In our GoPro HERO 7 Black vs HERO 8 Black showdown, we'll be comparing and contrasting two previous flagship models from the action cam kings. For a closer look at each model individually, you should check out our GoPro HERO 7 Black review or GoPro HERO 8 Black review; this article is here to help you make a decision between the two.
GoPro makes most of the best action cameras around – its superb HERO range dominates the market, and rightly so. While those with the deepest pockets will likely shell out for the current flagship – at time of writing, the best GoPro models by specs are the HERO 9 Black or HERO 10 Black – cannier shoppers will be weighing up whether picking up an earlier iteration of the HERO represents better value for money. And the HERO 7 and HERO 8 are two options you might well end up considering.
GoPro setting the bar high early on, so both of these still impressively capable despite being slightly older (note that, right now anyway, neither are cheap enough to be considered for our best cheap action camera ranking). But which to choose? Does the HERO 7 Black represent better value than the HERO 8 Black, or is the newer model a more worthy investment? Or should you discount the 7 altogether and head to our GoPro Hero 9 Black vs Hero 8 Black head-to-head instead? Let's find out…
GoPro HERO 7 Black vs GoPro HERO 8 Black: design
Picking up both cameras, there's not a massive amount of difference between them, though the HERO 8 is slightly wider, has more rounded edges and is a few grams heavier than its predecessor. Both cameras also feature a 2-inch rear touchscreen and a front-facing camera status screen (for an in-built front view screen, you'll need a HERO 9 or newer).
Despite the external similarities, one crucial point of different is the method used to mount the cameras to mounts or other accessories. While the HERO 7 Black needs to be fitted into an external frame to enable mounting, the HERO 8 Black has two ‘folding fingers' that hinge out from its base enabling you to fit the camera directly to a mount or whatever accessory you choose.
GoPro HERO 7 Black vs GoPro HERO 8 Black: features
Both cameras have more or less the same OS, which is extremely simple to get to grips with. They also both pack an almost identical array of really useful and well thought out software features such as image stabilisation, moving hyperlapse video, time lapse video, 8x slow motion video and voice controls.
However, while software features such as the excellent HyperSmooth stabilisation and TimeWarp hyperlapse video made their GoPro debut on the HERO 7 Black, with the HERO 8 Black you get the 2.0 versions with more advanced capabilities and additional shooting modes.
GoPro HERO 7 Black vs GoPro HERO 8 Black: video and stills
There's little to choose between the cameras in terms of image quality and they can both shoot 4K video at 60FPS, take 12 megapixel stills and photo bursts up to 30FPS (at 12MP).
The HERO 8 Black has the edge over its predecessor once again though with an additional digital lens, LiveBurst mode that captures images 1.5 seconds before and after the shutter is pressed, and a Night Lapse video mode.
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GoPro HERO 7 Black vs GoPro HERO 8 Black: price and accessories
At time of writing, the GoPro HERO 8 Black is part of the current range available to buy direct from GoPro. Like all the HEROs, it's much cheaper if you purchase it with a 1-year GoPro subscription (here's more on if a GoPro subscription is worth it). Here is the GoPro HERO 8 Black pricing:
- UK: £259.98 (with subscription) or £329.98
- US: $279.98 (with subscription) or $349.98
- AU: A$419.95 (with subscription) or A$499.94
The GoPro HERO 7 Black is no longer in the official GoPro lineup, so how much you'll need to spend (or even if you can find one available to buy in your area) is difficult to predict. Stock levels vary but if you do find availability, you're much more likely to snag a good GoPro deal. Originally, it had an RRP of around £249.99, but last time we checked, prices had gone up. In most territories, it was costing you more for a 7 than an 8. If this is the case when you come to buy, the decision is made for you, really – the HERO 8 is a better camera.
While a vast world of GoPro accessories are available for either camera, including protective housings, mounts, grips and much more, the HERO 8 Black brought with it its own range of dedicated Mods, which expand the video capabilities of the camera. GoPro has continued these with later versions – although in some cases it's a slightly different version depending on which year's model you have – but they're not compatible with the 7 or older.
For enhancing audio, check out our GoPro Media Mod review – this mod adds a directional microphone and two cold shoe accessory mounts. If you have that on your cam, you can also attach a Display Mod, which adds a flip-up, front facing screen. Finally, check out our GoPro Light Mod review if you want to light your subject with four levels of brightness up to 200 lumens.
GoPro HERO 7 Black vs GoPro HERO 8 Black: verdict
In terms of basic video and photo quality there is almost nothing between these two cameras and both do an excellent job of enabling you to capture stunning photos and video with ease. Despite being three generations old, the HERO 7 Black is still an excellent and extremely rugged action camera. Where the HERO 8 Black just has the edge is in terms of the expanded range of capture facilities and enhancements it offers.
The biggest advantage the HERO 8 Black has over its rival though is that unlike the HERO 7 Black, it does not need to be fitted into a frame before attaching to mounts or other accessories, which makes it far easier to use. The scope to boost functionality with GoPro's mods adds further appeal.
The other big issues to consider are price and availability. Last time we checked, the HERO 7 Black was proving increasingly hard to get hold of, and where it was available, it was in fact pricier than the 8 Black. If that's the case when you come to check, it's a no-brainer: buy the 8. If the 7 is cheaper, consider how much you value those extra features outlined in the previous paragraph.