After numerous leaks, GoPro has officially unveiled its brand new action camera. The GoPro Hero 8 Black is now available for pre-order, and will start shipping on Oct.15. It brings a number of new features to attract adventure enthusiasts during the holiday shopping season. The company continues to sell last year’s Hero 7 Black at a reduced price. Let’s check out what’s new in the latest model, and whether it’s worth your money.
Though the GoPro Hero 8 Black and Hero 7 Black look similar, there are many differences between the two models.
GoPro Hero 8 Black vs Hero 7 Black: Appearance
GoPro had been using the same physical design since the Hero 5 black. But the Hero 8 Black has a new design that allows you to mount it on any GoPro mount without having to attach a frame. The Hero 7 Black needs a frame to mount it on a compatible mount. The Hero 8 Black features mounting ‘fingers’ at the bottom that slot into all GoPro mounts.
Since it no longer needs a frame, the GoPro Hero 8 Black is 14% lighter than the Hero 7 Black with its frame. The new design also makes it easier for users to swap out the battery or remove the microSD card without having to remove the camera from the mount.
The Hero 8 Black camera lens doesn’t protrude from the body as much as the Hero 7 Black. GoPro claims it has also made the glass twice as strong as the Hero 7 Black glass. It means you won’t need to replace the Hero 8’s cover glass. If you like to use filters, you have to use an additional adapter. The Hero 7 allows you to remove the cover glass and replace it with a filter.
The new camera uses batteries of the same shape and 1220mAh capacity. But the company has made it more powerful than before, allowing the Hero 8 Black to draw battery power at a faster rate to handle the exciting shooting modes.
Both the Hero 8 and Hero 7 Black are powered by the same GP1 processor. But GoPro has further optimized the processor for Hero 8 to offer better stabilization. They are both capable of recording 4K videos at 60fps. While the Hero 7 shoots videos at 78Mbps bitrate, the Hero 8 goes up to 100Mbps bitrate.
The new camera is capable of shooting 1080p super slow motion videos at 240fps. For live streaming, the Hero 8 allows you to live stream footage at 1080p compared to 720p for the Hero 7 Black. GoPro has also revamped its mobile app.
New tricks for still photos
Most GoPro users record action videos with their Hero cameras, but some also use them for still shooting. The GoPro Hero 8 Black has a couple of new tricks to let you shoot still photos in extreme situations. They are the Live Burst mode and an improved Super Photo 2.0. The Super Photo 2.0 is a minor upgrade over GoPro’s HDR image processing.
The Live Burst mode captures 1.5 seconds of images at 12MP before you press the shutter and 1.5 seconds after. It’s particularly useful when capturing unpredictable scenes. You can select the best still to save as a photo or save the whole 3-second clip.
HyperSmooth, Boost mode, and TimeWarp
GoPro introduced HyperSmooth and TimeWarp with the Hero 7 Black. The electronic HyperSmooth stabilization on Hero 7 is still pretty good, but you can’t use it in more demanding modes with high frame rates. The TimeWarp feature allows you to create super smooth time lapses.
With Hero 8, GoPro has further improved these features. The HyperSmooth 2.0 on Hero 8 offers superior stabilization in all shooting modes and resolutions. It works even when you are recording 1080p videos at 240fps. The Hero 7 supports stabilization only up to 120fps modes. The TimeWarp 2.0 automatically adjusts the time-lapse speed depending on the camera movement.
The Hero 8 Black also has a new HyperSmooth Boost mode. It offers smoother, gimbal-like stabilization by cropping the frame slightly. It’s useful when you can shooting close-up vlogs or challenging actions.
The GoPro Hero 8 Black features a new wind-optimized microphone. It’s placed right below the lens. The California company has also added new audio processing algorithms to offer “high fidelity audio” in both quiet and loud settings by reducing the wind noise. The Hero 7 Black’s audio quality is also pretty good.
Mods are one of the biggest highlights of the GoPro Hero 8 Black. The company announced a handful of new accessories that will turn your Hero 8 Black into a more professional vlogging camera. The mods will be compatible only with the Hero 8 Black. If you have older Hero cams, you are out of luck.
However, the Mods won’t be available until late 2020. There will be a Display Mod that would offer a selfie screen; a Media Mod that would add an external microphone, a 3.5mm audio hack, a USB-C port, and an HDMI port; and a Light Mod that could be attached to the mount or the Media Mod to offer LED light.
The GoPro Hero 8 Black has been priced at $399. By comparison, the Hero 7 Black is available for $330. There is only a small price difference between the two models. Considering all the new features in the Hero 8 Black, it’s worth the extra money. But if you already have a Hero 7 Black, you’d probably want to skip it. Remember that the Mods are still about a year away.