Almost a year to the day after unleashing its Hero6 Black, GoPro has given its many action camera rivals a tougher competitor in the new Hero7 Black.
While the basic idea has stayed the same for the new flagship model, GoPro isn’t shy as to the new model’s capabilities. Describing its hardware as the Hero6 Black’s “on steroids” the new arrival is said to be equipped with the best in-camera video stabilisation in any camera – not just action cameras.
This is courtesy of HyperSmooth, a feature developed in house that claims to equip the camera with gimbal-like stabilisation, rending a separate gimbal unnecessary.
A combination of hardware and software rather than optical stabilisation, HyperSmooth can be called upon when shooting 4K footage at the maximum 60p setting, and doesn't consume any additional battery life in operation.
- Read our hands on GoPro Hero7 Black review
This stabilisation also extends to the camera’s New TimeWarp video option, which allows users to incorporate motion into their Timelapses, rather than needing to keep the camera stable on a tripod. The result is a hyperlapse-style video that you can create completely handheld, or a magic carpet ride, as GoPro puts it.
Video specs otherwise are largely unchanged, although there's a new Short Clips feature that disciplines you to capture footage with a maximum 15sec or 30sec duration.
Another new feature is SuperPhoto, which aims to take the hassle out of manually calling upon various options to help improve your images. So, HDR, for example, is automatically deployed where the camera deems it necessary to help balance scenes with a wide dynamic range. Similarly, the camera will use multi-frame noise reduction if it feels the need to do so, helping to deliver images with lower noise without the user having to intervene.
The hardware on the imaging side, however, is unchanged. So, we get the same 12MP CMOS sensor from the GoPro Hero6 Black and a lens that provides an angle of view equivalent to that of a 16mm lens, when used in the 16:9 aspect ratio. Driving everything is the familiar GP1 processor that first surfaced inside the Hero6 Black.
The camera’s rugged credentials are also the same as before, with 10m/33ft waterproofing without an additional housing, although audio recording is said to be improved, partly through a microphone membrane that's been redesigned to kill vibrations and detect more nuanced sounds.
Around the back there’s a 2in touchscreen LCD, and GoPro has refreshed the UI to make operation more smartphone-like. You can swipe the screen to change between different modes, and the UI now automatically adjusts when you're shooting in a portrait orientation so that's it's easier to use the device this way.
Go Live… and get rich
The Hero7 Black also has the honour of being the first GoPro Hero model capable of live-streaming. Limited to 720p output, this will work with Facebook on launch, and is set to work with YouTube, Twitch and Vimeo before long.
All images and footage – including live-streamed footage – are whisked away to a microSDHC/SDXC card, though built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth also allow you to send everything wirelessly to your phone or tablet. The camera maintains compatibility with the Quik and GoPro apps as previous models.
To further encourage users to adopt the new model, GoPro is also launching a Hero7 Black Million Dollar Challenge. The contest encourages users to film the product highlight reel for the new device, and anyone whose footage is chosen will scoop an equal share of $1,000,000 with all other entrants who end up being chosen for the reel.
GoPro Hero7 Silver and White
The new model will be joined by Hero7 Silver and Hero7 White siblings, each bringing a handful of improvements over previous models, at more agreeable price than the Black version.
The Hero7 Silver offers a 10MP sensor and 4K video to 30p, along with Full HD recording to 60p and 2x slow-motion recording. It maintains the same waterproofing, Voice Control and touch-functionality as the Black option, together with the portrait-orientation shooting and Short Clips feature, although it misses out on the new HyperSmooth and SuperPhoto options, and burst shooting is limited to (a still-respectable) 15fps.
The White option, meanwhile, will arrive with much the same feature set as the Silver, but with video recording capped at 1080p.
GoPro Hero7 Black price and release date
GoPro’s previous Hero6 Black had its asking price reduced from the original $499 / £499 starting point down to $399 / £399, and GoPro is asking the same for the new model in the US, and a slightly more attractive £379 for the UK.
The Hero7 Silver and Hero7 White options will be available for $299 / £279.99 and $199 / £179.99 respectively.
In Australia, the flagship GoPro7 Black costs $599.95, while the Hero7 Silver is set at $449.95 and the Hero7 White is a sweet $299.95.
The new model can be pre-ordered now, and will be available from September 27, which is also the start date for entries to the Million Dollar Challenge.