The new GoPro 8 Black was released last month and life is about to change once again. This latest action camera by GoPro promises to be a game-changer for those who love extreme sports. Skydivers’ received a great surprise with the GoPro 7 Hero Black in 2018 because of its excellent stabilization system and so the expectations for the new action camera are very high.
Many journalists, bloggers and famous athletes received the new GoPro 8 ($399.99) to review it, before it was released to the general public. Overall, they liked GoPro’s new action camera and were extremely impressed with the improved HyperSmooth 2.0 feature.
Joel Burgess from TechRadar said: – “the new GoPro Hero 8 kills the gimbal with next-level image stabilization”.
The innovations we see with the new GoPro Hero 8 Black are subtle but significant. They are interesting enough to convince me to upgrade my equipment. Let’s go over the positive points.
- Digital stabilization
- Time-saving presets
- New and unique time-lapse modes
- Built-in mount
- Better microphone
- New media mods
Besides these innovations, the new GoPro 8 has increased its performance by using new software and better hardware. All these factors contribute to a much nicer and friendly user experience.
The new GoPro 8 has various features; the same as in the GoPro 7 and prior models. So I intend to talk only about the new features. If you want to have more details about previous features, we have the GoPro Hero 7 Black review on the blog as well. Check it out!
- HyperSmooth 2.0
- TimeWarp 2.0
- Live burst photos
- Improved HDR
- Better low light image processing
- RAW photos in DNG format
- 100 Mbps bitrate for 4K and 2.7K
- Capture presets
The new HyperSmooth 2.0 was what I was waiting for the most. I wanted to try out the new GoPro Hero 8 so bad just because of this. Many people said that the GoPro 7 did not deliver a real gimbal. However, in my opinion, GoPro 7 and GoPro 8 do a fantastic job in regards to stabilization.
HyperSmooth 2.0 offers three types of stabilization. The first two modes, on and high, crop the video about 10% from the wide lens, while boost mode crops about 25%. It gives the new GoPro 8 the ability to take off severe camera bounces. However, if we are in the sky and we have a decent amount of jumps and experience, we will not have bumps as if we were riding a bicycle. Therefore, it is my opinion that the GoPro 7 and GoPro 8 do a similar job, but with GoPro 8 cutting out a lot more of our video.
In regards to ground-based sports, an action camera this smooth is a revelation. What makes this feature even better is that HyperSmooth is available now in all frame rates and resolutions, which it was not before.
When we use the HyperSmooth 2.0 in high mode, the crop is the same as the GoPro Hero 7 Black. Keep in mind that if you are in proximity to the skydive (close to the formation), you may get your shot cropped if you are using the boost mode. I will need to get used to this as well.
Last time around, the GoPro Hero 7 Black improved the TimeWarp feature by having it record videos instead of stills. This time they have added a really cool upgrade. You can go into the middle of a time-lapse and switch into real-time, then back again with just a click on the screen. The only issue is that the real-time segment will not have any audio.
Also, GoPro 8’s interval photo feature has a new stabilization system. It absolutely makes the time-lapse even better when the camera is moving. It also has an internal function that adds more frames when a lot is going on.
Photo & Video updates
- Live burst captures a series of 90 images in 1.5 seconds every time we push the record button. For myself, it will be much easier to get that swoop shot or even shots inside of the wind tunnel.
- RAW photos is now available in DNG format. The GoPro Hero 8 allows you save photos in DNG, which offers faster storage and enhanced compression, making the files smaller without disturbing quality. It is important to note that this feature is limited to 5 second intervals in time-lapse mode, as a result of processing time – perhaps not so useful for skydiving videos. Personally, I’m thinking about using my GoPro 8 for pictures and the GoPro 7 for videos.
- GoPro Hero 7 and GoPro Hero 8 have 12 MP camera, the difference is that GoPro 8 has SuperPhoto with improved HDR.
- The GoPro 8 has a new lense available. In the past we had the “superview, wide and linear,” now we also have available a “narrow” lens perspective. As well, the GoPro Color mode technology will be more accurate in terms of vibrancy and contrast. The option to switch to Flat color mode remains.
- The bitrate for 2.7K and 4K increase from 75Mbps to 100Mbps.
- Livestream will be available in Full HD 1080p resolution to Facebook, Youtube, and other platforms.
The capture presets are customizable settings that allow us to preset our favorite or most used settings on our GoPro Hero 8. We can do this on videos and photos, and this feature truly makes my life so much easier.
