The GoPro Hero 11 Black is the brand’s most user-friendly camera yet
I’ve owned half a dozen GoPros in my day, ranging from the Hero 2 to the Hero 10 Black. Although I’ve packed them for many hikes and snowboarding sessions, I rarely get good clips to prove it. The experience generally goes like this: see something worthy of a movie, pull out GoPro, realize the battery is dead. Or the SD card is full. Or the settings are disabled. By the time I’ve sorted it, the moment has passed.
Yes, you can chalk this up to operator error, but as a rookie filmer, I always hoped that GoPro would eventually produce a hero to save me from myself. With the release last week of Hero 11 Black ($550) – with extended battery life, auto-download capabilities and two user interface options – GoPro might have done just that. The Hero 11 Black introduces a few features that greatly improve my chances of getting the shot, and other features that ensure the shot will be above anything my intermediate skill level usually allows me. Let’s talk why.
Bigger, better battery
GoPro’s extended battery life, Enduro, which was an accessory for the Hero 10 Black, is now available in stock. GoPro claims the Enduro lasts up to 38% longer than its traditional battery, and after a few shooting sessions, that seems true. In its highest resolution video (5.3K), the new GoPro can shoot for up to 80 minutes on a charge, and at 1080P it will run for over two hours. And it charges quickly: I was able to charge it from 1 to 100% in less than an hour. It also automatically shuts off after five minutes when not in use, preventing me from accidentally killing the battery.
More importantly for snow sports enthusiasts, the Enduro is GoPro’s first battery that holds a charge in freezing temperatures. Gone are the days of wrapping my camera in a hand warmer for the trails.
Automatic downloads and highlights
Automatic cloud uploads are a new feature of GoPro’s subscription service ($50 per year). Once connected to wifi, the 11 automatically transfers new content to GoPro’s cloud storage platform, eliminating the need to download it to a phone or computer. Now I can keep the SD card empty without taking up space on my phone.
In addition to automatic uploads, the new subscription offers an automatic highlight feature that uses AI to extract the best footage from a shoot, assemble a montage and automatically send it to the user’s phone. GoPro relies heavily on this Hero 11 Black marketing feature, and for good reason. It puts together a surprisingly good reel – complete with music – which you can then tweak to your liking. It makes the switch from filming to Instagram almost brainless.
If you’re considering buying a Hero 11 Black, the subscription is probably worth it right now. Purchasing the Hero 11 Black with a one-year subscription costs $400 (regular price is $550 and subscription is $50 per year). The package includes unlimited automatic cloud uploads, use of the editor app, discounts at GoPro.com, and most importantly, no-questions-asked camera replacement (for a fee of $69-$69). $99).
User-friendly shooting modes
The 11 supports two user interfaces: Easy and Pro. The former automates the settings to present a clean and simple menu where you simply choose a medium (timelapse, video or photo), press record and capture. Pro mode opens the hood and allows the user to manually control each parameter. Despite this user-friendliness, the Pro mode is surprisingly intuitive. I’m decidedly no pro, but it didn’t take long for me to ditch easy mode altogether for better control.
Improved field of vision
GoPro introduced a new 1/1.9 sensor with the Hero 11 Black, which opens up an 8:7 field of view option. Couple that with the 11’s ability to record 5.3K video at 30 frames per second, which translates to 40% higher resolution than GoPro’s previous 5.3K resolution, which maxed out on a lens. digital 16:9. In other words, you can now shoot a wide, nearly square frame at high resolution, then crop in any ratio after the fact. This is a handy asset for content creators who publish to multiple mediums, as they will no longer need to shoot different fields of view for different use cases, be it TikTok or Youtube.
This brings up another point: with video quality, taking photos on a GoPro might be outdated. It’s much easier to shoot video and extract a still image afterwards – even GoPro suggests using this method now.
Millions of extra pixels
If you insist on taking photos with the Hero 11 Black, it will produce 27MP photos, compared to 23MP on the Hero 10 Black. Again, paired with the new 8:7 sensor, that equates to millions of extra pixels to work with. The 11 also introduces four new photo burst modes, in addition to the six the hero already had.
Ten-bit color is built into the Hero 11 Black, as opposed to eight-bit on the latest render, which seems like an insignificant difference. But given that the Hero 10 was able to see around 16 million shades of color, and the Hero 11 sees over a billion, it’s a substantial upgrade. For advanced editors, more swatches means more work with color grading. For everyone else, it means less apparent “scratch” in the image, solving a problem that has plagued GoPro in the past.
Light Trail Modes
In my opinion, the most innovative and visually impactful features of the Hero 11 Black are the night modes integrated into the camera’s Timelapse function. There are three of them – Star Trails, Light Painting and Vehicle Light Trails – and each is appropriately geared towards capturing these subjects with a trail effect, automating a photography technique that’s hard to master with a traditional camera. This video effect produces a timelapse of the light trails forming, resulting in some pretty drastic footage, but as with all Hero 11 Black recordings, you can also shoot a high-res still image.
These coveted nighttime effects will no doubt attract hordes of TikTok influencers and other entry-level shooters to the Hero 11 Black, if only to be able to capture those professional-looking nighttime shots.
Horizon Lock and image stabilization
360-degree horizon lock was a feature available with the Hero 10, but only with the addition of the Max Lens Mod accessory, which cost an additional $100 and added bulk to the system. Now Max Lens Mod is built-in the camera lens. The result is improved stabilization and the 360-degree horizon lock option, which essentially allows you to flip the camera completely, while the horizon remains perfectly level and straight. Hypersmooth 5.0, the stabilization layer in GoPro’s latest iteration, is slightly better than the latest version in my opinion, as Hypersmooth 4.0 was dialed in enough already. It adds a gimbal-like smoothness to footage without the need for additional props, so you can literally slide down a rocky path while shooting, and footage is perfectly steady.
Best view yet
GoPro’s new Hyperview is the brand’s widest field of view and a must have for any athlete with a penchant for POV shots. It essentially takes the new 8:7 view and stretches it into a 16:9 frame, resulting in a wider periphery and more immersive, closer images when paired with, say, a chest mount or helmet. Coupled with all the other new hero upgrades, Hyperview only increases my chances of capturing something epic and making it even cooler. Now all I have to do is remember to save.
Coming soon: Hero 11 Black Mini
On October 25, GoPro is also releasing the Hero 11 Black Mini, a more compact and streamlined version with all the same features packed into a one-touch capture system. We’ll be testing this soon and let you know what we think.
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