If history is to repeat itself, then we should see the GoPro Hero 7 Black launch in September. But following the company’s recent issues and pulling its Karma drone off the market you have to ask, will the GoPro Hero 7 Black happen?
GoPro is a savvy company, and although the GoPro Karma Drone was a lovely piece of kit, it was beset with issues from the outset, so it’s recent disappearance was no big surprise.
The GoPro camera is the company’s core product, and there was no doubt that the Hero5 and Hero6 successfully managed to recapture the market with stunning new features and a great new design.
That design is now two generations old, so is it time for an upgrade in both looks and features?
GoPro Hero 7 Specs
GoPro has steadily broken new ground when it comes to the resolutions and frame rates that are offered by each new generation.
Other cameras might match those specifications and features, but few can mirror the speed and quality.
The GoPro Hero 7 Black will need to beat the already high bar set by the Hero 6, and the camera will also need to offer the devout band of followers something special.
New GoPro design
The original GoPro design lasted for four generations, ignoring, of course, the minor + updates. The Karma Grip is still a popular accessory, and if there is any major change in the shape and size, the Karma would require a new caddy.
Therefore I would imagine the next two releases of the camera would see a very similar form factor even if the design changes.
If the form factor, shape and size, remain the same then any design changes will need to be innovative.
There are three major areas for improvement when it comes to the design as I see it: the cage, lens and touch screen.
GoPro Hero 7 loses the need for a cage
The disappearance of the old bulky waterproof housing was genius, and although it reduced the depth from 30m to 10m, this was no real issue for the majority of users.
However the GoPro Hero 6 Black still needs the cage to be waterproof. The GoPro Hero 7 Black could shed this and utilise a mounting system along the lines of the Garmin Virb Ultra 30 and Veho Muvi 4k.
The addition of a standard 1/4-inch thread on the base would be a welcome addition for many users, enabling flush mounting to a new wave of accessories.
Taking this route would also enable the connection of a standard GoPro mount for backward compatibility.
The removal of the casing would also help to reduce some of the muffling experienced with the audio and would reduce the overall mounted size slightly.
Improved lens options
GoPro has worked hard to produce a quality lens that enables the capture of clear, crisp and vibrant footage. It’s also tough which is all good and important for an action camera.
As standard optically the GoPro’s lens offers a 170º field of view. This field of view can be adjusted from the standard wide to SuperView and Narrow. There’s also the new option of touch zoom that enables you to zoom in and out of the frame.
All good, but wouldn’t it be great if there were a few optical lens options for different scenarios. This thought isn’t new, and there are companies out there that customise GoPro’s and other cameras in a variety of ways, check out the excellent Back Bone.
Different lens for different situations, a linear lens for vlogging, a standard wide for extreme sports and general use and longer focal length for drone and other aerial work.
This would also open up endless possibilities for effects lenses, filters and engage a new market of creative filmmakers without impacting on the original customer base.
GoPro Hero 7 to feature a to-the-edge screen
It’s been adopted by the majority of smartphones, and where they go surely everyone else must follow.
If the cage is gone then that leaves more space for the screen. The Hero 6 Black’s screen, is big but there’s plenty of real estate left, that addition area could be used for more features and touch gestures.
GoPro Hero 7 removable touch screen remote
Roll back to the GoPro Hero 4, and there was the option for a detachable touchscreen. Although the screen used at the time now seems primitive, at the time it was a significant breakthrough.
Move on to the GoPro Hero 7 Black and the screen could detach and switch to a wrist or bar mountable remote.
This would be ideal for those situations where the last thing you want to do is reach into your pocket and connect to the GoPro through the app.
The small Remo remote is good, but what’s the point if you can’t see what you’re shooting.
Utilising a detachable screen could just be the start, why not make it flip or articulate to make it easier for the selfie vlogging generation.
Back to the Fluro GoPro Hero 7 Black
I wrongly predicted that the GoPro Hero 6 Black would be available in a dual fluoro colour scheme. The reason? So when it disappears into the undergrowth, it would be easy found.
I’ll once again put this forward as one of my top new features for the GoPro Hero 7 Black #makegoprofluro
A huge leap for the GoPro Hero 7 Black specifications
Many users were underwhelmed by the Hero 6’s specifications; it hit 4K at 60fps, and Full HD at 240fps, which to be honest is impressive and still leads the field.
