The GoPro HERO 7 Black is made to record ultra-smooth video of your most tranquil trips. Without the extra weight of a gimbal, this camera’s HyperSmooth stabilization creates a gimbal-like flow. Direct Facebook Live broadcasting, an intelligent still-photo mode, and stabilized time-lapse footage are just a few of the camera enhancements. You can upload social media-style video and stills to your Instagram and other accounts when your camera is in the vertical portrait mode.
GoPro Hero 7 Black Camera Review

Verdict of GoPro HERO 7 Black

The GoPro Hero 7 Black’s superb video quality, stability, usability, and choice of mounts make it the best all-around action cam available while being only a modest improvement over its predecessor.

Pros 

• Excellent image stabilization

• Better audio quality

• Awe-inspiring video and decent stills

• No need for a case because it’s waterproof

• Wide selection of mounting and accessories

• Livestreaming is now available.

Cons

• When recording 4K, it can get scorching.

• Sluggish or unresponsive user interface on occasion

• Prices are still high.

Important Requirements

• £379 (review price)

• Captures 4K video at 60 fps and 1080p video at 240 fps.

• Waterproof to a depth of ten meters

• Takes still photos with HDR at a resolution of 12 megapixels.

• Allows users to watch live streams on their cell phones.

• Slow motion and timelapse modes

Gopro Hero 7 Black Camera Review

What is the GoPro Hero 7 Black, and how does it work?

The GoPro Hero 7 Black is a pocket-sized 4K camera with industry-leading electronic image stabilization and various mounting choices.

However, GoPro has since released the GoPro Hero 8, the most recent action camera in the series. However, because the latter is somewhat more expensive, the GoPro Hero 7 may keep its position as our top recommendation.

GoPro Hero 7 black Camera Review

Design, controls, and the display of GoPro HERO 7 Black

Anyone who has used the previous two flagship Hero models will recognize the Hero 7 Black – perhaps too much so if you were expecting a change.

At the very least, GoPro has altered the color of this flagship model from the typical grey to black. The only other significant hardware change is a new microphone membrane, which GoPro modified to increase overall sound quality (later on) and lessen vibration sounds from bone-jarring activities such as mountain riding.

It’s business as usual with a rubberized (if slightly less gripping) coating and waterproofing down to ten meters. On the back, there’s a two-inch touchscreen that, while somewhat yellower than the Hero 6’s display, is bright and crisp enough for quick previews of your images. The usual, sometimes aggravating controls for starting recordings and turning them on or off may be found on the sides.

Even if the hardware is reassuringly familiar (or frustratingly unchanged, depending on your experience), the Hero 7 Black’s software menus have been updated.

I’m not sure how I feel about these developments. However, there are some notable enhancements:

the new short clips’ button, which allows you to limit recordings to 15 or 30 seconds, is helpful if you want to pass your GoPro over to someone else without fear of returning with a memory card full of backpack images. It’s also a lot easier to fine-tune your settings and be creative now that all video choices, including ‘field of view’ and Protune manual controls, are now in one menu.

On the negative, I thought the Hero 6’s special, black settings bar menu was a little clearer (above right). There are still a few niggling usability issues: the Hero 7 Black occasionally stalls while combing through footage, and it’s a touch too eager to switch to portrait mode (although you can at least lock it to stay in landscape).

Overall, the GoPro user experience continues to divide opinion — I found it mostly good and a significant advance over previous GoPros. Still, our video producer found the touchscreen controls frustrating at times.

The reality is that a camera this compact will always have usability concerns – but the Hero 7 Black is still a lot easier to use than most other action cameras we’ve tried.

For hands-free control, there are voice controls similar to those found on the Hero 6 Black, such as “GoPro, start recording.” Even though these are relatively reliable, I prefer to use them as a backup to the relative safety of an actual button.

Gopro Hero 7 Black Camera Review

Specifications and performance of GoPro HERO 7 Black

Hyper smooth is a significant new feature in the Hero 7 Black, according to GoPro. This is a beefed-up version of the Hero 6 Black’s already excellent electronic image stabilization (EIS), and unlike its predecessor, it now functions during top-notch 4K/60fps recording. In addition, it’s now virtually a virtual equivalent of GoPro’s Karma Grip, according to the company. Big claims, to be sure.

