GoPro Hero7 Black: A Premium Action Camera

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GoPro HERO7 Black

I have noticed about GoPro action camera many years ago when it first came out to the market.  However, I have to admit that I didn’t pay much attention to this “action camera” at that time, not until I realized that it could do a lot more than I previously expected.  GoPro is getting more and more attention from clients, especially, YouTubers who love outdoor activities and wanna show their actions in a more vivid angle than a conventional video recorder could offer.

After the release of GoPro Hero4, the camera has become relatively fashionable and its worldwide sales began to climb up.  Unfortunately, its popularity also attracts more of competitors to steal some shares in the action camera market, including the archrival from China, DJI. 

To maintain their position and a lion share in the market, GoPro has released its latest action camera model, GoPro Hero7.  GoPro boasts that GoPro Hero7 has a technologically superior software and hardware to any other action cameras in the market.

The New GoPro Hero7

Unlike its previous models, GoPro opted to launch its 7th generation in 3 variants: White, Silver, and Black.  The GoPro Hero7 Black is the top of the range featuring HyperSmooth stabilization system and TIMEWARP video.

Judging from the exterior, GoPro Hero7 looks almost identical to its predecessors, GoPro5 and GoPro6.  You will get the same body, lens, LCD screen as GoPro5 and GoPro6.  Moreover, the LED light position and battery socket remain unchanged but the body’s color, especially the top model, is much darker than its previous model.  It obviously renders a rugged and aggressive look to the camera.

Unpack the box

Once you have unpacked the box, you will find the following accessories below;

1. GoPro Hero7 action camera

2. Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery

3. Plastic frame to wrap around the camera

4. A USB Type-C cable

5. 2 adhesive stands for mounting on the object such as helmet

6. Instruction booklets and a warrantee card

7. GoPro Sticker

If you are familiar with functions of GoPro5 or GoPro6, you can quickly utilize GoPro Hero7 to its fullest potential.  Furthermore, GoPro Hero7 is fully compatible with accessories in the market.  It means that you don’t have to buy a new accessory for your GoPro7.

The Design of GoPro HERO7 Black

GoPro HERO7 Black

GoPro Hero7 hasn’t changed much in term of its exterior design.  You got a mini LCD screen with several on-screen indicators such as battery level, camera mode, recording duration (mostly depends on SD card storage) while the right side features a wide-screen lens.  The cover can be removed and replaced with another accessory. The recording LED light resides on the top left corner of the camera.  The red light will be flashing while recording.

On the other side, GoPro Hero7 features 2” touch screen that you can slide your fingers up and down to select camera’s options.  Although the user interface icons are large enough to easily execute with an index finger, I have found out that the responsiveness of the screen was a bit awkward.  I had to slide my finger multiple time before getting access to the camera features.

To turn on the camera, simply press the power button on the left side of the camera.  It can also be used to switch camera modes as well.  On the top right corner above the power button, you will find a microphone recorder.

On the other hand, the connecting ports are placed on the right side of the camera. Simply slide the cover down to reveal USB Type-C and micro HDMI ports.  The port cover must be put in place all the time when used in a wet ambience or under water.

On the top of left, you will find a record button marked with a red circle and a third onboard microphone.  Unlike Hero 7 White and Silver, Hero 7 Black equip with 3 onboard microphones which will substantially reduce camera and background noise compared to Hero 7 White and Silver.

Battery socket resides at the bottom of the camera.  When sliding the cover open, you will find a micro SD card slot and battery socket.  The camera’s speaker is on the right side of the battery socket.  You may notice a small LED light on the speaker’s top right corner.  However, you may turn off the LED function at any time.

GoPro HERO7 Black

HYPERSMOOTH: get a better quality VDO

Say goodbye to a blurred, shaking VDO clip of the old day.  With HYPERSMOOTH feature of GoPro Hero7 Black, you will be able to record a smooth video capture without gimbal assisted image stabilization system.  Thanks to GP1 chip and 2 GB Ram, GoPro Hero7 black can deliver a flawlessly smooth VDO recording regardless of what you are doing at that moment.  Therefore, you may be walking, cycling, or even skateboarding while sticking the camera on the helmet.

Please refer to the guideline chart below to set up your camera.             

Resolution Frame Rates Stabilization
4K 4:3 30/25 No Stabilization
4K 4:3 24 Standard Stabilization
4K 60/50 HyperSmooth
4K 30/25 HyperSmooth
4K 24 HyperSmooth
2.7K 4:3 60/50 HyperSmooth
2.7K 4:3 30/25 HyperSmooth
2.7K 4:3 24 HyperSmooth
2.7K 120/100 No Stabilization
2.7K 60/50 HyperSmooth
2.7K 30/25 HyperSmooth
2.7K 24 HyperSmooth
1440p 120/100 Standard Stabilization
1440p 60/50 HyperSmooth
1440p 30/24 HyperSmooth
1440p 24 HyperSmooth
1080p 240/200 No Stabilization
1080p 120/100 Standard Stabilization
1080p 60/50 HyperSmooth
1080p 30/25 HyperSmooth
1080p 24 HyperSmooth
960p 240/200 No Stabilization
960p 120/100 Standard Stabilization
720p 240/200 No Stabilization
720p 60/50 HyperSmooth
     

According to the chart above, you will find out that the HYPERSMOOTH stabilization system only works when the frame rate is not over 60 fps.  Otherwise, the system will turn itself off when you record the VDO at frame rate over 60 fps.  In fact, 120/240 fps VDO is suitable for editing a slow-motion clip. If you don’t need to record a slow-motion clip, 60 fps with HYPERSMOOTH stabilization system is more than enough for high-quality HD VDO.

