Like clockwork, GoPro has announced the latest sports/action camera, the Hero 11 Black. As they do every year, GoPro takes what is already a brilliant camera and makes it even better and this year turns it up to 11.
In the world of sports action cameras, there’s GoPro and everyone else, but that hasn’t stopped the company from improving and expanding its offering in 2022.
What’s really great to see is that the company continues to consider what their end users need and gets after delivering it to them.
This year there’s not just one version of the Hero 11, but two. The Hero 11 Black is complimented with a smaller offering, introducing the Hero 11 Black Mini. This drops the displays from the front and back and results in a square body that can fit in even smaller locations.
I’ve been spending time with the Hero 11 Black over the past couple of weeks and now its time to share my thoughts on the changes and if you should upgrade or not.
This year the Hero 11 Black features an almost identical exterior, with a matte black finish, the same USB-power and data port, along with a microSD card slot. On the front, there’s the camera to check your framing is correct, particularly when recording yourself, while the back offers a larger touchscreen display to review footage and control the camera settings.
The big changes in 2022 is actually on the inside and come together to create the best GoPro yet. There’s an upgraded camera sensor, increasing in size to 1/1.9″. As content creators struggle with the challenge of publishing in both vertical and horizontal orientations for the different platforms, GoPro’s solution is to capture in a new 8:7 aspect ratio which enables great quality, even after cropping.
Photos shot with a Hero 11 are now higher resolution, up to 27MP, up from 23MP in last year’s camera. Personally, I don’t take took many photos with the GoPro, but it is great to have that option. I often find I can pick a still frame from the video footage that is perfectly acceptable for a feature image or thumbnail.
GoPro has once again improved on its image stabilization tech with Hypersmooth 5.0 featuring 360-degree horizon lock. This effectively means that regardless of how you rotate the camera, it’ll lock onto the horizon and keep your footage locked to that level, resulting in nice, steady, stable video.
When it comes to capturing the world, it’s often difficult to get everything into the shot, which means a wide field of view is an advantage. Last year GoPro added the Max Lens Mod a hardware/software combination that unlocked a really wide field of view. This year, they built in Hyperview, offering the largest field of view ever.
Probably one of the biggest changes is to outright video performance. You can now record in 5.3k at 60 frames per second, or importantly, drop down to 4K and you can capture at the higher 120fps, great for creating high-resolution slow-motion videos.
If you’re an existing GoPro owner and considering an upgrade, you may want to consider the Hero 11 Black Creator Edition. GoPro already offers a similar pack for the Hero 10, but rather than months after launch, the Hero 11 Creator Edition will be available from the start of the Hero 11 launch.
For those looking for a vlogging camera solution, this allows you to bolt on housing that adds a microphone and light, as well as a handle that doubles as a tripod.
When I opened the Hero 11 box, I was surprised to see a battery with white accents, rather than the typical blue of years gone by. This year there’s a new Enduro Battery included, offering longer recording times in the same form factor. GoPro says the improvement offer as much as 38% more life in moderate temperatures, but for those who love to record in colder climates, you can expect dramatically better cold-weather performance.
For the first time, GoPro is introducing a battery preference for users, either prioritise battery life, or image quality. Another new change for customers is the ability to choose from Easy Controls (default) or Pro Controls which offer all the full camera controls you know and love. This is designed to make GoPros more approachable to regular users, not just enthusiasts.
If you do opt for the GoPro Subscription, you simply grab the latest version of the Quik mobile app, sign into your account, then connect your camera and you’ll have the option to Automatically upload footage you’ve captured to GoPro’s cloud storage. What’s crazy to think about is that there are no size restrictions on this, so uploads are really just limited by your bandwidth.
If you’re working as part of a team, you have the ability to share links to your content and provide full-resolution downloads, again making it easy to work with your product is always a great idea.
This year’s GoPro retail packaging is also very impressive, much more substantial than previous generations. Included in the box is something called Gumby. This is a series of bendable wires that can wrap around almost everything in the world to become a GoPro mounting surface. This is a great concept, similar to Gorillapod tripods for DSLRs. I did find it tricky to set it in position and get an exact placement, the cables seem to offer some resistance, but overall a very nice inclusion that lets you hang the GoPro from the arm of a chair, a doorknob, a gate, a ladder, a microphone boom arm, almost anything you can think of, so get creative.
There’s no doubt the visuals you can capture with the GoPro Hero 11 Black are stunning, but what’s really impressive is that Image Stabilisation. This is probably best represented by this short clip of me following our Model 3 as it reverses out of the driveway and drives off down the street. At first, I pan the camera while standing still and as you see, this is buttery smooth, despite it all being handheld.
By far the most impressive part is when the car accelerates away and I literally ran after it, the footage is amazingly smooth, as if I shot it on a gimbal (I didn’t). This is also replicated if you clip the GoPro Hero 11 to your bike, or scooter, the footage you end up with is buttery smooth and a real credit to the engineering team who made this possible.
I’ve been waiting for GoPro to support Bluetooth audio for a number of versions and disappointingly, the Hero 11 also lacks this feature. In my mind this makes perfect sense, with may content creators already using Bluetooth lapel microphones for interviews, this would offer the freedom of a cable-free setup, while also having the audio land directly on the footage, accelerating post-production times.
Price & Availability
Here’s where things get weird, GoPro again will offer the camera cheaper with a subscription. The price of the subscription is included in the purchase price for the first year, showing that GoPro is pretty confident you’ll still be around for the long-term to make it worth it for them.
The HERO11 Black is available globally today at A$649.95 if you’re a GoPro Subscriber and A$799.95 if you’re not.
The HERO11 Black Creator Edition is also available globally today at A$929.95 for GoPro Subscribers and A$1,099.95 if you’re not.
The new HERO11 Black Mini will be available at GoPro.com later next month (Oct. 25th) for A$499.95 for GoPro Subscribers and A$649.95 if you’re not. The Hero 11 Black Mini will be rolling out to retailers globally thereafter.
GoPro now has more than 2 million subscriptions to their service and it’s easy to see why. The GoPro Subscription enables your GoPro camera to auto-upload your footage to your GoPro cloud account with the unlimited backup of all your videos and photos at their original source quality. What’s more, you’ll receive a highlight video of your footage immediately after it’s done uploading to the cloud.
As a GoPro subscriber, you get the following benefits:
- Full access to all of the premium editing tools in the GoPro Quik app
- Full access to GoPro’s growing cloud-based editing capabilities
- Live streaming via private links
- Exclusive savings on new GoPro cameras
- Damaged camera protection
- Up to 50% savings on GoPro camera, accessories and lifestyle gear at GoPro.com
For more information on GoPro’s new lineup of HERO11 Black cameras, please visit GoPro.com to learn more.
It’s hard to think of what GoPro will do next with their Hero lineup, with such a refined platform at this point. We’ve seen the introduction of the Mini this year which will be a great choice for some users, but is likely to appeal to those wanting multi-camera shoots without the full price tag.
I love the option to use Hyperview, but we are seeing some distortion on the edges of the footage, so using a max lens mod may still be the best option there.
Overall the quality and control over the quality are fantastic with the Hero 11, including 10-bit colour, up to 120Mbps and the best video so far, 5.3k at up to 60fps. Personally, I want to shoot everything in 60fps and last year you had to drop down to 4K to achieve it. Now with the Hero 11 shooting 5.3k60, it means all my video projects, be it on drones, phones, GoPros or mirrorless cameras can be shot at 60fps with amazing quality. offering lots of resolution to crop if required.
If you have invested in a Hero 10, then it may be difficult to make the Hero 11 make sense, but if you’re on a Hero 9 or below, I’d strongly recommend you consider upgrading. When it comes to the subscription, it’s a no-brainer, get it, whether you keep it after a year, that’s up to you.