GoPro has released new versions of both its Hero line and its newer 360-degree ruggedized action cameras. The $399 GoPro Hero8 Black’s most significant change is that it gains a new body design that incorporates GoPro’s signature mounting system right into the case, so that you no longer need add-on frames to attach it to selfie sticks, suction mounts, body mounts and more.
The GoPro Hero8 Black shoots at resolutions between 1080p and 4K, and also gains HyperSmooth 2.0, the aptly named second-generation version of GoPro’s proprietary digital stabilization technology. The first version, which premiered on the GoPro Hero7, was hailed for its effectiveness, and the follow-up is apparently even more powerful — plus, it provides new adjustment options so you can tweak how aggressive it is.
GoPro’s proprietary variable speed recording mode TimeWarp also gets upgraded to 2.0, and there’s better on-board wind suppression for mic-free recording. The body changes mean that the lens is no longer removable, but GoPro is planning to release a new mounting system for filters soon to make up for this limitation.
On top of the new design, there’s a series of new aftermarket add-ons, which GoPro calls “Mods,” to provide add-on features. There’s a Media Mod ($79.99) that includes a built-in shotgun mic; a Display Mod ($79.99), which has a flip-up LCD viewfinder for vlogging; and a Light Mod ($49.99), which has a 200 lumen LED continuous video light source.
The other new camera, the GoPro MAX, is a $499 successor to the GoPro Fusion, and provides 360 capture. It’s designed to also produce great single lens, traditional wide-angle footage, and has its own version of HyperSmooth stabilization called Max HyperSmooth (which you know must be extreme because it’s called “Max”).
The MAX seems less oriented at 360 video and more at advanced content creators who want maximum editing flexibility and the ability to more easily vlog, as it also includes a front-facing display.
GoPro faces increased competition from legit sources in their home category, including competing devices from DJI and Insta360, but the slate of new upgrades here really do sound like quality, meaningful improvements versus the existing Hero7, and the new all-in-one body design should make it even more convenient for general use while out on the go.
Pre-orders are live now for the cameras, with shipping starting on October 15 for the GoPro Hero8, and shipments for the Max starting on October 24.
GoPro’s successor to the Hero 7 is likely coming on October 1, as the action camera maker has posted a teaser with the date to its official website. The tagline “This is Action” appears over a fast cut mash-up of variety of shots, including off-road racing, underwater diving and what looks like close-up footage of Frank Zapata (or someone else with a jetpack) flying around, along with the date.
The mostly shadowed image above is the closest we get to an official product shot, but we’ve seen leaks sourced from photo-focused rumor site Photo Rumors that suggest a redesign with added expandability options for advanced accessories including front-facing display monitors and external flash. These leaks also include some potential specs, like a new GP2 chip to help with on-board image stabilization, better lenses and image quality, and a new 12MP sensor, in addition to the new optional housing and accessories.
GoPro’s Hero 7 introduced HyperSmooth stabilization, which provides gimbal-like results without the actual gimbal thanks to advanced digital stabilization technology that GoPro developed in-house. But the company also saw the introduction of its strongest-yet competitor in the market this year with the DJI Osmo Action, a GoPro-like action camera from drone and gimbal-maker DJI, which is at least on par with the Hero 7 in terms of stabilization and quality, with added features aimed at the vlogging market like a built-in front-facing display.
The slogan “This is Action.” could actually be interpreted as a dig against its newest rival, since Action is capitalized and the DJI camera is literally named the “Osmo Action.” Hopefully GoPro does indeed get a little spicy about its competitor, since it’s a market that could definitely stand to benefit from some genuine competition in the higher end of the category.