GoPro HERO8 Announcement
UPDATE 10/24/2019 @ 9:30 PM
Short note today. But GoPro recently released a firmware update for the HERO8 Black. There were many things added, mostly "bug fixes". But they also added a new feature that we have been asking for years: Linear FOV at 4K. Now, it is a bit limited. There is no zoom option and only 30 FPS and lower. But being able to shoot a full game in 4K and not get fence in the shot (from the previously Wide only FOV) is a great benefit.
UPDATE 10/20/2019 @8:20 pm
We were able to get the new camera out to the test field this week to do a full mount check on our test field. This is a small baseball/softball field that we like to use to ensure that the normal field of view (FOV...which GoPro is now calling "lenses") can capture from first to third base without fence in the shot. We shot in 2.7K, 60 frames per second and got perfectly framed shots (no fence in the shot):
One of the things that we noticed right away was that we have always recommended mounting the tripod mount such that the thumb screw is on the right side of the camera. But if you do so with the HERO8, you won't be able to access the side door. If you go ahead and remove the door, it won't be an issue (but will be unprotected against water and dirt). But if the door is on and closed, and the thumb screw is on the right, you will have to remove the screw to get to the door lock. With some of the older tripod mounts, this means that the camera may lean away from the fence and not allowing you to get the camera close enough to prevent fence in the shot. However, with the Smatree tripod mount that we recommend and sell, this is not the case:
As with all GoPro cameras, this new camera still mounts very flush to the fence. It gets close enough to keep fence out of the shot, and far enough away to prevent a direct foul ball impact:
And with the new non-removable lens cover, this is a very good thing:
One of the things I have found that I do not like is the new location for the SD card slot. Recessed under the door cavity, it is impossible (in my opinion) to add and remove a memory card without the use of a tool (use a machinist rule, which is a thin steel ruler). The corner of a credit card would work as well. If you are the type that changes out cards at the field, note this as a possible risk:
That's all for now. Next time, we will try to post some video and picture samples from the mounted camera.
UPDATE 10/15/2019 @ 10:51 PM (Day 1 test)
Great job on GoPro to get the new camera out so soon. It arrived today, ahead of schedule. Not much testing today other than to ensure that there were not any mounting issues:
The standard tripod mount that has worked for every other GoPro camera also works with this camera. In fact, because the little GoPro fingers that interface with the tripod mount are now built into the camera with a hinge system, it fits much better with the tripod mount. This will make it much faster to mount the GoPro in place. Time will tell if these fingers will hold up to the impact force of a direct hit. We will certainly be testing this with a high speed pitching machine. One area of concern with these fingers is that there is now a little sideways slop in the mounting. Probably not a huge issue, but I'm not a fan of movement in a fixed position. I like knowing a device is locked down and can't move:
As we talked about earlier, the side door is going to be a point of contention when mounted at the ball park.
The internal battery just will not suit our needs. We play multiple, 2 hour games a day. External power is the only option. But to do this, the side door will have to come off. This means that the camera is very much exposed to earth and water. Combine that with the fixed lens cover that is very short and very contoured, our old method of makeshift waterproofing using the zip top bag stretched over the lens cover isn't going to work. If you've never seen that method, check that video out here: LynkSpyder - GoPro rain protection
But in that same spirit (that spirit being mid-Missouri farm engineering), we tried an alternate method that might work as well. I certainly wouldn't try it in a full on gully washer. But for mild rain and dust, this might prove to be just as effective. Removing the side door completely. Then use a zip top back with a hole and stretch over the entire side of the camera. If you can keep the bag from over stretching, it should create a decent seal, protecting the camera that now has the battery, SD Card, and USB port exposed. We will certainly be doing this until a better option comes along:
Moving on to some of the other items we wanted to knock off the list. I will quickly list each of these below and will circle back to them in future tests:
1.) No FOV or Zoom adjustments can be made when live streaming. This includes even setting up the shot. You have the option to stream 720p or 1080P. But as soon as you begin setting up the stream, the camera bounces to Wide FOV and there is no way to correct this. Again, as it was with the HERO7, this makes live streaming on the GoPro HERO8 all but worthless. It is simply just too wide for recording ball games.
