GoPro Hero 8 Black kills the gimbal with next-level image stabilization

The GoPro Hero 8 Black (left), GoPro Max (right), and the Media, Light and Display Mods
The GoPro Hero 8 Black (left), GoPro Max (right), and the Media, Light and Display Mods (Image credit: GoPro / TechRadar)


After a somewhat leaky lead-up, GoPro has officially announced its Hero 8 Black action camera. Arriving alongside it is the new GoPro Max, a 360-degree video camera that takes over where the GoPro Fusion leaves off.

The flagship Hero 8 Black shares the same GP1 processor and 12MP camera as its predecessor but, unlike the Hero 7 Black, it features a number of chassis improvements, while the entire operating system has been rewritten to accommodate a range of software upgrades and new shooting abilities. 

HyperSmooth 2.0 offers expanded image stabilization across all shooting modes and frame rates on the Hero 8 Black, and the interface features new Capture Presets that allow you to customize shooting profiles and quickly swap between them.

GoPro has ditched the frame mounting system, replacing it with foldable inbuilt arms (or 'fingers' as GoPro calls them) that connect the Hero 8 Black to any existing mounts. There’s also a new forward-facing microphone with improved wind noise cancellation, meaning recordings should sound a lot better than before. 

A range of improvements to image and timelapse processing should keep snappers happy. These include better HDR and night mode photo processing, a new raw photo format output and improved 100Mbps 2.7K and 4K video bitrates.

The new Hero 8 Black action cam will set you back $399 / £379 / AU$599.95, and is already available for pre-order, with shipping beginning on October 15 if you order from GoPro's website. Alternatively, the Hero 8 Black will be available from selected retail outlets from October 20. 

 Max out your action

Arriving with the Hero 8 Black is the new Max spherical video camera – a lighter and smaller version of the existing Fusion 360-degree snapper – and, like its flagship sibling, it gets the foldable arms (or fingers) for mounting onto tripods.

The Max sees the return of the spherical audio capture using its built-in six-microphone array, and also benefits from the Horizon Levelling and HyperSmooth 2.0 improvements seen in the Hero 8 Black.

In fact, a lot of the Hero 8 Black features are available on the Max, including GoPro's stabilized timelapse photo mode, TimeWarp 2.0, along with a suite of software tools to allow you to shoot wide angles and flattened perspectives without lens accessories.

The Max features two 180-degree lenses on the chassis – one on the front and one on the rear – making this 360-degree shooter's SuperView video format wider than the Hero 8 Black's. There's also a Power Panorama mode that takes super wide-angle shots and crops them into a flat wide-screen format – you won't see any imperfectly stitched frames here, folks.

GoPro has also distilled the powerful PC-based OverCapture spherical video editor into a new section of the GoPro smartphone app called Reframe. This new editing section allows you to transform 360-degree videos into flat 2D videos with smooth pans and custom transitions directly from your phone. 

Compared to the Hero 8 Black, the Max is a little pricier, costing $499 / £479 / AU$799.95. Like the flagship it's available on pre-order from today, but will begin shipping internationally a little later on October 24, with US retailers getting products the day after, on October 25.

 The Mods have arrived 

GoPro has also announced a new range of attachments, called Mods, which enhance the Hero 8 Black's media-capture capabilities and will become available later in the year. 

Sure to appeal to vloggers, GoPro's Media Mod is a professional attachment that adds a shotgun microphone, an HDMI output and two cold-shoe mounts for additional Hero 8 Black accessories. There’s also a 200-lumen LED Light Mod that slips into one of the cold shoes, or attaches directly to any of GoPro’s existing mounts, and a Display mod that adds a bigger screen with its own battery, so that you can see (and frame) your shots better. 

GoPro's Media and Display Mods will each cost $79.99 / £79.99 / AU$139.95, and the Light Mod is priced at $49.99 / £79.99 / AU$84.9; however the range won't be available for pre-order until December. 

 Keeping everyone ‘appy

GoPro App

(Image credit: Future)

The regular GoPro app and the smartphone Quick editor have been combined for a more streamlined smartphone experience. The new Android- and iOS-compatible GoPro app allows you to control your Hero 8 Black or Max device and then download media, edit clips and combine them into one of 10 editable movie themes, all from the one place. 

GoPro is continuing its GoPro Plus cloud storage subscription, but is giving subscribers unlimited storage space for $4.99 / £4.99 / AU$4.99 per month. GoPro Plus includes a ‘no questions asked’ replacement warranty, and 50% off the purchase for any GoPro accessory. 

- For more info on the flagship, check out the GoPro Hero 8 Black review.  

Joel Burgess
Staff Writer

Joel has been the in-house benchmark monkey for the Australian TechRadar team and Australia’s two biggest tech magazines (APC and TechLife) since 2014.