GoPro’s new lineup of cameras is here.
Today, the company is introducing the $399 Hero 8, which comes with a series of optional accessories called “mods” for the first time. Additionally, the $499 GoPro Max is the company’s latest take on a 360-degree camera. The Hero 8 and GoPro Max are both available for pre-order now and officially go on sale later this month.
Both cameras have features that will appeal to YouTubers, though there’s still plenty for filmmakers and action sports enthusiasts.
The Hero 8 looks similar to last year’s Hero 7, but with two big differences. First, the camera no longer requires a frame to mount it on a tripod or other accessory. Instead of clipping it into the removable frame from cameras in the past, the Hero 8 has two pieces that extend down from the body of the camera itself, allowing you to attach it to the mount of your choice without fiddling with an extra case. Second, the Hero 8 comes with a set of optional “mods,” separate accessories that add an additional flip-up display, light, or microphone to the camera.
Put all these mods together and you get a camera that looks like it was designed for Instagram influencers and YouTubers. Images of this setup first leaked back in August.
The mods, which won’t be available for pre-order until December, add new capabilities that GoPro says have been oft-requested features, like the ability to capture higher quality audio. They’ll also add to the Hero 8’s price tag — the display and media mods cost $79.99 each, while the light mod is $49.99. That means if you get a fully decked out Hero 8 with all three mods, it will cost more than $600.
Mods aside, GoPro has also made some notable software improvements. With Hero 8, the company is introducing the next generation of its stabilization tech, called HyperSmooth, and its time lapse feature, called TimeWarp. I’ll have more thoughts in Mashable’s full review of the Hero 8, but after a few weeks of testing the Hero 8, I’ve been very impressed with GoPro’s stabilization improvements.
There’s also a new nighttime time lapse mode, a Live Photos-like “Live Burst” feature, and audio and HDR improvements. The camera’s user interfaced has also been revamped to make all its shooting modes more accessible and easier to use, and the GoPro app has gotten some much-needed attention as well.
Separately, GoPro is also showing off Max, a new 360-degree camera the company describes as a “next-level vlogging camera.” Max has two 180-degree lenses, six built-in mics, and a front-facing display. It has amped up versions of the same stabilization and other software improvements of the Hero 8, but its 360-shooting capabilities enable a few other tricks as well.
After you’ve shot a 360-degree video, you can opt to “reframe” your video — selecting which parts of the frame you want to include — and export the video as a normal-looking clip, similar to what you can do with Rylo’s 360 camera.
It’s not the first time GoPro has introduced a 360 camera — let’s not forget Fusion — but while that was billed as somewhat of an experiment, the Max seems like it’s meant to cater more toward vloggers than the (mostly nonexistent) virtual reality content creators camera companies talked about a few years ago.
Recognizing that there are very few platforms (or viewers) interested in 360-degree videos, Max is more about enabling creator to capture an entire scene and allowing them to decide later how to share it.