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Rugged in design and portable, the new GoPro Hero8 Black is much improved on multiple fronts, writes Zulkifly Ab Latif

MY battered and scratched GoPro Hero4 Black has always been a trusty companion on most of my scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing and caving adventures. But the little action camera has grown a bit long in the tooth, making me wonder if it’s time for a long overdue upgrade.


The GoPro Hero8 now features built-in foldable mounts for accessories.

So when the invitation came from FunSportz, the sole distributor for GoPro cameras here, for a firsthand experience with the GoPro Hero8 Black at the Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh before it enters the Malaysian consumer market, it was the perfect opportunity to see if the action camera has what it takes to be my new adventure companion.

FRAMELESS DESIGN

The Hero8 sports a new form factor that fits better in the pocket and is sleeker. It is waterproof up to 10 metres. This means it is out-of-the-box ready for wet adventures such as a day out at the Lost World of Tambun theme park, sudden downpours while trekking or snorkelling among pristine coral reefs.


The camera is waterproof up to 10 metres without the need for protective housing.

For those that want more protection or want to go deeper underwater such as scuba divers, they will have to purchase GoPro’s Protective Housing which is waterproof up to 60 metres.

Design-wise, the Hero’s most distinct new feature is the built-in and foldable mount fingers for swapping mounts and accessories. Previous GoPro cameras require users to instal cases or frames to attach the cameras to mounts such as tripods or hand grips, but with the new frameless design of the Hero8 this is now a thing of the past.

This is an extremely useful design feature since I have forgotten to pack my GoPro Hero housing many times previously.

FEATURE-PACKED

Powered by GoPro’s custom GP1 processor chip, the Hero8 is able to capture 12MP+ SuperPhoto with Improved HDR images and records 4K video at up to 60fps with excellent stabilisation. The stabilisation comes from the new HyperSmooth 2.0 feature which has three levels of On, High and Boost.

Testing the stabilisation on the theme park waterslides, carousel and even while running on the walkways, I am quite impressed with how the Hero8 performed while recording ­videos without need for a separate ­gimbal stabiliser.


Live Burst mode on the Hero8 captures up to 90 still images.

As someone who captures more images than record videos, I am particularly interested in the Hero’s new LiveBurst mode. Able to capture 90 still images 1.5 seconds before and after I hit the shutter button, the feature is perfect for capturing fast action and sports moments.

Another new feature is the TimeWarp 2.0 function, which sets the camera to automatically adjust speed based on motion, scene detection and lighting while recording stabilised videos.

The videos can be given a more surreal effect when slowed down or sped up with a simple tap of the screen. Last, and perhaps the most useful new feature in the Hero8, are its Digital Lenses. With the lenses, users can frame their shots in four settings: Narrow, Linear, Wide and SuperView.

CONCLUSION

After almost a full day at the theme park with the GoPro Hero8 Black and evaluating it as a camera for holidays or outdoor adventures, I can confidently say that the Hero8 has a place in my travel backpack.

Thanks to its ruggedness and portability, the little action camera is the choice for those occasions when a camera handphone or DSLR camera is too fragile or bulky to use.


Images captured on the Hero8 has improved dynamic range and contrast.

The only downside about the camera is its somewhat limited battery life, requiring multiple batteries for all-day use as well as the need for a protective housing if I were to go scuba diving.

Apart from this, it is a much improved action camera on multiple fronts, and is easily the best in its camera class at the moment. The GoPro Hero8 Black will be available here from tomorrow, retailing at RM1,879.

PICTURES BY ZULKIFLY AB LATIF

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