GoPro Hero 12 Black review: A detailed assessment.

GoPro Hero 12 Black review: A detailed assessment.
Gopro

Pros

  • It has good Bluetooth audio support
  • Excellent stabilization
  • Flexible mounting options
  • Works together with existing accessories

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • It has a low-battery life
  • Very similar to Hero 11 Black

The new GoPro Hero 12 Black is making waves in the action cam market with its impressive features. One standout is its extended run time, offering up to 70 minutes of continuous shooting.

This extended run time is a significant new feature that enhances the camera’s usability for adventurous users.

Hero 12 Black has set a new standard in the action cam industry, providing enthusiasts with a powerful and reliable tool for capturing their thrilling moments.

The GoPro Hero 12 Black is a rugged ultra-wide action camera with impressive stabilization. It introduces new audio tools and 10-bit log capture for filmmakers but struggles in low light. Despite similarities to Hero 11 Black, it remains the top GoPro with its enhanced features.

The GoPro Hero 12 Black sticks to the proven GoPro formula, offering familiar hardware. However, it excels with upgraded software, especially for filmmakers and those seeking wireless audio support. GoPro showcases its ability to refresh the lineup without major hardware changes, much like Apple.

In 2023, the GoPro Hero 12 Black retains the 27MP 8:7 sensor from the Hero 11 Black. This versatile sensor accommodates various aspect ratios and supports high-quality video recording up to 5.3K at 60fps and 4K at 120fps. Additionally, it can capture 240fps at 2K resolution, a feature not available in the DJI Osmo Action 4.

GoPro’s Hero design remains consistent, sticking with the style introduced on the Hero 5 Black. It’s a recognizable and enduring aesthetic that hasn’t seen significant changes over the years.

The GoPro Hero 12 Black uses the familiar GoPro Enduro battery with a 1720mAh capacity. It maintains identical dimensions, processor, and weight as the Hero 11 Black.

With so many similarities, the question arises: Is the Hero 12 Black worth the extra cost compared to the more affordable Hero 11 Black, which offers comparable features?

Hero 12 Black introduces a convenient 1/4-inch thread mount for mini tripods. HDR video capture enhances highlight and shadow handling, delivering excellent results.

For filmmakers seeking enhanced capabilities, activating GP-Log capture offers extended dynamic range and 10-bit colour. This feature facilitates seamless integration of the footage into editing timelines, ensuring smooth colour matching with clips from other cameras.

The GoPro Hero 12 Black continues to redefine the action camera experience with its enhanced runtime, allowing users to dive into anything without worrying about running out of power.

What’s more, the new Max Lens Mod opens up exciting possibilities, offering a wider field of view and flexibility for creative shots, including vertical video.

The hero12 black has excellent voice commands. In addition, it has good airpods for perfect shooting. Compared to GoPro Hero 11, hero 12 black boasts excellent shooting modes with continuous recording.

Specs

Max photo resolution: 27MP 8:7 (5568 x 4872)

Video: Up to 5.3K 60fps / 4K 120fps (16:9)

Stabilization: Hypersmart 6.0 with Autoboot

Front screen: 1.4-inch Color LCD

Mount:Action camera + 1/4-inch thread

Battery: GoPro Enduro (1720mAh)

Sensor:27MP 1/1.9-inch

FOV/focal length: 156 degrees

Max photo resolution: 27MP 8:7 (5568 x 4872)

The Hero 12 Black now enables wireless audio support, allowing Bluetooth microphone connections. This feature is compatible with Bluetooth earphones or headphones, providing a simple and convenient recording solution.

The Hero 12 Black accommodates external Bluetooth microphones and the Media Mod for enhanced audio options. It captures two audio channels, which can be edited using the GoPro Quik app or Premiere Pro. Utilizing Media Mod allows you to blend directional and ambient audio tracks, ensuring optimal clip quality.

In summary, GoPro enhances the Hero 12 Black, making it a notably more versatile and powerful action camera compared to the Hero 11 Black.

Regarding its performance compared to competitors, the Hero 12 Black excels with Hyper Smooth 6.0 and Auto Boost stabilization, surpassing the DJI Osmo Action 4.

Additionally, GoPro’s video quality appears sharper and more vibrant, a preferred choice for action camera enthusiasts. However, Action 4 excels in capturing a broader audio range, while Hero 12 Black prioritizes voice clarity.

