One of the key features of any action camera for HAB is the battery. Many photographic high altitude balloon flights last somewhere in the order of 2-3 hours. So it is very important to get an action camera that will run for this long. The new Go Pro Hero 4 camera offers many interesting features including the improved frame rate and quality in the images. Unfortunately initial tests show that it’s battery performs less well than the Go Pro Hero 3+ Black; itself a camera with battery performance that will not always match the length of a HAB / weather balloon flight. Here is a test done at ground level.
The Go Pro Hero 4 Black lasted for 1hours 44 minutes, the Go Pro Hero 4 Silver lasted for 2 hours 5 minutes, and the Go Pro Hero 3+Black lasted for 2 hours and 10 minutes . All the cameras were shooting at 1080 and 24 frames per second.
When the cameras run in higher specification modes then their operation time is a lot shorter. One test already out there put the Hero 4 Black camera run time, set to 4K 30fps, at 38 minutes. (http://youtu.be/eBLewy6QKYI)
This test was only on a single battery sample but, taken on face value, does not show any improvement in battery performance with the new camera. Thankfully the old Hero 3 battery bacpacs can be used with the new cameras to extend it’s life and we are awaiting tests to show how long the new cameras run with the external battery supply.
The cameras tend to perform less well during HAB flights for a variety of reasons.