Customer Ratings & Reviews
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Customer ratings & reviews
Going Pro...for a PricePosted
* Sample video is on YouTube at https://youtu.be/-z8sb9tZdtg . Read Video Quality below for commentary. * The GoPro Hero 7 line represents a consolidation of GoPro’s product portfolio, trimming models like the Session from their offerings and standardizing the lineup to the White, Silver, and Black Hero 7 models. The range-topping Black offers all of the company’s latest technologies, presenting what appears to be a tantalizing upgrade for owners of any previous GoPro camera. It is a fantastically capable device that has no trouble keeping up with fast action as is customary of the renowned action cam line, but a shockingly high price and only a couple convenience features make this a tough sell to all but the most devoted action videographers. - Setup & Features As with all GoPros, packaging was very simple and straightforward, and those who have used their prior cameras will have no trouble getting this device set up. As it was my first time using a proper GoPro, I had some difficulty figuring out how to get the Hero 7 Black up and running, as the included documentation is extremely basic and directs you to the GoPro app on Google Play or the App Store. This would usually be fine, except for whatever reason I could not get the Hero 7 Black to connect to my phone via Bluetooth or WiFi,* meaning I had to guess my way through the menus on the Hero 7 itself. The Hero 7 Black is loaded with features for video recording and photo-taking, and can be triggered to start and stop recording via your phone or voice commands. The rear touchscreen was quite cramped for my large fingers to navigate but worked in a pinch. The quick-start recording option (which triggers the camera to turn on and immediately start recording by pressing the Record button) is extremely convenient and ensured there was little battery life wasted on downtime rather than action shots. Additionally, the front monochrome LCD, though small, was useful to determine whether the camera was recording without needing to look at the camera from behind or unmount it from its base. *I am unsure whether pre-release GoPro software or my phone’s age (2013 flagship running Android 5.0) caused this communication difficulty, and thus cannot fault GoPro for it. - Video + Sound Quality In my time testing the Hero 7 Black, I was able to take a few videos in mixed light settings under various usage scenarios. As with all action cameras, outdoor shots were the highest quality with extremely clear and vivid details. Lower-light shots produced the expected results, though these appeared sufficiently clear and had good range between light and dark shots, rivaling entry-level camcorders. Motion blur was minimal in all situations, and I didn’t notice any significant blurring nor chromatic aberration at the edges of the fisheye lens. Sound quality is acceptable for an action camera. While wind noise is still a major issue, the microphone was adequate in all other situations, and those who are using action cameras in a casual or amateur setting will find the sound reasonable. Anyone using these cameras for higher-quality productions will likely be using external sound capture hardware and sync up the feeds in post-production. The Hero 7’s menus implied that an external bluetooth or USB microphone can be used as a sound source for captured video, but I did not test this feature as I do not have supported hardware. - Stabilization and Sample Video The standout feature for the Black edition over the other models in the Hero 7 lineup is GoPro’s “HyperSmooth” stabilization, which uses an onboard processor and the device’s internal sensors to pan, distort, crop, and warp the image appropriately to produce what the company claims is “gimbal-like” smoothness in your videos at the expense of about 10 degrees field-of-view at the edges of the image. This is only available at certain resolutions and frame-rate settings; it is available on 4K30 but not 4K60, for example. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say the resulting video matches the results from a good external gimbal or track, the resulting video was quite smooth with little stabilization artifacting. Of course, a non-stabilized video can be fixed in post-production, but the convenience of having the video stabilized onboard makes this an attractive proposition for amateur videographers. The following go-karting sample video was taken from the GoPro Hero 7 Black mounted on a go-kart helmet at 2.7K, 60fps, with the HyperSmooth stabilization enabled. These karts were extremely powerful (29HP “Rotax” karts; 3-4x the power of typical rental go-karts) and vibrated like crazy with huge G-forces in the corners. Please pardon the poor angle and strong wind