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10 Days with a GoPro Hero 10 Black - Random Tech Review

Introduction to the GoPro Hero 10 Black

Recently I got to spend some pre-release time with the latest in the GoPro line, the GoPro Hero 10 Black, and asked the question, “is this action camera the perfect 10? Or is it just a rebadged 9”. The answer is this.. 

Now full disclosure, I’m not an action man, I don’t jump out of planes, I’ve never been diving and apart from playing occasional football I’m not super sporty. So you might think an action cam would be wasted on my lifestyle. The thing is, I used them a lot as these types of cameras are so handy in my everyday job filming pieces to cameras and recording vlogs. On top of that, I find it a really handy tool to capture home videos with the family. The stabilization is better than any phone, it picks up sound really well even without a media mod and it’s small and light enough to take anywhere with you. It’s moved beyond its humble beginnings to become a full lifestyle camera.

The package arrived marked “Speed with Ease”. Which is the slogan for the new model and I was looking forward to putting that to the test. It included a hard shell camera case with a 3-way accessory. Removing it from the box I instantly noticed two things, one it is almost exactly the same size as the 9 model, but two, it’s actually a bit lighter.

There’s a lot of features that are the same as the 9. It has the built-in folding mounting fingers on the bottom to be used to attach to mounts, the front-facing selfie screen and it takes the ports are all in the same spot, it even fits the same batteries. This is worth mentioning because all the accessories for Hero 9 work perfectly with Hero 10. So you can attach your media mod straight away. This was something that frustrated users who switched from 8 to 9 as it meant a whole bunch of new purchases with it. 

One thing I do need to point out about the design is the bold choice of electric blue writing for the logos replacing the standard grey/white that blended on previous models. It stands out and adds a sharp and modern feel to the device before you even turn it on. They say never wear “black and blue” but that fashion statement does not seem to apply here as it looks very slick.

Using the interface

The interface was noticeably sluggish in the Hero 9 and more so in the 8. You would jump into settings and slide your finger only for a massive delay to cause you to press into a section you had no interest in. It was a real issue and one that seems to have been rightly sorted. The team at GoPro talk a lot about the new GP2 processor and with good reason, not only does it speed up the boot time of the device to near-instantaneous it also makes sliding around the menus not dissimilar to using a mobile phone. That’s the kind of speed you need when you are shooting on the go in high-pressure situations. 

 After a play, the GoPro is then connected to the Quik app and even that seems to pick up the camera faster and access the controls faster again. If I had to put a number on it, after a few tries and a bit of guesswork I’d say it’s about 3x faster. Well, at least that is my observation.

Next was making sure the firmware is up to date and the settings all make sense before we head out and test it.

Piece to Camera

GoPro’s make great vlogging cameras given two things, you have enough light and you use a media kit with a mic attached. Generally, my mic of choice is a Sennheiser MKE 200 which is a handy portable shotgun mic of really good quality that packs nicely in the bag with your camera. 

One major improvement on the Hero 10 is its ability to handle low light situations better. It’s still not perfect and you tend to get that grain in the blackness but that’s more “no light” than “low light” in that situation it handles really well. 

The front colour display introduced on the 9 is now more responsive offering a far smoother preview of your shot, this is really handy in a piece to camera situation. Especially when you are filming on your own. It’s a really handy feature for Vloggers.

WebCam

The GoPro makes for an expensive WebCam, but having that as an option just makes it more versatile. In previous years I’d joined an internet forum to get the firmware update to take advantage of this feature that didn’t come straight out of the box. However, now it’s an active part of the camera and lets you broadcast in full 1080p HD with an impressive 132° wide field of view, this means it will capture more of the area you are broadcasting from. Great for live streams of events, or even a Zumba class (is that still a thing?)

Shooting in 5k

Picking the biggest and best quality might sound like the right thing to do and in a lot of cases, I will go down that path. But you do need a machine that will keep up with the demands of editing 5k 60fps footage. Usually, I like to shoot in 5k and that gives me plenty of cropping options when editing in 1080p. Most of my footage is uploaded to social media, so I don’t need UHD, it’s just nice to have.

The new camera boasts 5k at 60fps and 4k at 120fps so that is a massive leap from the previous model. It’s not 8k but that has always felt like overkill for me and I could never see myself shooting in a resolution I can’t actually watch. But those 5k pixels mean that you can capture sharper, clearer, even more, realistic videos that reflect what you are seeing with your human eye much better, even picking up some of the finer details you might miss.

It was here I went for a walk out to some local parks and captured some really beautiful scenery. The clarity of the image is really impressive, but I suggest playing with the settings a bit as out of the box the sharpness is just a little too sharp and you want to make sure you are recording at a high bitrate and your audio is set to high.

