By Nicholas Chase and KJ Hiramoto
GoPro kicked off fall with the launch of its HERO7 model, as the new Black variant promises its users the smoothest shooting experience yet.
For those not familiar with the GoPro, these tiny cameras made a name for themselves with its ability to capture any action on the go. Whether it’s to capture a skydive or to shoot a rock climb, the GoPro is a must-have for those looking to document their indoor or outdoor adventures.
However, many of you may already own the previous GoPro models, like HERO5 or HERO6. Before you consider upgrading to HERO7 ($399 for Black), you may need to glance through this preview.
Looking Back on the HERO5 Black
Pro triathlete and USA Triathlon coach Nick Chase said he's had plenty of experience with the HERO5 Black model prior to testing out HERO7.
"My personal experience with the HERO5 Black was great since I was relying on the Karma Stabilizer for incredibly smooth action shots. The smooth flowing gimbal and integration with GoPro Karma made capturing high-quality video quite easy," Chase said.
Chase said the HERO5 was capable of capturing high-resolution timelapse videos and was always capable of capturing high-quality videos.
"The quality was always high and I enjoyed testing different resolutions and frame rates in order to capture the best possible video," he said.
What Made HERO6 Great
When GoPro launched HERO6 in fall 2017, it boasted four notable features that the previous models didn’t have. The first difference was the fact that HERO6 boasted 4K60, 1080p240, and 60 frames per second (fps), whereas HERO5 maxed out at 4k resolution, 1080p and 30 fps. While the difference appears subtle, HERO6 gave users a much smoother shooting experience, particularly for slow-motion videos. In addition, the installation of the GP1 processor added stability and improved quality of each footage. With the improved stability, HERO6 users were given the ability to take fluid videos during high-stress situations, such as a bumpy bike ride or when the camera is being pitted on a surfboard. Furthermore, HERO6 Black came with a 5GHz wi-fi network, giving users the ability to transfer videos and photos to your phone three times faster than HERO5 Black did.
What’s New in HERO7
“Without the Gimbal”
The most notable feature from HERO7 Black is the improved video stabilization. GoPro says the new model provides”gimbal-like stabilization--without the gimbal.” HERO7 Black is built to predict your movements and correct any camera shake to make a smooth video.
Chase said he was blown away by HERO7 Black's developed digital stabilization. While reviewing the newest GoPro camera, he said it looked exactly like he had been using the GoPro Karma Grip.
"Users can now expect high-end stabilization at a higher framerate, 4K/60 fps," Chase added. "The faster frame rate will be accessible at a higher resolution (1080p240) which means more vivid colors and more notable contrast. Finally, the tweaked menu system made switching between modes like Photo and Video quite easy, with the swipe of a finger."
This feature is only available on HERO7 Black and not on Silver and White models.
The new GoPro model appears to cater to the younger users with this new feature exclusive to the Black variant. HERO7 Black boasts the ability to let users live stream the footage on Facebook Live. These streamed videos can be saved to the SD card in high resolution, according to GoPro.
HERO7 (Black, Silver and White) allows users to take photos and capture videos in portrait orientation. Again, the folks at GoPro are seeing what the younger users want: the ability to share the perfect post on social media, where most Instagram stories and Snapchats are shared in portrait orientation. This feature is also available on HERO7 Silver and White.
Users can still expect to see the same features from GoPro Hero5 Black on the GoPro Hero7 Black:
- Protune (photo and video)
- Digital Zoom
- External Mic Capability
- HDMI Video Output
- Continuous Photo
- Photo Burst Mode
- Night Photo
- Timelapse (photo and video)
- Built-in touch-screen
- Front Screen
- Voice Control
- USB-C Port
- Waterproof Body
- The same dimension and nearly the same weight
- 1220 mAh Battery
Faster Frame Rates
GoPro is also now inserting a homegrown chip into the Hero7, which means it can outperform the third-party chip which is inside the Hero5. Along with that internal brain comes the biggest upgrade, frame rate and bit rate.
The bottom line here is, you can expect a much faster framerates that will appear much crisper while providing more vivid and deep colors.
Putting it to the Test
Chase said he loved the HERO7 Black's ability to select 15 to 30-second clips to shoot videos for social media. He said he was also impressed by how fast the files uploaded online.
"I had previously been disappointed while using the GoPro HERO5 Black and the GoPro app since I found working with multiple cameras meant I would often time have to re-install them to the app and experienced slow upload times. This was using the GoPro HERO5 Black and my Apple iPhone 6S. However, upgrading to the Hero7 Black and iPhone XS means the app runs fantastic and my upload time for photo and video is exceptional, only taking a minute or less for video and merely second for pictures," he explained.
Why is this upgrade important? It's so you will be able to capture videos and pictures with better quality than a smartphone can, in addition to uploading them quickly on social media.
While HERO7 Silver and White doesn't have the same level of video stability and Facebook Live features like the Black variant, they are much more affordable ($299 for Silver and $199 for White).
HERO7 Silver captures 4K30 videos, making it a slight upgrade over HERO6 Black. It captures 10 MP still photos as opposed to HERO7 Black's 12 MP. As for HERO7 White, it maxes out at 1080p60 for videos and captures 10 MP still images.
Like the Black version ($399), HERO7 Silver also offers Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity.
All three versions of HERO7 are waterproof to 33 feet. They also offer a voice-control feature so you can make voice commands like "GoPro, take a photo” or “GoPro, start recording.”
The Bottom Line
When it comes to documenting your adventures, you’d never want to bring your smartphone for scuba diving and it’s also a terrible idea to carry a selfie stick while riding a bike. But thanks to HERO7, you can document your adventures in an image quality comparable to, if not better, than the leading smartphone.
HERO7’s ability to capture videos with improved stability is an absolute game changer for those looking to be active without a gimbal. Overall, HERO7 is perfect for those looking to share their adventures on social media and the smooth shots make this model a worthwhile investment.