GoPro’s $399 Hero8 Black packs more features into a sleek design

GoPro’s new Hero 8 Black, which was unveiled on Tuesday, is a bold and rugged action camera with a new streamlined design that builds on the capabilities of the Hero 7.

Hero 8 Black starts shipping on Oct. 15, but you can preorder it for $399. You’re getting a full feature list at that price.

The first thing you’ll notice is a design that decreases how far the camera lens sticks out and notably gives you more just with the Hero 8 itself. You now have a fully frameless design, so you’ll no longer need to slide it into a casing to mount it or take it out of a frame to charge it. It’s much easier to get the hang of it and cuts down on how much gear you need to carry. I’ve been using the Hero 8 Black, and while the more compact design is great, the really useful feature is the built-in mounting fingers prove to be the standout feature. The fingers fold out from the bottom of the camera, enabling you to mount the Hero 8 Black with ease.

The Hero8 Black is water-resistant, and with a housing can be submerged up to 33 feet deep making it the perfect for sports, vlogging and just capturing what you need to shoot.

The biggest piece of hardware is the 12-megapixel lens that can turn it into four different lenses with software magic. Digitally, you can switch between narrow, linear, wide and GoPro’s incredibly wide “superview.” Notably, switching between these doesn’t result in a distortion, based on our early testing. The backside of the camera features a touchscreen that lets you easily switch modes, choose the lens and even adjust quality. And as with past GoPros, the Hero 8 Black goes up to 4K at 60 frames per second and has the ability to shoot in RAW capture. Those 12-megapixel photos can also be shot in HDR across all modes, perfect for capturing moments with lower light conditions.

Hero8 Black is introducing HyperSmooth 2.0, the onboard stabilization tech that offers big improvements this year. We’ll discuss this in more depth in our full review, which will come later. A Boost mode within HyperSmooth is for those super shaky or bumpy scenarios.

If you’re a fan of creating time lapse photos, TimeWarp 2.0 changes the game. Yes, you can still take an impressive timelapse, but you can also switch back and forth with real-time for a unique end result. We’ll share a clip of this in our full review.

Another feature is new presets, which aim to help you set up and capture content sooner. You can have up to 10 of them on any given Hero 8 Black, but four are presented to you out of the box —- standard, activity, cinematic and slo-mo. I’m jazzed up about these, as you can quickly switch using the screen on the back and it will make it easy for anyone to use a GoPro.

Separate from the Hero 8 Black itself, GoPro is introducing mods for the Hero 8. These attachments, which will launch in December, will let you easily add crucial accessories. The $79.99 Media Mod goes around the Hero 8 Black and gives you USB-C, HDMI and 3.5mm ports, plus a shotgun microphone and two mounts for mounting other accessories. The $79.99 Display Mod gives you a 1.9-inch display that is great for vlogging. And the $49.99 Light Mod is a super bright set of LEDs that can clip onto the Hero 8 Black or attach to a tripod. I haven’t had the chance to try these yet, but I’m eager to put them to the test.

I’m impressed with the overall design changes and just how well the image quality stands up. For $399, you’re getting a dependable and amped-up action camera that can handle a lot. The hardware, along with new presets, multiple lenses and forthcoming mods should expand the GoPro market even more.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed price at the time of publication.

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