However, it was more the expected release of a camera capable of shooting 8K, but then with computers still struggling with 4K is it time to push 8K in the consumer market? I don’t think so.
GoPro hits 480fps Full HD and 120fps at 4k
Every other generation of the camera seems to double the frame rate compared to the previous generation, with the 6 doubling the maximum frame rates for both full HD and 4K.
Taking the previous timeline into consideration, it’s unlikely we’ll see much in this update when it comes to increased frame rate and resolution. Maybe something for the GoPro Hero 8.
The GoPro 6 Black introduced the GP1 processor; this was a big change for the company and saw the end of the use of the Ambarella processor.
As was proven by the quality of the footage and increase in specs the GP1 confirmed it was a worthy replacement for the Ambarella processor, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a few further speed increases and improved low light performance.
The GP1 now has a proven track record, and we know it can process the data, but what more could it do?
Better low light, more manual control, greater slow motion, smartphone-style apps?
Sony has made massive inroads into the mirrorless market with its Alpha range, but one feature that impresses me with these cameras is the ability to boost the feature set with apps.
GoPro Hero 7 Black app enabled
Again, pulling from the mobile world apps have become essential. There are now apps for pretty much everything, and their inclusion on the GoPro Hero 7 could enable increased functionality and features.
An effects app could see Instagram style hit your GoPro footage, YouTube or FaceBook Live could be integrated or for the Pro users a hyped ProTune that offers S-Log colour mode and timecodes.
These apps could be organised and managed in the GoPro app or Quick Stories enabling the full integration of the GoPro Hero 7 Black with your mobile phone.
Multicaming with the GoPro Hero 7 Black
One of the biggest leaps in the quality of your GoPro footage is when you start to multi-angle, and there’s only one way to do it. Use multiple cameras.
However, once you’ve captured a variety of angles on two, three or more cameras you then need to sync that footage together before it’s edited.
Adding multi-cam to the GoPro Hero 7 Black would enable you and your mates to go out for a ride, sync cameras and then when you get back the data from each would automatically sync the footage to help speed up and ease editing.
It could even enable fast auto editing switching between cameras based on motion and GPS data.
Speed is key when it comes to editing and GoPro have already made massive inroads with the QuickStories app, this could be extended with that Multicam and effects capabilities.
Three new GoPro Hero models
GoPro did it before with the GoPro Hero 3, GoPro Hero 3 Silver and GoPro Hero 3 Black, so why not do it again.
OK, it wasn’t a major success last time but times have changed as has the needs of those using action cameras.
Taking Sony’s Alpha 7 range and it’s success as an example they have three very clearly defined models that look identical, and this philosophy could easily be applied to the GoPro Hero 7.
GoPro Hero 7 Black
You know the format, the all-encompassing action camera that we know and love.
Voice activation, sound alerts, vibrations, GPS, touch screen, Full HD at 480fps, 4K at 120fps and 8K (Why not) at 30fps, live video streaming, waterproof to 10m without cage etc.
The Hero 7 Black would need to push the limits and connect with other GoPro’s to create multicam camera scenarios.
More of the same but better.
GoPro Hero 7 Social
Designed for the vlogger and social media star, or even the family.
This model would feature an articulated touch screen, direct mic input and better Karma integration.
GoPro Hero 7 Broadcast
Sony has seen the potential and already have a good line of action cameras, but with a history in broadcast, the RX0 is the small camera that has been designed to push the GoPro out of the broadcast industry.
The Hero 7 broadcast would need to be something special, with clean HDMI out, the ability to record high-quality 4K in camera, high 960fps Full HD and again pack in the Multi-cam features.
The design of the GoPro Hero 7 Broadcast would need to deal with the design issues that have opened the field for the RX0, primarily the addition of 1/4-inch mounting options and audio in.
A Pro app for would also be required to manage the multiple cameras integrating them seamlessly with the broadcast systems being used.
Keep tuned for the latest on the GoPro Hero 7
There’s plenty of speculation about what the GoPro Hero 7 will offer, and we’ll keep you updated.
But as this feature suggests, GoPro is a company that has had its share of issues in the last couple of years and will need to innovate to survive in what is now a competitive market.