GoPro refreshes its action camera line-up every year, and it is not always deserving because in some iterations the upgrades are incremental in nature. Thankfully, the 2022-23 model – the Hero 11 Black – is not another seasonal upgrade. It has a new heart, a 1/1.9-inch sensor of 8:7 aspect ratio with support for 10-bit colour capture. It is this sensor that enables all the fun, but there is more to the Hero 11 Black.
The Hero 11 Black has a new Enduro battery pack for improved performance in extreme environments, three new night effects time lapse presets, built-in 360-degree horizon lock, and discrete controls for first timers and pro users. These are all on top of existing features of the predecessor such as 5.3K resolution video recording in up to 60fps, water resistance to up to 33 feet, built-in mounting legs, voice controls, front facing screen, support for RAW capture, webcam mode, and 1080p livestream.
Details aside, GoPro brings the fun back to the action camera space with the Hero 11 Black. Driving the fun is the 8:7 aspect ratio sensor, which enables a squarish frame-of-view (FoV) of up to 5.3K resolution at 30fps. It essentially means there is a lot of high-resolution data in a frame that you can use to create content for multiple sources such as square images for blogs, vertical videos for social media, and horizontal videos for YouTube and websites.
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10-bit capture is another creator-centric feature exclusive to the Hero 11 Black. It essentially means the camera can record more than billion colours per frame and save the video in a high efficiency video coding (HEVC). It is a pro-grade feature with significant benefits for those who like to play around with colours in post-production. For mainstream users, however, it may be of minimal value or advantage. Therefore, the 8:7 aspect ratio is not forced but an option. There is also a traditional 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio mode available.
Coming back to the fun part, the Hero 11 Black has a new Hyperview (12mm equivalent) and a 360-degree horizon lock built-in. Both are on the opposite ends in terms of FoV; these have utility for the creators.
The Hyperview maxes out the frame by applying stretches on the sides. It allows for the widest available view on the action camera in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The horizon lock works with linear view (no fish-eye effect visible on the frame). Besides stabilising the frame, it locks the horizon and keeps the frame intact even if the camera does full 360-degree circle.
Keeping the show going is the new Enduro battery pack, which is said to bring performance improvements in extreme environments. I tried it at 2-degree Celsius temperature with the camera mounted on the bike handlebar and managed to get nearly an hour of on-battery time on a fully charged battery – recording a 5.3K resolution video at 60fps.
The Hero 11 Black is certainly a pro-grade action camera, but it is easy to use. It has a familiar interface to make existing GoPro users feel at home. Besides, there are pre-set configurations to help users make the most from the camera in different environments. This simplifies the experience and makes everyday use easy and fun. For first time users, there is an option to switch to ‘Easy’ controls, which provides fewer settings and capture choices leaning towards simple point-and-shoot experience. Besides, there is support for voice control but that has been around and understands the Indian accent since Hero 7 Black times.
At Rs 51,500, the Hero 11 Black is a capable action camera with something new across board. It allows users to add zing to their content through exploration and experimentation. Importantly, it works without a glitch – something that cannot be said for previous generation models such as Hero 7 Black and Hero 9 Black. It is a pro-grade action camera, but a versatile one that is easy to use and operate. Therefore, it appeals alike to professionals and aspiring content creators.
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