When it comes to action cameras, GoPros are some of the most popular on the market.
They’re durable, versatile, and perfect for capturing adventure shots and action sports footage.
But can they also be used for still photography?
The short answer is yes, GoPros can be used for still photography — but there are a few things you’ll want to consider before you commit to using the GoPro for serious photography.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the different technical and physical elements that make up the GoPro to determine whether these action cameras are suitable for still photography.
So whether you’re an experienced photographer or just getting started with GoPro, read on for everything you need to know about whether using these little cameras still is a good idea!
Megapixels primarily affect the quality of your photos. A megapixel is equal to one million pixels and is a unit of measurement for digital Resolution.
Higher megapixel counts mean that your camera is capable of capturing more detail, which results in better-quality photos.
If you plan on printing your photos, or if you want to be able to zoom in without losing clarity, then you’ll need a camera with a high megapixel count.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that megapixels are not the only factor that affects photo quality.
For GoPros, the number of megapixels depends on the model
Except for the GoPro Max (which boasts 18 megapixels), most GoPros before the GoPro 10 Black featured 12 megapixels.
A camera with 12 megapixels is certainly capable of taking solid images. For years, many cameras on the market — such as the Canon Rebel T3 1100D — only featured 12 megapixels.
That said, times change and 12 megapixels is considered to be a low count these days.
That brings us to the GoPro 10 Black which features an impressive 23 megapixels. This number puts this model of GoPro on par with some modern DSLR cameras such as the Sony A7 which includes 24 megapixels.
This is all to say that you do not need a high-megapixel camera to take good images. But, if megapixels are something that matter to you in your photography, consider choosing a GoPro with a high megapixel count.
In photography, sensor size affects many factors including depth of field, dynamic range, and low-light performance.
A larger sensor will have a shallower depth of field, meaning that the background will be more blurry. This can be desirable for portraits, as it helps to make the subject stand out.
A larger sensor also has a greater dynamic range, meaning that it can capture a greater range of tonal values. This is especially important in landscape photography, where you often want to capture both the bright sky and the dark shadows in the same image.
Finally, a larger sensor will perform better in low-light situations, such as when taking night photos or shooting indoors without flash.
Unfortunately, due to their small size, GoPros before the GoPro 11 Black have always used a 1 /2.3” size sensor with a standard 4:3 ratio.
The newer GoPro 11 Black features a 1/1.9” size sensor with an 8:7 aspect ratio.
While this is certainly an upgrade, neither of these sensors comes close to the popular APSC or full-frame sensor sizes that are used in most DSLR-style cameras.
Again, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to capture quality images on your GoPro. It just means it might be more challenging — especially in low-light conditions.
Accessing and Changing Settings
When it comes to capturing high-quality photographs, having control over your settings is a must.
After all, you will be hard-pressed to find a professional photographer using their camera’s “Auto” setting.
So, is it possible to access and change your settings on a GoPro when shooting still images?
The answer is that it depends on the model of GoPro you are using.
Most GoPros, with the exception of the GoPro Hero 7 White and GoPro Hero 7 Silver, include a feature called Protune.
Protune allows GoPro users to access and adjust photography (and video) settings such as colour, white balance, shutter, ISO, sharpness, and exposure compensation.
This feature is very important and makes it possible to change your GoPro settings in order to take better photos.
The Fish Eye Lens
GoPro videos are often recognizable thanks to their distinctive “fish-eye” look created by their built-in wide fish-eye lenses.
A fish eye lens is a type of wide-angle lens that is often used in videography.
The lens gets its name from its fishbowl-like shape, which allows it to capture a much wider field of view than a standard camera lens.
Fish eye lenses are especially popular among action videographers as they help to capture a wide field of view.
That said, photographers can also benefit from the wide look of a fish eye lens. For example, the lenses are popular among landscape and architectural photographers, as they can help to capture the grandeur of a scene.
It’s important to note that fish eye lenses can also produce some unwanted optical effects, such as distorted lines and curved horizons. However, when used creatively, these effects can add an element of fun and whimsy to a photograph.
If you don’t like this look, you will want to avoid taking photographs with a GoPro as GoPro lenses are fixed and cannot be swapped with other styles of lenses.
In the world of tech, smaller is often considered better.
But in the world of photography, most cameras have stayed just about the same size and shape.
This has to do with ergonomics and comfort when shooting.
DSLRs are designed to be gripped with two hands for a comfortable photography experience. However, GoPros are designed to be mounted on things such as skateboards, cars, and bikes.
This makes them function quite poorly as far as traditional cameras go.
One of the biggest draws of the GoPro is its weather-sealed case.
This is a popular feature among action videographers, but it can also be handy for photography!
For anyone who loves outdoor photography, weather sealing can be essential.
It protects your camera from the elements, whether you’re shooting in the rain, snow, or even just dusty conditions.
The case is also helpful for keeping your camera safe when you’re not using it. You can store it in the case to keep it clean and free from scratches.
And if you ever drop your camera, the case will help to cushion the impact and protect your investment.
For these reasons, the weather-sealed case that GoPro offers can be a great option for outdoor photographers.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or just a hobbyist, a GoPro weather-sealed case is a valuable piece of gear.
The Bottom Line
So, are GoPros good for still photography?
The answer to that question is that it really depends on your photographic needs.
While modern GoPros may feature impressive megapixel counts relative to their small size, their small sensor size is a serious limitation that serious photographers will find frustrating.
Furthermore, their small size and square shape make them less than ideal when considering comfort and ergonomics.
On the flip side, having access to settings like ISO and white balance thanks to the Prtotune feature certainly opens up a world of photographic possibilities.
Also, their built-in fish-eye lens isn’t an inherent drawback — if you like the look of a fish-eye lens, then the GoPro may be a perfect choice for you.
So, would we recommend purchasing a GoPro specifically to take still images? Probably not. Instead, we would recommend choosing a DSLR-style camera.
That said, if you already own a GoPro for video, it is certainly worth experimenting with some still photography. You may even be pleasantly surprised by the results!