1b.) Camera rotation still not detected when streaming. If you mount your camera upside down when streaming, your video will stream upside down. Not a huge deal but just so silly that this wasn't addressed.
2.) Still cannot access the narrow FOV's when shooting in 4K. Linear and narrow are available when shooting 2.7, but that is no change from the HERO7.
3.) Press and hold any of the icons on the camera display, and you can customize a desired function for that button. This is a very handy feature that we will certainly be talking about going forward.
More to come. Stay tuned...
UPDATE 10/7/2019 @ 10:25 PM
While we wait for our GoPro to arrive, we seem to have gotten the unfortunate confirmation that the "Media Mod" will NOT be waterproof. We have not seen documentation to support this, but a GoPro Forum Admin did confirm that because it requires the side door to be removed, the GoPro will no longer be waterproof. However, since the Media Mod is essentially a hub that's source is the USBC connection, one of the first things we will be trying is a USB-C to HDMI adapter to see what external options are available. But certainly, not being being waterproof (and dust proof is just as important) is a big deal in the ball field environment.
Here is the source post on the GoPro community forum: https://community.gopro.com/t5/Mounts-Accessories/Media-Mod/m-p/399503/highlight/true#/M9889
UPDATE: 10/1/2019 @ 2:29 PM
Digital Trend's review made mention that the HERO8 is still using the GP1 processor that was released in the HERO6 and 7 cameras. I hope this is not accurate as, in my opinion, this processor is what lead to many of the crashes, lockups, and stability issues in the 2 previous cameras. Waiting on GoPro to confirm.
Here is the link to Digital Trend's review: https://www.digitaltrends.com/digital-camera-reviews/gopro-hero8-black-review/
UPDATE: 10/1/2019 @ 10:17AM
While these are not confirmed reports, we found a few answers and additional details from some online sources:
1.) Only one side door that covers the battery, SD card, and USB-C port. This is sort of a problem because if you want to use external power (and really, you have to), you will have to have the side door open or off. That makes the camera very susceptible to water damage.
2.) A report from the Verge states that the Media Module is not water proof.
3.) In the same report, the tester dropped his GoPro from 18" and shattered the back glass (perhaps a fluke).
4.) The tester reported recording in 4K24 Linear FOV. This appears to conclude that adjustable FOVs are available at larger resolutions.
5.) Camera gets very hot. Not sure if the tester has used previous GoPro cameras, but heat has always been an issue. If this one is hotter, it is certainly an area of concern.
6.) Minimum resolution is now 1080p. Not really a concern of mine.
Here is the link to the Verge article referenced above: https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/1/20891984/gopro-hero8-black-review-action-camera-image-stabilization-price-specs-features
Original Post (10/1/2019) 9:00 AM
With the GoPro HERO8 Black just announced today (10/1/2019), we will certainly be digging into this new flagship as more information becomes available and when have a chance to play with it a bit. Here's what we know so far:
1.) In stores on 10/20/19 (Sunday). Shipping from GoPro on 10/15/19.
2.) 1080p live streaming
3.) FOV questions not known. Although, they do mention "Digital Lenses" which suggests a digital zoom, possibly allowing FOV adjustment in more resolutions.
3.) Price $399
4.) Media module allows USB-C, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio, all on the back of the module. This will be a great feature to protect those ports. This module will cost $79. Has some other nice features to support external light and display mods, but this really doesn't translate to our sport. Also, I can't find any official information on if it is waterproof...it has to be though, right?
5.) External housing appears to be a new design. This means previous housings will not be compatible. However....
6.) Base GoPro now has the standard GoPro fingers as a fold-able support member, folding under the camera when not in use. Will certainly have to see how strong this will be. But almost certainly means that the standard frame housing will not be an option for this camera.
7.) Lens cover does NOT appear to be replaceable. This makes me uncomfortable.
8.) Camera still 12MP for photos.
More to come as we learn more about the camera and options leading up to the release date. As usual, we will have one in hand when it releases and will follow up with more details as they present themselves. However, based on specs, I see no issues with LynkSpyder compatibility at this time.