GoPro Hero 8 Black is Reactionary vs Revolutionary

GoPro Hero 8 Black

It’s finally here. After months of rumors and leaks, the GoPro Hero 8 Black has been announced. Unfortunately, those same rumors on video specs were way off the mark. 4K video at 60fps is the topline. 2.7K can hit 120fps, 1080p can shoot up to 240fps.

It’s not all too dissimilar from the Hero 7 in terms of video resolution, but it does come with a plethora of quality of life improvements which feel more like a reaction to the DJI Osmo Action

First, let’s take a look at the announcement video. GoPro is truly the best in the game at marketing montages.  

Yeah, that is beyond slick. It may feel reactionary, but damn if it doesn’t look like one hell of a camera. 

What’s New on the GoPro Hero 8 Black

Foldable mounts. Yeah, they lead with foldable mounts. That’s a great feature, but the headline feature? It belies the title of the event of ‘Beyond Next Level.’ It’s a quality of life feature. One we are all asking why has this been missing for so long? 

The GoPro Hero 8 Black also dropped some weight. It’s 14% lighter than the Hero 7, which will make FPV camera drone pilots happy. Anything that shaves weight increases flight time. So, that’s a definite win.

Enhanced Audio. The stock microphones are improved, but for truly enhanced audio, GoPro has an accessory for that in its new expansion mods. 

With the intro out of the way, GoPro dives into what really makes the Hero 8 shine. First is HyperSmooth 2.0. I honestly didn’t think the company could get the footage any smoother. Yet, there it is. 

In addition to being available on all resolutions, it has in-app horizon levelling. Now, there’s a video editor’s dream. 

TimeWarp 2.0. GoPro’s term for a hyperlapse. It gets smarter with automatic speed selection and the ability for us to speed it up or down with a simple tap.

Night Lapse Video. Want a day-tonight or night-today timelapse? GoPro’s software can handle that in every resolution. 

GoPro Hero 8 Black Digital Lenses Are Genius

One feature that needs its own section are the digital lenses. The GoPro Hero 8 Black features Narrow, Distortion-free Linear, Wide and SuperView. What the company has done is turn the critiques of cropped footage into a feature. It’s genius and could only be done on a camera which already has a crazy wide field of view. 

Another feature of the camera is LiveBurst. It’s similar to what Apple does in capturing frames before and after you hit the shutter. You’re left with a three-second 4K clip or 90 photos. 

GoPro Hero 8 Wants to Be a Vlogging Camera

The mods. Unfortunately, preorders do not start until December with no release date announced. But the three announced are purely for the vlogging market. It’s clear GoPro isn’t content with the action camera market. It knows its customers want to be in front of the camera as much as their footage of crazy adventures. 

Media Mod. It adds shotgun-mic performance alongside a 3.5mm audio adapter and two cold shoe adapters. Pricing is set at $79.99.

Display Mod. The use for those two cold shoe adapters on the Media Mod becomes apparent with the display mod. It’s a two-inch front-facing display meant for vlogging. The display comes with a rechargeable battery, and the flip-up design is both low-profile and folds away for easy storage. 

Light Mod. The only mod that can be used outside the Media Mod ecosystem. It’s a $50 LED light which can be attached to the other cold shoe adapter. Waterproof up to 33 feet, the light comes with a built-in battery with up to six hours of runtime. The six hours is a bit of a stretch. Hitting that mark means leaving the light at Level 1, which is 20 lumens. Level 3’s 120 lumens drop the battery life down to one hour. 

What Does the Hero 8 Black Cost?

The rumors and leaks were correct on this one. It checks in at $399, and the release date is the middle of October. Preorders are available at GoPro.

GoPro Hero 8 Black Wrap Up

Most of the features in the Hero 8 Black are evolutionary. Everything from TimeWarp 2.0 to HyperSmooth 2.0 is a tick-tock upgrade over the Hero 7. What is interesting are the media mods. GoPro recognizes the market for accessories outside of mounts. Customers want choice, and the company is offering it up with what looks to be a complete vlogging solution under $600. 

Sure, it’s not some crazy technological leap forward, but competitors who ignore that price point do so at their own peril. Yeah, it’s still the same action camera company it was yesterday, but it’s clear it wants more and plans on competing for other markets.

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