The GoPro Hero Black 12/voila! Technology, Yinon Ben Shoshan
One name that has become very prominent in the world of action cameras, generic, almost to the point of becoming synonymous with action cameras, is GoPro. Every year, the American company sets a higher bar of improvements and innovations that are packaged into a tiny, rigid package. The new model, the GoPro Hero Black 12, also keeps the tradition alive and is no exception, taking the idea of an action camera to new heights. And for those who are not familiar with the genre, here is a brief explanation: These are small, tough and shock- and water-resistant video and still cameras used by extreme athletes such as snowsurfers, surfers, cyclists, and in recent years also network personalities and YouTubers who find it more useful than a smartphone. Is it worth upgrading – or buying yourself one? We checked and came back with answers.
Aside from the black casing that got tiny splashes of blue, don't look for a major design change in the HERO 12 over previous generations - the new version retains the familiar design of the GoPro cameras (and we're not saying that's a bad thing, right?). And in fact, the American manufacturer continues to provide extreme enthusiasts with a small camera that is easy to operate, but loaded with technology.
Like its predecessors, the camera allows portrait and landscape shooting and also includes a 2.27-inch rear touchscreen and a standard 1.4-inch front, and the two physical buttons – for off/on and off and shooting – remain in place at the top and side of the camera (respectively), along with the two small legs at the bottom that provide the company's dedicated connection to various accessories - such as a selfie stick, helmets, bicycles, Gimbal & C.D. You also get a rigid carrying case, helmet attachment sticker, quick screw attachment bracket and short USB-C cable.
Keeps the familiar design - the GoPro Hero Black 12/voila! Technology, Yinon Ben Shoshan
Here too there is no change - the operating system does not yet support Hebrew, but the entire interface is arranged in a simple way and you can navigate between the menus easily. On the other hand, it was a bit tiring to search through the submenus and dozens of photography options to simply shoot video with a click (like any smartphone). Just for example, it was possible to add a recommended shooting mode for different situations, so that people who are less familiar with photography could choose the desired scene quickly.
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The GoPro Hero Black 12 offers three 3.5K frame modes at 3 frames per second — Widescreen, Vertical (portrait) and Full Frame. Not surprisingly, it provides very high-quality video capture that looks exceptional in natural light conditions. However, the problem begins in more challenging lighting conditions - indoors, for example, photography already suffers from noise (graininess).
If you choose 60K mode, you can also control the lens digitally, shooting in SuperView (for a wide field of view), HyperView (4:16 wider angle). What is a "digital lens"? This means that the same lens and sensor are used, only in conjunction with massive CPU image processing.
In addition, in order to align the company, they took inspiration from the smartphone, and as in the previous generation, it is possible to photograph high. When you rotate the GoPro 9 degrees, the interface rotates on the main and front screens. Once shot, the video itself is already ready in height format and you can post it to your story.
The two physical buttons – for on/off and shooting – also remained in place at the top of the camera and on the side (respectively)/voila! Technology, Yinon Ben Shoshan
And because GoPro packed so much technology into such a compact camera, the Hero 12 Black overheats after prolonged use (and not just in the sun). It's not new or surprising, and the camera doesn't get so hot that youcan'thold it, but it's noticeable.
To sum up the photography experience - extreme enthusiasts or professional photographers will love the camera, but what about more casual users? For people who want to create cool videos for TikTok or Instagram, the vertical video mode is the most useful and even produces better results than any smartphone, making this tiny camera a versatile tool for content creators.
Stills and other vegetables
The Hero 12 Black also introduces still photography with a 27-megapixel sensor – good quality, but come on, that's not the purpose of this camera. You'll also find 8x slower motion video, Max Lens Mod 2.0 lens compatibility (sold separately), Bluetooth connectivity (you can connect AirPods!), support for wireless microphone connection, and easy photo editing in the Quik app.
And here's a sentence and a half about the app: it's fine overall, but there's another way to do, and it's not the most convenient to edit the images within the user interface. The possibilities are not very large, and if you have basic knowledge of editing on a computer or smartphone - you should do it there. Also, to store the content in the cloud, you will be required to pay.
Unlike (professional) DSLR cameras, the sensor in action cameras is rarely spoken of as some kind of killer feature. But on the HERO 11, the camera includes a new sensor that supposedly boasts the same 5K resolution (we'll get to why I'm only writing "allegedly" the same resolution) – but the innovation this time is twofold.
Large-format still photography with the Hero 12 Black/Walla! Technology, Yinon Ben Shoshan
The battery this time has a capacity of 1,720 mAh, and on paper GoPro promises that it allows you to extend video shooting time by up to 2X in maximum quality (5.3K at 60 frames), which means a total of 70 minutes of work. Still, it's a very tricky metric because it depends on dozens of different parameters in your usage - shooting mode, resolution, frame rate and more.
For me, for example, the battery lasted about two hours of work cumulatively in 5.3K shooting mode, with breaks of several hours in between. Do you notice a difference from the previous generation? Yes, very much, but it's still a good idea to have an extra battery for a longer time of documentation.
Compact, but overheats with attractive use (which makes sense)/voila! Technology, Yinon Ben Shoshan
Because it is an action camera, GoPro's most important "weapon" is the stabilization mechanism - HyperSmooth (version 6.0). In the expected competition with Chinese manufacturers, the company invests a lot of resources in order to offer a high-level technological experience inside a tiny camera, without having to use a gimbal (stabilizer). And if you take a regular camera for a moment, and shake it while moving, the video will probably make you mostly dizzy.
GoPro's HyperSmooth is a mechanism based on digital image stabilization (EIS) rather than optical (OIS), yet the results are no less perfect; And probably until you try for yourself you won't understand what it's all about. A few words about how it works: The accelerometer in the camera records every movement, and then in the image processing process (after the photo) the camera "corrects" the movements. However, impressive stability comes at a price – the loss of part of the frame, as the camera zooms deep into the object you're shooting.
To shoot the videos, I used a professional GoPro telescopic rod, and the result is certainly impressive mainly due to the fact that there is no need for an external docking accessory anymore. And by the way, even in running mode, the movements were very slight and the video maintained perfect stability. In the videos below, you can see some of the results:
Photography on the go
Photography while walking
Photographs in vertical format
The GoPro Hero Black 12 managed to impress us in almost every parameter, with extremely long battery life (thank goodness) and top-notch photo quality. And now let's answer the most important question: does this new action camera justify the price of $ 400? The answer is undoubtedly, it justifies. This, by the way, is because there is really no worthy alternative, technological and design, to what this product offers.
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