GoPro is making a big effort (given recent financial travails, perhaps a last-ditch one) with the launch of the GoPro Hero 8 Black and an all-new dual-lens, 360-degree model, the GoPro Max.
The Hero 8 Black and its accompanying accessories are getting enthusiastic reviews in parts of the world GoPro considers important enough to provide pre-release review models to journalists. It has an Australian RRP of $600.
The audio recording system has also been improved via an optional accessory called a Media Mod – a high-quality, forward-facing shotgun microphone with improved wind cancellation. Another ‘Mod’ (ie, accessory) is the LED Light Mod, a 200-lumen LED light, and a Display Mod – a larger (just under 2 inches) display screen powered by its own battery.
Performance improvements include better HDR and night mode photos, raw capture and better 100Mbps 2.7K and 4K video bitrates.
HyperSmooth 2.0 is the new image stabilisation system which works across all shooting modes and frame rates. One reviewer described it as ‘unfathomably good’, and among all the other tweaks it is probably what sets the Hero 8 apart from previous GoPros and competing action cams.
Another feature which will appeal to more advanced users is Capture Presets, enabling a range of customised shooting profiles
One of the few things which remain the same from the Hero 7 are the 12-megapixel sensor and image processor. It is also waterproof to 10 metres like the 7.
It will begin shipping from the GoPro website from October 15 (pre-release orders can be made now) and after GoPro has pinched all the early adopters from its retail support network, it will be available in store a week or so later, according to the press release.
– New design – Frameless mounting with built-in folding mounting fingers, smaller, and and 14 percent lighter. The frameless design also makes changing batteries and SD cards faster. The lens is now 2x more impact resistant;
– Hero 8 Black Mods;
– HyperSmooth 2.0 – Improved overall baseline performance and dramatically improved stabilisation in pitch-axis movement. HyperSmooth 2.0 works in all resolutions and frame rates and features in-app horizon leveling;
– TimeWarp 2.0 – Automatically adjusts speed based on motion, scene detection and lighting. Tap to slow down to real time and again to speed back up;
– Toggle between Narrow, Linear, Wide and SuperView focal lengths;
– Capture Presets – Customise up to 10 presets, or use preloaded video presets for Standard, Activity, Cinematic and Slo-Mo shots;
– LiveBurst – Record 1.5 seconds before and after your shot;
– SuperPhoto with improved HDR;
– High quality 4K60 + 1080p240 Video with studio-quality bit rate options of up to 100Mbps, and 8x slo-mo ultra-high frame rate 1080p240 video;
– RAW in all photo modes;
– Night Lapse Video – time lapse videos at night in 4K, 2.7K 4:3, 1440p or 1080p;
– Live Streaming in 1080p;
– Voice control – 14 voice commands in 15 languages;
– Improved wind noise reduction;
– Waterproof without a housing to 10m;
– Photos and videos transfer automatically to a smartphone when connected to the GoPro App.
The other new release from GoPro is the GoPro MAX 360-degree camera. This model also ditches the frame mount in favour of foldable arm/fingers for mounting on tripods, etc.
The two 180-degree lenses – one front and one rear – deliver ‘SuperView’ video which is wider than the Hero 8 Black. ‘Power Panorama’ crops wide-angle shots for viewing on flat wide-screen format.
With the GoPro app, users can transform 360-degree videos into flat 2D videos with smooth pans and custom transitions, directly from a phone.
– Folding mounting fingers;
– Takes ordinary action cam video or stills plus 360-degree footage.
– Max HyperSmooth stabilisation;
– Horizon levelling;
– Max TimeWarp – automatically adjusts speed based on motion, scene detection and lighting plus slow capture to real-time in one tap;
– Four lens focal lengths including Max SuperView;
– PowerPano: 270-degree panoramic photos without having to scan the horizon;
– 5.6K30 360 video, 1440p 60 and 1080p 60 video, 5.5-megapixel photos and 6.2-megapixel PowerPano photos;
– Stereo audio – Six mics capture 360 audio ‘and deliver the best stereo sound ever from a GoPro’;
– Directional audio lets you bias sound from either side of the camera;
– In-Camera stitching;
– Use the new keyframe-based workflow in the GoPro app to reframe 360-degree footage into normal videos and photos;
– 1080p Live Streaming;
– Waterproof down to 5m;
– Voice Control – 12 commands;
– Scene detection;
– Auto backup to a GoPro server (ie, ‘Da Cloud’).
The GoPro Max has a local RRP of $800, and although you can pre-order from the GoPro website from today, it won’t be available in retail stores until the end of October.