Testing the newest from camera giant GoPro with the GoPro Hero 7 Black edition.
Words and photos: Mike Blewitt
GoPro are synonymous with action cameras and point of view (POV) videos. But that's not to say they are without competition, with many brands manufacturing their own cameras with unique features to set themselves apart. GoPro have continued to innovate with not just their camera but perhaps more importantly the software, and the launch of the Hero 7 Black showed that they were ready to remind people why they're at the top of the action camera game.
What's new on the Hero 7?
There are three models with the Hero 7: the white, silver and black. We have the black on test and it's the premium model with the most features. For a full run down on the differences compare them on the GoPro website, but it is fair to say that if you're looking to upgrade from the action camera you already have, it's the Hero 7 Black that would be on your wish list.
One of the most talked about features with the Hero 7 Black is HyperSmooth. It's software that almost replaces a gimble. The Hero 6, when combined with the KarmaGrip, was the previous solution to bring smooth video to screens from action sports. But the KarmaGrip was another piece of equipment, another battery, and if you're not shooting as a professional each step can just be an extra hurdle that might stop you using your new toy. HyperSmooth essentially crops the footage a little to smooth it out. It makes some pretty shaky footage useable, and means you can actually make some unique view points from camera mounting more worthwhile.
At the EWS in Derby this year, there were very few riders doing practice without an action camera. And mostly riders were using a GoPro from what I saw. With the HyperSmooth function, what they record would be far superior. A helmet mount leaves no room for a KarmaGrip, and mounting one on a chesty is awkward at best, and uncomfortable and even dangerous at worse. This update to the Hero has really helped gravity racers who are recording their practice runs, to choose or remember their lines best from the comfort of their accommodation.
TimeWarp is also a handy feature if you want to use your footage for a cool edit. Basically it's a combination of a time lapse and the HyperSmooth software. Obviously it doesn't show the real speed of what you're doing but it's a cool way to create an immersive video that is stable and easy to watch, or at least compresses a whole run into something short enough to keep friends and family engaged with it!
If you're keen to use a GoPro for images, there are plenty of bonuses with the Hero 7 Black over the Hero 6 as well. If you are doing photography with a GoPro and other cameras very regularly you are probably used to using editing software to get them looking how you want. Most photographers will shoot a RAW file that lets them edit the image more easily via software on a laptop, or a phone in some instances.
The Hero 7 Black has a SuperPhoto setting, which tweaks a lot of the settings to create an HDR (high dynamic range) image. You are probably familiar with this from your smart phone. It does take a little longer but it helps capture more detail, especially in mixed light settings.
On the trail there are a few other useful features like how weatherproof the unit is. GoPro state that the Hero 7 Black is waterproof to 10 metres. So sure, you can take it with you for the post-ride swim or maybe a cliff jump to make that awesome ride edit. But it also means you don't need to use a cover like you needed to until the Hero 4. This means you also get the most out of the sound – and there are huge improvements there too. The improvements are big enough that the Hero 7 is a handy tool for anyone wanting to do their own video blogs, or even for a video review
– A huge leap forward in stable footage
– Fast start up
– Improved image capture