I use this feature mostly on videos. Now it is much easier to change the settings, such as the HyperSmooth stabilization and resolution, based on the skydiving that I’m about to do. Sometimes that small 10% cut on the edges will hurt my video. It all depends on what I’m doing and where I will be in the formation — overall, a really significant improvement.
“Word on the street is that this is the most intuitive GoPro camera yet.” – Brent Rose, The Verge
New GoPro app
Everyone is talking about the new GroPro application, which is a massive improvement over the older version. The video editing app “Quik” is built-in, which really simplifies things. You can use the free app to remotely control your camera, edit videos, and organize footage.
I have tried the version for iOS, and it runs very smooth, almost HyperSmooth. The Android version I have not used, and to be honest, I’m not sure if there is one available for download.
The new GoPro Hero 8 Black comes out with few improvements on its equipment. The main thing I could find out about was the microphone and the new battery. Please let me know if you are aware of anything else.
The camera is mounted without a frame, and the primary microphone is in the front of the action camera. Everyone is reporting this as a big improvement in audio quality. In addition, some Mods have not been released yet, which will take advantage of the side-mounted USB port: a shotgun-style microphone, a 3.5mm mic port, and two cold shoes.
These improvements are not a big deal for skydivers because the only thing we can hear is the wind during free fall, although inside the plane and at the exit, for sure we will be able to listen to skydivers saying lots of funny things.
The GoPro Hero 8 Black’s lithium-ion battery has a higher capacity than the one used on previous GoPro models. However, the new action camera draws a little bit more power, and so it has an identical 1,220mAh lifespan.
We were talking about it other day; the question was why the new battery has that blue thing on the bottom. Well we have found the answer. You can use previous batteries in the new GoPro Hero 8, however there is no way to get all the features running on GoPro 8 without the new battery.
The battery lasts around 50 minutes when shooting in 2.7K or 4K, but we can make it last longer shooting lower resolution footage or TimeWarp videos. A new battery at the GoPro Store costs $19.99.
Should I buy the new GoPro Hero 8 Black
Overall the most impressive feature of the new GoPro Hero 8 action camera is the HyperSmooth 2.0 stabilization. It gets noticed clearly on any extreme sport that has contact with any surface. However, for skydiving, I did not see a significant change. I’m sharing a comparison video from GoPro Hero 7 Black and from my new GoPro Hero 8 Black. In my opinion, they are very similar. However, my perception changes after our group lands and starts to walk back to the drop zone.
This video has no editing besides cropping and audio off.
There are many things that do not affect me directly when I’m doing a skydiving video. Yet, if you use a GoPro for other things, it might help a lot. For example, the unique Time Lapse modes, TimeWarp and the improved microphone. For me, I do not use that while skydiving.
Also, I did not like the low-light performance very much. It is ok, but it is not as good as advertised. Besides that, it comes to my biggest concern — the camera body itself. In the GoPro Hero 7 we could remove and switch lenses, but not anymore. That “issue” made be buy the GoPro Plus Subscription. It adds up to the cost of the camera, but they promise that if something happens with your camera, they will give you a new one with no questions asked. The next thing I am going to buy is the lens and screen protection.
I don’t feel guilty to have bought the new GoPro Hero 8 Black. The feeling of being able to test the new devices that come out is what I like, and that was why I bought it in the first place. I wish GoPro would start sending me a few cameras to try out during my skydiving jumps, but I think they do not know me, (yet)!
However, my biggest advice is that if you have a GoPro Hero 7, stick with it a little longer. On the other hand, if you have a GoPro Hero 6 or below and some extra money ready to spend, get the new GoPro Hero 8. You now know the difference. The GoPro Max is also a good option if you want some bad ass footage.
What mount do you use?
This question came up a few times on my Instagram and my Facebook Page. The truth is that I’m lucky enough to have Filip Hovorka working close by at Skydive Empuriabrava. He is the founder of a company called Modern Camera Solutions. When I got the GoPro 8, I just had to take it to him, and in less than three days he was able to make a new prototype for testing. We add the GoPro Hero 8 to it, and it’s looking perfect.
I am sure there are other mounts around. Please check the one you feel more comfortable with and go for it. I’m just saying that the one I am currently using from Modern Camera Solutions, is pretty damn good.
- GoPro Hero 8 Black
- GoPro Hero 7 Black
- Modern Camera Solutions Double Mount
- TonFly 2.5X Open Face Helmet
Keep coming back
Skydiving with cameras can be dangerous, please read more about it and always ask questions with more experienced skydivers. We all love to explain things related to skydiving. Don’t ever be shy.
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