GoPro HERO8 Black Review – What’s New (And is it Worth Buying?)

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The ultimate GoPro HERO8 review, detailing the newest features, settings and upgrades on this brand new action sports camera. Is the GoPro HERO8 Black the best travel vlogging camera on the market now? Read on to find out…

GoPro revolutionised the action sports camera market when it first burst on the scene in 2004, and since the Californian company has grown to be one of the most well-respected camera and advenure brands in the world.

From the original HERO1 in 2004, the evolution of GoPro has seen the pocket-sized cameras go from being a product that only extreme sport professionals would use to becoming a household name and something that kids, families, travellers and professionals use in their day-to-day lives.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for GoPro, but when they released the HERO7 Black in 2018 with its revolutionary HyperSmooth, TimeWarp and SuperPhoto technology, the company rose back up the ranks to beat their competition.

Today GoPro have announced their brand new GoPro HERO8 Black, and it is set to not only surpass its predecessor in terms of features, technology and usability, but it might just become the standard go-to camera for vloggers, video makers and general travel photographers.

Is it perfect? No. But it’s getting close. Find out more in my GoPro HERO8 Black review below.

READ MORE: Check out our best GoPro photography tips here.

GoPro HERO8 Black Review
Go karting around the streets of Osaka. Capturing images using the 0.5 second time lapse mode as part of my GoPro HERO8 Black review.

My GoPro HERO8 Review

I’ve been putting the GoPro HERO8 Black to the test for the last two weeks in Japan, and I have to say I am simply amazed at the quality of videos and photos it is producing.

GoPros have always been easy to use, but with the HERO8 Black the simplicity is taken to a new level, and you can quickly switch between video and photo modes using presets.

Over the last few years GoPro has been trying to shift away from their ‘only for extreme sports athletes‘ reputation and instead cement themselves as a multi-purpose camera that can be used for family vacations, night photography, travel vlogs and more.

Follow NOMADasaurus on Instagram for more examples of GoPro photography.

READ MORE: Here’s our list of the best travel cameras for all budgets (GoPro included)!

What Are the New Features?

My review of the GoPro HERO8 Black shows that there has been a number of big updates over the HERO7, making it the best action and travel camera the company has ever produced.

Here’s some of the new and major features of the GoPro HERO8 Black. I’ll go into more detail on some of them below.

  • TimeWarp 2.0
  • HyperSmooth 2.0
  • SuperPhoto with Improved HDR
  • 4K at 60fps in wide and linear at 100Mbps
  • 1080p at 240fps
  • Night lapse video
  • Folding fingers (removing the need for a frame)
  • 1080p live streaming
  • SuperView, Wide, Linear and Narrow digital lenses
  • Quick video capture presets
  • LiveBurst Mode
  • RAW photos in all modes
  • Waterproof to 10m
  • GPS
  • Voice activation
  • Front-facing microphone with improved audio
  • Optional modular accessories

TimeWarp 2.0

TimeWarp was introduced in the HERO7 Black as GoPro’s version of a hyper-lapse.

It made capturing exciting, fresh content so much easier, and for travel videos, it added a professional touch that usually only came about through complicated video editing techniques.

For the HERO8 Black, they’ve stepped it up another level with TimeWarp 2.0.

The most obvious new feature in this is the ability to simply touch the screen and have the video stop shooting a hyper-lapse, and instead switch to real-time recording.

This is incredibly useful if you are in the middle of a TimeWarp, and you see something interesting that you want to highlight in the middle of the clip.

Touch the screen again, and it’ll go back to shooting the hyper-lapse.

Additionally, now you can just set the time to ‘auto’ and let the GoPro determine the right speed ramping to use, rather than having to guess beforehand which speed will look better.

Testing out the new TimeWarp 2.0 feature on the GoPro HERO8 Black. This allows you to switch between hyper lapse mode and real-time simply by tapping the screen during recording. Unedited video using TimeWarp 2.0, auto settings.

HyperSmooth 2.0

HyperSmooth was the ground-breaking, revolutionary feature in the HERO7 that singlehandedly made GoPro back at the top of the list of best cameras for travel.

Known as the ‘gimbal killer’, HyperSmooth digitally stabilises video content, removing camera and handshake to produce buttery-smooth clips.

It worked so well, I actually stopped using our GoPro Karma Grip for shooting videos, and instead did everything handheld.

For the HERO8 Black, HyperSmooth 2.0 is on the scene, taking things a step further.

Now there are 4 different settings for HyperSmooth – Off, On, High and Boost. Each one has a slight crop factor, gradually increasing the more you stabilise, so you can choose the level that you need for whatever activity you’re doing.