noise. https://youtu.be/-z8sb9tZdtg - Photo Quality I tested photo quality using burst photography (30 photos per 2sec) with linear lens view. Unfortunately this means I had to forego RAW image shooting (available on single shots), which did lead to some compression artifacting. I found that the resulting image quality was decent, but any fine details are significantly muddied. Regardless, the lack of optical zoom removed the Hero 7 Black from consideration for most photography uses, and though it does work as expected the image quality is sub-par against most flagship smartphones. Definitely stick to videography with this one. Please refer to the images attached to this review for an example in moderate, uniform light. - Battery Life This is the area where the latest GoPro offering disappointed the most. While I realize that recording quality will affect the battery life, as will enabling features like HyperSmooth stabilization, I achieved a disappointing 50 minutes of video record time on a full charge at 2.7K, 60fps, stabilized, with the screen off. Battery life has always been on the short side for most GoPros and I was hoping that this would have been improved some as the company revamped its lineup. If you’re planning on an extended outing and don’t want to swap batteries, you’ll want to pack an external battery and USB-C cable to keep the camera going. - Bottom Line This is a feature-packed action camera that delivers on all fronts, producing the great videos commonly associated with the GoPro name, but it is extremely difficult to overlook the price. With an MSRP of $399 USD, this camera costs $100 more than the Hero 7 Silver (which foregoes the HyperSmooth stabilization and front LCD panel) and double that of the Hero 7 White. While the new features are useful, they do not justify the cost compared to competing action cameras, and it feels like the entire lineup carries a premium just for the name recognition. Simply put, this camera feels overpriced, and I would not recommend buying at this price (unless the advanced onboard stabilization is a feature you desperately need or want). The Hero 7 Silver would be the more fitting purchase for those with existing GoPro accessories and generations-old cameras ready for upgrade.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
New stabilization is the real deal, great cameraPosted
The GoPro Hero 7 Black is the new top of the line action camera from GoPro. In the age of cell phones GoPro finds itself in something of an interesting position. GoPro, like many other camera companies, needs to convince you that carrying – and purchasing – a dedicated camera is worth it. The Hero 7 Black tries to do just that by providing capabilities and features that no cellphone – or other action camera – can match. The major feature that GoPro is touting on the Hero 7 Black is the new hypersmooth software image stabilization, which provides image stability that previously was limited to a dedicated gimbal. For the most part, it works, and saves you the cost and bulk of having another piece of hardware. It also has the advantage that it works underwater and in any conditions the GoPro can handle. There are some limits to the video resolutions that can use hypersmooth, but the most popular ones are covered. Personally, I found 2.7k/60fps/Linear to be about the perfect setting for general video taking. On that mode the hypersmooth is extremely effective, with the camera able to handle a remarkable amount of shake and still keep the jitter out of your video. It can’t quite compensate for all motion as well as a mechanical gimbal, but the image is actually more natural feeling to me, it has just enough motion that it feels natural and doesn’t have the almost dreamlike floating effect that gimbals create. The Hero 7 Black can go all the way to 4K/60 with hypersmooth, and also offers other modes including super slo-mo and hyperlapse, a stabilized time lapse that is a lot of fun for capturing movement through space or around objects. Other features include a live streaming function that uses your cell phone to provide the data connection. It also has GPS, and a new super photo mode that does in camera image enhancement with HDR. My review includes both a pic without and with the HDR enabled, and it does a good job of managing high contrast situations and increasing color without making the image overly flat without natural contrast. The GoPro also responds to voice commands, which is very helpful if you have the camera in a position where it is hard to reach or your hands are full and not able to get to the camera. It can also connect to your smartphone or tablet wirelessly to view and copy media, and GoPro offers some decent editing software to do some quick edits. It has only two buttons, one is the shutter, and the other is the power and mode selector. It also has a