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Key Takeaways

  • The GoPro Hero 12 Black has subtle upgrades but still offers plenty for both new users and professionals.
  • The new camera features a distinct speckled paint job and includes a tripod thread, making it compatible with numerous photographic accessories.
  • Users can expect dramatically improved battery life, allowing for up to 70 minutes of continuous recording at 5.3K60, and the camera can pair with Bluetooth microphones and earbuds for enhanced audio recording and control.

GoPro's latest flagship action camera has landed right on schedule, but it's not the camera that some were expecting. Early leaks suggested we'd be seeing a significantly larger display, and potentially a 1-inch sensor, neither of which are present on the Hero 12 Black.

Instead, the upgrades are a little more subtle, but that doesn't mean that they're not exciting. There's plenty here to satisfy new users and seasoned professionals alike, so let's take a look at what's changed on the Hero 12 Black.

GoPro Hero 12 Black: What's new?

The most obvious difference is the new paint job, it's now speckled with blue accents, making it quite distinctive compared to GoPro's previous releases, which typically feature a uniform finish. There's another big change with the design, too, GoPro's signature fold-out mounting tabs now have a 1/4 -20 tripod thread nestled in between them.

A tripod thread has been missing from all of GoPro's recent cameras, and I'm really pleased to see it included here. It means you can attach the Hero 12 Black to countless photographic accessories without the need for an adapter. And, while said adapters have been readily available for a long time, it's always when you need one most that you forget to pack it.

GoPro Hero 12 Black (2)

Arguably, a change that will affect users the more, though, is the dramatically improved battery life. This is something that's always a struggle with action cameras, especially since the resolutions and frame rates have climbed so high, there's just not a lot of room for batteries in such a compact chassis. With the Hero 12, users can expect up to 70 minutes of continuous recording at 5.3K60, over 95 minutes at 5.3K30 and a whopping 155 minutes at 1080p30.

Somehow, GoPro has achieved this while using the same Enduro battery pack that came with the Hero 11 Black. Not only is it an impressive feat of software and hardware optimisation, but it also means that existing GoPro owners can continue using their existing Enduro batteries while enjoying extra runtime on the new camera.

Another small but very smart upgrade is the fact that the GoPro Hero 12 Black can pair with Bluetooth microphones and earbuds. Once paired, you can use the external mic to record audio and commentary, and it will be recorded as a separate track simultaneously to the onboard microphones. For example, if you have a camera mounted on the outside of a car, and the driver is wearing paired AirPods inside the car, you can record both the roar of the engine and the driver's reactions and then mix and match between them in the edit. You can also use the wireless mic to control the camera with voice commands, which could be very useful in the aforementioned scenario.

GoPro Hero 12 Black (1)

Of course, beyond typical consumer use, GoPro cameras have become an invaluable tool for professional filmmakers, and the latest model caters to that market better than ever before.

There's a new GP-Log colour profile, allowing for more grading flexibility and capturing a wider dynamic range than GoPro's normal Flat profile. Plus the Hero 12 benefits from Timecode sync, making multi-camera workflows much easier to work with than on previous models.

Elsewhere, the GoPro Hero 12 Black has the same 8:7 sensor as the Hero 11, and it offers the same resolutions and frame rates. GoPro has introduced a new vertical recording option, though, whereby you can mount the camera horizontally but choose to record a vertical clip using the unique tall sensor. Stabilisation is also said to be improved, with a move to HyperSmooth 6.0 which boasts even better AutoBoost functionality.

In addition to the Hero 12 Black, GoPro has also revealed a new Max Lens Mod, offering its widest FOV ever, perfect for epic POV shots. Both are available for preorder now on GoPro's website. The Hero 12 Black retails for $399.99 and the Max Lens Mod 2.0 will set you back $99.99, or $79.99 for GoPro subscribers. They'll be hitting stores worldwide on September 13.