Downhill mountain biking? Set it to Boost and have your mind blown at how stabilised it is.

Just vlogging around town? HyperSmooth 2.0 ‘On’ will remove hand and body shake so you don’t need to stabilise in post-production.

LiveBurst

The LiveBurst feature gets a special mention on our GoPro HERO8 review, as it’s taken the traditional photo burst method and made it much simpler and accurate to capture that special moment.

The camera will now shoot a very fast series of shots in a 3-second video, then will allow you to go through the sequence frame by frame to highlight the exact moment you want to keep.

You can select the image you want directly in the camera, or in the GoPro app later.

Video Presets

The GoPro HERO8 Black video settings give you a huge range of options to choose from to get the best shots of your adventures.

4K linear or 4K wide, 1080p at 240FPS or 2.7k at 120FPS – Environments change quickly, and in the old GoPros, going through and changing your settings to match what you wanted was a time-consuming task.

Now GoPro has placed a number of presets on the main screen to allow you to funnel through these different settings with a simple click.

They come with handy names too, such as cinematic, action, travel and slo-mo, so you can customise each one and know exactly what camera settings you’re getting.

You can even add additional presets if you like, and all presets remember your ProTune settings as well.

Folding Fingers

Since the HERO5, GoPro has been using a naked style of camera, where the body itself is waterproof without a need for a case.

It made the camera that much more versatile, but the only way you could then use any of GoPro’s extensive selection of mounts was to use an additional frame to add a mounting point.

On the HERO8, GoPro have now added folding fingers to the bottom of the camera to get rid of this minor annoyance.

When you are using the GoPro on its own, or maybe inside a Lanyard Sleeve, you can fold the fingers up so they’re out of the way.

Ready to mount it to a pole, suction cup, clamp or helmet? Fold the fingers out and you’re good to go.

So far in my test of this product, the fingers seem to be pretty durable, but there is a bit of slight play in them.

A concern would be that perhaps one day a finger might snap, but it appears as though it would be easily replaced using a small screwdriver.

I haven’t been able to test this personally yet, so hopefully GoPro has already taken this into account and will allow customers to cheaply replace the fingers in case of breakage.

Night Lapse Video

The HERO7 made shooting time-lapses incredibly simple, by automatically turning the images captured into a video inside the camera.

Before that you had to import all your images into a program like GoPro studio or Adobe Premier Pro to turn your photos into a smooth timelapse.

The HERO8 goes one step further by implementing the timelapse video feature into their night lapse mode.

Now all you need to do is set-and-forget when trying to capture a night lapse scene, and your video will be created right then and there.

A night lapse video shot at TeamLAB Borderless in Tokyo.

Better Audio with Front-Facing Microphone

Finally! We’ve been vlogging on the GoPro HERO7 Black for a year now, and while we feel as though it’s almost the perfect camera for travel vlogs, there was one thing that it dropped the ball in – audio.

GoPro has addressed this, and in their new camera they have moved the position of the microphone to the front of the camera and given it an upgrade.

The difference when playing back clips is quite noticeable, and the audio on the HERO8 Black is a huge improvement.

It’s still not perfect though, but it looks like that will be addressed with the new modular accessories that will be coming out later in the year.

Make sure you subscribe to us on YouTube, where we bring out videos of our travels from around the world every week!

RAW Photos in All Settings

I get a lot of people asking me “Can you take photos with a GoPro”, and despite it being known as a video camera, the answer is yes, you can!

In fact GoPro photography is pretty damn amazing for such a small camera.

For those of us that like to edit their photos, GoPro have now introduced the ability to shoot RAW images in every single photography setting on their camera, including on 0.5sec time-lapses and burst mode.

1080p Live Streaming

Now you can set your GoPro HERO8 Black up to live stream in 1080p high definition, compared to 720p on the HERO7 Black.

Just make sure you have a high-speed internet connection.

New Interface

The final new feature on the GoPro HERO8 Black I want to talk about is that the user interface has been given an upgrade, making it easier to switch between settings quickly.

On the video screen you’ll find shortcuts to change the perspective of the shot (Wide to Linear), activate slow-motion mode which puts up the frame rate, digitally zoom the shot or change the HyperSmooth 2.0 setting.

On photo mode you can change the timer, or switch between SuperPhoto, HDR, RAW or standard images.

Best of all, these shortcuts can be changed in the settings.

Personally I never use the digital zoom, but I am always switching my max ISO to keep it as low as possible depending on the light conditions. I’ve changed it to be a shortcut on all my video screens now.

