GoPro is getting some unwanted competition from Panasonic in the 4K Action Camera market

by on December 16, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – December 16, 2014

At the moment, GoPro dominates the action camera market completely. Over 90% of all cameras being sold are of the Hero series and users absolutely love them, particularly the Hero 3 and 4 4K cameras. However, as far as the future goes, investors and company executives have some reasons for worry.

Ineveitably, cheaper 4K camera devices will start entering the market and eating up part of GoPro’s share with their own even cheaper brands of 4K mountable action cameras.

In part, the company has reacted to these very fears by recently introducing a $129 entre level HERO camera that’s considerably cheaper than its more powerful and versatile higher end cameras.

For example, in addition to the Hero 4, there is also the Panasonic HX-A500 4K action camera, which has actually been around for even longer than the Hero 4 Black and represents a possible source of competition.

the Panasonic HX-A500 4K action camera

the Panasonic HX-A500 4K action camera

For starters, 4K video is still a relatively small segment of the overall camera niche, though its presence is growing quickly. One of the biggest obstacles to dealing with 4K shots involves the sheer amount of storage space they need. A single 10 minute clip from a Hero 4 Black in ultra HD, for example, requires at least 4 GB of storage space. More than four times as much as conventional 1080p HD.

And the process of downloading, uploading and editing this video can also be slow on conventional computers.

What this means is that as far as GoPro’s and Panasonic’s 4K video market goes, it’s not quite yet designed for ordinary casual users.

Because of this, the kinds of specs each camera comes with are quite important in terms of their details. Here is a comparison between the two:

GoPro HERO4 Black:

Maximum resolution: 4K at 30fps

Still shots: 12 megapixels

Water resistance: 131 feet

Recording time at 4K: 30 minutes

Price: $500

Panasonic HX-A500:

Maximum resolution: 4K at 25fps

Still shots: 8.3 megapixels

Water resistance: 10 feet

Recording time at 4K: 32 minutes

Price: $350

In pretty much all respects, the GoPro completely beats its Panasonic competitor in terms of performance. However, it also costs quite a bit more than the HX-A500.

However, and this is the interesting aspect of GoPro’s market share; customers love it and buy it overwhelmingly because it’s such a tough device. Most action camera uses involve, well, a lot of action and much of that action happens in rough outdoor conditions. For these situations, saving a couple hundred dollars isn’t nearly as important as having a 4K action camera that can consistently perform again and again.

Thus, as long as GoPro keeps building these kinds of cameras and Panasonic or somebody else doesn’t step in with their own rugged version of an action camera, the Hero line of cameras is likely to remain safe in its dominant market position, even if they aren’t the cheapest offer in the store.

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