capacitive touch screen to navigate settings and provide additional control. One note, if using the camera in or around water, the screen can sometimes pick up contact that you aren’t making and it can sometimes get a little crazy. There is a screen lock feature to stop this unintentional input from registering. Since this is a GoPro, there is an entire ecosystem of accessories to mount the camera to, making it far more capable than your average point and shoot for capturing action shots and going into extreme environments. The package includes the camera, “the frame” which clamps the camera in a tight frame case that has a quick mount included. It also has two adhesive mounts (one flat and one curved) to secure the camera to a helmet or other hard surface. Additionally, a USB A to C cable to connect to a PC and to charge the camera is in the box. The included directions are simple picture directions to show you how to get it out of the frame, charged, and telling you to get the app for your mobile device. You’ll have to go online to learn more about your camera. As this product is new to market, there are a couple of quirks with the software that should be worked out soon, one of which is when the camera is turned off shortly after turning on, it takes a while for the camera to actually shut down, sometimes around 10 seconds. The largest drawback to the GoPro is the battery life. One trade off for the remarkably small package with all of this technology and intense image processing is that the battery is small for the task being asked of it. There are some things that can be done, such as turning off some of the in camera processing and only activating the wireless functions when needed, but you are going to want to invest in extra batteries to record a full day of adventures. Fortunately, the batteries are not terribly overpriced as is often the case for cameras. This little camera is pretty expensive, but it does pack an impressive number of features in a compact, rugged, and waterproof (to 33ft) body. Since it can go places your cell phone can’t, or you wouldn’t want to put it, the GoPro Hero 7 Black still fills a unique need and it is hard to find another product that can do everything it can do. The hypersmooth stabilization is a real revolution in in-camera software stabilization and allows for the creation of ready to use video right out of the camera or live using the live streaming function.
I would recommend this to a friend
Great Action CameraPosted
GoPro 7 Black Full disclosure: I received a GoPro 7 in exchange for an honest and timely review. So far, I love my new GoPro 7 Black. I purchased a GoPro4 Silver several years ago and this is a very nice upgrade for me. I have not evaluated the 5 or 6, so I don’t know when many of the differences were originally introduced, but there are clearly some nice improvements. Like my 4 Silver, the 7 Black has both front and rear displays which I find indispensable. The front display is a small B&W display for settings which will rotate automatically when the camera is rotated 90 degrees. The 7 has only two buttons compared to three on my 4 Silver. I always found the three button model to be a bit confusing, so eliminating one button was a good thing from my perspective. My 4 Silver required the clear housing to make it waterproof/weatherproof. The 7 Black no longer needs this housing. It has a frame that is open in the front and back, but snaps on in a similar fashion to the original housing. The lens on the 7 appears to integrate the rectangular lens cover from the original housing, into the camera itself. I like having direct access to the touch screen at all times. I haven’t tried using the camera underwater yet, so I can’t speak to the degree of waterproofing provided by the new design. I assume it is as specified. The gaskets on the battery and connection doors are pretty small and I suspect it would be wise to inspect these prior to entering the water to make sure they are not damaged or dirty. The batteries are similar but different between my 4 Silver and the 7 Black. I have three batteries and a dual battery charger for my 4 Silver. Since they won’t work on my 7 Black, I have ordered the charger (which comes with a battery) and a 3rd battery to match the items in my 4 Silver kit. Though I was disappointed that I needed to buy both new batteries and a new charger, I understand that new technologies and requirements often place a greater demand on power. Upon researching this, it appears the battery design changed for the Hero 5 and beyond, so my 4 Silver was the last model to use the older battery design. Of course the 7 has great 4K video, time-lapse, time released shutter (0, 3s or 10s) and many choices in resolution for both video and still photos. There are also three choices for the Field of View on the lens for video...Linear, Wide & Superview and two for photos...Linear or Wide...no Superview choice there. I find all video modes to be crisp and clear. Really nice video in all modes and, of course, 4K is the current pinnacle. The 7 Black offers voice control which is pretty handy. I can say “GoPro start recording” and “GoPro stop recording” or “GoPro take a photo” (“take a picture” also works). I have not fully explored the voice commands yet to see what else I can do via voice commands. A hallmark of GoPro cameras has been image stabilization and the 7 Black has improved on that. I am impressed with the smooth video I get from the 7 Black when walking or riding in a car while recording video. It is very smooth. Audio is very good. I would think the elimination of the clear housing improved the audio, but I haven’t done a good side by side test with my 4 Silver to prove that. However, the audio on the 7 Black is very good for an action camera. There is a feature called “short clips” that allows me to take videos of 15 or 30 seconds in length. While the video is recording, a red progress bar makes its way around the perimeter of the display so I can easily see the length of the video I have recorded and what is left to go. I think this will be handy. I often watch the timer on my videos intentionally to keep them to a manageable file size. Now I can just watch the progress bar and recording will stop automatically even if I don’t watch. The GPS allows data to be tracked while recording. Speed, GPS location and G-Force are among the items you can track and display on your video, if desired. It is amazing. The GoPro app works well for connecting with the camera and downloading photos and videos. It can take quite a while to download long videos, so I usually transfer large files using a cable I like the 7 Black use of USB-C. Also, it seems like the battery is heavily taxed when transferring videos via WiFi. I watched 25% disappear quickly while doing a wireless transfer. The same files took 2 min 21 secs to transfer via USB and the camera charged the battery a few percentage points while doing the transfer. If you don’t have an action camera or have an older GoPro, I recommend you take a look at the GoPro 7 Black. It is a great action camera and a nice upgrade over older models for sure.
I would recommend this to a friend
Quality Action Videos, Not As Good For PicturesPosted
The GoPro Hero 7 has pretty good build quality, considering all the technology necessary for its functioning is fitted into such a small sized camera that is also waterproof. I have never owned a GoPro style of action camera before, so I do not have much to compare this GoPro to, but I was surprised that the battery on the GoPro Hero 7 drains really unexpectedly fast when connected to a Smartphone. Upon doing some online research, I found that the fast draining battery happens because of the following: When the GoPro is put into the App viewing mode, the GoPro camera uses extra battery power to create a wireless signal, of which the Smartphone connects directly to the GoPro’s wireless signal, and so it is the wireless signal which drains the GoPro’s battery power to this extent. It is best to only connect to the GoPro app when necessary, and then open the app’s settings and turn off the wireless connections whenever not needed. Always remember when you have turned off the wireless connections, because if you put the GoPro Hero 7 in app connection mode with the wireless connections option turned off, the on screen display does not show any message saying that the wireless connections are turned off. I spent 20 solid minutes one time trying to connect my Smartphone to my GoPro and I had forgotten I had set the wireless connections mode to OFF. Recording time test: I set the GoPro video settings to the following options, 4k, Wide, 30 frames per second, I was using a 64GB SanDisk micro SD card. I started the GoPro recording, and I started a stopwatch to see how long it would record for. The GoPro Hero 7 recorded at these settings for 1 hour and 21 minutes and 38 seconds. I had previously watched a video on YouTube which compared the recording time of the GoPro Hero 5 vs the GoPro Hero 6, and in that video, the GoPro Hero 5 recorded at the same settings for 1 Hour and 35 minutes, and the GoPro Hero 6 recorded at the same settings for 1 Hour and 44 minutes. Anyway, I am not sure what all changes GoPro has made to this newer GoPro Hero 7 camera, but I am guessing that the improved Video Stabilization that this GoPro Hero 7 has, might be draining a bit more battery power. Upon starting the GoPro app, it brings up a prompt suggesting to turn on Bluetooth, and I wondered if Bluetooth was 100% necessary, since it would not really seem like it would be necessary to have WiFi and Bluetooth both turned on in order to connect a Smartphone to the GoPro. I found that