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GoPro Hero 12 Black Review: Pros, Cons, and more

The GoPro Hero 12 Black stands as a robust, versatile, and ultra-wide action camera boasting remarkable stabilization and a plethora of features. With the addition of new external and dual-channel audio tools, alongside the benefits of 10-bit log capture and timecoded footage for filmmakers, it offers substantial value.

However, it’s essential to note that it’s not without its flaws. In low-light conditions, it doesn’t shine as brightly, playing second fiddle to its primary rival, the DJI Action 4. Furthermore, its resemblance to the Hero 11 Black might deter potential upgraders.

Nonetheless, this camera excels in well-lit environments, capturing impressive footage. Its user-friendly interface and enhanced attributes solidify its status as the top-notch GoPro choice.

Pros:

  • Impressive stabilization
  • Diverse mounting options
  • Compatibility with existing accessories
  • Bluetooth audio support

Cons:

  • Resemblance to Hero 11 Black
  • Average battery life
  • Subpar low-light performance
QUICK REVIEW

QUICK REVIEW

The GoPro Hero 12 Black follows GoPro’s successful formula without major hardware changes. While it may seem familiar, it has noteworthy upgrades, especially for filmmakers and those seeking wireless audio support.

To start, it retains the 27MP 8:7 sensor from the Hero 11 Black, offering various aspect ratios. It can capture up to 5.3K at 60fps and 4K at 120fps, even dropping to 2K at 240fps, a feat the DJI Osmo Action 4 can’t match.

The Hero design remains largely unchanged, rooted in the Hero 5 Black’s style. The battery is the higher-capacity GoPro Enduro (1720mAh), and dimensions, processor, and weight remain consistent with its predecessor.

Now, the Hero 12 Black’s merits come into focus. It features a 1/4-inch thread mount, great for mini tripods. HDR video capture enhances handling of highlights and shadows, benefiting content creators.

For filmmakers, GP-Log capture allows for greater dynamic range and 10-bit color. Bluetooth microphone support simplifies wireless audio recording, while two audio channels can be accessed through the GoPro Quik app or in Premiere Pro.

In summary, the Hero 12 Black enhances versatility and power compared to the Hero 11 Black. It excels in stabilization, surpassing the DJI Osmo Action 4, with crisp, vibrant video. However, it falls short in capturing a broad soundscape, a strength of the Action 4.

GoPro’s long-standing weakness in low-light recording persists, with DJI claiming the lead in this department. The action camera competition remains fierce, but the Hero 12 Black shines for daylight shooting and top-tier stabilization. It’s an excellent choice for vloggers and those with compatible accessories looking to upgrade their camera.

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK: RELEASE DATE AND PRICE

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK SPECIFICATIONS

  • Sensor: 27MP 1/1.9-inch
  • FOV/focal length: 156 degrees
  • Max photo resolution: 27MP 8:7 (5568 x 4872)
  • Video: Up to 5.3K 60fps / 4K 120fps (16:9)
  • Stabilization: HyperSmooth 6.0 with AutoBoost
  • Front screen: 1.4-inch Color LCD
  • Rear screen: 2.27-inch Color LCD
  • Mount: Action camera + 1/4-inch thread
  • Battery: GoPro Enduro (1720mAh)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB-C and Wi-Fi

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK: RELEASE DATE AND PRICE

The GoPro Hero 12 Black is out now, starting at $400 / £400 / AU$650, slightly above DJI Action 4’s price. The Hero 11 Black still remains on sale at $350 / £350 / AU$579 on GoPro’s website.

If you desire extras like an Enduro battery, Handler grip, head strap, and a carrying case, the accessories bundle at $450 / £450 / AU$730 is available, with a 20% discount for GoPro subscribers.

For the remarkable Max Lens Mod 2.0 and a wide field of view, you can opt for the Max Lens Mod bundle, priced at $500 / £500 / AU$820, with a 20% subscriber discount.

GoPro has simplified its pricing, offering a fixed, competitive price for the Hero 12 Black, a refreshing change from the past. This subscription-free model makes it a more appealing option, ensuring better value.

Price score: 4/5

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK: DESIGN

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK: DESIGN

At first sight, the Hero 11 and 12 Black appear nearly identical, with minor styling differences on the 12. They share the same weight, dimensions (71.8 x 50.8 x 33.6mm), and feature removable doors for USB-C, battery, and microSD access.

The lens, boasting an f/2.5 aperture and a 151-degree field of view, is slightly narrower than DJI Osmo Action 4’s 155 degrees. The Max Lens Mod 2.0 expands the Hero 12 Black’s field of view to an impressive 177 degrees.

