After months of testing to see if this is the ultimate action camera on the market, here’s my complete GoPro Hero7 Black review.
I am just going to get it out of the way really quickly here. Get yourself a GoPro Hero 7!
Why? The GoPro Hero 7 Black by far is the best GoPro ever…by a long shot.
If you are wondering what all of these strange terms are like ‘TimeWarp’, ‘SuperPhoto’ or ‘HyperSmooth’, then keep reading this article as I will be giving a detailed rundown in my complete GoPro Hero 7 review.
My GoPro Hero 7 Review
It wasn’t that long ago that the GoPro Hero 6 hit the shelves and when it did, we all thought that it could not be beaten.
How wrong we were…
The introduction of the Hero 7 was much more of a big deal when compared to the Hero 6 and there were certain reasons behind why that was so.
What is a GoPro?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the GoPro line of products or the company, let me give you a quick rundown of what exactly a GoPro is.
A GoPro is primarily a small, handheld, waterproof camera that is capable of being mounted or placed just about anywhere in order to get a unique angle or shot.
GoPro’s are capable of capturing videos, stills, timelapses, photo bursts, and night photography as well as underwater photography.
Many people think that a GoPro is designed for those into action sports like surfing or snowboarding but that isn’t entirely true.
With the new Hero 7, its ease of use allows for almost anyone to use this incredible piece of technology.
The GoPro Hero 7 sits in a long line of GoPro’s with past models including the original HD Hero to the Hero 4’s when 4K video was introduced to the smaller Session models. In 2018, GoPro released the best GoPro yet.
What I Think of the GoPro Hero 7?
I received my GoPro in the first week of October and have had quite a bit of time since then to explore all of its features.
Every time they bring out a new camera they try to do something new, but to be honest it’s been a few years since they’ve really shaken up the industry.
But what has led me to write my GoPro Hero 7 Black review is that for the first time in a long time, this new camera has a bunch of truly epic new tools that will set it apart from anything else on the market.
GoPro Hero 7 – White, Silver or Black?
You may notice that there’s three different models of the GoPro Hero 7 – White, Silver and Black. What are the differences, and which one is right for you?
Think of them as beginner, intermediate and pro cameras. The White is the cheapest, and with the least amount of features.
In my mind unless you are really hurting for cash, don’t even bother with this one. It has 1080 video and is waterproof, but that’s about it.
The Silver is a step up and has 4K video as well as WDR photos, but it lacks the main features that you really want out of a GoPro.
The GoPro Hero 7 Black is the bees knees when it comes to action cameras. Let me save you the research and say just save some extra dollars and jump in and buy this one.
What sets it apart? Features like HyperSmooth, SuperPhoto and TimeWarp. So let’s get into these right now.
The purpose of the Hero 7 is to drastically increase the cameras stability when filming. The GoPro Hero 6, which was the previous model, required the use of the Karma Grip, a stabilisation gimbal which gave incredible, smooth footage when filming.
That was cool, and the stabilisation you could get with the Karma Grip was pretty damn amazing, but it was another big tool that you needed to carry around everywhere with you.
And if you weren’t focused on making epic videos, then it was a bit of a pain to have really as it took up a lot of space.
Cue the GoPro Hero 7 and all of its silky smooth goodness.
The Hero 7 basically has one of the most amazing inbuilt stabilisation systems of any action camera available, which means you won’t need a gimbal to capture smooth footage.
What makes the Hero 7 so incredible is that you can literally do what the Karma Grip can do, except you just have to hold it in your hand.
Just to test out how smooth the footages looks, I put on my Chesty Mount and juggled a football. The inbuilt lens stabilisation was able to make the footage extremely smooth despite how much I was moving with only 10% of the footage being cropped.
This feature alone makes the new camera worth the upgrade, and is what gives it almost 5 stars in my GoPro Hero 7 Black review.
You know how you see some awesome GoPro photos on Instagram or somewhere else and you think to yourself, “Damn, that’s awesome, but it was probably edited like crazy to get it looking like that…”?
Up until the Hero 7 came out, you were probably right.
GoPro pictures are great, but they’ve always needed a fair bit of tweaking in Lightroom or some other program to get them popping and looking awesome. And sometimes you just don’t want to do that.
There are times when I don’t have my laptop on me, meaning that it would be nearly impossible for me to edit a photo the way I like before I publish it on social media.