Night Photography GoPro HERO8 Black Review
Taking a picture using night photography mode on the GoPro HERO8 Black.

Modular Accessories – Turn Your GoPro Into a Video Production Powerhouse

The most anticipated upgrade to the GoPro HERO8 Black is the launch of modular accessories for the first time ever.

GoPro is aiming to turn their camera into a complete video production powerhouse for vloggers, and they’ve taken their biggest criticisms and addressed them with new tools for video makers.

Additional accessories will allow you to install your GoPro into a frame with an upgraded microphone on one side and two cold shoe mounts for adding a front-facing LCD screen, an LED light to illuminate your face for vlogging or an extra shotgun microphone for superior audio.

The screen in particular challenges their current biggest competitor, the DJI Osmo Action, which has a front-facing screen built-in.

The GoPro modular screen will be of higher resolution and size, to give people a clearer view to perfectly frame their selfies.

These modular accessories have not been released yet, but rumour has it they’ll be on the market by the end of the year.

GoPro HERO8 Black Modular Accessories
The new modular accessories, coming out soon for the GoPro HERO8 Black!

Video Settings and Improvements

GoPro have improved the video settings on the HERO8, bringing in some much-needed upgrades.

4K at 60FPS in Wide and Linear

The GoPro HERO8 Black still shoots in 4K 60FPS like the HERO7, but now you can change your field of view to be linear at its highest setting, giving a more standard perspective compared to the typical GoPro fisheye look.

1080p at 240 FPS

For super slow-motion captures, the HERO8 films at high definition 1080p at 240FPS.

100mbps Bitrate

In 4K and 2.7K in the 16:9 perspective, the GoPro HERO8 Black now has the ability to capture video at a 100mbps bitrate, greatly improving quality.

Better Battery

GoPro has upgraded the battery for the HERO8 Black, and it now lasts much longer.

I’ve managed to get almost a full day shooting video on one charge, which is amazing.

Can You Use the Same Batteries as Previous GoPros?

Yes! However, some of the new features such as HyperSmooth 2.0 doesn’t work with the older batteries.

The New GoPro App

Until now, GoPro have used two apps to control your camera, and to put together quick and easy videos on your phone – GoPro and Quik.

That’s all changed, and Quik has been merged directly into GoPro, streamlining the workflow for on-the-go video editors.

With the updated GoPro app there are some new themes to make videos, you can add non-GoPro pics and video clips to your edits, and there’s a much-appreciated automatic horizon levelling feature.

Better Low Light Handling

In my tests of the GoPro HERO8 Black review I’ve noticed that the low light performance is a huge improvement over the HERO7, with visibly less noise at higher ISOs.

SuperPhoto GoPro HERO8 Black
Taking a photo in low light using the GoPro HERO8 Black SuperPhoto mode.

GoPro HERO7 Black vs GoPro HERO8 Black – What’s the Difference?

While at first it might not seem as though there has been a huge upgrade between the GoPro HERO8 Black and the GoPro HERO7 Black, the new camera really packs a punch compared to its predecessor.

In this table I’ve highlighted the differences between the two cameras.

I haven’t shared specs that are the same between the two, as these can be found on the GoPro website.

