GoPro is a brand which couldn't avoid to create a 360° cam.With all the experience, gain during years in the action cam sector, it has all the resources to do a good job and release a powerful, effective and easy to use camera. Is Fusion really this camera ?
This camera makes videos in 5.2K! For the 360 is not the top, but we are almost there. It is of high quality. Surely better than usual 4K and, especially when viewed from mobile, gives those extra details that are needed to really appreciate a video.
And to increase the visual impact of the video there is also stabilization because the GoPro Fusion has a truly impressive stabilization. It is as if a gimbal was used while recording. There are two types of stabilization:
Anti-Shake that stabilizes the video and anchors the visual. In the sense that if you are looking at a certain frame, turning the camera also turns the view.
Full-Stabilization that completely stabilizes the video and make free the view. While looking in one direction, even if the camera is turned away, you continue to look in that direction.
And if we want to validate the video even more, there's a really good stitching. Watching the video the union can not even be noticed if you do not really get close to the camera.
However, if the video is analyzed frame by frame, anomalies due to stitching occur in the stitching area. In the sense that there is some deformation of the most distant objects, in some frames you can see the cut even at several meters away. But they are things that you do not notice watching the video normally (to see this phenomenon better, look at the video review)
The photos are ... good. Fusion takes photos at 18MP in 6K which is not great, but it's enough to get photos above average.
There is the possibility to shoot in RAW, and therefore have more flexibility during editing, or jpeg or tiff. There is the possibility (both for photos and videos) to activate the Protune, which allows you to manually adjust the ISO and exposure.
The photos are slightly desaturated, but the colors are very good and this allows you to play a little more with the colors during editing. The exposure is well balanced during all the phases of the day and is very good in low light conditions, in fact, even taking pictures automatically, the photos are truly enviable.
Obviously for both the photos and the videos there is also the night mode that keeps the diaphragm opened for longer.
However, the photos have a sharpness not really at the TOP. There is a bit of general blurring that becomes more accentuated in the stitching areas and above all, you can see it a lot in the trees. Personally I was expecting more from a camera that costs about twice the "normal" consumer cams.
Obviously I'm talking about automatic shots.
For those more expert in editing, the GoPro Fusion also shoots in RAW. The files are saved on the two microSD that are used to operate the camera (yes, 2) and each RAW file must be taken, edited individually with a third-party program (for example Lightroom), saved in .jpeg with the suffix _GPR and put in a folder together with the respective jpeg provided by the camera. Only then these files can be opened with Fusion Studio and then be stitched.
Yeah, really easy.
As for stitching, the photos are really good. Exceeded the 40cm, approximately, the image has a perfect union.
More or less the bonuses of this camera are over because from here there are many details that could make you desist from the purchase of this cam, but I suggest you to read the article until the end.
This camera does not have the self-timer. You can not select 3 seconds to wait and then take a single shot. For this type of thing you have to select time lapse or control the camera remotely. Selecting time lapse is the best solution, especially if you do not have a compatible smartphone, but you risk taking more pictures.
As far as remote control is concerned, problems come. The two possible solutions are the remote controller, classic GoPro that does not provide the live preview and must be purchased separately. Or the smartphone using the GoPro app. But you have to be careful because the GoPro Fusion is compatible with kinda 10 smartphones. Basically they are all top of the gamma in recent years. Obviously full compatibility with iPhone, but if you have an Android you may have problems because not all models of the top of the gammas are compatible.
Personally I have a Galaxy S8, model with the Exynos processor. This model is not compatible because there are problems between Fusion and Exynos. The same goes for the Galaxy S7 that have the same type of CPU. The models that have the CPU Snapdragon, however, are fine.
Moral of the story, if you have an iPhone, it's better (that's why behind the box there is one drawn)
Informing me a bit, I found a system to control Fusion even with my smartphone. This camera uses the same WiFi model as the GoPro Hero6. So, by selecting Hero6 in the app, WiFi recognizes Fusion and recognizes it as GoPro Fusion. But if I select GoPro Fusion tells me that the smartphone is incompatible.
Not having another Android smartphone, of those not listed, I do not know if this trick can be used with everyone.
But this system obviously involves limitations. In addition to having the live preview deformed and buggy in different parts, I can not interact with the contents taken by the camera. I can shoot, record videos, change shooting modes and change settings. I can see the contents in the grid, but I can not download them, I can not watch them at 360, I can not share them, nothing.
But Hey, it's just 730€
So how do work on GoPro Fusion files for those who do not have one of the listed smartphones?
Obviously with a PC.
There is the free program GoPro Fusion Studio that allows you to do the stitching of the files, allows you to make some corrections and, during this phase, you decide whether to use stabilization and which type to stabilization to use, you decide what type of audio to use (the directional or stereo) and the export format.
Here we have several choices:
h264, to have immediately the mp4 to share anywhere, but with a maximum resolution of 4K
CineForm and ProRes, which are basically the editing formats. Exporting a video in one of these formats you will have a file of enormous size (about 15GB for 3 min of video in 5.2K). These files are in .mov and have very high bitrates (over 500 mbps video and 3000 kbps audio) to avoid loss of quality. After exporting with GoPro Fusion Studio, however, the file must be edited, for example with Premiere or other editing programs. To keep the 5.2K videos should be exported in one of these two formats and then edited with third-party programs and exported in h265.
And eventually you can stitch the RAW files after the procedure described above.
<--- normal by GoPro
RAW edited by Save Rock --->
And we want to talk about the audio? The GoPro has never had a good sound on its cams and why change with the Fusion? There are 4 microphones in total to have 360° sound but there is no wind noise reduction. So if you're in an indoor environment without wind, that's fine. But if there is a bit of wind, if you breathe while you register with the camera, it is hard to hear the voice.
Among other things, there is not even the standard screw connection for the stands (which embarrassment). You must necessarily use an adapter that is not even supplied in the package.
The Fusion, as it is, is water resistant up to 5m. For now there is no protective case to have additional protection for those who make dangerous sports or for those who want to go deeper. But despite this, the battery is removable, so once it is empty, just insert a new one to continue. During work it consumes about 1% per minute, so the original battery is enough for about 1h and a half/2h of work. Eventually the Fusion can be connected to a power bank through the type C but one of the problems of this camera is the overheating because the Fusion warms up always.
It warms up when you charge it, it warms up when it works, it warms up when you look at it, it warms up without doing anything, it always warms up. In theory, for less heating, you should remove the battery and leave the Fusion connected to an energy source, but there will be a cable coming out of the camera. Yes, it is hidden by the stitching, but it is inconvenient and, in addition to the camera you have to bring a lot more stuff.
To make this camera work, as mentioned before, you need 2 microSD, of at least 64 GB UHS 1 class. If you do not put both of them you can not even upgrade this camera. Buying the camera on the GoPro website, a microSD will be given away. Buying it elsewhere you can find it at a lower price, but since you have to buy the microSD anyway, you always get to the official price.
Personal opinion: the GoPro Fusion is a great camera if we talk about video, stabilization, stitching, colors. A little less for the photos and for the audio, but this camera has big compatibility problems. In short, if you do not have a high-performance computer or the latest top-of-the-gamma phone, you can also take the Fusion out of your shopping cart.
In my opinion this is a great camera but it is incomplete. There are some shortcomings that will surely be settled over time but at this moment it is incomplete because it has been released too soon.
Thanks to Salvatore Galluzzo who did the tests on the photos. Clicking here you will find his facebook page. Go see it because he makes really cool photos.
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