The action camera market has really started to work itself up with the launch of the DJI Osmo Action. We’ve already taken a look at this new feature-packed action camera and it’s pretty impressive. So when the GoPro Hero 8 Black arrives later in the year, it has to be a major step-up.
Here’s what we know so far about the GoPro Hero 8 Black
- If history repeats we should see the Hero 8 in September 2019
- Three models including the GoPro HERO 8 Black, GoPro HERO 8 Silver, GoPro HERO 8 White.
- Enhanced design with possible screw in filters and enhancements
- 8K Video at 60fps, 4K Video at 120fps, Full HD video at 480 fps
- Enhanced image quality with video capture at over 100mb/s
- HDR Video with HyperSmooth
If history is to repeat itself, then we can probably expect to see a GoPro Hero 8 release date in September 2019. Despite its recent struggles, GoPro is a savvy company and the Hero action camera is the company’s core product. It’s hands-down the best action camera on the market and crosses over many demographics of users, from thrill-seekers to professional photographers and videographers.
Every year for the past few years GoPro has unveiled a new addition to its Hero range, so it seems inevitable we’ll see a GoPro Hero 8 release sometime later this year. In September 2018 GoPro unveiled the Hero 7 Black, Hero 7 Silver and Hero 7 White. This followed the budget GoPro Hero option at the beginning of the year, and the Hero6 Black in September 2017.
There was no doubt that the Hero 5 and Hero 6 along with the new trio of Hero7 action cameras successfully managed to recapture the market with stunning new features and a great new design.
But that design is now three generations old, so is it time for GoPro to think about an upgrade in both looks and features?
GoPro Hero 8 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 8 Black will need to beat the already high bar set by the GoPro Hero 7 Black, and the action camera will also need to offer the company’s devout 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 8 loses the need for a cage
The disappearance of the old bulky waterproof housing was genius, and although it reduced the water resistance depth from 30m to 10m, this was no real issue for the majority of users.
However the GoPro Hero7 still needs the cage to be completely waterproof. The GoPro Hero 8 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 also 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 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 8 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 Hero7’s screen is big but there’s plenty of real estate left. That additional area could be used for more features and touch gestures.
GoPro Hero 8 removable touch screen remote
If you can remember back to the GoPro Hero 4, there was the option for a detachable touchscreen. Although the screen used at the time now seems primitive, back then it was a significant breakthrough.
Moving on to the GoPro Hero 8, what if the company returned to that novel idea and developed a screen that 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 Fluorescent GoPro Hero 8
I wrongly predicted that the GoPro Hero7 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 8 Black #makegoprofluro
A huge leap for the GoPro Hero 8 Black specifications
Many users were underwhelmed by the Hero 6’s specifications when it launched – 4K at 60fps and Full HD at 240fps, which to be honest was impressive and still led the field.
However, it was more that many people expected GoPro to release a camera capable of shooting 8K. But then with computers still struggling to process 4K content, is it really time to push 8K in the consumer market? I don’t think so.
GoPro Hero 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 with your mobile phone.
Multicamming with the GoPro Hero 8
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 8 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.
Better GoPro Hero Accessories
When it comes to accessories the GoPro Hero rocks more than any other product. Not just those made by GoPro, but by almost every other manufacturer that has anything to do with imaging.
But, those accessories are for the most part slight variants on what’s already there or they’re built so generic that they default on function. What we now need is a premium line of GoPro accessories; GoPro Pro Accessories.
We’ve already seen a small toe-dip into the market with the companies partnership a few years back with the 360 pro movement and more recently there’s been an all metal under saddle mount, but we want more… What do we mean?
Everyone wants better GoPro audio don’t they?
Let’s take a look at the mic adapter, a great accessory that enables you to record Pro-level audio into your GoPro. The difference in quality is outstanding but there’s a big issue. The adapter just dangles from the side of your GoPro like a spare part. Wouldn’t it be great if GoPro could look at the complete ecosystem and give us the GoPro Vlogger Grip, a grip that enabled the easy handling of the GoPro, with fill light and mic all attached without the need for tape?
Then there’s all the timelapse rigs or varying qualities, often home built and often a risk to personal health, a GoPro TL rig, designed modularly so you can add rotary or linear motion to your time-lapses.
On Time-lapse rigs, the TL options are limited, why not extend them so you can take a shot an hour, day etc with better external power in that retains the weatherproofing. I only suggest this as a recent experiment proved that you do need to seal the Type-C cable into the GoPro if you want it to survive a rainstorm. Using a glue gun is an easy solution but it’s not ideal and damages the finish of the GoPro long term.
Three new GoPro Hero models
GoPro did it before with the GoPro Hero3, GoPro Hero3 Silver and GoPro Hero3 Black, and just this year the company branched out again with the Hero7 Black, Hero7 Silver and Hero7 White. Could GoPro be poised to do it again?
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 Hero7.
GoPro Hero 8 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 8 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 8 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 8 Broadcast
Sony has seen the potential and already has 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 8 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 8 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 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 8
There’s plenty of speculation about what the GoPro Hero 8 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 keep innovating to survive in what is now a competitive market.