The GoPro Hero 11 Black will almost certainly be GoPro’s next flagship action camera. There are hardly any credible rumors about the upcoming camera these days, but a little informed research tells us a lot about what it might look like. So, we’ve gathered all our thoughts and wishes into this Hero 11 Black deep dive.
Despite its likely arrival, it’s quite possible that this year’s biggest GoPro additions have nothing to do with the Hero 11 Black. Earlier this year, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said the company plans to expand its reach in 2022, beyond the Black and Max lines we have today.
One of these new cameras is likely the drone-compatible GoPro Hero 10 Black Bones. But can we also see a return of the White or Silver series? A new large sensor GoPro Hero ‘Platinum’ to take on Insta360’s 1-inch sensor action cameras? Who knows, but we’ll be back with more on these future products as information comes in.
In the meantime, we’re here to talk about the Hero 11 Black, or whatever becomes the direct successor to the Hero 10 Black, once GoPro has shaken up its lineup. Here’s everything we’ve come to expect and hope to see in its next flagship action camera, as it strives to maintain its top spot in our guide to the best action cameras.
GoPro Hero 11 Black release date and price
The GoPro Hero 11 Black will likely be announced in September 2022 if we take past release dates as a guide. All GoPros from 2017 to date were announced in September, except for the GoPro Hero 8 Black, which was announced in mid-October.
GoPro has a consistent release schedule for these flagship action cameras, a bit like Apple and its iPhones.
The price of the GoPro Hero 11 Black will be an interesting test of rising inflation in GoPro’s key markets. While we don’t expect the camera to have many surprising new features that would see a dramatic rise from the Hero 10 Black’s current $499 / £479 / AU$659 tag, a $50 increase seems possible.
We also expect to see GoPro aggressively push its GoPro subscription to the camera, which should again bring a $100 / £100 / AU$150 discount for those who don’t mind signing up for the company’s membership service (which can be canceled). any time ).
GoPro Hero 11 Black rumors and what we want to see
At the moment, there are very few credible rumors about the GoPro Hero 11 Black. Given that it’s not expected to arrive until September, this isn’t too surprising.
But delving into the Hero 10 Black’s specs and looking at GoPro’s recent history and reviews, we can get a decent idea of what to expect. Here are six things we’d like to see in the main action camera – and how likely we’re to think they are.
1. A tight design
The latest significant external design change for the GoPro Black series has arrived with the Hero 9 Black. Its hull was 9 mm wider and 10 mm taller than the previous version.
This came with the series’ change in sensor technology, but it didn’t seem like much of an issue compared to older generation designs, as the integrated mounting fingers mean you don’t need a separate mounting case.
The GoPro can make some adjustments to these replaceable mounting fingers, including a 1/4-inch threaded mounting point. This is probably harder than it sounds, as it would likely require the mount base to go deeper into the GoPro Hero 11 Black’s camera body, as well as a redesign of the finger hinge system. However, it would allow you to connect the camera directly to a tripod plate.
This would be similar to the GoPro’s relatively silent upgrade of an oleophobic coating on the glass of the GoPro Hero 10 Black’s lens.
2. An edge-to-edge screen
We don’t want the GoPro Hero 11 Black to be significantly larger, but it would benefit from a larger rear screen. Eliminate some of the blank border around the Hero 10 Black’s 2.27-inch rear LCD and you have a more comfortable way to compose your photos and navigate the system interface.
A larger screen will also likely consume more power, but this can be minimized by using a more efficient panel. LTPO, LTPS, IGZO and a-Si are various types of backplane technology used in displays (LCD and OLED) and affect the power consumption of a display.
We don’t actually know the tech specifics of the GoPro Hero 10 Black display, but let’s assume it doesn’t use the top-dog LTPO, which we only tend to find in OLED displays these days.
A high resolution OLED screen can be a great solution. So far, OLED panels haven’t been particularly prevalent in action cameras, but the DJI Action 2 uses one.
As the Hero 10 Black’s rear LCD can already reach around 800 nits, no need a cutting edge screen. But the pop contrast of the OLED would provide notable technological progress that the camera may not have in other areas.
3. A bigger sensor
Every time we start thinking about a next-gen GoPro, a new, bigger sensor is always at the top of our wish list. That means better sensitivity to native light, higher dynamic range, and greater ability to deal with poor lighting – something GoPros still don’t excel at.
Our best bet is that the GoPro Hero 11 Black won’t have a new sensor. For the past 10 years, GoPro has provided each of Sony’s sensors it uses three generations in service before upgrading. The GoPro Hero 11 Black would mark the third release of the Sony IMX677.
