no data on battery performance. There is also no news on the ability to include a battery bacpac. The one sure things is that the new battery shape means you will need to buy new ones to fit the new camera.

The new settings button / tag button on the premium cameras is another feature that offers little for the HAB environment. the night photo lapse mode, allowing manual adjustment of exposure setting , does potentially offer improved performance for those people who want to fly a balloon in low light and night settings and I am looking forward to testing this on a clear night.

new 'Basic Hero'

new ‘Basic Hero’

The idea of a budget Go Pro Hero is great. Who does not like the idea of a cheap and reasonable quality action camera. But there are some factors that may make this camera unsuitable for HAB. First the built in case. If the case cannot be removed then the lens cover is fixed in place. Fixed lens covers most often than not cause the lens to fog (as moisture between the lens and the cover condenses) and this rules it out for HAB. The case also adds extra weight which cannot be removed.

Next there is battery life. The camera has an internal battery and there is no indication that the camera offers the chance to include a battery bacpac. So I hope , but don’t expect, the battery life of this camera to cover the whole duration of a typical HAB flight.

It is still early days and in time more data will come out about the camera. I hope the new batteries allow the whole of a typical HAB flight to be recorded. But I am worried that Go Pro aren’t singing and dancing about improved battery performance. There is also the knock on effect that the second hand value of the existing, and more HAB friendly, Go Pro Hero cameras will come down and that is not a bad thing! If you have flown one of the new cameras in a HAB flight then please let us know how you got on.

What will the new Go Pro Hero 4 cameras offer the hobby High altitude balloon operator?

Go Pro has just started spreading the word about it’s new Go Pro Hero cameras.


go pro hero 4

New full spec ‘Hero 4’

new 'Basic Hero'

new ‘Basic Hero’

But what will they offer the HAB – Weather balloon community. We will take a look and give our opinion on the latest offering.

Rockzip high balloons reach Kickstarter target

In a message posted to supporters, Rockzip have announced that they achieved their Kickstarter funding target and will proceed to develop their affordable super pressure balloons. Well done Rockzip! Here is their post announcing their success.



We cannot thank you enough for all of your support! Now we can start working tirelessly to open up Space to the masses 🙂 The road is long and high, but we will get there together!

One day left for new friends to join us, so please continue to spread the word.

We’ll be in touch with you soon with new project updates, reward fulfillment, and all kinds of exciting highballoon advances on the horizon!

You believed that Rockz* Can Float, and now it’s time to go out and make it happen!

A HEARTFELT THANK YOU from all of us at Team Rockzip


Please keep up-to-date with us at:




Rockzip Highballoons close to Kickstarter Target

Rockzip has just posted this update about their Kickstarter bid to create a startup company making affordable super pressure balloons.

‘We’re now 91% funded with only 70 hrs left in the campaign! 

Please “Share/Tweet” the Kickstarter project atrockzip.com/share one time today and one time tomorrow to reach our goal!

We are sooo close to taking entrepreneurs and student STEM education to the edge of space! 

A BIG thank you again for all of your support 😉

We can make this happen together!

Team Rockzip’

Balloon News backs Rockzip High Balloons and their kickstarter campaign

Indiana-based startup Rockzip recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring affordable, floating space probes to the masses. Known as high-altitude balloons, or high balloons, the company says its products will make the upper reaches of the atmosphere more accessible to researchers, entrepreneurs and budding scientists.

Conventional high balloons are expensive, said Austyn Crites, co-founder and president of Rockzip. Made of a thin plastic skin and filled with helium or hydrogen, the balloons are handmade and sell for around $1,500, he said. But by using cheaper materials and streamlining production, Rockzip could start selling its high-altitude balloons for half that price, Crites said.


“We’re making these balloons affordable to the masses,” Crites told Live Science. “We want to be the Henry Ford of the high balloon industry.”


The company’s Kickstarter campaign says that using a high balloon is simple. First, you build your payload. The company’s flagship product, the “full-size beta high balloon,” can carry about 6 lbs. (2.7 kilograms). Its smaller product, the “pro high balloon,” can carry about 1 lb. (0.45 kilograms).

Once a GPS tracker, camera, sensors or other equipment is attached, the balloon is filled with helium and can then float high up into the atmosphere. The full-size beta balloon can reach altitudes of up to 65,000 feet (19,800 m) — more than twice the normal flying altitude of a commercial airplane — and can float for around 12 hours. The pro version travels to about 30,000 feet (9,140 m), and can stay airborne for about 5 hours. The edge of space is commonly defined as 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth’s surface, or more than 327,000 feet (99,700 m) up.

Crites said the company hopes to increase the amount of time its balloons can spend in the air, and eventually build a balloon that can stay afloat for weeks. For now, however, you’ll have to go retrieve your balloon and relaunch it right away if you want to explore the upper atmosphere for longer stretches of time.

Rockzip’s Kickstarter campaign has so far raised nearly $6,000 of its $15,000 goal, with eight days remaining in the campaign.


Balloon News is backing the campaign. While we haven’t tested the balloons, the concept is great and we thoroughly back it back it as it could open up a whole new field in affordable super pressure ballooning.