GoPro has been in the market of action cameras from ages now and what makes them still a force to reckon with is that they are continuously looking to improve.
GoPro recently rejigged their product lineup making their Hero7 Black the entry level action camera. With Hero7 Black, GoPro leap-frogged their own standards and competition, and they seem to have upped their ante with the release of Hero8 Black.
Let’s do the review of this action camera and find out is it worth upgrading from its predecessor. But before we get into that let’s find out how is it different from Hero7 Black.
How is Hero8 Black different than Hero7 Black?
HyperSmooth 2.0 – While HyperSmooth was wonderful, its Ver 2.0 is even better which now works on ALL resolutions at ALL frames per second
TimeWarp 2.0 – this feature though was great but had limitations. In ver 2.0 it now offers auto mode and real time intervals
Folding Fingers – This is new feature where you do not need a cage to mount your GoPro
Upgraded design – Smaller and lighter
Video at 4K is now at 60FPS
Improved audio with front facing mic
MediaMods helps you convert your action camera to a production powerhouse
DisplayMod lets you attach flappable screen to let you see yourself while vlogging
LightMod helps you attch LED light for vlogging
Upgraded SuperPhoto giving better low light performance
LiveBurst mode – great feature where you get 90 frames to choose from
Inbuilt video and photo presets with ability to create your own presets
Night lapse video helping you create time lapse at night and that too in 4K
Live Streaming at 1080p
Updated user interface making it more user friendly
Design and Built
In first look it looks like a replica of its predecessors with its signature GoPro look and design. But there are some significant changes which GoPro has incorporated.
The front has a familiar display which is monochrome. The removable glass protector of fixed lens has been done away with replacing it with the scratch and impact resistant glass which as per GoPro is 2x more durable that the glass protector. Personally it bothers me because now I will find it difficult to fix my ND filter but as per GoPro, with this change, you will be able to capture better audio with the instruction of much improved front facing mic.
The Hero8 is slightly narrower and taller than the Hero7. It has a fixed lens. Now this has its own disadvantages because you can no longer remove or replace a lens. The biggest drawback is that you cannot easily replace it, in case of breakage. Another big disadvantage of the new slimmer and taller design is that it will require a new housing and if you are already using old cameras, you will need to invest more.
The Power / Mode Button has been moved from the right side to the left side of camera. The battery door has been moved to the side and a vacuum sealing for water proofing. Old battery is compatible with the Hero8 but some features may not work with old batteries because they require high power discharge.
FoldingFeet is a new introduction which make the mounting easy. Most important use is it helps you mount the camera without camera housing.
While the HyperSmooth in Hero7 was a game changer, it had some niggles and limitations. In the Hero8 GoPro has taken care of those shortcomings and made it even better with the introduction of ver. 2.0.
The version 2.0 of HyperSmooth now works on all frame rates and resolutions and that is a huge leap.
You can watch this video for the same:
This was another game changer in Hero7 which allowed you shot moving time lapse. In the Hero8, GoPro has introduced Auto Mode which lets the camera detect settings you will need to create smooth TimeWarp video. In its Ver 2.o, you have the option to pause, go back to real time footage for a moment and re-enter TimeWarp mode. May sound miniscule but does let you get creative with your footage.
After sitting for long on on erratic and guess work oriented burst mode, GoPro wakes up with LiveBurst in Hero8. Using this feature, you can create a high frame rate video which gives you an option to choose a frame from 90 different frames. It starts capturing 1.5 secs before you press the shutter and keeps clicking 1.5 secs after you release the shutter. As an option you can even use this footage as a 4K video.
Well again GoPro has been sleeping on its audio quality for quite a long. They seem to have woken up with the Hero8.
The audio quality has significantly improved with the increase of number of mics used. Along with the onboard regular mic, there is welcome addition of front mic which has significantly improved wind noise cancellation feature.
While retaining the same chipset as in Hero7, GoPro has improved the video quality. You can now shoot 4K at 60fps along with 30fps and 24fps. The bit rate of 4K footage is also improved to 100Mbps from 78Mbps ofHero7. Bit rate is improved both in 4K and 2.7K footage.
While most features are an upgrade on the Hero7; introduction of Mods is something which is really worth talking about and certainly worth upgrading from the previous models. If you a vlogger, you are going to love this. Pls note that these mods are additional attachments which can be purchased at an additional price.
The main of these Mods is MediaMod. This is actually an external plastic frame with a built-in uni directional shot gun microphone. It also has 2 cold shoe mounts and 3 external ports viz USB-C, microphone port and micro-HDMI port.
Second mod is the DisplayMod. This connects Hero8 through Micro-HDMI of MediaMod. This is actually a flip screen which can flip upto 180 degrees helping vloggers see themselves while vlogging. Interesting point is that it has its own re-chargeable battery and does not use the Hero8 battery.
And third mod is the LightMod. This is an LED attachment which is water proof upto 10 mts. It constitutes 10 light emitting diodes with a silicon diffuser in front. The LightMod has 4 different levels of brightness with max being 200 lumens. It also does not use the camera battery but instead has its own re-chargeable battery which lasts almost upto 6 hrs.
While GoPro has been on adding new features and improving old features, one thing they have continuously failed is to address the issue of battery life. The battery lasts for 50 mins on a single charge. You can however remove the detachable battery door and charge the battery while in use.
While on the face it may appear that Hero8 is significantly improved over Hero7, actually in practicality it’s not that substantial. Even if we want to argue, we would like to say that the price difference is way too much for the changes incorporated. When we look at this in isolation, it does appear to be a formidable action camera which has everything you need and more. Let’s see what goes For and Against this camera.
Excellent image stabilization with HyperSmooth 2.0
Top notch video quality with 4K/60p
Option of Mods and easy functionality
Much Improved audio quality
Body integrated mount in the form of FoldingFingers
Fixed non-removable lens
Fidgety battery door
Super expensive mods
So is this camera for you? Well if you are buying GoPro for the first time, then Hero8 is probably the best option which positions itself very well between the Hero7 and Hero9 both in the terms of features and price. If you are already on previous versions of GoPro other than Hero7, then it’s a great upgrade and probably a must-have in your camera bag. And if you are on Hero7, then you need to evaluate and do cost analysis viz a viz updated features.
All in all, a great rugged feature laden action camera with great attachment options.You can buy it at https://futureforward.in/gopro-hero8-black-3