September and October have become synonymous time periods for new GoPro releases so here is our GoPro 8 Hero review. After months of speculations and product teasers on October the 1st 2019 the new GoPro 8 was finally released. I have been a long-time user of the GoPro range for our FishingMad content. Having a GoPro 2, 3, 5 and 7. Sticking to pass on some models due to lack of changes or innovation over the investment. For many years GoPro has been unrivalled. Sony and other manufacturers have had a good yet unsuccessful crack but recently we have seen some competitive pressure coming from the rival DJI Osmo.
The GoPro 7 was one of the best action cameras on the market and sales would attest to that. Therefore, GoPro has avoided any drastic changes for its newer model. Keeping what was good and added several subtle improvements. The Hero 8 Black has similar specifications to the 7 with the same GP1 processor and 12MP camera. However, it features several subtle improvements that make it a very worthy upgrade. These include a hyper smooth 2.0, chassis improvement, improved operating system, new add-ons.
New Features of the GoPro 8
No more frames
Live burst photos
Better low light image processing
100Mbps bitrate for 4K and 2.7K
GoPro last year claimed their action camera was the best ‘on-camera’ video stabilization available. HyperSmooth takes video stabilization functionality to another level. HyperSmooth 2.0 is now available across all resolutions and frame rates and improves on
These three modes of stabilization – On, High and Boost. The first two will crop 10% from the Wide lens angle to buffer any bumps. Whilst the Boost mode crops even tighter to take the edge off the serious camera bounces when you’re doing something extreme. HyperSmooth 2.0 brings stabilization features to slow-motion footage shot at 120fps and 240 fps. The boost mode is limited to framerates of 60fps and under.
No more frames – foldable inbuilt mount arms
The previous GoPro cameras needed an additional frame to mount. However, the new GoPro has a pair of foldable hinges in the chassis to mount the camera onto a broad range of GoPro mounts. Or when not in use, tucked away for a flat bottom. This new in-built mount with magnetic clasping is a handy feature that will save you a lot of time in the long run. Because of the addition of the mounting arms, though, the battery door has been relocated from the bottom to the right edge of the unit. Fitted with a new mechanism that secures the unit with a tough compression latch.
The GoPro Hero 8 Black is 0.35oz (10g) heavier than the Hero 7 Black, thanks to the addition of the mounting arms, but this integrated mounting system makes it lighter than its predecessor if you include the weight of the mounting frame. It’s also a few millimetres and narrower than the Hero 7 Black, and a hair taller at 2.61 x 1.91 x 1.12in (66.3 x 48.6 x 28.4mm).
For me, this is an awesome improvement as it means I can now swap batteries without needing to take the camera out of the mount which is time-consuming and sometimes very awkward when on the water.
There is a new forward-facing microphone has been moved to capture any audio in front of the camera. This new mic features bolstered wind resistance so you can capture more of the sound you actually want. There’s also an additional range of voice commands for the GoPro, allowing you to turn the device on with a wake word or can be customized.
New Mod accessories add ons and attachments
Some of the biggest changes are not even within the camera itself. Infact one of the biggest In fact the new range of accessories which will be called Mods. Coming soon are easily mountable selfies screens, professional microphones, studio lights, and much more which will take the GoPro 8’s capability to a whole new level.
GoPro’s interval photography feature, TimeWarp, has also been updated with the new stabilization software to make it look even better in time lapse clips where the camera is moving. This is an excellent effect if you want to show off an event’s entire sequence within a short period of time without needing a heap of editing. The updated feature has a new auto interval detection that uses an in-built accelerometer to add more frames when there is a lot going on and spread them out during lulls.
There are a handful of photography settings that do more to keep you from pulling your smartphone out to take photos. The first is a LiveBurst mode that captures a series of images 1.5 seconds either side of the point where you push the record button, giving you a burst of 90 frames to choose the best image from, which is great for difficult moving shots. The camera will also now allow you to save images in RAW and the Hero 8 Black software offers improved HDR images for scenes with a broad contrast range and better low-light processing for dark photos and night timelapse videos.
The Hero range has long had a resolution, framerate, lens angle and zoom settings easily accessible on the main interface, but the Hero 8 Black introduces Capture Presets. These customizable settings allow you to preset your favourite 10 image and colour settings for various activities and easily switch between them, saving you a lot of time in the field.
Once you’ve gotten used to the camera, though, you realize things like higher framerate shots aren’t great for low-light conditions, wide-angle lenses with high resolutions can’t do the HyperSmooth Boost, and some shots work better with different colour settings. There are a lot of things to consider and while this all might be manageable when looking at it at home, it can be a little overwhelming trying to fix in the field. This is where the new Capture Presets really shine as they allow you to customize your camera settings for specific activities or shot types, and flick between them really easily when you need to.
In addition to the SuperView, Wide and Linear digital lenses that were available on the Hero 7 Black there is also a new ‘Narrow’ lens perspective for taking footage or photos of people (or close-ups) on the Hero 8 Black. The maximum bitrate for 2.7K and 4K has been increased from 75Mbps to 100Mbps to make those high-resolution shots even more professional-looking footage, for anyone willing to sacrifice the extra memory. And Livestream feeds can now be sent in Full HD 1080p resolution directly to Facebook, YouTube or your favorite streaming platform.
GoPro 8 Size and specifications
GoPro has held the same specs since the Hero 5 with 10m water resistance returning again. There has been some improvement to the shock resistance. Including a new Corning Gorilla Glass lens cover on the Hero, 8 offers twice the impact resistance of previous models. The GoPro 8 has a slimmer form factor, double the shockproof rating. Then there is the foldable built-in mount, a new wind resistant microphone. Also new software features for making your videos look better in-action. They will also roll out a new range of camera attachments to improve lighting, sound and visibility.
Twice the shock resistance
Improved audio wind-resistance
1-2 hour continuous battery life
3h charge time
GoPro 8 battery life
The GoPro 8 lithium-ion battery has a higher capacity than the one used in the Hero 7 Black. However, the new camera also draws slightly more power and so it ends up with an identical 1,220mAh lifespan. The Hero 8 Black batteries are backwards compatible, but you can’t use all of the features without the latest batteries. The battery lasts around 50 minutes when continuously shooting in 2.7 or 4K at high frame rates. This can stretch to almost 2 hours for lower resolution footage or TimeWarp videos. Historically I have purchased 3 or 4 batteries to have spares on hand. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait around 3 hours to fully recharge.
GoPro 8 Verdict
At first look the Hero 8 Black looks like a basic incremental update. However, on closer inspection, there are subtle changes that make you pleased. Advanced stabilization, new microphone, improved operating system, improved accessories, easier access, and no longer the need for plastic mounts. These changes continue to make GoPro the leader in this growing space.
GoPro 8 price
The GoPro 8 continues the usual pricing with a launch price of $599.95. This will begin shipping globally from October 15, with pre-orders opening immediately. For many, this is also the time to potentially buy an older model at a bargain price. Particularly if the new features mentioned above aren’t deal-breakers. You will find the GoPro 7 reduced to $500 at many retail outlets. Try also looking online such as eBay or Gumtree for older models for a bargain price.