GoPro is a name synonymous with action cameras, and while there are others in the competition, its offerings are the go-to choice for those looking to capture their endeavors with adventure activities or outdoor sports. Its latest comes in the form of the Hero11 Black, an action camera that retains the signature GoPro look but gains new features and capabilities. On offer is a bigger new sensor, along with the latest features like HyperSmooth 5.0 stabilization, full horizon lock, the ability to switch between Easy and Pro modes, new night photography modes and the inclusion of the hitherto optional Enduro battery in the box. Let me take you through a few points to give you an idea of what works well and what doesn’t quite impress.
Which is better
- The latest action camera has the same form factor and design as its predecessor, the Hero10 Black, which borrows the design from the Hero9. Although there is nothing new in terms of design, the new model is not only compact (while being tough and waterproof), but any accessory from the huge range available for these devices can be used. The accessory range has a variety of mounts, mods, cases etc. available from GoPro as well as other brands and you can buy whatever you need and use the cases as per your own needs. GoPro’s standard folding fingers are standard on the camera base and allow you to attach the device to a variety of mounts and stands – handheld types, floor stands / tripods and other mounts designed for cars, helmets, chest straps, etc.
The device also has dual screens, a smaller one on the front and a slightly larger one on the back, which is touch-enabled. There are only two physical buttons on the device – the power key that doubles as a mode button on the left, and the shutter key on top. And these buttons are quite large and accessible if you are wearing gloves and / or participating in sport or other physical activity. And when you can’t or don’t want to press those keys, you can always use voice commands. Saying “GoPro, start recording” can do the job, and the device supports voice commands to perform other basic functions. The USB Type-C port for charging is hidden under the battery door on the right side of the camera and it should be noted that the latter requires a bit of effort to open.
- The 2.27-inch touch LCD on the back is the main point of interaction with the device, apart from voice commands and a physical mode button. Since the screen is small in size, the UI and controls are very snappy to use. However, the device offers several options for customizing and saving your own presets, and once you’ve set these up to your liking, you won’t need to delve into the menus very often. Notably, the GoPro Hero11 Black now offers a choice between Easy and Advanced modes, the former designed to make it as easy as possible for newbies, effectively turning the camera into a point-and-shoot. On the other hand, Pro mode allows you to change and customize all aspects of video shooting.
- The GoPro Hero11 Black pairs with a smartphone via Bluetooth and uses Wi-Fi to upload media to the cloud. A paid GoPro subscription, of course, gives you access to unlimited cloud storage for all your footage, and you can enable auto uploads to back up everything you capture online. GoPro’s Quik app (available on Android and iOS) manages things and lets you manage your media and control settings. As a bonus, you also get a highlights video that is automatically created using your captures, giving you ready-made content that you can share with others. The Quik app also offers many other features, such as video editing and the ability to update your camera’s firmware.
- The new sensor can capture 10-bit and uses a unique 8:7 aspect ratio that lets you crop your video for different social platforms and sizes. A maximum resolution of 5.3K at 60fps is supported. So you can get 1:1 videos for Instagram or 16:9 for YouTube or 9:16 for YouTube Shorts from the same footage. This works not only for videos, but also for still images. It should also be mentioned that the new sensor increases the still image resolution to 27MP from the 23MP offered by the previous model. And if you want, you can choose to capture stills in RAW as well, or use screen grabs from video footage when push comes to shove. A new HyperView mode is on offer, which enables a super-wide and long perspective and also has 360-degree horizon locking. Timelapse shooting modes also include options to capture star trails, light painting, and vehicle lights. Apart from the pollution affecting the night sky in Delhi, I haven’t had much luck capturing star trails, but the light painting mode is a lot of fun.
- Once you find the settings and presets that work best for your use cases, the GoPro Hero11 Black can capture high-quality footage and, when the going gets tough (read bumpy / choppy), does a great job in terms of stabilization. You basically don’t need a gimbal, and the GoPro’s invulnerability to the elements, along with a variety of mounting options (when paired with the right accessory) make it possible to use it in both take-and-take scenarios. otherwise possible.
What is not so good
- Not everything is hunky-dory when it comes to usage. The easy mode looks very limited, but the pro mode has so many options that setting them up can be overwhelming for a new user… there is no middle ground here. There is a learning curve involved and one needs to spend time with different settings, play around with them and try them out in different scenarios to figure out what works best.
- Also, the 1,720mAh Enduro battery, which was previously an optional purchase but is now included in-box with the Hero11 Black, doesn’t really last long. The fact that the shooting time is around an hour to an hour and a half and the battery door takes a bit of effort to open and the camera takes a while to charge doesn’t help either.
Smartphone cameras have long since edged out point-and-shoot cameras, and even action cameras have to deal with heat, at least to some extent. The iPhone 14 Pro Max, for example, now has an Action mode for video shooting that stabilizes footage, and similarly, many other smartphones also offer special stabilization capabilities that promise shake-free footage. Features like Horizon Lock are available in the likes Vivo X80 Pro Also. On the other hand, with its compact size, mounting options, and the fact that it is rugged and waterproof, the GoPro Hero11 makes a case for itself, especially for outdoor enthusiasts and those involved in adventure sports. Rs. At 51,500, it doesn’t come cheap, but it can go where no smartphone can and capture some decent, shake-free footage too.
Editor’s Rating: 4/5
- Good image quality & stabilization
- Lots of creative options
- Compact, rugged, waterproof
- A range of tools
- Battery life could be better
- A learning curve is required
- Fiddly menus