Mon. Nov 28th, 2022

Admittedly, I’m barely versed in the world of GoPro action cameras. But powering one up and creating videos is fairly intuitive. At least when the camera is in Easy Mode, which I set as a default on the brand’s latest camera, the Hero 11 Black. This model looks exactly like its predecessor, the Hero 10 Black (which I tried recently), but the differences lie inside.

While it functions much like the 10, now when you upload your videos into the company’s cloud service, it automatically sends to your phone highlight reels of your videos that are actually kind of cool-and-short recaps. Its new, larger image sensor captures more of a scene with higher image quality, letting you crop the video afterwards and share various aspect ratios – including vertical format to social media. I was mesmerized using an extra wide-angle HyperView that fits so much of the world into the frame. It takes the 8:7 aspect ratio footage served up by the new image sensor and delivers it as a wide-angle 16:9 shot. The result is ultra-immersive video, giving every point-of-view shot a near-surreal feel.

The HyperSmooth 5.0 mode features AutoBoost that determines the right stabilization for you; and Horizon Lock that essentially secures your subject right-side up in the frame, even while you turn the camera upside down. It’s pretty swift. Three new night effects let you get creative after dark, filming stars in the sky on a time lapse; creating car light videos; and tracing lights so your subject can make drawings with a smartphone light, for instance. The Enduro rechargeable battery lasts longer than ever, I’m told.

I love that the camera can automatically upload footage to the cloud. That’s invaluable peace of mind. You can also set it to auto-delete the videos from the camera’s microSD card afterwards, to keep perpetual space. And the camera can take cinematic 5.3K60 + 2.7K240 video with 24.7 megapixel still shots from the video. In fact, you can also snap 27 megapixel photos with it, as well. Because the camera’s intended for action, it’s waterproof up to 33 feet.

While I’m not a very adventurous type, I did go out with GoPro officials to test the camera’s abilities and get to know my way around this impressive machine. I turned down their paragliding invitation to instead go e-scootering and boating. We deliberately went in choppy water, so they could show off the GoPro’s stabilization. Afterwards, they showed me a highlight reel of our entire afternoon. It came together quickly, and it seemed easy to edit video, add music, and tack on some text. I also went for a jog on my own holding the camera. It did a great job at smoothing out my shaky video. You honestly cannot tell that I was bouncing up and down while filming. I’ve seen impressive video stabilization from cell phones before, but with the GoPro it genuinely looked like the video camera was filmed on a gliding track – so steady. There are three microphones on the camera – officials tell me that if one gets too much wind noise, the others on the side of the phone take over to quiet things down.

I love that because of the Hero 11’s small size, the camera’s easy to pack and use. I plan on using mine as a dashboard camera on an upcoming long road trip to make one of those hyperlapse videos that I enjoy watching, and also to capture my golf swing in super slo-mo.

I realize Apple is promoting the iPhone 14’s action camera abilities, as kind of an extra reason to buy the phone. And the new Insta360 X3 looks phenomenal, too. Collectively these cameras will inspire super cool videos from perspectives that will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

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