This is a long overdue review of the GoPro Hero8 Black, admittedly, but one I have to write on because even after all this time this camera has me hyped. Having had a chance to experience the Hero8 Black last month, it's been on my mind on how much GoPro has improved throughout the years - and not just in terms of tech.
The latest GoPro combines 12MP resolution with a range of wide angles, waterproofing, next-gen stabilisation and the smartest timelapse recording I've ever seen and it's clear that this is a very much-improved mini beast when compared the Hero7 Black.
With some great new designs and features, let's break down what makes the GoPro Hero8 Black one of the best sports camera in the market right now.
A much improved design
In general, the Hero8 doesn't look too far off but it does have some new additions in terms of design and functionality. It feels robust and capable of handling some hard beating, wrapped in rubbery finish which may not come off as premium, but at least it remains as functional as ever.
In fact, you can also take it swimming if you want. The Hero8 is waterproof up to 33ft or 10m, so it’s good for a bit of snorkelling or wet conditions, and the water-sealed card slot is on the right side along with the battery.
Speaking of which, the biggest attraction thus far is its foldable mounting system. This new mounting system means it doesn’t need housing to securely clasp it onto a traditional GoPro mount. The feet pivot in to create a mount, and out of the bottom of the camera like butterfly wings, magnetically clicking back into place instantly and overall making mounting incredibly convenient. That's not all; with this mounting system, you can swap out batteries and memory cards without having to remove it from the mount.
The Hero8's touch screen is great, though I did have some issues tapping on some of the options. This is mainly due to how small the screen is, so it's hard to select the options that I wanted. As it lacks a front screen, all controls are limited to the tiny screen on the back which creates quite a lot of limitation.
But this shouldn't be a problem if you intend to get the add ons; the Media Mod, Light Mod and Display Mod, which will likely include a selfie screen. If you're not comfortable with a small screen or even getting new add-ons, this may be a major negative for you though.
Hypersmooth 2.0 and TimeWarp 2.0
Being an upgraded version of the Hero7, it makes sense that the features have also been upgraded. The initial Hypersmooth feature GoPro offered is already incredibly impressive, but the 2.0 sure takes things to the next level.It comes with three levels of stabilisation with Boost being the main stabilisation, cropping into your shot for mind-bendingly smooth capture - making it the smoothest on any camera we’ve ever used. It does affect the video's clarity though, so do take note of that if you want to take more videos using Hypersmooth 2.0.
Then there's the TimeWarp 2.0, which was a personal favourite of mine. In the updated version, it now has auto speed detection which means you can tap the screen when you want to slow down the timelapse effect, keeping frame rates consistent, then speed it up again. This slipping in and out of life on fast forward creates stunning footage - as seen by my example on my instagram. The biggest problem likely lies in how you have to tap the button on the screen, as I had pointed out how the screen is rather small. It's hard to tap on it when you're hoping to do so in a split second especially.
There are also four artificial lenses - narrow, wide, wider and widest - despite the fact it has only one camera module, cropping into the super-wide optical focal length. This is useful, depending on the videos you want to take but make sure you have it preset beforehand. The Hero8 also isn't ideal for night video shots, and unless you want to take huge, expansive landscapes, you're better off depending on your smartphone camera instead.
As for the camera’s battery life, I found it to not last as long as I hoped it would. Maybe it's because I have been spoiled by smartphones giving powerful and long lasting battery. But mine lasted less than an hour, so I had to replace my battery. But on the bright side, the Hero8 Black charges via USB-C, the battery door is removable, and you can shoot with it plugged into a power bank so continuous shooting is possible, or else have a spare or two battery prepared.
Share easily with cool edits from the app
As always, you can connect the Hero8 with iOS and Android devices through the GoPro app. Photos and videos auto transfer easily, though it may take some time, but it makes sharing on social media a lot easier.
Probably the best part about the app is that it gives you some cool auto edits that will utilise all the clips you save and convert it into a quick video based on a theme they suggest. Mine came out really impressive that even I was happy to share with my friends as it made my simple trip at Sunway's Lost World of Tambun during the Hero8 launch even more memorable.