It’s starting to feel like Action Cam season with GoPro dropping its latest in the Hero Black range shortly after the launch of the DJI Action Cam 4. This makes for a difficult decision in buying that next device but it’s fantastic to see these companies pushing the tech and each other to the limit ultimately benefiting the consumer.
The biggest question will be, is the GoPro Hero 12 Black worth it? Especially if you already have one of the previous few models in the range that have seen GoPro really become a leader in not only action footage but also as a vlogging device. The answer is simple, yes. The camera improves on nearly every aspect of the device as well as adding some features that were an extremely pleasant surprise.
One of my biggest complaints about this style of camera is overheating and limited battery life. It seems like the GoPro Hero 12 Black has finally discovered the magic formula for delivering on both without the need to upgrade from those new Endro Batteries.
You could improve this on the 11 models by disabling the GPS mode, but in the 12, GoPro has decided to just do away with GPS altogether. This is most likely down to lack of use by their customers and that’s bad news for those that did use it, but the results speak for themselves as the battery life is doubled and longevity of use is greatly improved even in it’s highest video settings. It would have been nice to have it as an option, but to be fair to them it likely makes production cheaper by not having it as well.
The stand-out feature for me as a content creator is the introduction of HDR (High Dynamic Range) making the image quality deliver more vivid pictures with amazing contrast. Paired with a 5.3K video this little black box that can be strapped to anything is delivering some of the best video on the market.
In and around water the GoPro Hero 12 Black performs extremely well. Waterproof to 33ft/10m out of the box is great, anything more than that and you’ll need the housing and the hydrophobic lens means it will shed water making sure you don’t have to keep wiping it down to get the best shot. Nothing worse than getting a great shot around water only to see nothing but blurry images due to water droplets.
We took the Hero 12 on a dive and were instantly impressed with the quality of the image, make sure you crank up that colour range to 10-bit and although you can pump up those reds I find it better to do in post using Davinci Resolves impressive colour correction options.
The latest version of their stabilisation technology is Hypersmooth 6.0 and the demos look amazing, I’m not bouncing around enough to notice the difference between the last few versions but I do appreciate that Hypersmooth technology has been a game changer for getting the amazingly shake-less imagery without a bulky gimble weighing you down.
If you are a pro video editor then GoPro is looking at you in the release of the 12. Adding in extra features like “timecode syncing” for when you shoot on multiple devices or even the 10-bit colour with the ability to shoot in GP-Log encoding. The big change for pro users in my opinion is to audio and it’s actually a main reason why the 12 should be top of your purchase list.
The GoPro Hero 12 Black has added Bluetooth audio connection to its list of impressive features. So now you can pair your Bluetooth audio device to your camera to get the best audio possible. An example of this is using your AirPods connected through Bluetooth allowing you to film from a further distance or even through to the inside of a vehicle while maintaining high-quality audio as we’ve seen in demos.
It’s not just the pros they have in mind either, the GoPro Hero 12 Black has become one of the most versatile cameras on the planet by opening up to the needs of multiple users. The new vertical video function taps into the needs of social media creators. Now you can film in widescreen, vertical or full frame. This is all while not having to hold the camera on its side and then fixing it in post.
The new larger sensor in the device lets you capture a wide 156-degree field of view in a full-frame 8:7 aspect ratio in either 5.3k or 4k. This gives you so much more room for movement in your edit.
Looks wise the GoPro Hero 12 Black is basically the same as the 11 with some added blue speckles which if I’m honest I could actually do without. But there is one minor change to the design that will likely go unnoticed unless someone tells you about it, so I’m going to right now…
Meet #GoProHERO12 Black 📷 Our most feature-packed HERO cam ever— GoPro (@GoPro) September 6, 2023
✔️ Up to 2x 🔋 Runtimes
✔️ 5.3K60, 4K120, + 2.7K240
✔️ 8:7 Sensor
✔️ HyperSmooth 6.0
✔️ Max Lens Mod 2.0 Ready
✔️ 10-bit + Log Encoding
✔️ Bluetooth Audio
✔️ Timecode Sync
Pre-order: https://t.co/xtzqJJv0zU pic.twitter.com/x4eUcC1LrA
The folding fingers are different. You might have seen these before but now when they are folded in under the body of the camera you’ll see that there is a screw-in mount like you see on most cameras and tripods. This is a handy and simple feature that will change the way I use this product. Although I like the folding fingers, it wasn’t til I used the DJI Action Cams Magnetic mounting that I realised there are much better options. Having the more universal screw-in option is actually enough for me, a really good addition.
The bundle comes with the new and improved Max Lens Mod 2.0 which attaches seamlessly to your GoPro. The mod gives you wider, taller shots to make epic POV shoots even more epic. It unlocks a 177-degree field of view in 4k60 and the addition of features like Max Hypersmooth. This is great for heavy action use in sports like mountain biking, and dirt bikes to really give you that feeling of first person. It’s the first time I’ve used a Max Lens Mod and the way it transforms your camera is really a “see-to-believe” experience.
At the core of it all, this camera does what it was intended to do in an outstanding way. Everyone uses a GoPro differently, it’s what makes content creation such an art and so special. There’ll be some features you’ll never look at while others you use every day but having that choice is what makes the GoPro Hero 12 Black the most versatile action camera on the market.