The best GoPros are similar to the best Apple Watches in the sense that each new model is often a modest iteration of their predecessor. This isn't the case with the Hero 12 Black, the latest model in the long line of premium action cams from the best action camera manufacturer.
Some of the new features might not be all that surprising, considering GoPro has been airing them on their social media accounts a week before the launch. However, it's worth reiterating the key updates of the new top-of-the-line model, which is a mix of beginner-friendly and pro features.
First and foremost, the GoPro Hero 12 Black has twice the battery life of the GoPro Hero 11 Black, thanks to the redesigned power management system. The company also removed a potentially energy-intense feature - GPS - to enhance battery life even further.
"In GoPro's quest to provide the best battery runtimes possible, they found that less than 1% of GoPro users were actually applying GPS stickers to content," the brand told T3, "GPS was previously a feature that users were encouraged to switch off to achieve the best battery runtimes possible, so it was eliminated from HERO12 as one of the many steps taken to increase runtimes across the highest speeds and feeds."
The improved power management system delivers 70 minutes of continuous recording at 5.3K @ 60 fps (the highest performance setting), over 95 minutes at 5.3K at 30 fps and over 155 minutes of continuous recording at 1080p @ 30 fps, all with HyperSmooth 6.0 video stabilization on.
An exciting new camera feature is the native vertical capture mode that allows content creators to shoot videos in a 9:16 ratio when mounted horizontally. Users already had the ability to crop footage shot in a 4:3 ratio in the Quik app, but allowing people to do this directly on the cam cuts out the middle man, so to speak.
GoPro added wireless audio support for Apple AirPods and other Bluetooth audio devices such as earbuds, headphones and microphones, making it easier to shoot videos with voiceover on location. Bluetooth audio devices can also be used for issuing voice commands to control your HERO12 Black from a distance.
New pro features include GP-Log with available LUTs for more control and colour grading in post-production and the ability to wireless timecode sync an unlimited number of Hero 12 Black cameras for easy multicamera editing with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier and other editing apps.
Image stabilisation has also been revamped, although it was somewhat expected, as GoPro often updates its Hypersmooth algorithm when launching a new action camera. HyperSmooth 6.0 features next-generation AutoBoost that automatically boosts video stabilisation while maintaining the smallest cropping margin possible with 'imperceptible' transitions between crop levels.
HyperSmooth 6.0 also enables horizon-leveling even with full 360° camera rotation in the Linear + Horizon Lock digital lens or in all lens settings when using the Max Lens Mod 2.0 accessory. Speaking of Max Lens Mod 2.0: the new attachment allows for a 36% wider field of view when capturing widescreen video and a 48% taller field of view when capturing vertical video. It has twice as much scratch-resistant lens, and a durable hydrophobic lens coating that wicks water drops away compared to the original Max Lens Mod.
The GoPro Hero 12 Black now has a 1/4-20 mounting thread as well as the standard butterfly flaps, making HERO12 Black compatible with standard camera mounts and accessories. Not surprisingly, GoPro is launching a 48-inch 48-inch-long extension pole that collapses to just 10 inches, designed to work with the new mounting threads.
Finally, GoPro is also expanding its software experience and GoPro subscriber benefits with the launch of its new Quik desktop app. Quik desktop will be available exclusively to GoPro subscribers at no additional charge. Quik desktop is said to bring the speed and convenience of the Quik mobile app to desktop users but with an expanded list of features and capabilities that take advantage of a desktop computer’s processing power and screen size.
Quik desktop and Quik mobile apps will sync with one another so that you can start an editing project on one app and seamlessly transition to the other for maximum convenience and flexibility. Quik desktop will be available for Mac on November 1 and Windows in Summer 2024.
The GoPro HERO12 Black ($399.99/ £399.99/ AU$ 649.95) and Max Lens Mod 2.0 ($99.99 or $79.99 for GoPro subscribers/ £99.99/ AU$ 169.95) are available for preorder at GoPro and third-party retailers such as Adorama starting today. Both products will be available in stores globally on 13 September 2023, along with HERO12 Black Creator Edition for $599.99. For the best prices, head over to T3's best cheap GoPro deals page.