Snap Verdict of the GoPro Fusion
The GoPro Fusion is a beautiful, well-built, easy-to-use action-360 camera hybrid that produces images and video with nice colour and exceptional clarity and detail, as well as impressive audio. But the processing times are immense. The software is still figuring itself out. Some of the Fusion’s key features won’t be added until 2018. It feels a little unfinished.
But it also feels very exciting. Is it the game-changer we all thought it could be? Not yet. But it has all the potential to, given its solid foundations and pedigree. So place an asterisk next to this score. It’s not etched in stone, and we will keep updating this review as the camera evolves.
What is the GoPro Fusion?
The Fusion is GoPro’s first 360 camera, which can record spherical video at up to 5.7K resolution and capture 18-megapixel still images.
But it’s more than just a 360 camera. Being waterproof and compatible with all of GoPro’s many mounts, the Fusion is a go-anywhere 360-degree action camera that wants to be the camera that makes 360 mainstream.
What’s more, it offers (or, it will when they are added via firmware in early 2018) novel features like OverCapture and Angel View that aim to let users produce truly unique videos.
- Video resolution: 5.7K @ 24 fps or 5.2K @ 30fps, as well as 60fps @ 3K (3008 x 1504)
- Photo resolution: 18 megapixels
- Burst mode for still images up to 30fps
- Raw format for still images
- ISO (photos): 100 to 800
- ISO (videos): 100 to 6400
- Shutter speed: up to 30 seconds
- 5.2K30 and 3K60 Spherical Video
- 18MP Spherical Photo
- 360 Audio
The GoPro Fusion inherits a lot of the features that have made the Hero Black cameras so brilliant to use, such as ProTune, QuikStories, Time Lapse, GPS and more.
And in early 2018 GoPro is promising to add via firmware update some of the Fusion’s bespoke features like Overcapture, which allows you to record a scene in spherical 360 video, then choose any perspective from within that footage to follow and export as a standard-format HD video.
The OverCapture mode will enable users to make traditional 16:9 videos in 1080p resolution from their 360 videos, with full control of the perspective. This is something we saw recently introduced with the Insta360 ONE, so we’ll be very keen to see GoPro’s version of the feature when it’s added in 2018.
The big selling point, of course, is that the GoPro Fusion records spherical video in 5.2K (5228×2624) resolution at 30/25p, or spherical video in 3K (3000×1504) resolution at 60/50p.
By recording at 5.2K resolution, GoPro makes its leap into the 360 camera market jumping ahead of a lot of the competition. Only the Garmin VIRB 360 and YI 360 VR offer a higher resolution at 5.7K.
The GoPro Fusion captures still images in 18-megapixel resolution.
The first thing that struck me when taking the Fusion out of its box was its size, and the weight of it. It’s not big, as far as cameras go, and when you think of how much tech is crammed into that body it’s rather impressive. But it feels really solid in your palm. And there’s something reassuring about that.
I knew the Fusion was square-shaped and would be bigger than the GoPro Hero cameras I’ve used in the past, but let me put it in perspective for you: the Fusion’s battery alone is as tall and wide as the Hero5 / Hero6 Black body. You can see the comparison in my unboxing video below.
But rest assured, the same GoPro hallmarks are there. The Fusion’s body is solid and coated with the rubberised grip material you find on recent Hero cameras. In fact, if you’re familiar with GoPro’s Hero cameras, you’ll feel right at home with the Fusion. There are a lot of design and menu similarities that the company has carried across, and I really appreciated this.
With other 360 cameras, I’ve needed to spend some time learning new systems and getting to grips with other apps. But if you’ve used a GoPro before, the Fusion will just slide into that ecosystem and workflow that you’re used to. And even if you’re not familiar with GoPro cameras, the controls and software are streamlined and very simple to pick up.
One small niggle… the dual microSD card slots are situated on either side of the battery in the battery’s compartment. But there is also a small gap between each slot, and a couple times now I have accidentally forced my memory card down that gap beside the battery. And when my colleague Ali used the Fusion, he did the same.
Turning on the GoPro Fusion
Like the Hero, you’ll find a Mode button on the side of the Fusion. Press this to power it on, and then once it’s on you can press it to cycle through the different shooting and setup options. The Mode button will allow you to switch to Video mode, Photo mode, Self-Timer and Settings. We’ll have more on how to set these up later in a separate post.
Above the Mode button is a small square button that opens the USB compartment. Like the Hero cameras, you just press this and slide the door to open. The door is firm and secure and, again, a testament to GoPro’s build quality.
On the other side of the Fusion is another square button that opens the battery compartment. Press and slide to open. In here you will also find dual microSD card slots.
GoPro recommends a microSD, microSDHC or microSDXC Class 10 or UHS-I/II rating with capacity up to 128GB.
On the front of the GoPro Fusion is the Shutter button, similar to the button on the top of a Hero5 or Hero6 Black.
The GoPro Fusion has dual lenses on the front and back, which are made of glass, unlike the plastic you get on many 360 cameras.
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Is the GoPro Fusion waterproof?
- Yes, down to 16ft. However…
The GoPro Fusion, like the recent Hero cameras, is waterproof down to 16ft, or 5m. But with a very important caveat: the compartment doors need to be closed.
You can use the GoPro Fusion in or around water with no additional housing, but the side doors must be on the camera. Like the Hero5 and Hero6 Black, you can remove the side door over the USB-C port simply by pulling it off its hinge once opened. This can be handy to do for charging. But it must be re-attached before use around water.