GoPro announced the release of their newest flagship camera, the Hero 7 Black today. It’s currently available for pre-order, and starts shipping on October 2nd.
First impressions indicate that the Hero 7 Black is a relatively minor upgrade over the Hero 6. The focus of this iteration was on improving audio quality and image stabilization, while retaining the same great features of the last generation.
GoPro HyperSmooth Video
One of the much-lauded features introduced with the Hero 7 Black is HyperSmooth video mode. This setting adds increased electronic image stabilization to further smooth out shaky videos. GoPro claims that Hypersmooth provides “Gimbal-like stabilization–without the gimbal.”
In testing, Brent Rose from Wired found this claim to be a bit exaggerated, although the 7’s image stabilization is much improved from the previous iteration. This means that action shots will look better, and be easier to watch. The one downside is the 10% reduction in field of view required to pull of this feat. This will lead to your video being further zoomed in than expected, but shouldn’t be too noticeable all things considered.
It appears as though, with the introduction of HyperSmooth, GoPro is looking to step up their appeal to higher-end videographers. With their newly improved image stabilization technology, the Hero 7 Black can begin to compete with professionally-produced videos using gimbals and cameras with optical image stabilization.
It will be interesting to see if GoPro continues to release software updates to further refine the image stabilization capabilities of their newest product.
The second main upgrade of the Hero 7 Black is the audio performance improvement. With a new and improved microphone array, the latest iteration is capable of recording a much fuller-sounding audio than the 6 could. Meanwhile, the camera maintains the 6’s ability to record audio while still being waterproof up to 33 feet of depth.
Altogether, this means that the 7 will record much better audio in every situation and in any condition. This improvement is quite evident in side-by-side recordings, in which the improved bass and treble were obvious. The Hero 6 always had an issue when it came to recording vocals, which ended up sounding very tinny and tended to meld into the background noise.
With the 7, vocals are clear and crisp, easily distinguishable from any background. The stereo capabilities are also much-improved, meaning directional audio will be better too.
The last main update with the GoPro Hero 7 Black is the ability to livestream seamlessly through a mobile phone. By simply connecting the Hero 7 Black to the GoPro app on your smartphone, you can use its mobile connection to livestream to any of the popular streaming platforms. Their website details the full process, but it looks pretty fool-proof.
This new livestreaming capability should be great for people looking to start with as little equipment as possible. By having your smartphone handle the streaming capabilities, it allows the GoPro’s battery to last as long as possible for extended streams.
Ultimately, GoPro’s latest edition to the Hero Black lineup looks set to make a big splash. While it isn’t as big of an update as past versions, it certainly has some new and exciting tricks. I look forward to seeing how it performs in real-world testing upon release.