Camera makers GoPro announced the launch of its three new action cameras under the Hero 7 series. These include the new GoPro Hero 7 Black, Hero 7 Silver and Hero 7 White. The GoPro Hero7 Black is one of the most exciting action cameras that have been launched in many years.
The GoPro Hero 7 Black is the premium of the lot that offers 4k video recording at 60fps, the Hero 7 silver records 4k footage at 30fps and the Hero 7 white records 1080p video at 60fps. All the above three Hero 7 series action cameras are water resistant up to 10 meters and has a feature rich 2-inch touchscreen panel. The Hero 7 White and Hero 7 Silver both sport 10MP image sensors each. Both of them can shoot vertically and includes features like 2x slow motion video recording, photo timer, short clips, voice control and auto-transfer using the app.
With the Hero7 Black series, GoPro has provided a boost to the camera’s video stabilization technology, which is one of the most critical features in this action camera. GoPro has offered a lot of features that has taken them years to develop. The software experience is just great. With the GoPro App on Android and iPhones it acts as a remote for videos and photos, takes backup of all footage and images and also has one of the best AI enabled video editing suite in the form of Quik. No other brand has such a seamless and integrated hardware and software developed so well for their cameras.
GoPro Hero7 Black Features
• 4K Video to 60p
• Hyper smooth Stabilization
A lot of features in this camera have the same core specs borrowed from the previous Hero 6 Black. The main aim of creating the Hero 7 Black model is not about boosting the frame rates and the packing in more pixels, but it is all about user experience. The Hero 7 Black still carries the same 12MP sensor and the same-wide angle lens. Video specs of 4K at 60fps and Full HD to a max 240fps for 8 x slowed-down footage all remains unchanged. The Hero 7 Black comes with some exclusive features other than the above mentioned that makes it a sought after and powerful action camera than the previous generation.
The most important feature in the Hero 7 Black is HyperSmooth, a form of video stabilization that GoPro ranks as similar to using a gimbal. It is a great mix of hardware and the equally efficient software combined makes this feature all the more appealing than just the upgraded optical stabilization system.
GoPro is not short of capabilities and has the best in-camera video stabilization system not just for an action camera, but for any camera in the market. These features do not drain the battery life, which is a great positive feature to have in an action camera. Unlike the Hero 6 Black that had only regular stabilization to be applied to 30fps when shooting in 4K, HyperSmooth can be used when capturing 60fps footage at full resolution on the Hero 7 Black. The only time when you cannot use this feature is when capturing Full HD footage at 240fps and 120 fps footage. Standard stabilization is available at later frame rate.
TimeWarp video is another great feature in the Hero 7 Black, which combines regular frame-by-frame time-lapse shooting with HyperSmooth, which is basically a stabilized Hyperlapse. It means, the feature allows you to capture the time-lapse footage with the ability to move the Hero 7 Black at all times. You can enjoy the experience of taking time-lapse footage without a tripod. Voice control is quite handy allowing it to recognize 12 different commands like “GoPro take a photo” and “GoPro start taking video”, which are the main functions of this action camera.
The audio functions in this camera have also been upgraded in the Hero 7 Black. GoPro has expanded the dynamic range to provide more natural bass tones and brighter mids. The microphone membrane has also been upgraded to remove any vibrations that might get picked up, ensuring even the smallest sounds are captured without an effort.
Easy Photo Taking Capabilities
The GoPro Hero7 Black has a SuperPhoto feature that is similar to the scene-intelligent auto option that is found in the traditional cameras, which automates a lot of helpful features that may be difficult to implement while taking photos. Instead, of calling on the HDR while shooting with a dynamic range, this new feature will do it for you when required. The Hero 7 Black will also deploy the multi-frame noise reduction for low-light scenes if it finds it necessary.
For people who want creativity, ProTune will give you the freedom to adjust things like exposure compensation, white balance, sharpness, ISO range and so on. Instead of the JPEGs you can capture raw images on the Hero 7 Black and shoot bursts of images at a max of 30fps. It tells the camera how many images, over how long a duration you want it to capture. The Hero7 Black is a camera with the capability to live-stream built right into it. This feature works with Facebook, but very shortly you can see this working for YouTube and various other channels.
GoPro Hero7 Black Build and Handling
The Hero 7 Black has a very similar design like the Hero 6. It has the same rugged and rubbered external body as the Hero6 Black. The sides in the Hero 7 Black are just as smooth as the front instead of the ridged sides. The two-tone look is missing in the Hero 7 Black, but you will be using it with a case, so it doesn’t matter much.
The build quality is sturdy and solid. The two doors to the USB/HDMI and battery/card are a bit tricky to operate, but this is a feature required to ensure waterproofing. Without the housing, the camera can travel 10m/33ft safely underwater, though with an optional super Suit you can even go down further under water.
A small plastic frame that covers the GoPro Hero 7 Black is provided as a standard. This feature enables you to clip onto an adhesive stand to hold the camera in place, other than mounts for helmets, handlebars and more. First time users may find everything tricky, but these features are necessary to work in tough conditions, but once you start using it regularly, you may find it pretty easy to use. To make use of all its features the body needs to be sturdy for sure.
As soon as you turn on the device you will notice that how much has changed with this camera from GoPro. There is a fresh new UI with information regarding current frame rate and resolution placed nicely together into a small space and green icons to show battery life and the remaining space on the cards. All this is easier to see against the brighter looking subjects instead of the previous white ones.
