That 8:7 aspect ratio is very handy, allowing you to crop your footage to either vertical or horizontal without losing much resolution. Kind of related to that, the GoPro Hero12 Black also lets you shoot vertical footage but without the need to rotate the camera. Nifty.
You also get HDR video with this. That gives a slightly sharper image quality when you want to film anything in complex light conditions.
We found the image stabilisation to be excellent. Any trail runners, mountain bikers, skiers, snowboarders etc are really going to like what this brings to the table. This is easy to activate and makes a notable difference to your footage, removing that nasty juddery picture that was all too familiar with early action cam models. As with previous versions of HyperSmooth, you also get a horizon lock. This means that if your camera rotates (even a full 360°) you can keep the horizon dead level.
We tested this GoPro out with a Max Lens Mod 2.0 – an additional purchase. This lens clips easily and securely onto the GoPro to create an ultra wide-angle covering a field of view of up to 177°. You know when you see 360° cam footage of people scrambling along knife edge ridges or riding through thick powder? This creates a similar image; essentially, if you’re filming yourself or someone near you, it brings more of you and your surroundings into the picture. It’s not really a detail for shooting landscapes or general views, but we found it excellent for filming people running, cycling, snowboarding etc.
Then there are the timelapse or timewarp presets. These are pretty cool. With the timelapse, you can capture things like star trails or night time traffic while the timewarp gives timelapse style footage while you’re in motion, so you can capture dynamic activities like hiking, biking, or driving and allow the viewer to experience the journey from a unique perspective with fluid motion. One touch we really like is that you can schedule your timelapse. So, if you’re wild camping and want to capture the sunrise but don’t want to wake up so early, you can set your GoPro up so that it can capture it for you – saving you from getting out of your warm sleeping bag.
GoPro say that it can delivery 2x longer continuous recording at max resolution compared to the Hero 11 Black and will provide over 2.5 hours of continuous recording at 1080p30.
From our experience, the battery does seem to cope a lot better and it’ll go on a fair bit longer than the previous model before overheating. This is definitely a welcome improvement.
There are two other aspects about this that we really like. The first is the bluetooth audio connection. You can now easily sync any wireless microphone with this and that even includes Apple Air Pods – you can even use your microphone to give the GoPro commands too. Handily, when it comes to editing, you’re also presented with two audio files – the wireless microphone and the build in microphone – and that means you can separate these or interchange between them.
One thing professional filmers and producers) who used GoPros should really appreciate here is the potential for timecode synchronisation across multiple Hero12 Black units. That means if you want to capture something in multiple angles, you can make match-frame edits with far greater ease (and precision) in post-production.
As we said in the intro, this new GoPro doesn’t represent a radical change but all the additions are certainly welcome. To the general user, the battery life, improved stabilisation and social-friendly filming options are all useful touches while pro level filmers will appreciate all of the above, along with the new things like timecode synching and the bluetooth connections. If you’ve got a Hero 11 Black, we wouldn’t say you should feel light behind all of a sudden by sticking with it, but you’ll be pleased with the results if and when you do make the switch to this model.