There are four other upgrades over the Hero 6 Black before we get into Hypersmooth:

  1. ‘TimeWarp’ is a fancy new timelapse option that takes advantage of Hero 7’s enhanced stabilization to create a first-person “magic carpet journey,” according to GoPro.
  2. SuperPhoto, a new stills function, acts as a super auto mode, altering your settings depending on the scene.
  3. The microphone on the camera has been modified to increase audio quality.
  4. Hero 7 Black can Livestream via smartphone, initially to Facebook but eventually to other platforms such as YouTube.

So, how well do these new gadgets work? Let’s start with Hypersmooth, a modestly called stabilization.

Unlike Sony’s FDR-X3000, Hypersmooth does not use optical stabilization; everything is done electronically. It works by cropping your image by 5%, which means you lose the edges of your shot, but the advantage is that the camera has more wiggle area to compensate for any shocks or vibrations detected by its giro.

GoPro was tight-lipped about how Hypersmooth varies from the Hero 6 Black’s stabilization, other than to state that the Hero 7 Black has a little more memory and has fully tapped the capability of its GP1 processor. But it’s a significant improvement in some scenarios, particularly handheld images.

I ran the same trail with the Hero 7 Black, Hero 6 Black, and GoPro Karma Grip. The results are listed below. While the Karma Grip still wins out in terms of smoothness, the Hero 7 Black, which offers gimbal-like beautiful pans while turning corners and easily outperforms the already unique Hero 6 Black, isn’t far behind. It’s pretty remarkable, and it’s without a doubt the best electrical video stabilization you’ll find on an action camera.

Hyper smooth isn’t infallible by any means. While it’s ideal for shooting handheld film, it can’t eliminate all tremors. There were still many vibrations in the footage when we took the Hero 7 Black and Hero 6 Black on a ride around a Go Karting track (with admittedly very harsh, dismal lighting and pre-release firmware) was difficult tell the two cameras apart.

According to GoPro, rolling shutter, a jello-like phenomenon sometimes seen in fast-moving objects, is said to be fixed with the Hero 7 Black. We haven’t observed any notable symptoms in our test footage, so that’s another advantage over some of GoPro’s previous Hero cameras.

Gopro Hero 7 Black Camera Review

Audio, time-lapse, and live streaming of GoPro HERO7 Black

So, what are the other new features of the Hero 7 Black? TimeWarp is a fun new timelapse shooting option executed exceptionally well. It’s not a brand new idea, but it’s a fun new timelapse shooting mode that’s been managed well.

Regular timelapse videos function best when the camera is still, and everything else is moving around it because the footage can become jerky. TimeWarp, on the other hand, is an excellent alternative for capturing and broadcasting sped-up, first-person excursions like bike rides because of its smoothness. You may expect to see them on your Instagram feed soon.

Changes to the microphone have also had results. I connected a Hero 7 Black and a Hero 6 Black to my guitar, and the difference is noticeable: the bass is beefier, and the mids are considerably crisper. It’s now a viable alternative for vlogging or making home films on YouTube, especially when combined with the ‘linear’ field of vision (which eliminates the conventional fisheye barrel distortion), albeit this mode is still not accessible in 4K recording. On-bike rides, the two mics still do an excellent job minimizing wind noise.

Suppose you’re recording something more challenging, such as a live performance. In that case, you’ll almost certainly want to use an external directional mic like the Rode Video micro, which connects to the USB-C port through a 3.5mm converter. The Hero 7 Black’s built-in audio quality, on the other hand, is a significant improvement over the Hero 6 Black.

Last but not least, there’s the new live-streaming option. This has worked great on the few instances I’ve tested it on Facebook. You configure it through the GoPro app, which allows you to pick who to share your Livestream with (public, friends, or ‘just me’) as well as the resolution (720p or 480p).

You’ll need to connect to a Wi-Fi network or utilize your phone’s data connection in ‘personal hotspot’ mode once you’ve given your stream a name. I’ve only tested it on office Wi-Fi, so there’s a risk your network connection won’t be strong enough to enable streaming if you’re out in the wilds (a GoPro’s natural habitat). Nevertheless, I’ll put this functionality to the test in certain circumstances and update this review once I’ve done so.

