GoPro’s Hero 7 Black sets a new bar for video stabilization

Just a few hours after a last-minute leak, GoPro has officially announced the new Hero 7 line of cameras, split into White, Silver, and Black variants. They go on sale next week (September 27th) and are available for $199, $299, and $399, respectively. The specs increase as the cameras climb in price. The Black version, which is powered by the custom processor GoPro debuted last year, offers 4K video capture at up to 60 frames per second, super slow motion, and a suite of new features like live-streaming, a Hyperlapse-style time-lapse mode, and dramatically improved digital image stabilization that you really have to see to believe.

The cameras are built to nearly the exact same dimensions as their predecessors, the Hero 5 and Hero 6 Black, which means the Hero 7 lineup is compatible with the company’s mounts and accessories. Also like their predecessors, they’re all waterproof out of the box, have touchscreen LCDs, feature voice control, and can all automatically back up footage to GoPro’s cloud subscription service (over Wi-Fi).

The flagship Hero 7 Black deviates the least from the design GoPro shifted to when it released the Hero 5 Black in 2016. The rubbery black exterior has received a few minor cosmetic tweaks, and it even has the name emblazoned on the side (which will make it easier for owners of multiple GoPros to pick it out of a bag or drawer). The user interface on the rear touchscreen has been tweaked, but it will feel familiar to anyone who’s used a Hero 5 or Hero 6 Black. It also uses the same batteries.

The camera is largely similar on the inside, too. It uses a lot of the same hardware as the Hero 6 Black, according to GoPro. One of the big differences is that the company’s now had a full year of working with its first custom processor. The GP1, as it’s called, debuted in the Hero 6 Black after the company split with longtime chipmaker Ambarella. GoPro says it’s getting even more performance out of GP1 now, especially because the Hero 7 Black has more RAM than the last camera (though it won’t say exactly how much more).

The most notable thing GoPro’s doing with this extra power comes in the form of “Hypersmooth,” which is a dramatic improvement of the digital image stabilization that GoPro’s been working into its cameras over the last few years. Hypersmooth takes that electronic stabilization — which, simply put, is performed by cropping in slightly on the image and warping the edges to compensate for shake — and builds on it by using GP1, the extra RAM, and the camera’s internal sensors to make real-time predictions about how the camera is about to move.

The result is stabilization that is really impressive. I’ve spent a few days shooting with the Hero 7 Black, and Hypersmooth makes handheld footage look like it came from a stabilized gimbal — even when running or bouncing around. It’s so good, it will make you want to shoot without any mounts.

Hypersmooth is a big part of the Hero 7 Black, but it’s not the only new feature. The Hero 7 Black can live stream to Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, or Vimeo over a phone’s cellular connection. There’s a time-lapse mode called “TimeWarp” that makes it easy to shoot smooth, fast time-lapse videos. The camera also has new “SuperPhoto” mode that works a lot like the smart HDR features on Google’s Pixel phones or Apple’s new iPhones.

The Hero 7 Black also has top-of-the-line specs. It shoots 4K video at up to 60 frames per second, 2.7K at up to 120 fps, and 1080p video at up to 240 fps. It captures 12-megapixel photos, with the option to shoot in RAW. It has Wi-Fi, GPS, face/smile and scene detection, and can filter out wind noise.

The two cheaper options, Silver and White, aren’t as capable, and they don’t use the GP1 chip. They also have integrated batteries, and they aren’t compatible with the Karma Grip stabilizer or the now-dead Karma Drone.

But they still look to be pretty solid cameras in their own right, considering their lower prices. The Hero 7 Silver is relatively similar to last year’s Hero 6 Black, with the ability to shoot 4K video at 30 fps and 10-megapixel photos. It has limited slow-motion abilities, though, topping out at 60 fps overall. The Hero 7 White is even more limited; it maxes out at 1440p.

All the new cameras can shoot and store vertical photos and videos, a clear attempt to encourage users to work GoPro into their Instagram routines. It’s the same with a new “short clips” feature, which lets users cap videos at 15 or 30 seconds. The interfaces have also been streamlined. The biggest change is the ability to swipe left and right to switch between shooting modes.

Hero 7 is GoPro’s deepest lineup of cameras in years. It’s also the result of a big push to simplify the company’s offerings. The Karma drone is gone, and the company restructured its staff as a result at the beginning of the year. If GoPro is ever going to rebound from the tumultuous last few years, the Hero 7 is where that comeback will start.

Comments

At what cost the "Hypersmooth" crop?
Is it like "Superview" where it cant shoot at maximum resolution and framerate?
Or Is it actually costing Superview?

Thanks

"The HyperSmooth function can be enabled at 960 or 1,440 resolution but doesn’t yet reach up to 2.7k or 4k".

Thanks!

Where did you get that? Hypersmooth is available at 4K/60fps.

I meant to post this comment here, not on the other GoPro article. Apologies.

The Hero 5/6 Black also have their name on the side, it’s just so incredibly faint I didn’t notice it for several months.

I have a GoPro 5 Black purchased 6 months ago and the vaunted "wind noise reduction" is worthless over 50 MPH on my 1977 Lola Formula Ford. I am forced to use the audio from my old Hero+ rear facing camera (that only cost $199 back in the day) to get any reasonable audio. How is the new 7’s wind reduction at 120 MPH?

For my use case (vintage auto racing) each generation of the Hero has actually come with more compromises than the version it replaced (especially in battery life). I’m very tempted by the new image stabilization on the 7 Black, here’s hoping they’ve got the entire package right this time.

You can see my GoPro multi-camera race footage here on YouTube

You might want to check out the DJI OSMO series. You can buy an extension cable ($40) to mount the camera anywhere you can put a RAM mount, AUX cable for a small RODE Mic, and place the joystick in the cabin with the smartphone as the controller / display. Worked amazingly well for me. -Great channel on youtube. Have you made it to CarWeek here in Monterey before?

Thanks I will check out the DJI OSMO series. I’ve been considering a remote mic (placing it inside the tail bodywork, eliminating wind noise and full access to engine sounds) but the old GoPro audio used to be "good enough". I try to keep everything minimal in the Lola. I haven’t made it for "CarWeek", but I have been to the Monterey Historics twice and that insane Italian car show that fills up the nearby golf course.

I hope this new GoPro will come with a new flippable second screen accessory in USB C (could be touch screen too) so this will be worth it for a starter camera for like content creation or a little vlogging. I miss that. That’s only available for Hero 4 as far as I know and they never made one again

Also I hope that the stabilization feature is toggable or atleast only keeps the unstabilized version and just let you stablize it after bc I really like that non stabilized aesthetic sometimes it gives that rugged edge aesthetic for some Extremes videos.

Hoping for a Fusion sequel too

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