Then GoPro came out with SuperPhoto – an option which can be chosen on camera settings.
When selecting SuperPhoto, the Hero 7 calculates the best White Balance, minimum and maximum ISO levels, sharpness and colour to create a HDR photo (high dynamic range).
HDR are often over edited photos with excessive contrast, saturation and vibrance, looking so cooked that they make you shudder, however the Hero 7 doesn’t seem to ‘over edit’ the photos it takes while on SuperPhoto mode.
When taking a SuperPhoto photo, make sure the Hero 7 is mounted on a tripod if you are in anything other than perfect daylight, as the image takes slightly longer to process than when the Hero 7 is in standard photo mode.
If you don’t you might end up with a blurry image, or weird chromatic aberrations around the edges.
When the Hero 7 first made an appearance, a clip of Abe Kislevitz’s arose of him walking along a wharf somewhere in the tropical Pacific Islands in crazy smooth fast motion, and this clip was truly magical.
I thought, “How the bloody hell did he do that? Must be some kind of editing trick!” Well to be honest, it’s not as difficult as it looks. This is the new GoPro Hero 7 TimeWarp feature!
Just like a hyperlapse, you need to know the right settings and speeds to get the shot you want and suddenly you’re out there capturing gold.
Basically the faster the setting (i.e. 150x) the smoother the TimeWarp will be. Using 150x is perfect for running or walking or anything that is slow, while shooting 30x and below is best if having the Hero 7 mounted to a fast moving vehicle or bicycle.
I love the idea of being able to create a hyperlapse with ease, and TimeWarp is a testament to how GoPro are showing that they have truly made a GoPro with inbuilt stabilisation and crazy new features.
However, I feel like TimeWarp’s success is based too much around the Hero 7 being mounted to motorbikes, cars or skateboards which already have suspension meaning that the inbuilt stabilisation will make it even smoother.
Yes that’s great, but I want to see the Hero 7 be truly tested by mountain climbers, trail runners or kayakers to truly show what the Hero 7 is capable of.
Video – More About HyperSmooth
TimeWarp uses the inbuilt stabilisation well, but the best feature in my GoPro Hero 7 Black review is how it works with the standard video mode.
If you are using anything below a Hero 7 for film purposes, you may want to consider upgrading to the Hero 7 immediately.
The Karma Grip was designed to rough out any bumps that would be produced when using a Hero 5 or Hero 6, but if you have ever used a gimbal before you know that they can get in the way and require a battery pack to keep it charged.
The Hero 7 keeps things simple…and small with an inbuilt system that is designed to keep the footage ‘smooth as butter’. I have had a lot of questions from friends in regards to the stabilisation actually being legit and I can tell you it’s true.
Since I received the Hero 7, all I have used is a shorty mount as the handle then applied the desired settings.
There are a few things to note when wanting to obtain smooth footage –
- 4K will not support HyperSmooth.
- High frame rates such as 1080p 120 frames per second or 1080p 240 frames per second don’t support HyperSmooth
Although the higher frame rates won’t support HyperSmooth which is a bit of a shame, but I have learnt to deal with it.
GoPro Hero 7 Black Review – Camera Highlights
While all of the nifty features in the camera are the main reason for my review of the GoPro Hero 7 Black, there’s a lot more to this awesome camera than just the software that makes it the best action camera on the market.
What is epic about the Hero 5 and above is that you don’t need to use a dive casing to go underwater (to a certain depth of 10 metres).
Although you can take the Hero 7 underwater without a dive case, I always advise using the ‘SuperSuit’ as GoPro calls it when going into salt water.
Saltwater will do bad things to your camera such as making the battery and micro SD door hard to open with tiny grains of sand becoming embedded in the cracks.
If you plan on taking the Hero 7 past 10 metres, be sure to put on the SuperSuit to avoid water leaking into the GoPro – you really don’t want that!
I think this maybe one of my favourite features with the Hero 7 and yet it’s so damn simple! The software in the Hero 7 now allows for the GoPro LCD screen to be flipped to portrait mode; i.e. the interface.
Also when taking vertical images, the software automatically flips the image when downloading to your hard drives meaning you won’t have to go through everything and rotate!
So why does this make the list of things to talk about in a GoPro Hero 7 review? Because sometimes you just want to shoot in portrait mode to properly capture a scene, or to share on Instagram.
