GoPro have favored redesigning and updating their software with numerous minor upgrades in-lieu of one stand-out, marquee feature for their latest release, the GoPro HERO8 Black. In years prior, each flagship release has come with an industry changing feature. The HERO4 debuted 4K/30fps, the HERO5 was waterproof without a housing unit and last years HERO7 introduced HyperSmooth 1.0 stabilisation. So can the HERO8 out-do its predecessors and does it deserve to be a part of your kit for your Summer adventure?
Stabilisation is back once again and it has been upgraded and improved. HyperSmooth 2.0 now works across all frame rates and resolutions. In short, now you can choose between Off, On (HyperSmooth 1.0), High (HyperSmooth 2.0) and Boost. “On” and “High” settings will crop the image by 10% to allow its stabilising magic to work where as “Boost” will see additional cropping, but GoPro doesn’t say how much. The result is silky smooth footage when riding a bike on gravel, sitting in a boat on choppy seas and walking around town. We found no reason to ever have HyperSmooth turned off because it immediately made our footage look professional. Combining HyperSmooth 2.0 with higher FPS footage (so it can be slowed down) made for quick and ultra-stunning professional (yes, we really, really do mean it) scenes. Everyday actions like a smile, turning your head or walking became hero moments.
Design With Purpose
For the first time, the Hero8 no longer has an external frame so you can connect it to external accessories and mounts. The metal mounting fingers are built into the body of the camera and fold away magnetically so stay in place. No frame now means you can easily access the battery and memory card at all times. One single door on the side of the camera covers the USB-C port, microSD card and battery. The mounting fingers feel strong and durable and even if you somehow manage to break them, GoPro sells them individually. This change in form is so clean and impressive that using my older GoPro Hero 5 already feels like a massive downgrade.
The HERO8 has three microphones – all of which are no longer impacted by an external frame which would give the iconic ‘GoPro rattle’ sound that you used to hear. The main microphone is now on the front just below the lens and whilst audio is definitely the clearest of any GoPro to date, it does have an issue with trapping water. A few wipes and blows will clear it, but if you want clean audio quickly after its submerged, this will be an issue.
The battery is the same shape and size (1,220mAh) as previous models, but according to GoPro the discharge rate is different to allow HyperSmooth to work in all frame rates and resolutions. Old batteries can be used and the camera warns you that some features will not be enabled. In our first battery test at 4K/24fps with Wi-Fi, GPS and HyperSmooth turned off, we got 92 minutes of shooting. With Wi-Fi, GPS and HyperSmooth (Boost) on at 4K/24fps we had 66.5 minutes of battery life (and a very hot GoPro).
A new LiveBurst photo mode has also been introduced in the Hero8. In this mode, the GoPro captures 1.5 seconds of images before and after you pressed the shutter button to help ensure you don’t miss your shot. 720p and 960p have been removed and now 1080p is now the lowest resolution you can shoot which means LiveStreaming is now in this higher FHD quality, as opposed to 720p in the Hero7.
The GoPro app has also been a massive update with impressive enhancements to their editing and overall user experiences. Horizon Lock allows the user to easily straighten their footage both manually and automatically. The app is also more intuitive at picking out the highlights from your footage as it creates compilations in just a few seconds.
There is now an auto mode in the TimeWarp hyperlapse mode which aims to take a lot of the guesswork out of choosing which speed to shoot in. Previously, the user had to choose between 2X, 5X and 10X you’d cross your fingers that it’d come out as hoped. But now the Hero8 uses speed and other sensors to detect which speed will be best for your shot.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: No external frame means quick and easy access to memory card and charging port, HyperSmooth 2.0 makes your footage silllllky smooth, respectable battery life
Lowlights: Gets hot after a few minutes of continuous shooting, microphone membrane holds water
For more information you can head to the GoPro website HERE.