The GoPro HERO8 Black is the latest, most advanced action camera you can currently buy – but if you already have the HERO7, you might be wondering whether an upgrade is worth the effort. For those of you shopping for an action camera but have anything older than the HERO7 (or this $40 knockoff) an upgrade to the HERO8 would be a noticeable improvement.
This post however is not for you – it’s for HERO7 owners worried they’re stuck with a dinosaur of a camera compared to the 8.
Three Main Differences
Compared to the HERO7, the 8 brings with it 3 significant changes most relevant to whether or not you should upgrade. The first of those changes is the hardware. The HERO8 is a slightly larger camera, with a different lens size than the 7. These differences in the physical hardware of the HERO8 mean most of the accessories you already have for the 7 won’t transfer over.
You’ll have to not only pay for the cost of an upgrade (the 8 is on sale for $399 while the 7 still sold new is $329) but also invest in a new GoPro accessory ecosystem. For vloggers this is mixed news since any external microphone setup you have now won’t work on the 8 – but come December GoPro will introduce external components to turn a HERO8 into a more elegant vlog solution.
Unfortunately at the moment those options – mainly an external microphone, light, and flip view screen, aren’t on sale yet. Not knowing how well they’ll perform (compared to a Rode VideoMicro setup in the video below) I’d suggest waiting to jump into the HERO8.
Another small but significant design modification is GoPro integrating mounting clips directly into the frame of the camera. Having a folding clip system in the GoPro eliminates the need for an external mount, an elegant and long needed modification. Another great improvement on the HERO7 but not exactly worth a complete re-haul of your action camera setup.
The form factor is new and the accompanying accessories to fit it aren’t out yet (not to mention, expensive) meaning a HERO8 upgrade is probably premature. Remember these are essentially all first generation products – a phase where electronics tend to evolve rapidly.
Hypersmooth For Action
Unless you really want to be an early adopter a move from the HERO7 to the 8 isn’t worth the time and cost for most users. There is though one feature which makes the HERO8 a decent upgrade choice from the 7 – Hypersmooth 2.0. The HERO7 has the first version of Hypersmooth, a feature that kicks in to stabilize shaky camera footage to make it look beautifully smooth. GoPro has introduced Hypersmooth 2.0 on the HERo8 and it will all but remove the need for any gimbal.
Hypersmooth 2.0 in the HERO8 is the largest technological leap from the 7, not to take away from its own Hypersmooth. For those of you who aren’t necessarily filming extreme sports all the time on your 7, you’ll be happy with what you have. The select few of you who do shoot a lot of action camera footage – biking, running, weird flippy-stuff – then Hypersmooth 2.0 puts you in a select group of videographer who would be happy exchanging a HERO7 for an 8.