FEATURESHERO8 BLACKHERO7 BLACK
Photo12MP + SuperPhoto With Improved HDR 12MP + SuperPhoto
LiveBurstYes
100Mbps Bit Rate 4K/2.7K
Frameless Mounting with Folding FingersYes
HERO8 Black ModsYes
Video StabilisationHyperSmooth 2.0HyperSmooth
Horizon LevellingWith GoPro App
TimeWarp VideoTimeWarp 2.0TimeWarp
Digital Lenses/FOVSuperWide, Wide, Linear, NarrowSuperView, Wide, Linear
RAW Photo CaptureAll photo modesStandard photo
PresetsYes
On-Screen ShortcutsYes
Night Lapse VideoYes
Live Streaming1080p720p
VIDEO
4KSuperView 30, 24 fps
Wide 60, 30, 24 fps;
Linear; 60, 30, 24 fps
SuperView 30, 24 fps;
Wide 60, 30, 24 fps
2.7KWide: 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
Linear: 60, 30, 24 fps; Narrow: 60, 30, 24 fps
SuperView: 60, 30, 24 fps;
Wide: 120, 60, 30, 24 fps;
Linear: 60, 30, 24 fps
2.7K 4:3 Wide: 60, 30, 24 fps;
Linear: 60, 30, 24 fps;
Narrow: 60, 30, 24 fps
Wide: 60, 30, 24 fps;
Linear: 60, 30, 24 fps
1440p Wide: 120, 60, 30, 24 fps;
Linear: 60, 30, 24 fps;
Narrow: 60, 30, 24 fps
Wide: 120, 60, 30, 24 fps;
Linear: 60, 30, 24 fps
1080pSuperView: 120, 60, 30, 24 fps;
Wide: 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps;
Linear: 120, 60, 30, 24 fps;
Narrow: 60, 30, 24 fps
SuperView: 120, 60, 30, 24 fps;
Wide: 240, 120, 60, 30, 24 fps;
Linear: 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
TimeWarp IntervalsAuto, 2x, 5x, 10x, 15x, 30x 2x, 5x, 10x, 15x, 30x
Time Lapse Video Intervals 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds;
2, 5, 30, 60 minutes
0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds
Maximum Video Bit Rate 100Mbps (4K)78Mbps (4K)
PHOTOS
Megapixels12MP + SuperPhoto With Improved HDR 12MP + SuperPhoto
Burst Rates (Frames/ Second)Auto, 60/10, 30/10, 60/6, 30/6, 30/3, 10/3, 30/1, 10/1, 5/1, 3/1 Auto, 30/6, 30/3, 10/3, 30/1, 10/1, 5/1, 3/1
Time Lapse Photo Intervals 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds;
2, 5, 30, 60 minutes
0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60 seconds
SuperPhotoWith Improved HDRWith HDR
DESIGN & DIMENSIONS
Weight (Camera + Battery)126g116g
Mounting Weight (Camera + Battery + Frame) 126g (no frame required)142g
GP1 ChipYesYes
HDMI PortWith Media Mod for HERO8 Black No
Touch ScreenYesYes
Status ScreenYesYes
USB PortUSB-CUSB-C
Memory Storage1 microSD With at Least Class 10 or UHS-I Rating 1 microSD With at Least Class 10 or UHS-I Rating
Microphones33
LEDs23
BatteryRemovable 1220mAh Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Removable 1220mAh Lithium-Ion Rechargeable
Review of GoPro HERO 8 Black
Testing the GoPro HERO8 Black out at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto, Japan.

Is it Worth Upgrading from the HERO7?

The final question you might be asking yourself after reading this GoPro HERO8 Black review is, “Should I upgrade from the HERO7?”

There’s no doubting that the HERO7 is still a fantastic camera, and if you are just using it for making basic videos and taking pictures of your adventures, there’s no real reason to upgrade to the HERO8 Black.

However if you are a vlogger, or spend a lot of time talking to the camera, then the front-facing microphone and optional modular accessories make the GoPro HERO8 well worth buying.

Also the video setting improvements such as 100Mbps, 4K at 60fps in linear mode and 1080p at 240fps makes capturing the best quality videos much easier.

TimeWarp 2.0 adds a new creative element to your clips to stand out from the pack, as does Night Lapse Video.

Additionally the update with HyperSmooth 2.0 means if you are an action sports enthusiast, you’ll be able to film buttery-smooth videos in any environment without the need for a gimbal.

If you don’t already own the GoPro HERO7 Black and are looking for a new camera to buy, there isn’t any reason (other than to save some pennies) to buy the latest GoPro, as it really is fantastic.

Final Verdict on the GoPro HERO8 Black Review – 9/10

After two weeks of testing the GoPro HERO8 Black alongside my (now) old GoPro HERO7, I can safely give it a solid 9/10 in my review.

There are a few things that don’t make this camera absolutely perfect though.

To start with while I absolutely love the idea of the folding fingers, I’m still not 100% sure of their long-term durability.

If I have no issues with them after a few months I will come back and update this GoPro HERO8 review.

Secondly is the issue of the camera freezing. Every single GoPro I have ever owned has had a problem with it randomly freezing, with me having to take the battery out to reset it.

In the two weeks I’ve owned this camera it has frozen on me twice, both times during heavy use and after I end recording of a video. The video has always saved to the SD card though.

One thing I’ve noticed now though is that I can reset it by simply holding the power button without having to take the battery out, which hasn’t been possible with older models.

Other than that, I haven’t found any other problems with the camera that would make me dislike it.

Overall I am extremely excited about the GoPro HERO8 Black. I love using it, am a huge fan of the results I can get out of filming on it, and Alesha and I will now be vlogging exclusively on it for all our future travel videos.

DISCLAIMER: I was given the GoPro HERO8 Black due to being a member of the GoPro Family. I was not asked to write a review, share my experiences or paid for this article. All thoughts, opinions and levels of stoke on this camera are, as always, my own.

About the author

Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award winning writers and photographers behind this blog, and we have been travelling the world together since 2008. Adventure travel is our passion, and through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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