GoPro has unveiled two new high-end action cameras: the Hero 8 Black, and the Max. The former is a new standard action camera aimed at more professional vloggers while the latter is a 360-degree camera that’s more capable and easier to use than the Fusion ever was.
Starting with the Hero 8: it picks up where the Hero 7 Black left off, but reimagines the the practicalities of the design. At arm’s length, it looks pretty much like anything GoPro has released before, but the manufacturer has made some important changes.
Most important is the inclusion of built-in mounting arms. For GoPro users, it means the snap-on frame needed to mount the previous two Hero cameras to various mounts is no longer needed. You just screw it straight on to the handle or mount.
It’s a bigger camera than its predecessors, but it’s smaller and lighter than a Hero 7 in a frame, and that’s what GoPro was going for when designing the new Hero.
This new Hero is more powerful than its predecessor too. HyperSmooth 2.0 takes the strengths of GoPro’s first attempt at electronic and algorithm-based stabilisation, and builds on it. That means even smoother footage than before, and it works on all resolutions and frame rates, it’s no longer restricted to a handful of them.
As you’d expect, you can shoot up to 60 frames per second in 4K resolution, or up to 240 frames per second in 1080p, with dozens of possible combinations of resolution, frame rates and digital lenses in 16:9 or 4:3.
As well as boosting video stabilisation, GoPro enhanced the HDR still photo capabilities with a feature called Super Photo.
Arguably more important than any of this – at least to prolific vloggers – is the new selection of mods that you can mount to the camera. GoPro has launched a media mod with shotgun mic and a couple of mounts for the other two mods: LED lights and a flip-able display.
Altogether, it’s like having a full blown camera rig, but one which is still portable and easy to carry around.
The other camera being launched is the GoPro Max. In simple terms, it’s essentially a smaller version of the GoPro Fusion with a touchscreen on the front. Dig down into the features though, and it’s obvious it’s not a Fusion. Not really.
It still has the two 180-degree cameras to shoot 360 degree video, but you can also use either of the cameras independently in “Hero mode”. Like the Hero8 Black, it has advanced stabilisation, but adds to it with automatic horizon levelling.
Then there’s the feature called TimeWarp which allows you to ramp up and slow down the speed, all the while picking your keyframe and panning within the action, to create some really awesome effects.
Unlike the Fusion, it records the footage on to one single microSD card, rather than confusing matters by recording to two.
Both of the new GoPro cameras go on sale soon. GoPro Hero 8 Black is available for pre-order now, at a price of $399/£379. Shipments start arriving from 15 October, with wider retail availability from 20 October.
As for the GoPro Max, pre-orders kick off today as well at a price of $499/£479, with shipments being fulfilled from 24 October.
Sadly, the Hero 8’s mods won’t be available at launch. Those will only be opened up to early adopters when pre-orders kick off some time in December.