it is indeed possible to connect the GoPro app to the GoPro camera, without turning on the Bluetooth on my Smartphone, so I do not know why the process of using the GoPro app suggests to turn on the Bluetooth on the Smartphone. My complaint in the GoPro app requesting to turn on the Bluetooth, is that most customers would probably not prefer to turn on both WiFi and Bluetooth, unless it is totally necessary, since both signals would use more battery power on the Smartphone. I found that the GoPro Hero 7 takes somewhat average pictures, and the up close pictures are downright blurry, especially when the pictures are being taken indoors under low or medium lighting. Pictures taken using the GoPro Hero 7 in brighter outdoor lighting from a distance are certainly better, and I am guessing these distance pictures might be on par with what is expected from a 12 mega pixel camera. The up close images I took outdoors with my GoPro Hero 7 were overall blurrier than I had expected. I took several up close pictures outdoors in ample sunlight, and the pictures were all blurry, I expected the blurriness I had experienced indoors to be completely caused by the dimmer indoor lighting, but it seems to be that the up close pictures taken with this camera are not in focus. I know that cameras in general take lesser quality pictures in low lighting, so I kind of expected the pictures I snapped in my living room to be of lesser quality. The images I captured using the GoPro Hero 7 in my living room were actually under pretty decent lighting. The lights in my living room are certainly not described as low lighting, and could be described as above average for indoor lighting. I did a comparison of the pictures that I captured indoors with the GoPro Hero 7, compared to indoor pictures from my $650 Smartphone, and I found the pictures that were taken using the GoPro Hero 7, were noticeably darker and much blurrier, to the point that I was surprised how blurry some of the pictures were. The main issue seems to be that this GoPro does not seem to focus on items that are anywhere near the lens, up close pictures using the GoPro Hero 7 are essentially blur central. I had expected that the bigger lens on the GoPro Hero 7 would have been capable of capturing some great up close picture, I guess not. The images I captured using my GoPro Hero 7 were taken using the 12 mp linear option & the Superphoto option was set to HDR Only, this seems to be the best options for the photo settings of the GoPro Hero 7. The GoPro Hero 7 is simply optimized for capturing faster action video footage, and it is not so great at taking up close pictures, especially in low to medium indoor lighting. The GoPro Hero 7 does come with a nice quality USB C cable that is 22 ½ inches long. It is kind of a disappointment that there is no charger included. I think that not including a charger, was not a very good customer satisfaction choice to make on GoPro’s part, after all, what customer would prefer to not have an included charger? I guess you could say that the GoPro cameras are considered kind of a premium product which also comes with a premium price, and so for there to be no charger included, that is kind of a bit of a let down. I own a substantial collection of expensive electronics, and so I know what is considered a good value at a certain price point, and I feel as if the external charger with a spare battery should have been included with the GoPro Hero 7 kit, and that would have made the selling price way more understandable. Maybe even one or two more accessories. The GoPro Hero 7 is obviously one of the better quality action cameras, but it is lacking a bit in versatility considering that it takes blurry up close pictures. Logically it would seem like such a high quality lens would at least be able to take as good of pictures as a flagship Smartphone. Considering that the GoPro Hero 7 has a premium price for such a small camera that does not even include a charger, I would consider the GoPro Hero 7 kit to be lacking a bit in value. If someone is a hardcore outdoor action sports enthusiast, the GoPro Hero 7 would be more enticing. I am an older guy who is not as active, and I had planned on using the GoPro Hero 7 more for indoor up close photography and bit of miscellaneous videos for YouTube, so this is part of the reason why my review might seem a bit overly critical. I did not get to test the GoPro Hero 7 for what it is best at, which is faster action videos, and I am sure it is great for this purpose, and I am sure the improved Video Stabilization will result in better action videos. You will have to read other reviews to know more about the fast action performance of the GoPro Hero 7. I am rating the GoPro Hero 7 kit at 3.5 out of 5 stars, mainly because of the lack of value.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend