Same look, different ingredients
The Hero Black range changed its design three years ago and the Hero11 Black is unchanged at this point.
It is inside that novelties can be found, especially at the level of the sensor, an important element of an action-cam. Exit of 23 Mpx sensor in 4: 3 ratio of Hero10 Black; the Hero 11 opts for a 27 Mpx sensor with an unusual 8:7 ratio. Horizon maintenance is even improved for 360° motion correction! Finally, the viewing angle has been expanded to reach a maximum of 12 mm, in reference to the 24×36 format.
In addition, GoPro is exploring a good part of the ecosystem around its camera for further integration with the Quik application and managing cloud backups.
A market dominated by GoPro
In the high-performance action-cam market, there aren’t many competitors to the Hero 11 Black. In addition to its elder, the Hero10 Black, we can mention the DJI Osmo Action 3, which was launched at the same time as the Hero11. Still on the side of Chinese manufacturers, where you can find the insta360 One RS or even the more modest Akaso Brave 8.
Price and availability: GoPro is pushing its subscription
GoPro introduced the Hero11 Black in September 2022 at an RRP of €549 – up from €529 for the Hero10 Black when it launched in 2022.
The complete GoPro subscription is shown at €49.99 per year and allows you to get many advantages such as a long warranty, reduced prices, unlimited storage, automatic editing of sequences or even options to edit the Quik app. Buying the camera by subscribing for 1 year to GoPro allows the price of the Hero11 to drop to €449.
Finally, a “Creator Edition” kit includes several additional accessories for €845 (€660 with subscription):
- The Volta Power and Control Handle
- A lighting module
- A microphone
- A microSD card
The Hero10 Black clone
Placed side by side, it’s impossible to physically distinguish a GoPro Hero11 Black from a Hero10 Black. The frames are strictly parallel. However, when the Hero9 was changed to 10, the “GoPro” color that flocked to the front panel made it possible to identify them; this is no longer the case with the latest model.
The only difference is the number of the device, which is engraved on its left side. So the case is still 72 x 51 x 33 mm for 153 g, ie 1 g less than the Hero10. There is a 2.27″ diagonal touch screen on the back and a rear screen on the front. Two buttons (for power and recording) are used to control the camera.
Waterproof and more durable
The camera can even be submerged unprotected up to 10 m with integrated mounts – valid since the Hero8. Charging and transfer management is still done via the USB-C socket and the preferred storage medium remains the microSD card. The battery provided by the camera is a little more advanced, because it is the so-called “Enduro” accumulator, unique because of its white crowd (and no longer blue).
This battery allows you to get autonomy especially in cold weather, even very cold, since we are talking here about temperatures that reach -20 ° C. This observation is also valid under milder temperatures.
Beware of heating
We were able to film for 45 min before the camera shut down due to overheating (under temperature 23°C, at 4K 30 fps); it has 50% battery left. We let the camera cool down for a few moments, then managed to fully drain the battery for about another 45 minutes, for a total of 1h 28min. A nice score, as long as you can handle the heat.
In the highest sense, the autonomy falls mechanically, but above all the heating that is more felt. Placed on a surfboard or a drone, the effect is less annoying. But the handheld camera, it can be bad. The question of heating, and therefore autonomy, will therefore depend on the conditions of use.
Some of the changes in Hero11 are mostly seen on the software side. The interface is almost the same, but GoPro emphasizes accessibility. New modes are emerging. In a logic of simplification, the Hero11 Black allows you to switch between two modes: a “simplified”, which limits the management of capture parameters to a minimum, and an advanced, more classic mode , where all settings are available; without being too complicated.
However, in use, we often see that the screen may lack touch response and sometimes you have to try several times before validating an order, unless you have very thin fingers.
Star trails at your fingertips
Among the innovations there are many creative options. We can now rely on the “star trails” mode to create timelapses of a starry sky. There is also a “light painting” mode and an option to quickly remove the trails left by the car’s headlights. All of these modes play with exposure time and software adjustments.
It can be very easy to create quite unique sequences by limiting the headaches when shooting; which also facilitates post-production.
More than an action-cam, an “ecosystem”
GoPro is pushing synergy even further with its Quik app (available on Android and iOS) and its online platform.
If the basic editing functions are accessible free of charge, you must go through the subscription box (49.99 € / year) to benefit from all the features. The American company mainly promotes two of them: the automatic download of files to your cloud storage and an automatic editing function of the best moments captured, directly in time the upload.
Automatic editing of “highlights” online by AI
Once the camera is synchronized with your account and Wi-Fi network, you just need to turn it on when you get home to trigger the automatic upload of photos and videos online. At the same time, GoPro’s AI is responsible for analyzing – if the option is activated – your sequences to create a montage of the most important actions.
A function that, if not perfect, is very useful for those who do not know video editing techniques or who do not have time to follow the exercise. This makes it possible to display fairly dynamic sequences on your last ski vacation or your first flight very easily, with the right result due to the small personal investment required.
A new, clearer, larger sensor with an unprecedented ratio
While the last sensor evolution dates back to 2020 with the Hero9 Black, the GoPro Hero11 Black upsets the game even more with a sensor that is not only more defined (27 Mpx versus 23 Mpx), but also a new ratio of 8 : 7 never before in the market.
By filming with the full 1/1.9″ sensor, we can recover more data. According to GoPro, this makes it possible to crop sequences without excessive loss to adapt them to a broadcast on a smartphone. The highest definition remains the same: 5.3K up to 60 fps.
A very wide field of vision
In addition to this new ratio, the Hero11 inaugurates a “new focal length” with “Hyperview” mode. This is equivalent to a 12 mm lens in reference to the 24×36 format. This allows a wider capture, but at the cost of sacred distortion. This viewing angle should only be used for very specific scenes, after making some preliminary tests; Portraits should be avoided especially, because this focal length is not very good for the subjects.
A dive is always a bit tight
GoPro has never been known for the sharpness of its images and this new sensor isn’t going to change that. Thus we find an image that is exactly the same as last year, not very flattering if we crop too much.
Although GoPro announced that the Hero11 can capture sequences of 10 bits – against 8 bits of the old models – this will only please some calibration enthusiasts, without a real gain that can be seen every day .
Almost useless stabilization
The real strength of the Hero11 is to provide a wide range of frames with its new sensor, and of course useless stabilization. In fact, the in-house stabilizer (HyperSmooth) shifts to fifth gear for even more stability.
There is also now an “auto” mode that gives the camera full latitude to adjust the intensity of the stabilization after recording, depending on the types of movements detected. It is added to the previous “activate” and “boost” modes, the latter produces a significant cut of the image.
Best 360 ° horizon compensation
While the Hero10 is limited to a horizon compensation of “only” 45 ° bluffing, the Hero11 can compensate the level of the horizon in a movement of 360 °; is a full rotation! In other words, you can do a complete loop with the camera in hand without moving the image, and have a horizon that is always well positioned. This feature was introduced by DJI after an update to firmware in Action 2.
So we rotated a Hero10 Black and a Hero11 Black clamped. The result was amazing. The two images are actually from two cameras that are synchronized in the same motion. It is also possible to observe the bonfire due to the Sun “following” the rotation of the stabilized Hero11 plane. Without it, it’s almost impossible to imagine that the Hero11 has moved.
In comparison, the Hero10 needs a little old, which is still the reference at this point.
Successful integration between large sensors and algorithms
The algorithms of the Hero11 Black are so advanced that they allow locking the horizon even at 5.3K at 30 fps, where the DJI Osmo Action 3 can only achieve this feat at 2.7K. On the other hand, like the Hero10, you have to be satisfied with keeping the horizon up to 27° in 5.3K 60 fps, 4K 120 fps and 2.7K 240 fps.
In the streaming era, 4K is still not on the horizon. The Hero11 Black is still limited to FHD definition for live streaming. However, Hypersmooth 5.0 stabilization remains active during this time.