Meet the Hero8 Black, the latest action camera from GoPro. In a world where every other camera has improved and/or become more affordable, where we are used to questioning the existence of anything that is not a full-fledged manual shooter or a modern smartphone, the GoPro Hero8 still managed to impress us.
It’s a good time to get into photography. The camera market is booming. The DSLR vs mirrorless battle is churning out some great performers from both sides. Smartphone cameras have never been so reliable. Drones are getting more affordable. But, what if we said, there’s still one camera category that we didn’t mention but deserves your consideration, probably even more than these we just mentioned…
GoPro pretty much invented action cameras as a segment, and it still holds a monopoly for the most part. The GoPro Hero7 was seemingly a perfect product and had us wondering what GoPro could bring to the Hero8. Turns out, a lot. If you want a changelog, here you go:
- Slimmer form factor
- Double the shock-proof rating
- Foldable built-in mounting fingers
- Better wind resistance mics
- Ability to add mods
And on the software side, we’re looking at the following new shooting modes:
- Hypersmooth 2.0
- TimeWarp 2.0
- Live burst photos
- Improved HDR
- Better low light image processing
- RAW photos
- 100Mbps bitrate for 4K and 2.7K
- Capture presets
Price and availability in India
In India, the GoPro Hero8 is priced at Rs 32,000 and can frequently be spotted with new deals, which include additional mounts and batteries. It can be found on all major online retailers’ websites.
Built and Design
At first glance, we get a design that is unapologetically GoPro. We get a small yet hefty rugged camera housing, with the sensor and secondary display on the front, and a big touchscreen on the back. The power button is on the left, and the shutter button is on the top. Right out-of-the-box, the camera is rugged and waterproof up to 10m.
The lens is no longer removable, and repairs will thus be more expensive, in case you break it. That shouldn’t be a typical case, though, considering that GoPro Hero8 features a new Gorilla Glass for the lens.
The number of mics has now increased, and audio capture has significantly improved. The mic under on the front, combined with the improved wind noise cancellation, really makes this an excellent vlogging setup, where you can do with the onboard audio in most scenarios.
The mounting fingers are now a part of the main body itself, so you won’t need to attach an extra piece to be able to use the accessories. That’s a big plus as you now have to carry one lesser piece of equipment, and you don’t have to worry about the frame-breaking and rendering your accessories useless. However, the fingers do move beyond 90-degrees, and thus, some movement and shakes are likely to be a part of your footage. Some tightening on the X-axis would’ve made it a killer design decision.
The battery door is now on the side with a vacuum-based sealing system for water-proofing. It needs to be noted that older GoPro batteries are compatible with the Hero8, but some features may not work due to a higher power discharge requirement.
Shooting with the GoPro Hero8
While the optics are pretty similar, a lot of new features have been added. The interface is one of the easiest seen on a camera, and a few minutes and swipes should be enough to get accustomed. Upon boot, you are greeted with the digital viewfinder, and you can directly start shooting. Swiping left or right will take you to the other shooting modes, whereas a swipe up shows the gallery, and a swipe down will show the different settings.
Speaking of shooting modes, the GoPro Hero8 has a bunch of presets which can be accessed from the home screen and also customized — shooting caps out 4K60 in terms of video and 12mp for photos, which is similar to its predecessor. What’s new is the improved video stabilization called HyperSmooth 2.0, which can be cranked up to “Boost” for the craziest stabilization we’ve seen on a camera. The best part? It can be used in all shooting modes.
We can’t talk about the GoPro experience without mentioning the host of first-party and third-party accessories that help you mount the camera in any place imaginable for extra-creative shots. And these designs seem pretty refined with the years of experience and feedback they have, making them better adapted for action sports — Head, chest, mouth, helmet, arms, dogs, surfboards, eagles, bikes, there’s a mount for everything. It’s also a good thing that the Hero8 is entirely waterproof without the need for an additional case, even in saltwater.
There’s not much to know before starting to shoot with a GoPro. All shooting modes and settings are upfront, and the icons are easy to understand too. Four shortcuts can be added on the shooting screen for quick toggles.
On the same lines, the new GoPro app is straightforward to pick up for uses such as editing and dumping. The new layout unifies the Quik editor and the remote control, bringing everything to the same app. On the shooting side, all the controls you’d see on the viewfinder will also be available here, and you can better compose your shots on a bigger screen. Live-streams for Facebook and YouTube can also be set up from here.
The onboard clip editor is a nifty tool to create short montages or vlogs. Options include playback speed, reframing, trims, filters, and adding overlays such as altitude, speed, and maps. There’s also an option to auto-edit the clips.