GoPro Hero7 Black

£379.99 | $399.99 https://gopro.com/ A great ac­tion cam­era is now even bet­ter

Windows Help & Advice - - CONTENTS - Mi­nor nig­gles aside, the GoPro Hero7 Black is the best ac­tion cam­era you can buy right now.

GoPro’s three-pronged at­tack on the ac­tion cam­era mar­ket has en­abled it to of­fer a Hero for every­one. And with the new Hero7 Black flag­ship, it’s of­fer­ing a sig­nif­i­cant boost to the video sta­bil­i­sa­tion tech­nol­ogy, one of its most crit­i­cal fea­tures.

The Hero7 Black has the same 12MP sen­sor and wide-an­gle lens, as its pre­de­ces­sor, while the top video specs of 4K/60fps and Full HD at a max­i­mum 240fps for 8x slow-mo footage are un­changed. It’s the new fea­tures that make it much more pow­er­ful than be­fore.

The most sig­nif­i­cant of these is Hyper­S­mooth, a form of video sta­bil­i­sa­tion that GoPro ranks as be­ing the equiv­a­lent to us­ing a gim­bal. Us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of hard­ware and soft­ware, it presents a clear ad­van­tage for any­one who finds us­ing a gim­bal in­con­ve­nient.

Un­like the Hero6 Black, which only al­lows reg­u­lar sta­bil­i­sa­tion to be ap­plied to 30fps when shoot­ing in 4K, Hyper­S­mooth can be used even when cap­tur­ing 60fps footage at full res­o­lu­tion (though not at 4:3). The only other time you can’t call upon it is when cap­tur­ing Full HD footage at 240fps and 120fps, although stan­dard sta­bil­i­sa­tion is avail­able at the lat­ter frame rate.

TimeWarp video is also new, and com­bines frame-by-frame time­lapse shoot­ing with Hyper­S­mooth – es­sen­tially en­abling you to cap­ture time-lapse footage with the free­dom to move the Hero7 Black – no tri­pod needed.

Au­dio per­for­mance has also been re­vamped with an ex­panded dy­namic range, pro­vid­ing more nat­u­ral bass and brighter mids. The mi­cro­phone di­aphragm has also been re­designed to elim­i­nate vi­bra­tions, while en­sur­ing it can cap­ture sub­tle sounds

Also new is Su­perPhoto, which au­to­mates fea­tures you may not think to en­able when tak­ing stills. So, in­stead of call­ing on HDR when shoot­ing scenes with a wide dy­namic range, it will do it for you. Sim­i­larly, the Hero7 Black will de­ploy multi-frame noise re­duc­tion, if it feels the need to.

If you want to get cre­ative, ProTune gives you free­dom to ad­just things such as ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion, ISO range and so on. You can also cap­ture raw images as well as JPEGs, and shoot bursts of images at up to 30fps.

Build and han­dling

The Hero7 Black of­fers a sim­i­larly rugged and largely rub­berised body as its pre­de­ces­sor. Build qual­ity on the Hero7 Black is as solid as be­fore. The two doors to the bat­tery/card and USB/HDMI com­part­ments can be fid­dly to open, though this is nec­es­sary to en­sure wa­ter­proof­ing up to 10m.

Switch on the Hero7 Black and you’ll be greeted with a changed in­ter­face, with in­for­ma­tion such as cur­rent frame rate and res­o­lu­tion

con­densed into a smaller space, while new green icons show­ing bat­tery life and the amount of re­main­ing card stor­age space are eas­ier to see against brighter sub­jects than the old white ones.

The Hero7 Black is also more smart­phone-like in op­er­a­tion, with sim­ple swipes to ac­cess dif­fer­ent modes, cap­tured footage/images and more. You can still al­ter­nate be­tween shoot­ing modes us­ing the Mode but­ton, but you can also swipe to do the same. The Hero7 Black’s 2-inch touch­screen is gen­er­ally re­spon­sive, although it can oc­ca­sion­ally fail to re­spond to touch, and it’s an­noy­ing to have to jab the same func­tion a few times.

Voice com­mands are largely un­changed from be­fore, although you can now say ‘GoPro Cap­ture’ and the cam­era will start record­ing or take a photo, de­pend­ing on the mode you’re in. The Hero7 Black gen­er­ally re­sponds well, although it’s not 100 per­cent reli­able, and some­times com­mands need to be re­peated a few times.

Video and photo qual­ity

On top of its video tricks, the Hero7 Black is ca­pa­ble of out­putting 12MP images. And while the Hero7 Black has a tiny 1/2.3in sen­sor, im­age qual­ity is very good.

In good light, de­tails are crisp, and sharp­ness ex­tends very well to the pe­riph­eries and cor­ners of the frame. Close scru­tiny shows there’s a bit of pro­cess­ing go­ing on to eke out the best from the Hero7 Black – but re­sults are re­spectable.

To get a wide-an­gle view, the Hero7 Black’s lens is un­cor­rected for dis­tor­tion in its de­fault Wide set­ting, so any­thing with lin­ear de­tails will be dis­torted. You can, how­ever, switch to the Lin­ear mode to cap­ture images with cor­rected dis­tor­tion, although ob­vi­ously at the ex­pense of field of view. You can also use Touch Zoom for a nar­rower field of view, although this de­grades im­age qual­ity.

Su­perPhoto, which cap­tures images with an ad­di­tional 1.5-2 sec­onds per photo, has a no­tice­able ef­fect on images, re­gain­ing a lit­tle high­light de­tail and lift­ing shad­ows a touch. Re­sult­ing images show less con­trast, but this can be tweaked later. The process can lead to mi­nor white bal­ance shifts, though, which is one thing to watch out for if mix­ing images cap­tured both ways.

The Hero6 Black al­ready had an ef­fec­tive video sta­bil­i­sa­tion sys­tem, but Hyper­S­mooth is a step up, es­pe­cially when you’re run­ning, bik­ing or trav­el­ling in any way down rough ter­rain.

TimeWarp es­sen­tially re­sults in a sta­bilised hy­per­lapse video. You can set the fac­tor by which it’s slowed. The fea­ture is great when mounted to some­thing that’s mov­ing, but the ace card is that it’s com­pletely us­able hand­held. It works par­tic­u­larly well when both you and some­thing in the scene are mov­ing at the same time.

You can cap­ture Full HD footage at up to 240fps, which can be slowed by a fac­tor of 8x to 30fps. Sound’s also recorded at the same time, but while footage can be played back in slow-mo­tion on the de­vice, it’s not pos­si­ble to out­put this in slow-mo with­out go­ing through Quik or other apps first.

Sum­mary

So what can we con­clude? The in­clu­sion of the very ef­fec­tive Hyper­S­mooth sta­bil­i­sa­tion is sig­nif­i­cant, and makes the Hero7 Black far bet­ter suited for bumpier ad­ven­tures than be­fore.

The new TimeWarp fea­ture is a lot of fun to play with, too, and im­age qual­ity re­mains solid. The re­freshed UI makes the Hero7 Black eas­ier and more con­ve­nient to use than be­fore, and it’s com­pat­i­ble with a wealth of ac­ces­sories.

In the ab­sence of ma­jor flaws, it’s a case of pol­ish­ing some ex­ist­ing fea­tures and func­tion­al­ity. Bet­ter voice recog­ni­tion and a Touch Zoom op­tion that doesn’t scale up images would be wel­come.

“In good light, de­tails are crisp, and sharp­ness ex­tends very well to the pe­riph­eries and cor­ners”

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