GoPro struggles in low-light conditions, and even with the Light Painting night modes, it doesn’t rectify the grainy video. DJI excels in the low-light recording.

The competition between DJI and GoPro in the action camera market is intense. The Hero 12 Black takes a slight lead for daytime shooting and superior stabilization. It’s especially suitable for vloggers and existing GoPro users with compatible accessories looking to upgrade their camera.

Price and release date

The GoPro Hero 12 Black is now available, starting at $400, slightly higher than the DJI Action 4. Notably, Hero 11 Black is still offered on GoPro’s website, with a reduced price of $350.

For those interested in an accessory bundle including the Enduro battery, Handler grip, head strap, and carrying case, it costs $450. Subscribers enjoy a roughly 20% discount on this package.

If you only desire the Max Lens Mod 2.0 for an expansive field of view, it’s available in a bundle for $500. Subscribers can save approximately 20% on this package.

GoPro has streamlined its pricing approach, offering the Hero 12 Black at a fixed price. This new pricing structure is more straightforward, and the Hero 12 Black is priced lower than the initial launch price of the Hero 11 Black.

The Hero 12 Black’s pricing is not budget-friendly, but it offers better value without inflated non-member prices. GoPro’s subscription-free model enhances the camera’s competitiveness.

Design

The Hero 11 and 12 Black have nearly identical appearances, with the latter featuring subtle blue styling. They share the same weight, and dimensions (71.8 x 50.8 x 33.6camerasnd have removable doors that house a USB-C port, battery compartment, and microSD slot.

The removable lens safeguards the well-known f/2.5 aperture glass with a 151-degree field of view. While slightly narrower than the DJI Osmo Action 4’s 155 degrees, the Hero 12 Black can be upgraded to an impressive 177 degrees with the Max Lens Mod 2.0.

The camera’s base incorporates GoPro’s signature flip-out feet for conventional mounting. Additionally, the Hero line introduces a 1/4-inch mount, accommodating both traditional tripods and action-camera mounts. This is especially convenient for those using vlogging tripods like the Manfrotto Pixi, eliminating the need for an extra grip during travel.

After trying the DJI Action 4 and Insta360 Go 3 with magnetic mounts, I noticed the absence of this feature in Hero 12 Black. If GoPro incorporates magnets into the 13 Black, it would have a complete set of mounting options. Currently, it offers two out of three options, which is still commendable.

Similar to its predecessors, the Hero 12 Black features two colour displays, front and rear. Unlike DJI’s camera, only the rear screen is touch-responsive. While not a major issue, it was more convenient for vlogging on the Action 4, allowing adjustments without flipping the camera around.

The rear’s main screen is 2.27 inches, offering excellent indoor and outdoor visibility. Unlike older GoPro models like the Hero 9 Black, it provides a highly responsive experience.

The Hero 12 Black features physical controls, including a top-record button and a side power button. Pressing the record button when the camera is off enables quick recording while pressing the power button when it’s on switch modes.

Choosing a GoPro offers the advantage of a vast accessory ecosystem, including first-party and third-party options. While DJI’s Action 4 provides ND filters and magnetic mounts, GoPro’s ecosystem is more extensive.

GoPro’s Media Mod is a significant enhancement for Hero 12 Black, especially for sound quality. It includes a directional mic, a 3.5mm microphone port for wireless options like the Rode Wireless Go 2, micro-HDMI, and accessible USB-C ports. DJI doesn’t offer a comparable accessory in its lineup.

Performance and features

The Hero 12 Black outperforms the DJI Osmo Action 4 in resolution with its 27MP stills and 5.3K 8:7 video. While the sensor is smaller, the Hero 12 Black’s picture quality is significantly crisper in ample daylight conditions.

The 8:7 aspect ratio sensor is designed for flexible editing. At 5.3K resolution, it provides versatility to crop clips into various aspect ratios like 1:1, 16:9, or 9:16 while preserving high resolution using the GoPro Quik app.

GoPro boasts top-tier frame rates, including 5.3K at up to 60fps, 4K at up to 120fps, and 2.7K at up to 240fps. These high frame rates are available even with Horizon Leveling enabled, allowing for stable footage regardless of camera tilts.

