The GoPro Hero8 Black is the newest action cam from GoPro. I have used GoPro Hero 3s and 4s on projects, and this one is a marked improvement. It has made time-lapse movies of construction and wrapping a truck in custom graphics, as well as recorded empty streets during the early days of the pandemic. I received this one from B&H for writing this review.
Hero8 sports a new waterproof door
GoPro has made the waterproof housing I used with my Hero3 and Hero 4 cams obsolete on the GoPro Hero8. It goes into the water right out of the box to a depth of 33 feet (10 meters). The change that makes this possible is a waterproof door on the left side of the camera. Behind it is the battery and microSD card slot along with the USB-C charging port.
There is a bright touch screen on the back for composing shots and controlling the camera with on-screen presets and shortcuts. The Hero8 can also livestream 1080p video to Facebook and YouTube using the super versatile GoPro app. The built-in microphone provides high-fidelity audio recording. Software features include TimeWarp 2.0, SuperPhoto and improved HDR give better results than in previous versions.
LiveBurst offers the option of a 90-frame 4K video or a 1.5 second before and after burst when you hit the shutter. Voice control lets the camera get going when it hears “GoPro, turn on” or start shooting with the “GoPro, take a picture” command. Night Lapse works in 4K, 2.7K at 1440p or 1080p frame sizes to capture better low light video.
Hero8 mounting fingers
New on the Hero8’s bottom are two recessed fingers that fold out for mounting the camera to existing GoPro accessories. It’s a great design that makes the camera smooth, sleek and complete by not needing a skeleton or a waterproof housing that was required previously to mount the camera.
There are a couple of small drawbacks to them. First, a fingernail is needed to open them. These fingers are not as easy to fit into the slots of GoPro’s line of mounting accessories.
I mainly use GoPros for time-lapse photography on construction projects. I put the Hero8 to work during the filming of a how-to video for a local company. The Hero8 ran constantly during the weeklong installation of a new bathroom and shower. I used still frames from the Hero8 to complete scenes that my regular camera could not capture. It’s also a lot of fun to see this painstaking work speed along.
This less than 30-second clip is from a video I produced for a client. It shows how Hero8 video can be cropped to HD. It then zooms out to show the full 4K captured by the GoPro.
I used an iPad charger to power the Hero8 during the 4-day shoot. When I am making time-lapse photography with GoPros, I always provide either household current or high capacity batteries that can keep it going for a full 10 to 14-hour workday.
Wrapping a truck
Unlike the time-lapses I have made with a Hero4, the Hero8 actually creates an MP4 movie rather than individual JPEG frames that have to be animated later in editing software. This video shows part of the process of wrapping a truck in printed graphics from precise cleaning of the exterior to adding the graphics to finishing in 50 seconds. The whole process took a 10-hour day.
Pandemic in slow motion
I built a rig to mount the Hero8 to the window of my car. I set the GoPro to 240 frames per second with HyperSmooth 2.0 image stabilization engaged and went for a drive along some normally busy storefronts. This video is very smooth and full of detail. At 240 fps, it takes a minute and a half to drive about a quarter of a block and pull into a parking space just beyond the SUV in the left of the frame below.
GoPro cameras are well known for the ease of mounting them practically anywhere. For this slow motion with image stabilization video, I used a pair of Platypods bolted together with washers between them so they would fit on either side of my car’s passenger side window. I used one of Platypod’s grip pads between the plates and the glass to keep it solidly attached.
The Hero8 is rugged, but I don’t think it would survive a falling from my car traveling at speed. Here’s a look the mount and Hero8.
The GoPro Hero8 Black is about as perfect an action cam at a great price as you are likely to find. The screen on the back makes Hero8 a handheld still or motion camera without extra accessories. Its down-to-33-feet waterproofing lets it go on adventures in any weather, crossing rivers or just recording the kids running through the sprinklers.
Hero8 continues the innovation and reliability I have come to expect from GoPro cameras.