It looks like a minor update, so what exactly is new in the GoPro Hero 12 Black?
GoPro has released the newest model in their popular action camera series, the Hero 12 Black. However, compared to its predecessor, the Hero 11 Black, the latest update may not meet the high expectations.
The Hero 12 Black was rumored to bring significant advancements, including a brand new 1-inch sensor. People believed it would surpass the competition, such as the DJI Osmo Action 4, and become the ultimate action camera. However, this turned out to be exaggerated, and the Hero 12 Black is remarkably similar to its previous model.
GoPro: Introducing HERO12 Black | Everything You Need to Know
It’s not necessarily a negative aspect. The sensor remains the same size, 1/1.7 inches with an aspect ratio of 8:7, capable of recording 5.3K videos and taking 27MP photos. The 6.0 HyperSmooth image stabilization and the body design are virtually unchanged as well, and it remains compatible with the Media Mod. Additionally, GoPro introduced the Media Mod 2.0, which allows for an expanded frame with an ultra-wide field of view of 177 degrees, and also introduced a new GoPro Quik desktop app.
At first glance, it’s difficult to identify anything novel or compelling that would warrant upgrading from a Hero 11 Black. However, upon closer examination, a few fresh attributes emerge that could be valuable in practical applications, particularly for individuals who appreciate high-quality audio. Now, let’s delve into five noteworthy aspects.
1. Dual channel audio
The Hero 12 Black introduces a feature that allows you to record two audio tracks at the same time. This means you can capture audio from an external microphone or GoPro’s Media Mod front microphone, and blend it with the audio recorded in-camera. This feature has the potential to greatly enhance the sound quality of your action videos. For instance, you have the option to include the ambient sound captured by the in-camera microphone, while also incorporating superior voice recordings from an external microphone that is shielded from wind-induced distortions.
2. Versatile audio control
You can now use any Bluetooth microphone, such as Apple Airpods, to control the Hero 12 Black wirelessly. This allows you to give voice commands even when you’re not within the range of the camera. For instance, if you have the Hero 12 Black attached to the outside of a car (as shown in the picture above), you can start recording videos by simply using Apple Airpods while sitting in your seat. The same applies to situations like wearing a helmet during extreme sports. It’s a highly convenient way to operate the camera hands-free.
3. Much improved battery life
The GoPro Hero 12 Black offers a significantly longer battery life compared to the Hero 11 Black. It can now record up to 70 minutes of 5.3K / 60p video, 95 minutes at 5.3K 30p, and over 155 minutes of uninterrupted full HD footage. This represents a remarkable performance boost over the already impressive Hero 11 Black. Surprisingly, the battery type remains unchanged between the two cameras, allowing for battery interchangeability. Rather, the improvement in battery life is attributed to GoPro’s “redesigned power management system.”
4. Additional video modes
The video quality and frame rates remain the same for the Hero 12 Black, reaching a maximum resolution of 5.3K and 60 frames per second. Additionally, there is an option for up to 8x slow motion at a lower resolution. A new feature is the ability to capture video using the entire 8:7 sensor area in all shooting modes, which was not possible in the Hero 11 Black. Furthermore, HDR video has been introduced, along with GoPro’s own log and luts color profiles. This is excellent news for those who share content on social media in different aspect ratios and for those who have a discerning eye for color, as it provides increased flexibility for color grading during the editing process.
5. There’s a tripod thread
We might think that adding a common 1/4-inch tripod thread is not a significant improvement, but it actually provides a useful function. This feature allows the Hero 12 Black camera to be used with non-GoPro supports like regular mounts, accessories, tripods, and monopods. The thread is located beneath the camera, between the fold-out feet.
There’s not much justification for selecting the Hero 12 Black instead of the Hero 11 Black. The newest flagship model has been released with the same price tag of $399 / £399 / AU$649.95 as the previous version, or $479.98 / £479.98 / AU$785.91 when bundled with the separately available Max Lens Mod 2.0 priced at $99.99 / £99.99 / AU$169.95. For most individuals, if the cost of the Hero 11 Black decreases, it could be a preferable alternative.
Additionally, considering that DJI recently made significant improvements with its Osmo Action 4 – incorporating a larger 1/1.3-inch sensor for enhanced image quality and a more convenient magnetic mounting system – DJI seems to have the upper hand. Each camera has its own advantages, and we will publish a comparative article to determine which camera emerges as the superior choice.
Nevertheless, the Hero 12 Black will continue to be one of the top-notch action cameras available. Perhaps the rumor mill raised false expectations for even more impressive features, but this modest update prompts us to question if we have reached the peak of performance. We will provide more definitive insights on this matter in an upcoming comprehensive review.