Mention action cameras and the first brand you think of will be GoPro. Their HERO line has done exceptionally well, with GoPro selling over 30 million units between 2004 (when the company first started) and mid 2018.
Every year brings a new addition to the HERO line, with the latest one being the flagship HERO7 Black in late 2018. But does the HERO7 Black offer enough to tempt existing HERO6 users into an upgrade? Here are seven features for the HERO7 that might just do that.
With the HERO7 Black, GoPro has launched their new stabilisation feature, named HyperSmooth, that claims to offer gimbal-like video stabilisation. This is probably the biggest draw for any action video enthusiast. Being able to strap the camera onto a helmet or a chest harness and having the peace of mind that videos shot will still be relatively stable is huge.
HDR was introduced in HERO6 but has been combined into HERO7 Black’s new SuperPhoto function. Normal HDR is still available but SuperPhoto can be set to AUTO as well, allowing the camera to analyse the scene and choose from four processing methods: High Dynamic Range, Local Tone Mapping, Multi-Frame Noise Reduction and Standard.
This results in the camera choosing the best processing method to ensure that the photos come out looking the best that they can, depending on the situation and surroundings.
With the new HyperSmooth feature, hyperlapse videos are now even more viable. Taking a hyperlapse traditionally meant setting up a camera, taking a photo, stepping forward slightly and repeating the process. With the TimeWarp feature, all one has to do now is point at the subject, start recording and move towards it.
Additionally, hyperlapse videos can now be viewed directly from the camera itself so if you’re not entirely satisfied, you’ll have the chance to retake it immediately.
4. Live Streaming
If you’re big on sharing your adventures in real-time, the HERO7 Black is a must-buy. This model introduces the Live Streaming feature, allowing users to stream live to Facebook, YouTube and even Twitch, Vimeo and more via a RTMP URL.
Users are required to tether their camera to a mobile phone’s hotspot to utilise this feature.
5. Vertical Capture
The Live Streaming feature is not available for Instagram streaming but with the ability to capture videos vertically, users are now able to share videos straight to their Instagram Stories via the GoPro app on mobile phones. While it’s not the same as sharing live stories, it’s still better than having to manually transfer footage from the camera to a computer, then to a phone to be uploaded to Instagram Stories.
6. Short Clips
Fitting in with how content is shared on social media, the new Short Clips option allows users to record in 15 second or 30 second bursts, thus making it more manageable to upload videos through the GoPro app to various social media platforms.
7. Improved Audio
Both the HERO6 Black and HERO7 Black have three onboard microphones and are able to record stereo audio, with the HERO7 Black having improved on the clarity and depth while reducing unwanted vibration noises. This might come in especially handy in situations like mountain biking or high altitude shots where wind noise is prevalent.
The main features – HyperSmooth, SuperPhoto and TimeWarp – are enough for me to recommend upgrading to the HERO7 Black, especially if you value upgraded stabilisation and the ability to do hyperlapse videos. But the HERO6 Black is still a decent action camera and more than enough for most casual videographers’ needs.
The HERO7 Black (S$595) is available at GoPro’s online shop and authorised retailers.
Reviewed by Bernard Lau and Cheryl Tan