Using the Hero 7 Black is quite easy because it is more like using a smartphone. The simple swipes that are associated with a smartphone make it easy to operate like accessing different modes, captured images or footage and many more. To alternate between modes, it is easy to just press the mode button on the side, but you can do this by just a swipe.
The UI on the Hero 7 Black adapts to the portrait orientation when you hold the camera accordingly, making it easier to operate. This feature can be disabled if you find it more of a nuisance than a help. The touchscreen has the same 2-inch dimensions as in the previous versions. The touch is quite responsive, but it occasionally fails to respond to touch.
Voice commands are similar to the ones found in the previous versions, although you can say “GoPro capture” and the device will start recording videos or take photos depending on the mode you select. The voice command in the GoPro generally responds to a range of voice commands, although it is not 100% reliable and at times you may have to repeat the commands a few times.
GoPro Hero 7 Black Video and Photo Quality
The GoPro Hero 7 Black is loaded with video and photo capturing features. It is capable of taking 12Mp images, both in raw or in JPEG formats. The image quality is superb even though it has a tiny 1/ 2.3in sensor. In good lighting, the images are nice and crisp with right amount of sharpness that extends to every nook and corner of the frame. If you look in detail, the images have the same quality as the ones taken on a smartphone and not that of a compact camera. Though, there are some more improvements that are needed, but the images taken at present are just good for a camera of this caliber.
The close-up images will appear a bit distorted and this is quite a norm in the GoPro cameras. The wide-angle views on the Hero 7 Black are not distortion free. However, you can switch to the linear mode to capture images with the corrected distortion, though at a slight expensive of field of view. You can even go for the Hero 7 Black’s touch zoom for a narrower field of view, which acts more like a digital zoom, maintaining the output at 12MP, which degrades the quality of the images. The only option is to simply cut down the resolution.
The SuperPhoto option on the Hero 7 Black, which captures the images with an additional 1.5-2 seconds per photo, has a noticeable effect on the images taken giving it a highlight detail that is otherwise lost and lifting shadows a bit. The final images show less contrast because of this, but for critical photos this can be always tweaked later on. This process can lead to minor white balance shifts.
It is possible to regain a little highlight detail from raw files taken on the Hero 7 Black and polish these images up; raw files from a camera with such a small sensor can only achieve so much. Though, for archiving purpose you may want to capture Raws. The Hero 6 Black already had a great video stabilization system and if your movements are relatively steady, then you may find it quite good enough. The new HyperSmooth System on the GoPro Hero 7 Black is already a game changer, the benefits can be seen when you are running, biking or travelling in any way down the rough terrain.
The TimeWarp feature results in a stabilized Hyperlapse video, which can be captured either handheld or with a device that can be mounted on a moving vehicle. With the GoPro Hero 7 Black you can set the factor by which it is slowed, which is very useful because very fast moving action may pass by too quickly if you have set it to a maximum of 30x speed increase. The best thing about this device is that it lets you know how much footage will result at the settings you have chosen and the timer that displays during the recordings keeps you posted on this too. This feature is useful when mounted on something that is moving, but the best part is that, it can be completely used handheld. It is particularly useful when both of you and something in the scene is also moving at the same time.
With the GoPro Hero 7 Black, you can capture Full HD footage at up to 240fps that can be slowed by a factor of 8x to 30fps. Sound is also recorded at the same time. The footage can be played back in slow-motion on the camera itself, but you cannot output this in slow-motion without going through Quik or other software.
GoPro Hero 7 Black Editing and Apps
The GoPro Hero7 Black is compatible with the iOS and Android GoPro and the Quik apps. It lets you do a whole lot of things other than simply transfer images to your phone. You can set the device to auto upload and with the GoPro plus subscription you will get 250GB cloud storage space to play with. The footage can be uploaded to Instagram and add music, effects and GPS stickers as you like it. The GoPro app can be used to view images and footage, control the camera remotely, upload the images and videos to the cloud and you can also set up a live connection to your chosen social media account.
Even uploading the firmware is also easy and you don’t have to remove the microSD card and update manually. The live view preview may not be of great quality, but they tend to sharpen as you start recording. There is some lag noticed between the camera movements and the time it is relayed onto the screen. The capturing of the images is immediate whenever the instructions are given to camera from the app. The previews appeared immediately in the media library when they were re-entered.
GoPro Hero 7 Black Verdict
The GoPro Hero7 Black has become very effective after the inclusion of HyperSmooth stabilization, which makes it easier to capture images and videos while on the move. The TimeWarp feature is also useful and can be made use to take some very solid and crisp images. The all new UI and the portrait options make the GoPro Hero 7 Black easy and convenient to use. The Hero 7 Black is compatible with a wide range of accessories, which is an added plus point of this camera.
There are no major flaws in this action camera, though a little working on the functions and features is always appreciated. It would be nice to have a better voice command and a touch zoom option that doesn’t scale images up to 12MP would be welcome, but these are very minor issues that can be just ignored.
The GoPro Hero 7 Black is the best action camera that you can invest in right now. The only competition for this device is the Hero 6 Black, which is still a force to reckon even though it lacks some features from the Hero 7 Black. It records in 4K with good stabilization and is also waterproof, has voice control and wireless functionality.