I Stuffed Up

So time to own up, I did a shoot earlier in the week using two cameras, a Hero 9 and the new 10. When I went to edit, I realised I’d already cleared the footage from the SD card, I’d lost everything. That was until I remembered that linking it to the Quik app and subscription service meant that when I was near wifi it had uploaded automatically to my cloud account. It was a simple login and transfer to retrieve it and it was in its original quality so no loss at all. It’s a feature that works with all your GoPros but it does seem to upload faster on the 10. This is apparently down to the GP2 chip optimising the Wifi connection. 

On transfer connections the new GoPro Hero 10 Black allows 3 ways to transfer data, cloud upload, wireless upload and a new wired transfer directly to your phone, you just need a cable that connects from USB-c to your phone’s data input. On Apple, it’s the Lightning connector and on most modern Androids it’s just USB-C.

Beach Trip to Test Hypersmooth 4.0

Putting Hypersmooth 4.0 to the test was easy for me, I’m a clumsy runner so when chasing after my daughter at the beach I decided to film the action. As I ran along behind her the footage appeared as smooth as you like, even though I distinctly remember at the time having shaking arms as I moved. This is the best stabilisation I’ve seen outside of an actual gimbal and in some respects better as the increased 45° Horizon Leveling Tilt limit (in 4K60, 2.7K120 and 1080p120) really keeps everything in place.

It was also good being able to see the effect of the new water-resistant lens they call “Hydrophobic” which also sounds like the name of a Stephen King Novel. This lens is more scratch-resistant and actively reduces ghosting, plus they’ve given the option to remove it so you can replace it with a MAX mod, or use filtered lenses. 

Did you know, the old surfer's tip for keeping water off of your GoPro lens is to use a bit of spit. Doesn’t sound pleasant, but works like a charm. The lens on the Hero 10 doesn’t even require you to do that. The lens actively pushes water away, making sure the screen is always as clear as possible and that means you won’t miss those important shots in the surf. 

Let’s Do the Timewarp again

This is a feature I don’t use often unless I accidentally film using it (and yes I’ve done that on more than one occasion, always check the setting you are on while filming). So I thought I’d set up a purpose shot to put it to the test and I was surprised by the results. There’s 8x slo-mo at 2.7k.

Timewarp 3.0 boasts “real speed” and “half-speed” and while I’d generally just do this in a post-editing scenario, using it during the initial shoot has some cool results. The trick is to try to predict what is coming up then tap the Speed Ramp while recording to slow down to either of the two features. It’s going to save you time later, and really just look awesome.

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(Images GoPro Hero 10 - Anthony Walsh)

Photography

You probably don’t think of your GoPro as a still camera, but with upgrades like a 23-megapixel camera and some really strong software support you can take some stunning shots meaning you save space in the camera bag. Because you can shoot video at such high quality it’s also easy to pull images straight out of a 5k 4:3 video that will grab stills that are up to 19.6 megapixels to make sure you have the perfect shot.

The main photo modes are Burst, Night Photo, Super Photo and RAW Photo. 

SI10085 210120 AGC David Rinaldo 8F7A2F70 ECD5 497D 83DE E8BE3DA5E690   SI10085 210120 AGC Sky Brown G0015993  SI10085 210120 AGC Tereva David A083C5EF E4AF 4626 920B 2D31D7523B82

(Images: GoPro Hero 10 - David Rinaldo, Sky Brown, Tereva David)

Final Thoughts

At first glance, it’s easy to think that not much has changed from last year’s Hero 9, but the reality of using the device and more importantly using them side by side is that the GoPro Hero 10 Black is leaps ahead of its predecessor. The integration of the new GP2 processor is a clear win for the company that can now boast a super-fast user-friendly interface, boot up response and multiple other improvements just from its introduction alone. The fact that the device is compatible with the last model’s accessories is a welcome feature. The GoPro Hero 10 Black is a perfect 10 and without a doubt the king of the action cams. 

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Additional:

For the 4th year in a row, GoPro is inviting users of the latest device to capture and submit video clips for consideration to the Million Dollar Challenge. All you need to do is grab the latest GoPro Hero 10 Black, Capture a great moment in time and then submit it. If your clip is selected you could win a share of $1,000,000. Check it out here: https://gopro.com/en/au/awards/million-dollar-challenge

 

GoPro Hero 10 Black is available for $599.95 and the pricing includes a one year subscription to the GoPro cloud services.

 

This article originated from Doccydarko.com and was published with permission. 

Hear Doc’s tech reviews on the Random 30 with Mikey every Wednesday at 7:10 pm and 9:10 pm