For the past few years, I’ve been a fan of GoPro’s cameras, especially their HERO7 Black and this is no exception with their new HERO8 Black, despite a few issues.

Design & Hardware

On the outside, the HERO8 Black’s design hasn’t changed all that much from the HERO7 Black before it. The only major design changes are that there is no longer a door on the left-hand side for the USB-C port and mini-HDMI or battery door/microSD cards lot on the bottom.

Both have been combined into one section on the right side of the camera. This new compartment has the battery, microSD card slot and USB-C port with a removable door.

With this change, GoPro has made it slightly hard to quickly remove the battery and the microSD because the battery door gets in the way. There have been countless times where I’ve been switching out the old battery for a new one or switching microSDs and the battery door has gone flying off.

Since GoPro has gotten rid of the mini-HDMI port on the HERO8 Black, they’ve introduced mods for the camera.

One of the mods is called the Media Mod, which has a built-in directional shotgun-mic with two cold shoe mounts and USB-C, HDMI and 3.5mm external mic adapter ports. The Display Mod works in tandem with Media Mod since it can attach via the cold-shoe mounts and adds a 1.9-inch screen.

The last mod is the Light Mod which is a wearable and waterproof light up to 33ft/10m and its rechargeable. While I wasn’t able to test out any of them but I’ll link to some video reviews of the mods below.

Now on the bottom is a set of fold-out mounts that are built-in, so you won’t need external housing. The left side of the camera still has the mode/power button and on top is where the record button lives.

The back of the camera has a 2-inch touch display with a status screen on the front of the camera. At this point, the size of the touch display and status screen is getting old at this point, since it’s been the same since the HERO5 Black.

GoPro’s competition from DJI with their Osmo Action has a 2.25-inch touch screen and a 1.4 screen on the front which can be used as a viewfinder. It would be great if a future HERO camera had a much larger touchscreen on the back and a proper screen on the front, to make it easier when recording yourself. But I guess, GoPro would rather you purchase their Mods for your HERO8 Black.

The HERO8 Black is waterproof up to 33ft (10m) without needing waterproof housing. In terms of battery life, the camera has a 1220 mAh battery, which lasts around 1-2 hours depending on the video quality setting. Shooting 4K 60fps will result in shorter battery life.

Another thing I noticed is that after shooting in 4K 60fps for around 30 minutes or so, the camera got very warm to the touch. It seems GoPro didn’t factor in how to keep the camera cool.

The HERO8 Black can shoot up to 4K HDR video at 60 fps as well as 2.7K video at 120 fps, 1440p at 120 fps and 1080p Full HD at up to 240 fps. You can also shoot 12MP still photos.

GoPro has improved their HyperSmooth 2.0 video stabilization and now comes with three levels, On, High and Boost.

In addition to HyperSmooth 2.0, GoPro has improved introduced TimeWarp 2.0 for even better hyperlapse videos. TimeWarp 2.0 will now automatically adjust speed based on motion, scene detection and lighting.

Some of the other features and modes on the HERO8 Black include:

  • Night Lapse Video
  • Face, Smile, Blink & Scene Detection
  • Horizontal Leveling
  • Portrait Mode –Native vertical-capture for easy sharing to Instagram Stories, Snapchat and more
  • Enhanced Audio –Re-engineered audio captures increased dynamic range, new microphone membrane reduces unwanted vibrations during mounted situations
  • Intuitive Touch Interface–2-inch touch display with simplified user interface enables native vertical (portrait) use of camera
  • Face, Smile + Scene Detection –HERO7 Black recognizes faces, expressions and scene-types to enhance automatic QuikStory edits on the GoPro app
  • Short Clips –Restricts video recording to 15-or 30-second clips for faster transfer to phone, editing and sharing. Great for new users and kids
  • Photo Timer –Countdown timer for convenient selfies and group shots stunning Image Quality – 4K60 video and 12MP photos
  • Ultra Slo-Mo –8x slow motion in 1080p240
  • Auto Transfer to Phone –Your photos and videos move automatically from the camera when connected to the GoPro app for on-the-go sharing
  • GPS Performance Stickers –Track speed, distance and elevation, then highlight them by adding stickers to videos in the GoPro app
  • Touch Zoom –Frame your photos and videos with just a touch

The GoPro HERO8 Black is available now for $529 CAD ($399 USD) but can be found on sale for less.

It’s available for purchase from:

The Media Mod and Display Mod cost $109 CAD ($79 USD) each and the Light Mod costs $69 CAD ($49 USD).

Camera Image & Video Quality

One of the standout features of the HERO7 Black was the HyperSmooth Stabilization. With the HERO8 Black, GoPro has improved upon that with HyperSmooth 2.0. All the videos I recorded using the HERO8 Black were super smooth and stabilized almost as if I was using a gimbal.

Something to note is that depending on the video quality setting, you may not be able to adjust the level of HyperSmooth. For example, I shot a lot using 4K 60fps and my options for HyperSmooth 2.0 was On or Off. But if I switch to 4K 30fps or 1080p 60fps, I could switch between HyperSmooth 2.0 Boost, High, On and Off levels.

The nice part about the HERO8 Black is that you can set different video presets, so you can one cinematic one shooting at 4K 30fps and another flow slow-mo at 1080p 240 fps. Within each preset, you can also choose to turn on ProTune for even further customization of presets for things like Bit Rate, White Balance, Shutter Speed, ISO etc.

The preset customization also works in the Photo and Time Lapse modes on the HERO8 Black. One of my favourite features from the HERO7 Black was the TimeWarp mode, and the mode is still included on the HERO8 Black.

While the HERO8 Black has Night Lapse Video and a Low-Light option, it still needs some work. Videos in low-light still look a bit dark and kind of noisy and slightly blurry.

TimeWarp is a lot of fun to use and basically lets you take super-stabilized time-lapse videos up to 30x speed.

Videos taken on the HERO8 Black look great, with lots of detail and colour. While past GoPros had a fisheye effect, you can actually choose the field of view on the HERO8 Black.

 

Switching between modes and the time it took to go from off to starting to record was quick and easy.

Software

The interface on the HERO8 Black hasn’t changed all the much from past GoPros. You can still swipe left or right to change modes, swipe up to view your footage and swipe down to get access to more settings.

The top of the main screen shows the space on your microSD card, which mode you’re in and battery life percentage. The bottom of the screen has quick access to things like digital zoom, Presets and Digital Lens.

Just like the HERO7 Black, the latest model can still be controlled using your voice in multiple languages as well as paired with your smartphone and the GoPro app. From the app, you’ll be able to use your phone as a viewfinder.

When using the GoPro app, your camera will create a Wi-Fi network and your phone connects to that in order to control the camera remotely. While the app does work, I found to be slightly delayed, especially when using the viewfinder.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the HERO8 Black is still a great camera but only makes slight adjustments to the design and camera software. If you’re in the market for a great all-around action camera, then the HERO8 Black is your best option.

Pros

  • Great 4K video and image quality with image stabilization
  • HyperSmooth 2.0 works great
  • Easy to use interface
  • Waterproof without any extra housing
  • Built-in mount for better versatility
  • Solid and durable build
  • Mod system could have some potential

Cons

  • Overall design getting slightly outdated, especially compared to competition with bigger screens
  • Battery life hasn’t changed much (around an hour or so) and the device gets very warm when shooting in 4K
  • The battery door design is awkward and makes it harder to swap out batteries and microSDs quickly
  • Low-light performance good use some work

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