Image and video quality of GoPro HERO 7 Black

The Hero, 7 Black’s video quality is excellent right out of the box. Is it superior to the Hero 6 Black? There is virtually little change in dynamic range and color because it employs the same CPU, lens, and sensor size. And, according to GoPro, the company’s primary focus was on increasing video stabilization. So, if you’re debating whether or not to upgrade from the Hero 6 Black, video quality isn’t the only factor to consider.

The film appears a little ‘warmer’ in some scenarios than its predecessor. Still, it has beautiful colors in excellent light and a remarkable ability to handle dreary outdoor conditions without sliding into the noise or smudginess that 1/2.3-inch sensor cameras are notorious for. Admittedly, low light is more of an issue indoors. However, I recorded several outside videos at nightfall and was delighted with the results.

Use the ‘Protune’ mode to get the most out of the Hero 7 Black, which improves video bitrates and lets you modify settings like ISO ranges, sharpness, and exposure compensation. You may also choose between GoPro’s color correction and a ‘flat’ profile, which allows you to grade the footage in Adobe Premiere Pro later.

However, if you don’t want to fiddle with editing, the ‘out of camera’ film would suffice for most non-professional purposes.

Although having Hypersmooth stabilization on the maximum 4K/60fps option is a blessing, there are a few limitations to be aware of. To begin with, the ‘linear’ field of view is still unavailable in 4K recording, so you’ll have to film in the traditional ‘fisheye’ style. And if you’re taking long clips in this mode, the Hero 7 Black becomes hot — mine started shutting down after approximately 35 minutes due to overheating. As a result, it’s something to save for quick cuts.

The Hero 7 Black’s slo-mo modes are perhaps more helpful. In up to 2.7K resolution, you can shoot at 120 frames per second, or 240 frames per second in up to 1080p. Of course, to get the finest effects, you’ll need a lot of light – some of our films had an odd strobing look in low light – but you can get some very incredible slo-mo footage of swimmers floating by or mountain bikers slashing through puddles in daylight. Although not considerably better than your smartphone, the waterproof Hero 7 Black is happy to shoot from some unusual angles and locations.

Is the Hero 7 Black a match for your smartphone when it comes to still photos? In the form of ‘SuperPhoto,’ GoPro claims to have included automatic detection of faces, grins, and scenes into its new flagship. In addition, these new smarts will reportedly allow it to automatically modify settings like white balance and select the best photos for QuikStories, GoPro’s automatic editing tool.

Compared to the Hero 6 Black, I haven’t noticed much of a difference in my images with ‘Super photo’ set on. Of course, it’s early days, but it’s not quite up to par with the Huawei P20 Pro’s ‘Master A.I’ mode, for example. Even so, in excellent light, the 12-megapixel photographs are acceptable, mainly if you utilize the HDR option.

When it comes to stills, the Hero 7 Black is more of a backup than a competitor for smartphones, but it’s a competent, waterproof travel camera for those who don’t want to tote about something more significant.

Life of the battery : GoPro HERO 7 Black

However, one of the minor drawbacks of the Hero 7 Black’s size is that it can only fit a small battery. Its battery capacity is less than half that of an Apple iPhone XS, for example.

In practice, this translates to around 1 hour 45 minutes of continuous video at 1080p/30fps, which is about average for an action camera. However, when filming 4K/60fps, it’s the most limited — I only got 45 minutes of continuous recording from a charge in this mode, and the camera became practically unusable after 35 minutes owing to overheating.

This isn’t rare, and it’s one of the reasons why 4K video recording on much larger cameras is sometimes limited to 30 minutes. However, keep this in mind before fantasizing about shooting all day in Hypersmooth-stabilized 4K.

However, some accessories can help — the Hero 7 Black charges through USB-C, so if you have a portable battery pack with you, you can charge it while you’re out in the field (it takes about an hour to recharge). In addition, there are additional charging cradles, such as GoPro’s Dual Battery Charger, that can hold a few newly charged extra batteries.

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