More griping about GoPros

I have two cameras that I use for making my kayaking videos. A GoPro Hero 5 Black (which is the chunkier camera with the touch screen on the back) is mounted on the front of my boat pointing backwards, and a GoPro Hero 5 Session (which is the little cube) which I wear on my head pointing forward. I like the head mount because it stabilizes the camera nicely and also it means the video gets to show what I’m seeing.

This year I decided to start shooting everything in 4K. I’d sort of gone back and forth last year between 1080p/60fps and 4K/30fps, but this year I decided to do 4K exclusively. The only problem with that is that the Session camera only had a 64GB SD card (technically a micro-SDHD card, I guess) which meant it would stop recording after about an hour and a half or two hours. Sometimes it would shut down much earlier, but I’d spare a stroke and hit the button on top and it would start again. Often times this only happened in the warm up rather than in the heat of the race, so it wasn’t terrible.

But I missed the end of a couple of races, so I ordered a 128 GB card. Unfortunately I didn’t want to order the same Lexar Pro 1000x card I had in the Black because it had gone up for around $75 to $130 since I bought the last one. Amazon had a SanDisk Ultra that had all the right specs (UHS-I, Class 10, 80mb/s) that meant it should work for 4K video. Except it didn’t – my camera would shut down after 10-20 minutes and if I started it right back up, it would shut down down. Being up on my head, I couldn’t see if it displayed a message, but I sent it back and got a SanDisk Extreme that had even more of the right specs (UHS-III, U3, mentioned 4K video numerous times in the description). But it had the same problem – it would shut down after 30-40 minutes and not start up again. This time I was using it mounted on my bike handlebars rather than on my head so I could see the message, and it was complaining about a corrupted file on the SD card, and said I’d have to format the card to use it.

Since I was convinced this card should work, I did a swap – I put the Lexar Pro card in the Session, and the SanDisk Extreme in the Black. And both cameras shut down after a 30-40 minutes. The Black was complaining about a bad or corrupted SD card. The Session was just acting weird. I did a factory reset on the Session and it’s acting a bit less weird but it’s still not 100% right.

I don’t know if I got water in the Session and wrecked it, or if I’ve just reached the limits of this camera. If you look at materials from GoPro or from the kind of people who use GoPros, it’s obvious that the standard user that they’re designing these things for is for somebody who turns it on, records a 5 minute stunt, then turns it off again, and my desire to record for hours at a time is just an edge case that they don’t really care about.

I don’t know where to go next. I’m going to test my Session again with the 64 GB card to see if it goes back to “normal” with it. Maybe I’ll just go back to recording 1080p/60fps again, where 64 GB is good for more than 4 hours.