Capturing VDO Footages

The user will be able to choose 4 modes for shooting the VDO footage: Super View, Wide, Linear, and Looping.  A Super View mode is good for capturing extremely wide angle VDO footage but it likely suffers from distortion edge of the frame.  It is recommended that this mode be used for filming a VDO footage that doesn’t focus on objects in the edge of the frame.  A user who prefers a less wide angle perspective may opt to capture a VDO footage on a Wide mode. Like a Super View mode, the Wide mode also provides the VDO clip with a wide angle perspective but in a less aggressive manner.  In this mode, you can position objects at the edge of the frame with much less distortion of objects.

On the other hand, you might want to capture the VDO clip on Linear mode if you prefer a natural perspective of your footage.  Shooting the clip with Linear mode will render the same image as being shot by a conventional camera without a wide angle lens. 

The Looping mode is designed to apply the GoPro camera as a car camcorder.  In this mode, the camera will start overwriting the footage once SD card space is maxed out, allowing you to continue recording the clip.  This feature is good to capture an extraordinary moment but requires a long period of VDO recording such as car accident record.  The camera will keep on recording until the battery runs out.

Still Image Capturing       

GoPro Hero7 Black is capable of capturing up to 12 MP image with 3 modes to choose from.

A Photo mode allows the user to capture a single image at a time.  You can select to capture the image in Wide or Linear angle perspective.  Additionally, you may also shoot the image in SUPER PHOTO or High Dynamic Range (HDR).  If you want to edit the image with photo editing software, you can record the image in a RAW format.

The burst mode or continuous shooting mode is capable of shooting up to 30 images with a single press of shutter button.  Moreover, GoPro Hero7 Black also provides an option to capture all 30 images in a specific duration ranging from 1, 2, 3, or 6 seconds.

The Night mode, as its name describes, is the mode to capture an image in a low light condition or at a night time.  In this mode, you will be able to set up your preferred shutter speed or you can let the camera do the job for you by setting it at AUTO mode.

GoPro HERO7 Black comes with 2X digital ZOOM and self-timer mode which can be set the delay time from 3 to 10 seconds.  The countdown digits will appear on the front screen.

GoPro HERO7 Black
Image taken by GoPro HERO7 Black

The Upgraded TIME LAPSE Mode    

The TIME LAPSE feature is substantially upgraded from the previous version, thanks to HYPERSMOOTH technology.  With GoPro HERO7 Black’s new image stabilization system, you can capture the Time Lapse VDO footage even when you are in motion.  GoPro calls this feature a “Time Warp”.  You may set a Time Warp speed up to 30X with a maximum resolution at 4K.

Time Warp 2X —— 1minute long footage will be shortened to 30 seconds.

Time Warp 10X —– 5 minutes long footage will be shortened to 30 seconds.

Time Warp 30X —– 5 minutes long footage will be shortened to 10 seconds.

Connecting GoPro HERO7 Black to other devices is as easy as a snap of fingers.  The camera connects to a smartphone via a dedicated app called GoPro which is available on both Android and IOS format.  Once downloaded and connected, your smartphone will automatically communicate with the GoPro camera via Wi-Fi signal.  You can use the smartphone’s screen to set up the camera and view your footages.  This feature is proved to be useful since the camera’s screen is quite small and hard to use with your thumb.  Another impressive feature is that you can even use your smartphone as a wireless remote control when capturing images or VDO footages.  You also broadcast your LIVE footages on Facebook using only this application on your smartphone.

Connecting GoPro HERO7 Black

Furthermore, you may directly download images or footages from the camera to your smartphone via this app.  For those who want to edit footage, GoPro also provides the app “Quick” for editing and uploading footages to social networks within only a few clicks.

Bottomline  

Is GoPro HERO7 Black attractive enough to buy?  Well, it depends.  If you’ve already owned GoPro HERO6, the replacement may be unnecessary since HERO7 is a small upgrade comparing to HERO6.  On the other hand, you might want to replace your old action camera if you’ve owned GoPro HERO5 or lower.  The HYPERSMOOTH feature is one of the major reasons to make GoPro HERO7 far superior to GoPro HERO5.  In addition, GoPro HERO7 is also compatible with almost all of HERO5’s accessories.

For those who are interested to try a decent action camera for the first time, GoPro HERO7 Black may be a good start.  To capture your finest moment, GoPro HERO7 Black is probably the best action camera for you.  Why don’t give it a try?                 

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