Same look, different components
The Hero Black range renewed its design three years ago and the Hero11 Black does not change on this point.
It is inside that the novelties are found, in particular at the level of the sensor, a crucial element of an action-cam. Exit the 23 Mpx sensor at the 4: 3 ratio of the Hero10 Black; the Hero 11 opts for a 27 Mpx sensor with an unusual 8:7 ratio. Horizon maintenance has been further improved for 360° movement correction! Finally, the angle of view has been widened to reach a maximum of 12 mm, in reference to the 24×36 format.
In addition, GoPro has reviewed a good part of the ecosystem around its camera for further integration with its Quik application and the management of cloud backups.
A market dominated by GoPro
On the high-performance action-cam market, there are not many competitors to the Hero 11 Black. In addition to its elder, the Hero10 Black, we can mention the DJI Osmo Action 3, 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 pushes 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 displayed at €49.99 per year and allows you to obtain several advantages such as an extended warranty, price reductions, unlimited storage, automatic editing of sequences or even editing options on 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 mic
- A microSD card
The Hero10 Black clone
Placed side by side, it is impossible to physically distinguish a GoPro Hero11 Black from a Hero10 Black. The frames are strictly identical. However, when the Hero9 was renewed by the 10, the color of the “GoPro” flocking on the front panel made it possible to differentiate them; this is no longer the case with the most recent model.
The only distinction is on the number of the device, engraved on its left side. The case is therefore still 72 x 51 x 33 mm for 153 g, i.e…. 1 g less than the Hero10. There is a 2.27″ diagonal touch screen on the back and a back screen on the front. Two buttons (for power and recording) are used to control the camera.
Waterproof and more durable
The camera can still be submerged unprotected up to 10 m with the integrated mounts – which is valid since the Hero8. Charging and transfer management are still done via the USB-C socket and the preferred storage medium remains the microSD card. The battery delivered with the camera has evolved somewhat, since it is the so-called “Enduro” accumulator, remarkable for its white flocking (and no longer blue).
This battery allows you to gain autonomy especially in cold weather, even very cold, since we are talking here about temperatures that can 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 turned off due to overheating (under a temperature of 23°C, in 4K 30 fps); it then had 50% battery remaining. We let the camera cool down for a few moments, then we were able to fully drain the battery in almost another 45 minutes, for a total of 1h 28min. A nice score, provided you can manage the heat.
At the highest definitions, autonomy falls mechanically, but it is above all the heating that is felt even more. Mounted on a surfboard or on a drone, the effect will hardly be annoying. But handheld camera, it can be very unpleasant. The question of heating, and therefore autonomy, will therefore depend on the conditions of use.
Some changes on the Hero11 are mainly to be found on the software side. The interface hardly varies, but GoPro but emphasis on accessibility. New modes are emerging. In a logic of simplification, the Hero11 Black allows you to switch between two modes: a “simplified”, limiting the management of capture parameters to a minimum, and an advanced, more classic mode, where all settings are available; without however being too complicated.
Still, in use, we always find that the screen can lack responsiveness to the touch and you sometimes have to try several times before validating an order, unless you have particularly thin fingers.
Star trails at your fingertips
Among the novelties are several creative options. We can now count on a “star trails” mode to create timelapses of a starry sky. There is also a “light painting” mode and an option to easily capture the trails left by vehicle headlights. All these modes play on the exposure time and on software adjustments.
It then becomes very easy to produce fairly spectacular sequences by limiting the headaches when shooting; which also facilitates post-production.
More than an action-cam, an “ecosystem”
GoPro is pushing the synergy ever 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 of course go through the subscription box (49.99 € / year) to benefit from all the features. The American firm mainly highlights two of them: the automatic downloading of files to your cloud storage and an automatic editing function of the best moments captured, directly at the time of the upload.
Automated editing of “highlights” online by AI
Once the camera is synchronized with your account and Wi-Fi network, you just have to turn it on when you return home to trigger the automatic uploading of photos and videos online. At the same time, GoPro’s AI is responsible for analyzing – if the option is activated – your sequences to produce a montage of the most significant actions.
A function which, if not yet perfect, is rather useful for those who do not master video editing techniques or who simply do not have time to comply with the exercise. This makes it possible to show fairly dynamic sequences of your last ski vacation or your first flight very easily, with a correct result in view of the little personal investment required.
A new, more defined, larger sensor with an unprecedented ratio
While the last evolution of the sensor dated back to 2020 with the Hero9 Black, the GoPro Hero11 Black upsets the game a little more with a sensor that is not only more defined (27 Mpx against 23 Mpx), but also a new ratio of 8: 7 unprecedented on the market.
By filming with the entire 1/1.9″ sensor, we can thus recover more data. According to GoPro, this makes it possible to crop the sequences without too much loss in order to adapt them to a broadcast on a smartphone. The maximum definition remains then 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 the “Hyperview” mode. It corresponds to a 12 mm lens in reference to the 24×36 format. This allows an even wider capture, but at the cost of sacred distortions. This angle of view should only be used for very specific scenes, after having carried out some preliminary tests; portraits should be avoided in particular, as this focal length is not particularly flattering for the subjects.
A dive always a little tight
GoPro is not really known for the sharpness of its images and it is not this new sensor that will change the situation. We thus find an image substantially identical to that of last year, hardly flattering if we crop too much.
Even if GoPro announces that the Hero11 can capture sequences in 10 bits – against 8 bits on the old models – this will only make some calibration enthusiasts happy, without real gain being perceived on a daily basis.
Almost foolproof stabilization
The real strength of the Hero11 is therefore to offer a wide multitude of frames with its new sensor, and of course foolproof stabilization. Indeed, the in-house stabilizer (HyperSmooth) shifts into fifth gear for even more stability.
There is also now an “auto” mode which gives the camera full latitude to adjust the intensity of stabilization after recording, depending on the types of movements detected. It is added to the previous “activated” and “boost” modes, the latter generating a significant cropping of the image.
Highly efficient 360° horizon compensation
While the Hero10 was limited to a compensation of the horizon on “only” 45° already bluffing, the Hero11 can compensate the level of the horizon of a movement at 360°; is a complete rotation! In other words, you can do a complete loop with the camera in hand without the image moving, and with a horizon that is always well positioned. This feature was introduced by DJI after an update to the firmware of Action 2.
So we rotated a Hero10 Black and a Hero11 Black clamped together. The result is quite astounding. The two images indeed come from the two cameras synchronized during the same movement. It is also possible to observe the flare caused by the Sun “following” the rotation on the stabilized plane of the Hero11. Without it, it would be almost impossible to think that the Hero11 has moved.
In comparison, the Hero10 takes a little bit of old, it which was however until then the reference on this point.
Successful association between large sensor and algorithms
The algorithms of the Hero11 Black are so accomplished that they allow horizon locking even in 5.3K at 30 fps, where the DJI Osmo Action 3 can only achieve this feat in 2.7K. On the other hand, as with the Hero10, it will be necessary to be satisfied with maintaining the horizon up to 27° in 5.3K 60 fps, 4K 120 fps and 2.7K 240 fps.
In the age of streaming, still no 4K on the horizon. The Hero11 Black is still limited to FHD definition for live streaming. However, Hypersmooth 5.0 stabilization remains active during this one.
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