Which action camera is right for you?

Which action camera is right for you?

8 mins read
  • GoPro

    GoPro Hero 12 Black

    Best overall

    GoPro’s latest action camera is very similar to its predecessor, but the improvements made to this model make it much nicer to work with, particularly in professional environments.

    Pros

    • Longer battery life
    • Pairs with Bluetooth mics and earbuds
    • GP Log and Timecode Sync

  • GoPro Hero 11 Black Square

    GoPro

    GoPro Hero 11 Black

    Best value

    $349 $399 Save $50

    With the same sensor and processor inside the GoPro Hero 11 offers much of the same experience and image quality, but it can now be found at discounted prices, making it much better value.

    Pros

    • Can be found for less money
    • Same resolutions and frame rates
    • GPS built in

GoPros latest flagship action camera has arrived, and this year, the changes are a little more subtle, so you might be wondering what exactly has changed from the Hero 11 Black model.


Whether you’re shopping for your first action camera, or you’re a current GoPro user considering an upgrade, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll lay out all the changes, so you can decide whether to invest in GoPro’s latest camera Hero 12 or if the Hero 11 is still up to the task. Let’s dive in.


Specs, price and availability

The Hero 11 Black was released in September 2022 and has been available to purchase ever since. It was introduced at a price of $499.99, or $399.98 with a GoPro subscription. However, it has been reduced in the time since. The Hero 11 Black now retails for $399 with no subscription required.

The Hero 12 Black was announced on September 6 2023, and is available to pre-order now, it’ll hit the shelves on September 13 2023. It costs $399.99 with no subscription required.

  • GoPro Hero 12 Black GoPro Hero 11 Black
    Sensor Size 1/1.9-inch 8:7 1/1.9 inch 8:7
    Video Resolution 5.3K 60fps 5.3K 60fps
    Photo Resolution 27MP 27MP
    Battery 1720 mAh Enduro 1720 mAh Enduro
    Size 71x55x34 mm 71x55x34 mm
    Weight 154g 154g
    Water Resistance Waterproof up to 10m Waterproof up to 10m
    Lens Replaceable hydrophobic lens protector Replaceable hydrophobic lens protector

Design

The GoPro Hero 12 Black and Hero 11 Black share the exact same chassis, so there’s no real difference in ports, displays or ruggedness. The Hero 12 does bring a couple of new things to the table, though.

GoPro Hero 12 Black vs GoPro Hero 11 Black (3)

Most obvious is the new finish, which is speckled with blue accents, making it look quite distinct from all of GoPro’s recent releases. Of course, that’s purely an aesthetic choice and doesn’t affect the camera in any practical terms.

What is more practical, though, is the inclusion of a 1/4-20 tripod thread for the first time on a GoPro camera. It’s neatly nestled between the fold-out mounting tabs and means that you can directly connect the camera to an almost limitless number of photographic accessories without an adapter, pretty handy!

Both cameras use the exact same GoPro Enduro battery packs. But, thanks to some software optimisation magic, the Hero 12’s battery should last significantly longer on a charge. This is a big deal on an action camera, as with limited chassis space available, battery life is often a struggle.

GoPro Hero 12 Black (17)

Features

For the most part, the recording modes are the same on both cameras. Either model allows you to shoot in a standard 16:9 format or a square-ish 8:7 ratio for cropping after the fact. However, the Hero 12 Black adds a new vertical recording mode, which means you can mount the camera horizontally but still capture vertical video clips for platforms like TikTok and YouTube Shorts. This is much more convenient if your desired mount doesn’t support vertical orientation, and you don’t want the hassle of cropping in post.

TimeWarp, Time Lapse, Night Lapse and Night Effects are now available in an 8:7 ratio on the Hero 12, whereas 8:7 is restricted to standard video modes on the Hero 11 Black.

Another neat addition is the ability to pair the GoPro Hero 12 with wireless microphones and earbuds. The camera will also record audio from its onboard microphones as a separate track, and you can mix and match between the two during the editing process. You can also use it to remotely activate the GoPro using voice commands, and that can be useful when it’s mounted out of reach.

GoPro Hero 12 Black (19)

Also new is the ability to sync the timecode of multiple GoPro cameras. Admittedly, it’s a niche feature, but if you’re working in a professional environment with multiple action cameras, it could prove to be a game changer.

The Hero 12 Black benefits from a freshly redesigned menu layout, and we found it much easier to navigate than the Hero 11 UI. If you’re new to the world of action cameras, you’ll have a much smoother time finding your way around the latest model.

There’s one big feature that’s missing on the GoPro Hero 12 Black, though, and it could be a dealbreaker for some. There’s no GPS built-in, so you won’t be able to include things like speed or altitude overlays on your footage. The GoPro Hero 11, on the other hand, can do this as standard.

Photo and video performance

The GoPro Hero 11 and 12 share the same 1/1.7-inch 8:7 sensor, and they shoot at the same resolutions and frame rates, so the resulting images will be very comparable. The Hero 12 does have a few tricks up its sleeve to set it apart, though.

GoPro Hero 12 Black vs GoPro Hero 11 Black (5)

Firstly, it introduces a brand-new GP Log colour profile. This allows for greater flexibility when colour grading, and should capture a wider dynamic range compared to the traditional GoPro Flat profile, too. There’s also HDR video mode, which works all the way up to 5.3K30, and is a new addition to Hero 12 Black.

There have also been improvements made to the image stabilisation system. With the introduction of HyperSmooth 6.0, AutoBoost analyses up to 4x more data compared to HyperSmooth 5.0, which should result in smoother transitions between stabilisation levels creating a more seamless look overall.

Verdict

The GoPro Hero 12 Black has smart, if subtle, upgrades that make it the superior option. If you crave better battery life, or pro-level features like a Log colour profile and timecode sync, it’s the obvious choice.

GoPro hero 12 Black square-1

GoPro

However, it’s not a big upgrade over the Hero 11 Black, and if you already own one, you probably won’t be in any rush to upgrade. Especially if you like to use the GPS overlays, as these aren’t available with the Hero 12 Black – and in that case, we’d recommend sticking with the Hero 11.

There’s also the fact that the Hero 11 Black is likely to see a reduction in price now that it’s no longer the latest and greatest. So, if you want the best bang for your buck, Hero 11 is the way to go.

GoPro Hero 11 Black Square

GoPro

GoPro Hero 11 Black

$349 $399 Save $50

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