It’s been a year since the groundbreaking GoPro Hero7 Black launched at Photokina 2018. The Hero7 began its life with a relatively lukewarm reception, but as people came to understand what many of its new features are capable of, that quickly gave way to acclaim.
Chief among these was HyperSmooth. While this new feature was emblazoned on the side of the box and across all press releases, no amount of marketing could highlight just how good this feature was.
What initially seemed like dismay about a GoPro being launched with nearly identical features as the previous generation was all forgiven when reviewers took to the sky, hills and sea and were blown away by the quality of this new electronic image stabilisation.
Essentially, HyperSmooth removes the need for a handheld gimbal stabiliser to capture decent steady footage. That means you can now shoot pro-level footage wherever you are. Even low-level vibration is removed.
There have been other electronic image stabilisers before, even within GoPro cameras, but nothing as good as this. So effective is HyperSmooth that it has pretty much hammered the nail in the coffin for GoPro’s Karma Grip gimbal.
There were, of course, other new additions to the GoPro Hero7 Black: video live-streaming and a boost in RAM, but they somehow got pushed into the background as everyone has collectively worshipped the excellence of HyperSmooth.
That was then, and now after a year of silky smooth footage, we’re ready for the next generation. So what are the key differences between the new GoPro Hero8 vs GoPro Hero7? Let’s run through some of the key features of the Hero8 Black that has just been announced.
Looking at the two and both the Hero7 and Hero8 looks very similar, however, the Hero8 has no cage and you realise that the design has changed. Subtly this time, it’s not as big a change as we saw with the change from the Hero4 to Hero5 but it’s still significant. Despite the removal of the cage the camera is still waterproof down to 33ft (10m).
On the base where the flat battery flap is usually located are the new fold-down fingers, these enable you to attach the GoPro without the cage to a mount.
These fingers are also replaceable which means that you can for the first time bolt your own mounts to the GoPro Hero8 Black. This might not seem like a significant update by for many users this is huge.
You can read more about the new GoPro Hero8 Black here.
GoPro Hero 8 Black Specifications and Features
- 4k at 60fps
- 1080p at 240fps
- HyperSmooth 2.0
- TimeWarp 2.0
- SuperPhoto with improved HDR
- NighLapse video
- 100MBps Bit Rate 2.7K / 4K
- Frameless Mounting
- Mod compatibility
- Digital Lens (FOV reworked)
- Settings Presets
- Customisable Shortcuts
- 1080p LiveStream
- 14% lighter
- Folding finger mounts
- Media Mod – optional
- Display Mod – optional
- Lamp Mod – optional
- Direct connection to 3.5mm jack through the Media Mod
With the Hero8 Black, when it comes to specifications, to be honest, it once again looks stagnant. 4K resolution at 60fps remains the highest quality so the 7 and 8 are really like for like on paper at least.
Checking through the rest of the Spec’s and to be honest there looks to be very little difference when it comes to video resolutions and framerates.
Just so you can see for yourself here’s how the specifications between the two cameras compare.
How do video frame rates compare between the Hero7 and Hero8 Black?
4k Resolution – Hero8 Black = 60fps
Hero7 Black = 60fps
2.7k Resolution – Hero8 Black = 120fps
Hero7 Black = 120fps
1080p Resolution – Hero8 Black = 240fps
Hero7 Black = 240fps
When the Hero6 Black arrived one of the new features was the all-new GP1 processor. The GP1 is in the Hero7 Black too. This new processing engine marked a bold direction for GoPro as the company invested and broke away from Ambarella who have been at the heart of many leading action cameras over the last few years.
GoPro took a risk developing its own processor and that took a huge investment, but that risk ( time and money) have paid off.
HyperSmooth’s capabilities proved that the GP1 was a powerful entity, and boosted with 2MB of RAM in the Hero7 Black the GoPro powered past all other action cameras.
The GoPro Hero8 Black retains the same GP1 processor as the Hero7 Black, but GoPro has managed to eek more out of it with upgrades to the capabilities the processing engine enabled it to achieve in the past.
We’ve already seen footage showing the changes with TimeWarp and the ability to speed ramp the footage, TimeWarp as well brings greater processing and more axis of stabilisation. If it extends to full 5-axis the effect will be truly remarkable.
If, then, the specifications of the GoPro Hero8 Black are almost identical to the Hero7 then why bother?
The big 8 emblazoned on the side not enough for you? Well, then there’s the updates to HyperSmooth, TimeWarp and the additions of Live Burst and Night Lapse modes. GoPro has also renamed its field of view adjustment to Digital Lens and given it four focal lengths, which is interesting.
HyperSmooth is GoPro’s electronic image stabilisation technology that debuted in the Hero6. In the GoPro Hero7 Black HyperSmooth is available in 1080 at 60fps and in 4K at frame rates up to 60fps.
With the Hero8 Black GoPro has expanded its EIS to be available in all resolutions and frame rates. Dubbed HyperSmooth 2.0. There’s also a new ability to auto-correct your composition and level off your horizon.
Like HyperSmooth, GoPro’s time-lapse stabilisation mode gets a revamp in the Hero8 Black. Essentially the key difference here between TimeWarp in the GoPro Hero8 vs Hero7 Black is there is now a tap-control speed ramping option.
This is new to the GoPro Hero8, so you won’t find it in the Hero7 Black. LiveBurst mode allows you to record the moments 1.5 seconds before and after your shot, so you can choose the best frame for a 12MP photo or share a short 4K 4:3 video.
As I mentioned above, this is more of a re-badging. The Hero8 Black debuts what it’s calling a digital lens. What this means is the Hero8 Black can now offer four different focal length ranges These include: SuperView, which is 16mm; Wide, which is 16-34mm; Linear, which is 19-39mm; and Narrow, which is 27mm.
Essentially these new features are nice but are not enough to make me want to delve into my pocket and buy a shiny new Hero8 Black.
Someone lost the cage
At first, it’s easy to miss, but then take a closer look and you notice that the cage around the Hero8 Black has disappeared. The plastic clip on cage of the Hero7 Black has gone and in its place is nothing. The GoPro Hero8 Black is waterproof and everything else proof without the need for anything external.
That’s an impressive feat, and practically means that the camera is smaller and 14% lighter than the previous generation. What that means for the user is that it’s actually easier to mount and squeeze into small places.
New external Media Mod option
The big new feature, in my opinion, is the optional extra: the Media Mod.
This is a bat belt of a feature; clip it on in place of the old cage, seeing as the Hero8 Black is cageless, and it gives you access to more accessories. Essentially this is a media jacket for the GoPro.
The Media Mod adds features and functionality that every vlogger needs, such as a microphone, flip screen display and modelling lamp.
Of course, this is all possible with the GoPro Hero7 Black and a few accessories, but it’s all a damn sight neater.
If you have any questions or comments then please let us know.