For mounting options, GoPro introduces a 1/4-inch tripod thread, enhancing versatility. The familiar flip-out feet facilitate traditional action camera mounts, saving the need for an additional grip.

While the Hero 12 Black sports dual color displays, only the rear one is touch-sensitive, unlike DJI’s Action 4. The 2.27-inch rear screen offers excellent visibility and responsiveness.

Physical controls include a top record button and a side power button. Quick-fire recording activates when the camera is off by pressing the record button, and mode changes occur by pressing the power button when the camera is on.

GoPro’s rich accessory ecosystem is a standout feature, with options like the Media Mod for enhanced audio, featuring a directional mic, a 3.5mm microphone port, micro HDMI port, and a user-friendly USB-C port.

Design score: 4.5/5

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK: FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK: FEATURES AND PERFORMANCE

The Hero 12 Black holds an edge over DJI’s Osmo Action 4 in resolution, with its 27MP stills and 5.3K video quality, notably crisper in abundant light.

Its 8:7 aspect-ratio sensor is excellent for editing, providing flexibility for various aspect ratios while maintaining high resolution. Frame rates are impressive, up to 60fps for 5.3K and 240fps for 2.7K.

A noteworthy feature is super-fast file transfer via USB-C, eliminating slow wireless transfers, compatible with USB-C Android phones and the new USB-C-equipped iPhone 15 range.

The 12 Black’s 1720mAh Enduro battery offers ample power, particularly for shorter clips. Overheating concerns are reduced compared to older models, allowing extended 5.3K shooting.

The interface has been streamlined for 2023, enhancing Easy Mode and adding 8:7 capture to all modes. Easy Mode simplifies decision-making, while Pro Mode offers advanced controls.

HyperSmooth 6.0 with AutoBoost delivers exceptional stabilization and horizon locking. AutoBoost adjusts the field of view for optimal stabilization.

Bluetooth microphone support is a valuable addition, allowing up to four Bluetooth devices, but audio quality varies based on the microphone used.

External audio recording captures two audio channels for editing in video software or through the GoPro Quik app.

Notably, GPS has been omitted for 2023, which may or may not impact your action camera experience.

Features and performance score: 4.5/5

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK: IMAGE AND VIDEO QUALITY

GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK: IMAGE AND VIDEO QUALITY

The GoPro Hero 12 Black features a 27MP sensor with an 8:7 aspect ratio, excelling in well-lit conditions, delivering detailed 4K video and vivid colors. New additions like HDR and GP-Log enhance dynamic range.

While GoPro shines in daylight with zesty, crisp footage, low light remains its Achilles’ heel. Night modes offer creative options, but for challenging nighttime scenes, a smartphone might be more reliable.

GoPro’s video quality and skin tone handling excel for vlogging. Horizon Lock at 5.3K resolution surpasses DJI’s 4K limit. The fixed-focus lens suits action shots, and macro lenses are available.

Impressive features include 5.3K 60p 10-bit video and 120fps 2.7K slow-motion, as well as timelapse and hyperlapse modes. The 12 Black’s microphones excel at capturing voices, making it a top choice for vlogging.

Image and video quality: 4/5

SHOULD I BUY THE GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK?

SHOULD I BUY THE GOPRO HERO 12 BLACK?

Buy it if:

  1. You’re an active daytime explorer: The GoPro Hero 12 Black excels in bright conditions, offering high-resolution video at up to 240fps in 2.7K, perfect for daytime adventures.
  2. You own GoPro accessories: Existing accessories for the Hero 9, 10, and 11 Black seamlessly fit the 12 Black, making it a convenient choice if you already have GoPro gear.
  3. You share content on social media: Its 8:7 sensor enables native 5.3K video, easily adaptable for Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, providing high-resolution posts from a single clip.

Don’t buy it if:

  1. You don’t need 8:7 versatility: If you can do without the latest features like 8:7 footage, Bluetooth mic support, and log capture, consider the older, cost-effective Hero 10 Black, which still delivers impressive 5.3K video.
  2. You prefer magnetic mounting: While the Hero 12 Black offers tripod thread and flip-out feet for traditional mounting, models like DJI Osmo Action 3 and 4, and Insta360 Go 3 provide magnetic mounting.
  3. You require superior low-light performance: The Hero 12 Black’s smaller sensor limits its low-light capabilities. For better low-light performance, consider the DJI Osmo Action 4.

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