The Hype(erSmooth) Is Real

GoPro Hero 7 Black

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

GoPro Hero 7 Black

The new GoPro Hero 7 Black promises to take image stabilization one step further with something they’re calling Hypersmooth. I’m always skeptical of electronic image stabilization, especially one that comes with a re- brand. But after trying it for myself, I have to say that Hypersmooth is for real. 

From running to jumping to biking, Hypersmooth produced stable footage that still looked natural. GoPro says that the camera isn’t just doing straightforward electronic image stabilization, but is actively analyzing the image and your movements to produce stabilization that stays true to the motion. 

Another new feature is TimeWarp or a fancy name for what everyone else calls Hyperlapse. I’m a timelapse idiot, but the Hero 7 Black made it easy even for me to start shooting TimeWarp. You select the speed at which you want the video to be sped up, and the GoPro has quick estimates on how long a video will turn out. 

It’s easy to swap to TimeWarp mode too, as a simple swipe of the screen will switch between TimeWarp, Video, and Photo modes. The entire interface has been redesigned to be much easier to use. 

All this shooting does come with a cost. The Hero 7 Black is small, and so is its battery. GoPro’s official stats place the battery life at 45 to 50 minutes for shooting at 4K/60p. It gets better if you shoot at lower resolutions, 2.7K/60p, for example, nets 60 to 65 minutes, while 1080/60p gets 85-90 minutes. 

I’d suggest getting an extra battery, but only the flagship Black model comes with a removable battery. The Silver and White editions have built-in batteries. You can plug a portable battery in to charge the GoPro, but it won’t charge during recording. 

And did you know the Hero 7 Black takes photos? It takes photos. I found it produced some beautiful images in good light, but shooting super wide-angle isn’t for everybody. But in low light, both videos and images get noisy. A modern flagship smartphone might even get you cleaner images in dim light than the Hero 7 Black. 

So why shoot with the Hero 7 Black instead of a smartphone? Well, the Hero 7 Black is hardier. I wouldn’t risk jumping into the sea with my iPhone. Technically the iPhone can handle it, but my heart can’t. Because of its compact size, the Hero 7 Black can go places and grab angles that bigger cameras can’t. But mainly because it’ll capture astonishingly (Hyper) smooth videos that aren’t just hype. 

My Reading Room

Images and video are grainy in low light. 

My Reading Room
My Reading Room

Astonishingly smooth stabilization is worth the price of entry.