Past GoPro’s haven’t been quite up to scratch with their sound until the Hero 7 came to the market. With increased audio options in the Hero 7, you can basically use the new GoPro as a vlogging camera without the addition of a microphone.
There are options with RAW sound, wind and Auto which makes the Hero 7 totally open to all kinds of environments so that top quality sound can be recorded!
Auto Exposure Lock
I love to shoot timelapses with my GoPro’s but have always had an issue with exposures, especially when light becomes faded from daylight into dusk and finally night.
With the new Hero 7, I select any spot on the screen and hold it until a small white bordered screen appears. This screen enables a spot which will be locked for the exposed when taking a still or video shot.
Under low light, this is the perfect thing to brighten things up!
Using a Hero 7 for an extended period of time requires a good battery. Shooting timelapses requires upwards of 2.5 hours therefore good battery life is pretty much necessary.
I shoot my timelapses on 1080p for an average of 2 hours and I generally have 40% battery life remaining which is seriously incredible given the size of a GoPro battery.
I have 5 batteries which are always fully charged and there are times when I am doing an overnight camp.
For these situations, I created an insulated battery warmer to ensure the cold air won’t drain my batteries of their power as there is nothing worse than going to shoot only to find out the batteries are all drained.
Note: Using settings such as 4K or 240fps will decrease battery life quicker.
Why oh why did GoPro never have this feature before??? The Hero 7 now has an inbuilt timer which comes in two forms:
- A 15 and 30 second timer which will only film for that set time. This is perfect for those shots that you want to be in a frame but don’t have anyone else to hold the Hero 7.
- A Stills timer which is used for taking photos. It pretty much is a countdown clock that gives you enough time to get in the frame of a shot. There are options of a 3 and 10 second timer. In addition to the stills timer, you can also activate using voice control which I will get into next.
Voice control for me is a bit weird as for some reason I have never really been a fan. I think I am being lazy when using the voice control feature, but there are times when it really does come in handy.
Using the voice control comes in handy when you are using mounts such as a head mount, chesty mount or for some reason are out of reach of the Hero 7.
A quick tip for voice control! If you have multiple cameras set to voice activated or voice command, be sure to only have voice control turned on for one camera as you may turn on all of your cameras when you give them the order.
Final Thoughts on My Review of the GoPro Hero 7 Black
The Hero 7 is epic, no doubting it.
Despite my Hero 7 having a few glitches on the LCD screen and issues with saving files to the micro SD card (these issues were resolved by updating the software), the Hero 7 has performed relatively well.
I have managed to use every setting and mode in as many different environments and situations as possible and it easily out performs the Hero 6.
One thing I am stoked about is how much of a quicker performer the Hero 7 is to the Hero 6. If you turn on the Hero 7 and Hero 6 at the same time, the Hero 7 will turn on at least 1 second earlier, and that’s a lot of time when you see a special shot or moment you want to capture it right there and then.
In the past few months I have done some crazy things with my Hero 7, literally crazy.
I have attached my GoPro to the outside of a moving bus during rush hour in Sri Lanka, mounted it to a javelin and a discus and launched it to see how it would look in terms of stabilisation.
I have even thrown my GoPro 20 metres into the air and have it hit the ground just to test how strong these things are.
And today I still love it more than ever.
Should You Get a GoPro Hero 7 Black?
If you are a vlogger, cinematographer, photographer or filmmaker, or you just like taking the occasional photo, the Hero 7 is unbeatable.
There are a lot of other products on the market like the Sony Action cameras and the DJI Osmo, but not being biased, the Hero 7 is truly the best on the market.
I Have An Old GoPro – Should I Upgrade?
If you currently have a GoPro Hero 5 or Hero 6 and are wondering whether or not you should upgrade, the answer depends on what you will use it for.
If you don’t ever shoot video and only use the GoPro for still photography, then you can get away with just keeping your old camera, especially if you know how to edit photos in Lightroom or Photoshop.
But if you’re shooting video and don’t already have a Karma Grip, then without a doubt you NEED to upgrade to the Hero 7.
The HyperSmooth stabilisation is seriously next level, and the fact that you can mount this to a helmet, chesty mount or hold it on a stick and get gimbal-like footage is crazy.
Personally I say yes – upgrade if you can afford it and you think you might shoot video.
I hope you enjoyed my GoPro Hero 7 Black review. If you did leave a comment below and let me know if you have any questions!