Thanks to the arrival of the GoPro Hero 9 Black, the GoPro Hero 7 Black is now the entry-level variant in GoPro’s redesigned lineup. But this former flagship is far from a basic action camera and is actually one of the best-value action cameras for certain individuals.
GoPro Hero7 Black: Price
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GoPro Hero7 Black: Features
While some may be surprised to hear that much of the core specifications are effectively carbon copied from the Hero6 Black, the thinking of GoPro with this model was obviously less about increasing frame rates and packing more pixels, and more about optimizing the real user use experience.
This means that, for example, the Hero 7 Black also incorporates the same 12MP sensor and the same wide-angle lens, and the top camera specs of 4K at 60fps and Absolute HD for 8x slowed-down videos are still unchanged at a limit of 240fps. On top of this, though, the plethora of additional sweeteners makes this a considerably more powerful camera than ever.
HyperSmooth, a type of video stabilization that GoPro rates as being the equivalent of using a gimbal, is the most critical of these. Instead of only an improved optical stabilization system, a mixture of hardware and software was created in response to customer feedback-in reality, this was obviously the number one request-and it offers a direct benefit for someone who might find it inconvenient to use a gimbal for their desired thrill.
GoPro is not coy about its features, going so far as to say that not only any action camera, but any camera, is the strongest in-camera video stabilization device. On top of that, it is claimed that the means of its service have no extra battery life charge.
HyperSmooth can be used also when filming 60fps video at maximum resolution (though not at 4:3) on the Hero 7 Black, unlike the Hero 6 Black, which only requires intermittent stabilization to be extended to 30fps when recording in 4K. When shooting Full HD video at 240fps and 120fps footage, the only other time you can’t name it is, while standard standard stabilization is possible at the latter frame rate.
Another new feature on the Hero 7 Black is TimeWarp footage, which incorporates the concept of standard frame-by-frame time-lapse shooting (which you can also do separately) with HyperSmooth-a stabilized hyperlapse, basically. In essence, with the ability to transfer the Hero 7 Black at all times, it helps you to take time-lapse video. That’s right: without a tripod, and whatever action you want, time-lapse video.
Speech Control is once again on site, understanding 12 different instructions such as “GoPro take a photo” and “GoPro launch video recording”, which, between them, cover all the key activities.
Audio performance was also revamped on the Hero 7 Black. GoPro increased dynamic range, offering more natural bass tones and lighter mids, and also redesigned the microphone membrane to remove the echoes that could be picked up, all the while ensuring it can record more nuanced sounds than before.
Easier to take photos
SuperPhoto, something akin to a scene-intelligent auto option on a more traditional camera, was another new option on the Hero 7 Black, which automates a handful of helpful features that you do not realize you can activate when taking images.
So, instead of calling on HDR while filming scenes with a wide dynamic range, if you want it to, it will do it for you. Likewise, for low-light scenes, the Hero 7 Black deploys multi-frame noise reduction, if it sees the need to do so.
ProTune will grant you flexibility to change items such as exposure compensation, white balance, ISO selection, sharpness and so on for the good of those who wish to intervene and get imaginative. In addition to JPEGs, you can record raw photographs on the Hero 7 Black, and even take image bursts at a rate of 30fps, asking the camera how many images you want it to capture for how long.
With the ability to live-stream built right into it, the GoPro Hero7 Black is also the first Hero edition. For now, this deals with Facebook, but other platforms will probably work with YouTube advertising too.
GoPro Hero7 Black: Build and Handling
The GoPro Hero 7 Black has the same kind of robust and mostly rubberized body as the Hero 6 Black, while the device’s sides are not ridged but just as smooth as the front. This also suggests that the former two-tone look is now gone, but in a case of any kind, you’ll probably have the GoPro, so this means very little difference of usage.
The Hero 7 Black feels almost as good as the Hero 6 Black in building consistency. It can be a little fiddly to open the two doors to the battery/card and USB/HDMI compartments, but the configuration is important to ensure waterproofing. The camera can fly 10m/33ft comfortably underwater without a housing (just as before), but with the optional Super Suit you can go much further.
In addition to several other mounts for helmets, handlebars and more, a small plastic frame that wraps around the GoPro Hero 7 Black and locks into place is offered as usual, and this can be placed on an adhesive stand to hold the camera in place.
One of the bonuses of the newer GoPro Hero 8 Black is that it has built-in mounting prongs, so you don’t need this frame anymore. And yes, Hero 7 Black’s first-time users are likely to be tentative and find some of this fiddly, since it is necessarily tight enough that when you use it under the kinds of intended situations, it remains in place. But then, you get used to how rough you have to be about it.
Switch on the Hero 7 Black and you can see how much stuff GoPro has altered from its predecessor. There is a redesigned UI, with key details such as current frame rate and resolution condensed into a smaller space, and green icons are now easier to display against lighter subjects than the former white ones to display battery life and remaining card capacity.
In operation, the Hero 7 Black is even more smartphone-like, with quick lateral swipes to navigate various modes, footage/images captured and more. By clicking the Mode button on the left, you can also alternate between shooting modes, but you can also swipe to do the same.
When you have the camera set this way, the UI on the Hero 7 Black often adapts to portrait orientation, which makes it simpler to work. If you feel this would be more of a hassle than a benefit, you can uninstall it, but it doesn’t seem to be so sensitive enough to justify that the normal person wants to do this.
The touchscreen on the Hero 7 Black has the same 2-inch dimensions as its predecessors, and is usually sensitive on the whole, but it often fails to respond to touch, and it can be irritating to have to jab the same feature a few times on such a small monitor.
Voice instructions are essentially unchanged from before, but you can say ‘GoPro Grab’ and, depending on what mode you’re in, the camera can start filming or taking a shot. It can also respond with a Hi-light to you saying ‘That was sick,’ but if you’re not a teenager, you can just tell GoPro Hi-light to do the same action. Or ‘oh f***,’ as it happens.
The Hero 7 Black usually responds well to a variety of voice commands, but it’s not always 100 percent accurate, as you would possibly guess, and occasionally they need to be repeated a few times. Adding your own commands to the Hero 7 Black will also be cool, which is one way we can see this developing, while almost all main functions are already protected.
GoPro Hero7 Black: Conclusion
The GoPro Hero 7 Black might not be the most sophisticated action camera you can buy anymore-the that’s GoPro Hero 9 Black But it now delivers outstanding performance. The lower price now even gives it a small advantage over the spectacular DJI Osmo Action. While a 4K action camera can be bought for slightly less, the Hero 7 Black really doubled down on the software and efficiency benefits that rightfully made GoPro the byword for action cameras. A major bonus over older versions is the addition of the very powerful HyperSmooth stabilization, while its TimeWarp function is a lot of fun to play with.
The refreshed UI and portrait choices have made it faster and more practical to use the GoPro Hero7 Black than before. With its front-facing lens, the Hero 9 Black takes things a step further, while the Mod accessories will help improve the usability of that camera and the Hero 8 Black beyond what is offered here.
That said, for most users, the Hero 7 Black remains a fine option that is more than enough action camera-there are no conspicuous omissions, its video quality is superb, and its new price tag makes it a fine choice for anybody who wants a hard, waterproof camera for both video and still service.