For its entire lineup, GoPro sticks to an annual refresh cycle, and right on the cue, the firm introduced its 2019 seventh generation of Hero action cameras. GoPro published not one but three cameras this year— the Black Hero 7, Silver Hero 7, and White Hero 7. These substitute the current lineup consisting of the Black Hero 6 and the Hero (2018).
Today we will test the flagship model of the company, the Hero 7 Black, whose highlight is the fresh stabilization function of HyperSmooth. This is said to give stabilization at the gimbal level without any extra accessories, according to GoPro. The Black model also provides a host of fresh characteristics including live video, vertical video and pictures, making it GoPro’s most feature-packed yet. With beginning cost comparable to the top-end model of last year, it’s time to test these fresh characteristics to see if the Hero 7 Black really is a worthy successor.
GoPro Hero 7 Black design and features
The Hero 7 Black remains with the same quality of design and construction as most of the past GoPro designs, this time alone it has a black chassis to go with its name. The camera weighs approximately 116 g and the body has a rubberized coating covering most of its front and sides. It is waterproof as well and can be taken up to 10 m depth.
The button and ports are similarly set out as before, meaning that this fresh model is consistent with current GoPro accessories including the Karma Grip, Karma drone, etc. On the top there is a single shutter button and on the correct side of the camera there is a Mode / Power button. On both buttons, the click response is good, and it doesn’t take much effort to press. On the right of the Hero 7, there is a rubber-lined flap protecting the USB Type-C and Micro-HDMI ports. Another one on the bottom protects the removable battery as well as your individually bought microSD card.
The Hero 7 Black has a2-inch touchscreen around the back to frame your shot and change the settings, comparable to those of its predecessors. There is a secondary monochrome display on the front that is helpful for checking different parameters like battery level, microSD card capability, and present shooting mode. You get a total of three red LEDs positioned around the Hero 7 Black so when recording it’s simple to say. There are also three stereo audio microphones and wind noise cancellation.
The Hero 7 Black’s key requirements are not too different from those of the Hero 6 Black. It is still driven by the GP1 chip from GoPro and has a wide-angle12-megapixel sensor. GPS, Bluetooth and dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n are built-in. It supports the H.265 or HEVC video codec and when shooting 4 K it has a maximum video bitrate of 78Mb / s. Like the Hero 6 Black, the Hero 7 Black can also shoot 4 K at 60fps and 1080p at 240fps, with a whole host of other resolutions (2.7 K, 1440p, 960p, 720p) in between. The camera also continues to support Protune alternatives for professional consumers who want to manually set the exposure.
The Hero 7 Black ships with a plastic skeleton bracket allowing you to attach it to a wide range of GoPro accessories, a Type-C USB charging cable, and two adhesive mounts.
GoPro Hero 7 Black performance and battery life
It is the Hero 7 Black’s fresh characteristics that really distinguish it from its predecessor. The first is called HyperSmooth Stabilization, which will readily be the most popular. It operates extremely well and is accessible at up to 60fps in all resolutions. It does slightly crop the frame, but you won’t really notice this, as the Hero 7 Black still has a fairly broad field of perspective. The stabilization masks your footfall jerks very well even when running, making it feel like the camera is actually on a gimbal. When you exceed 60fps, the camera defaults to conventional stabilization, leading in relatively less fluid videos.
In excellent light, the image quality is also very good, and the colors are beautiful and punchy. In low light, as with earlier GoPros, pictures and video are still a bit grainy, so little has altered in that region. If you shoot in Night mode, which utilizes a slower shutter, this can be fixed to an extent for pictures. Photos and videos contain a certain quantity of barrel distortion that comes with the land of using a GoPro camera.
Our second favorite characteristic is TimeWarp video. This allows you to shoot stabilized handheld timelapse footage, comparable to Hyperlapse videos, so you can add some movement to your timelapse videos. The findings look pretty cool and are treated very well with stabilization. You can choose between resolutions of 1080p or 4 K and change the timelapse velocity from 2x up to 30x.
The Hero 7 Black now allows you to shoot first-time vertical video and pictures and share them straight through the GoPro App to Instagram Stories. The viewfinder and the monochrome front screen alter orientation automatically so you understand that you shoot vertical footage. This is a good addition that has been integrated by GoPro, particularly given this video format’s growing popularity on social media.
SuperPhoto captures HDR images, and it operates much better than the previous GoPros WDR mode. The Hero 7 Black can be forced to shoot in HDR all the time or left in Auto mode. In picture mode, you can also set a countdown timer, which is a convenient addition. Another fresh function is live streaming. It operates through the GoPro app, supporting Facebook Live and RTMP at the moment, both of which require you to go through a fast installation phase.
You will need to log in with your Facebook account in the event of Facebook, add your video description and select the resolution (up to 720p), whereas for RTMP you will need to enter a server URL. We tested Facebook Live because setting up is the simplest and it worked well. Thanks to the stereo microphones, the camera also captures good audio, and if you’re outdoors, you can either use your Wi-Fi networks or LTE.
The Hero 7 Black also has a fresh user interface in addition to these new characteristics. Now you just swipe left or right to change between the shooting modes of the primary video, photo, and timelapse. These main modes have extra variants, which can also be chosen, such as timelapse video, timelapse picture, burst picture, video looping, etc. You now swipe up to get to your media from the bottom. It is possible to access other preferences and configurations with a swipe down from the top.
Sometimes the interface can get a bit sluggish, which is irritating, particularly if you need to change mode rapidly. There’s voice control as well as with previous GoPros, but now it also supports Indian English, so you don’t have to attempt to pull off an accent to issue orders. Sometimes voice control can be a bit finicky and sometimes it can mistake command discussions. We realized a few times that our Hero 7 Black had began recording automatically or switched modes without telling us to do so.
Software updates are released automatically through the GoPro App for the Hero 7 Black. The app itself is user-friendly, easy and operates on Android and iOS. The camera also promotes QuikStories, which saves straight to your paired phone new shot pictures and brief video clips and produces a small mini movie for you. You can also add some interesting GPS stickers to your video as overlays if you have GPS switched on. These vary from a speedometer to a small map of your traveled path.
If you shoot continually for a long time, the Hero 7 Black gets fairly warm. Due to overheating, we never had the camera shut down on us, but even in an air-conditioned space, after about 20 minutes of recording, we noticed it becoming quite toasty.
Life of the battery is acceptable. With Wi-Fi and GPS switched on, we managed to get about 45 minutes of ongoing 4 K recording. With the latter characteristics turned off, we generally managed to go beyond an hour with a single charge at a reduced resolution. The benefit of having a battery that can be removed is that you can simply transfer it to a fully charged one. You can also use the Hero 7 Black for continuous running with a power bank or other USB power source.
The GoPro Hero 7 Black adds to the Hero 6 Black a number of helpful characteristics, making it a good upgrade. We wish, however, that these characteristics with software updates could have been added to the Hero 6, since they share many parts.
If your main use cases are not going to take benefit of the enhanced stabilization and live streaming, then we suggest that you stick with the Hero 6 Black because of its key shooting capacities in keeping with the new model. On the other hand, those who own a Hero 5 Black or older model will find that the new Hero 7 Black is a much better upgrade. It would be a nice time to make the switch if you’ve been holding out.
It’s still a bit costly, and low-light performance still has a lengthy way to go, but the Hero 7 Black is GoPro’s greatest effort yet if you want a feature-packed action camera.
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