I was hoping to upgrade from my hero 3 black to a hero 5. Which one has a better battery life while using the self-timer?

  • \$\begingroup\$ As battery consumption depends on the camera use, can you provide the intended use of the camera? \$\endgroup\$
    – Olivier
    Apr 13, 2017 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Olivier Timelapses \$\endgroup\$
    – Zangar
    Apr 15, 2017 at 19:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zangar please edit your post to include the specific information you are seeking (i.e., your answer to Olivier's request for clarification). \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Apr 17, 2017 at 16:39
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Please provide more details about what you're trying to do. Will the GoPro be stationary during the timelapse (such as perhaps pointed out a window, or mounted on a pole)? Is the timelapse over a relatively short event (such as a race), or is it over extended time (all day, or multiple days or weeks)? \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Apr 17, 2017 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @scottbb The gopro would be sitting in a window for as long as possible filming clouds and NOT simultaneously charging. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zangar
    Apr 17, 2017 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


Referring to GoPro's support pages for battery life:

For the Hero 3 Black, GoPro states

Avg. time for lowest power consumption setting: 1.5 hrs (1080-30)

For the Hero 5 Black, GoPro states the "Estimated Time" for recording 1080p 30fps Wide (the closest recording mode to make a meaningful comparison to the Hero 3 Black's battery life),

Video Only: 2h 30m
Video + EIS + GPS: 2h 5m
Video + EIS + GPS + WiFi ON: 1h 45m

So, assuming "Estimate Time" (Hero 5 Black) is the same as "Average Time" (Hero 3 Black), when recording at 1080p 30fps, the Hero 5 Black should typically record longer than the Hero 3 Black did, even if image stabilization, GPS, and Wi-Fi are enabled on the Hero 5 Black.

Edited to address timelapse addendum to question

GoPro doesn't seem to address how long batteries will last while shooting timelapses, in their battery life support pages. However, several sources suggest that timelapses will suck down the battery at a similar rate to video recording, due to the fact that the GoPro doesn't turn itself off, or at least go into low-power mode, between shots.

From How to Shoot a Long Timelapse with a GoPro HERO4 Silver or Black at David Coleman's HaveCameraWillTravel.com photography blog:

The problem is that the camera doesn’t switch off between individual shots. A single shot is over in a fraction of a second, but GoPros stay on until the next shot. So it chews through battery power at a pretty constant rate shooting timelapse whether you’re using a timelapse interval of 1 second or 60 seconds. If you’re lucky, you might get about 2 hours out of the internal battery, perhaps less.

So assuming the relative battery life numbers between the Hero 3 Black and Hero 5 Black more or less apply when timelapsing, then based on the above statement from David Coleman's blog, the battery should not last substantially longer for timelapses than it does for normal video.

Personally, I would expect the battery to last at least somewhat longer. Video recording and encoding is somewhat intensive, as compared to not performing any calculations on the processor. Even with hardware-based encoding (more efficient than pure software-based encoders), even the lack of constant streaming to the MicroSD card should consume somewhat less power than when recording video.

See also the related question, How can I take an extended timelapse with my GoPro given the short battery life?

  • \$\begingroup\$ What about Timelapse battery life? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zangar
    Apr 17, 2017 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zangar I linked to GoPro's support articles for battery life. Have you followed the links to determine what information on those pages is useful to you? \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Apr 17, 2017 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ The links that you posted are helpful, but are not my main focus. What I'm looking for is the battery life while using the built in self-timer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zangar
    Apr 17, 2017 at 20:52

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