GoPro hero 7 black as your main camera?

The GoPro hero 7 black is actually the first gopro I’ve ever purchased. Though I’ve been using them since at least the hero 2 and I still have a hero 3 here on my shelf which I don’t even remember whose it is anymore.

The reason why the Gopro’s has never been interesting enough for me to purchase is because the need for them has been so limited. So far the picture quality hasn’t been really good enough to keep up with the demand of today and I would only use them for certain effect shots or other extreme angles where the use of a bigger camera would not be possible.

Now however things has changed a bit. I’ve now been testing the camera in everyday use for a couple of weeks to get an idea of it’s performance and usability. My conclusion is surprisingly that it works very well in quite many different scenarios.

The biggest thing that sparked my interest was naturally the hypersmooth stabilization. I was very skeptical about it until i got to try it. And it completely blew my mind how well it worked. It’s like holding a camera on a gimbal except no gimbal needed. I can even shake it intentionally and the frame keeps rock solid. By shaking i mean start by slowly shaking and moving the camera around, wiggling it around and it will keep it fix to a certain point. But that point is quite tolerant. Once i shake it too much the frame will make a “jump” and the re-stabilize itself. Very much as the way lens stabilization works and can be very apparent as annoying when using tripods. This camera is for sure not made to be used on a tripod so this doesn’t matter at all.

While walking with the hypersmooth on you can get very stable footage. quite much like a gimbal. The more you ninja walk the better the footage looks.
Mostly I’ve been trying to mimic slider shots where i try to find a strong foreground and slowly moving the camera pass it revealing a scenery behind foreground. For this it works pretty darn well, especially in 50 or 60p slowed down to 25 or 24p

Once my indoor testings were done. (the same day i got it) I headed out to the forest to try and make some different shots. My friend joined me as well and i tried to make a kind of camping / hiking video out of it.
That’s were the first problems started to show up.

In the beginning of out hike everything worked as it should and i started to pay less and less notice on the gopro and the lcd. Everything just worked smoothly and that’s what i hoped it to do, so i just got into the mood and tried to find different creative angles and movements to film. Which is great! and the biggest reason i would recommend this camera.
However the lcd screen was so tiny that i didn’t notice that the hypersmooth stabilization had turned off without any warning. It’s super hard to see shake on such a small screen. Only when we got back to the car i realized that there’s no stabilization going on. I had not changed any settings during the filming so i’m sure i hadn’t shut it off. When going into the menu the stabilization was turned on off and i couldn’t turn it on whatever i tried. it just didn’t allow it.
When i got home and the gopro had warmed up a bit everything started to work again.

After googling around a bit i found out it was a firmware bug. When the gopro gets too cold the stabilization shuts down. Since then the firmware has been updated and the issue addressed. However i got some kind of a “stabilization coldness warning” last week while filming. but that was pretty extreme with a temperature of -28 degree celcsus and the camera only stayed on for around 5 minutes before the fully charged battery died and the camera refused to start again before heating it up.

I guess that was just too cold for the poor fella.

Bellow you’ll find the hiking video I’ve been writing about. 95% of all the footage was shot without any stabilization at all in 2,7k linear mode. I then post stabilized it in DaVinci resolve which worked excellent for this footage.
A note though! If you try to post stabilize hypersmooth footage it probably wont work that well or at least not easily. It’s the same effect as if you use lens or inbody stabilization on a camera and put it on a gimbal. Everything get’s jerky and warpy.

So, you’ll need to decide for yourself if this camera could work as an A-cam / daily shooter / Vlog camera. It certainly is not made for that purpose but works well for those who just don’t want to care about what the camera is doing and just concentrate on documenting things.

I will at least continue trying it out and hope that it can be more reliable with future firmware upgrades.

Cheers!


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