A standout feature of the GoPro Hero 12 Black is the ability to transfer files to your phone via a USB-C cable, eliminating the need for slow wireless transfers. This feature, also present in the Hero 11 Black, is compatible with Android phones featuring a USB-C port and the new USB-C-equipped iPhone 15 range.

The Hero 12 Black comes with a 1720mAh Enduro battery, but it’s also compatible with standard batteries, offering shorter run times. This battery is ideal for shooting clips in under 20 minutes. While older GoPros had overheating issues, Hero 11 Black performed well, and Hero 12 Black exhibited improved performance.

For extended capture time, the Hero 12 Black is compatible with the GoPro Volta grip and other power sources. You can also carry spare batteries, with an Enduro battery providing over an hour of continuous 4K 60fps video recording.

GoPro’s Easy Mode offers a simplified interface, making automatic decisions. You only need to select the media type and quality level, and Easy Mode adjusts settings accordingly.

Pro Mode, while more complex, is essential for GP-Log, HDR, stabilization, and frame rate control.

In 2023, GoPro introduced Hyper Smooth 6.0 with Auto Boost for remarkable stabilization. This system not only super-smooth footage but also enables horizon locking, allowing you to capture loops and spins without distortion.

Auto Boost adjusts the field of view for optimal stabilization without a noticeable impact on the footage. This indicates the effectiveness of GoPro’s Hyper Smooth 6.0 in maintaining stable and well-composed shots.

The Hero 12 Black now supports Bluetooth microphones and up to four Bluetooth devices simultaneously. This includes microphones, phones, wireless shutters, or other GoPro cameras for synchronized capture.

Audio quality from Bluetooth sources depends on the microphone. In testing, the Hero 12 Black yielded mixed results, with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offering subpar audio. The Huawei FreeBuds 4 and dedicated microphones performed better.

Bluetooth Audio, while useful in specific scenarios, may not match dedicated wireless microphones like the DJI Mic in terms of quality. The DJI Mic is a top choice, especially when using it with the Action 4, offering exceptional audio quality.

GoPro’s external audio recording captures two audio channels, incorporating them into the video file. This enables access to both channels in video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or the GoPro Quik app.

In 2023, GoPro removed GPS, a feature present in previous models. While I haven’t noticed its absence during my testing, the impact on your experience depends on how important geotagging is for you.

Image and video quality

The DJI Action 4’s standout feature is its 1/1.3-inch sensor. In contrast, the Hero 12 Black features an 8:7 aspect ratio and a 27MP resolution, setting it apart.

GoPro’s default modes enhance daytime footage, delivering vibrant, crisp, and smooth results. The addition of HDR capture improves performance in bright conditions, and GP-Log capture further extends the dynamic range for excellent results.

The Hero 12 Black’s 10-bit 4K video impresses with vibrant colours and ample editing capabilities. The camera quality’s primary limitation is ambient light; as light decreases, video quality diminishes.

GoPro provides enjoyable night modes for light painting, resulting in decent photos and timelapse in dimly lit scenes. However, for candlelit dinners or nighttime strolls, using your phone is often a more capable choice compared to Hero 12 Black.

GoPros excels in vlogging, offering superior performance in handling faces and skin tones compared to DJI’s Action 3. The Hero 12 Black’s Horizon Lock feature is more potent, delivering impressive results at resolutions up to 5.3K, whereas DJI’s is limited to 4K.

The GoPro Hero 12 Black features a fixed-focus lens, limiting its ability for close-up shots or videos. However, you can opt for macro lenses to achieve a closer focus if you’re invested in the Hero ecosystem.

GoPro introduces 5.3K 60p 10-bit video and exceptional 120fps 2.7K slow-motion capabilities. Timelapse and hyperlapse modes are reinstated, along with creative photography modes designed to enhance low-light performance.

The Hero 12 Black microphones excel at capturing voices, making it an ideal choice for vlogging. It outperforms other cameras, including the DJI Osmo Action 4, which captures more ambient sounds.

Should I buy the Go Pro Hero Black?

The Hero 12 Black is an exceptional daytime action camera with a high-resolution sensor and effective stabilization. It delivers its best performance in bright environments, capable of recording at up to 240fps with a resolution of 2.7K.

GoPro maintains design consistency across the Hero 9, 10, 11, and 12 Black models. This ensures compatibility with existing accessories, including the Media Mod and Max Lens Mod. These accessories are seamlessly integrated with the Hero 12 Black, as they were with its predecessors.