There is pressure from elsewhere, of course. The DJI Action 2 has a larger 1/1.7-inch sensor, but it just doesn’t eclipse the Hero 10 Black for images, so the pressure isn’t too much at the moment. Also, we don’t know of a sensor from Sony that would really be a wholesale upgrade – a slightly larger one that still supports 5K and 4K video capture at 120fps.
For those interested, here are the sensors used in the Black series over the past decade.
|Sony IMX177||Hero 3 Black, Hero 4 Black, Hero 5 Black|
|Sony IMX277||Hero 6 Black, Hero 7 Black, Hero 8 Black|
|Sony IMX677||Hero 9 Black, Hero 10 Black|
Considering the GoPro CEO said we’ll see new lines this year, the company may be considering a new model with a 1-inch sensor. The obvious candidate is the Sony IMX383, a 20MP sensor capable of recording video at 5.3K at 60fps, 4K at 120fps, and 2.7K at 240fps.
Why not cram this into the Hero 11 Black? It would almost certainly lead to a significantly larger action camera, which might be less appealing to many potential GoPro buyers. Still, put it on a new line and buyers who value image quality more have another option to consider.
4. Improved slow motion
Another suggestion we’ve seen online is that the GoPro Hero 11 Black should have 480fps and 1080p slow motion capture. Currently, the Hero 10 Black can record at 240fps at 2.7K resolution and 120fps at 4K.
This is impossible unless the GoPro does the unexpected and switches to a different sensor. Sony publishes the raw capabilities of the IMX677 online and it just doesn’t have a read mode that would make 480fps Full HD possible.
We didn’t think it would necessarily be that attractive anyway. There’s a distinct loss of clarity when you switch to Full HD capture with a GoPro, whose small sensor can’t match that of a full-frame or Micro Four Thirds camera.
GoPro has already leveraged the capabilities of the Sony IMX677 in the GoPro Hero 10 Black. With one notable exception…
5. HDR Video
The Sony IMX677 is a DOL-HDR compatible sensor. That means it can capture two sets of exposures, one darker and one lighter, as it reads the sensor line by line, rather than taking them sequentially and risking HDR ghost artifacts.
We don’t get HDR video on the GoPro Hero 10 Black, only HDR photos, and that mode would be a real boon to the new camera. While the GoPro’s video quality is great, the sensor’s limited native dynamic range means you’ll often see highlights jagged in the clouds when the camera ends up dialing the exposure to match a darker part of the scene.
In the best case scenario, DOL-HDR results in a halving of the frame rate, suggesting that 4K HDR video at 60fps may be possible on the GoPro Hero 11 Black. That would be good.
There is an obstacle, however. If we look at the Sony IMX677’s datasheet one more time, there’s no mention of a drive mode for DOL-HDR – something you’ll find in the documentation for other sensors like the IMX477. It could be that this sensor can only use DOL-HDR for stills, which sucks.
That’s what we currently have on the GoPro Hero 10 Black: HDR for photos but not video. But let’s hope that’s not the case.
6. New Software Features
With few obvious hardware routes to classic next-gen GoPro upgrades, we could see the Hero 11 Black pull some new software features out of its GP2 processor. This chipset was introduced in the Hero 10 Black and has dramatically improved the responsiveness of the interface, but it can also be used to provide new software features.
We’re shooting in the dark here, but the GoPro can add a background blur portrait mode for those who want to vlog and home but don’t have a fancy background to do so.
It could use face recognition to automatically crop to a certain frame of the subject’s face, effectively a form of automatic editing for content creators. Other cameras use smarter, faster object and face recognition to help with autofocus, but that’s not relevant on a GoPro action camera. They have fixed focus lenses, and we don’t think that will change on a Hero 11 Black.
There’s significant scope for the GoPro to increase the quality of your night shots as well. The increase in processing power may make it possible to use computational techniques closer to those of a decent phone camera. The GoPro has already made some headway here, but the photo-taking experience is clunky and slow compared to that of a phone.
Better video quality in low light is what we most want to see, but GoPro has already implemented the most obvious way to do this in the Hero 10 Black. It’s 3DNR, which is noise reduction that uses successive frames to inform the noise reduction algorithm. The third “3D” dimension here is not depth, but time. Fingers crossed, we’ll see the low-light image quality improve at least a little on the GoPro Hero 11 Black.
Some recent phones also use the aforementioned DOL-HDR technique to approximate the quality of low-light video to that of low-light photos. If the Hero 11 Black hardware is capable of this, it could cause a sea change in the quality of consumer action camera night video.
GoPro may also include features currently in progress at GoPro Labs, which offers beta firmware for more intrepid users. These features include triggers to start capturing when the camera is connected via USB or when it detects motion – primarily intended for use with dash cams. There is also a ‘one button’ mode where all functions are locked except starting and stopping capture. Given how often we accidentally slide the screen into photo mode, this can come in handy.