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GoPro’s Hero 8 Black Makes Mods Easy, Video Smooth, and Lenses Useless

GoPro has announced its Hero 8 Black action camera with a host of new improvements including next-level image stabilization, an integrated frame mounting system, and new accessories such as a directional mic for enhanced capture quality.

Starting from the outside, GoPro has gotten rid of the previous frame mounting system that was required to mount the camera, instead opting for built-in “folding fingers” on the bottom of the camera. The fingers can be collapsed into the camera when not being used, and when opened they provide a bracket that lets the device be attached to a mount. Now users won’t have to remember to grab the mounting accessory required by previous models, while the built-in fingers make it possible to access the battery and microSD card slot, which used to be blocked by the frame housing.

GoPro has also scrapped the removable lens cover—the Hero 8’s lens is made with Gorilla Glass that is twice as impact-resistant as the glass on past Hero models (2mm thick versus 1.3mm thick). Eliminating the removable lens cover has resulted in a slightly smaller footprint and the slimmer design makes the camera easier to fit in a pocket. This also means the camera loses the ability to ad filters to the lens, which is a huge bummer. If you’re worried about the durability, GoPro is selling a $20 kit that includes protective covers for both the lens and display.

The Hero 8 has even more improvements on the inside, not least of which being HyperSmooth 2.0, the latest version of GoPro’s electronic stabilization tech. Preliminary reports claim that the stabilization is so smooth that it can noticeably reduce the realism of your video. Fortunately, the feature can be enabled at varying levels, so you can let a little shake into the shot if it somehow improves the quality.

Folks who purchase the GoPro Hero 8 can also look forward to:

  • LiveBurst: Shoot three seconds of video—1.5 seconds before and after you hit the shutter–with 90 individual frames that you can check through to find single frames for photos. Similarly, raw photos can be captured in single images, bursts and time-lapses.
  • Time Warp 2.0: Adjust the capture speed settings from real-time to time-lapse. Now includes automatic speed selection instead of asking you what speed to capture at, as well as the ability to tap on the GoPro’s screen to speed it up or slow it down.
  • Improved SuperPhoto and HDR: SuperPhoto is essentially the GoPro’s intelligent auto mode and it can now take photos with greatly reduced motion blur. It also results in shots with better contrast and overall quality in varying light conditions.
  • Full HD livestreaming: Previously supported in 720p, the Hero 8 can livestream at 1080p.
  • New setting presets and digital lenses: Presets include Standard, Action, Cinematic, and Slo-Mo (as well as the ability to define your own), while the lenses include Narrow, Distortion-Free Linear, Wide, and SuperView. Narrow is described as your typical smartphone lens while SuperView stretches the shot from 4:3 to 16:9 through digital processing.

Other improvements include the ability to shoot video at up to 100 megabits per second, up from 78 megabits per second on the previous model; the ability to process night-lapse videos from within the camera; and a new horizon-leveling feature in the GoPro Quik app that lets you correct instances where you mistakenly shoot video that isn’t straight.

While the built-in mic is said to be improved when it comes to wind-noise reduction, GoPro will be offering an $80 Media Mod with a directional mic for noisy environments. The company has also announced a 200-lumen LED light Light Mod for $50, and an $80 Display Mod that provides a flip-up screen, each of which has its own power source so they don’t drain the main battery in your camera.

GoPro Hero 8 with accessories

GoPro Hero 8 Black is available for pre-order today at $399.99 which includes a free 32GB SanDisk Extreme SD card. Units will ship on October 15, while worldwide retail availability will begin October 20. The Media Mod, Light Mod, and Display Mod will be available for pre-order in December.

Along with the GoPro Hero 8, the company has announced its GoPro Max, 360-degree camera comprised of dual 180-degree lenses, one on the front and one on the back. The Max features many of the features mentioned on the Hero 8 along with a Power Panorama mode that captures super-wide-angle shots and processes them into a flat wide-screen image. Pricing is set at $499.99 and units will ship on October 24, with retailers receiving their stock on the 25th.

Matthew DeCarlo Matthew DeCarlo
Matthew DeCarlo has been in digital publishing for more than a decade, during which time he has authored and edited thousands of technology articles including industry news, hardware and software reviews, product buying guides, how-tos, editorials, in-depth explainers, trivia, and more. Read Full Bio »