GoPro Hero7 Black thoughts

kallisti

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,532
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My son is 4 1/2 and he loves swimming. One important subject for my photography as a parent is capturing his swimming moments. So I wanted a waterproof camera. Last year I bought an Olympus TG-5 P&S. It was well reviewed. I absolutely loathe using it. Perhaps more than any other camera I have ever owned. From a usability standpoint it is absolutely horrid. But I used it last summer because is was the only underwater camera option I had. Barring buying an expensive housing for one of my dedicated cameras (which I wasn't willing to do).

I just got a GoPro Hero7 Black (after talking with @kenoh). I am loving it. It is significantly better than the Olympus regarding usability and IQ.

At ~$350 it isn't exactly an impulse purchase, but in photography terms it's reasonable. And after using it I think it's good value for the money.

Won't talk about video as that isn't what I use it for.

It's in the P&S realm and doesn't offer manual control over exposure regarding shutter speed and aperture. Which is honestly fine for its intended use. It's for action/sport. For underwater pics (or pics around the pool), one wants to freeze motion. It has a 3mm f/2.8 lens and generally picks a shutter speed of ~1/950th sec. or faster--which is exactly what I want it to do for pool pics. I'm not sure how the exposure algorithm handles low light (i.e. I don't know where the break point is where it starts to sacrifice shutter speed to maintain a proper exposure).

It can shoot RAW with the gotcha that write times go into the seconds for RAW images, without the ability to take another image while it's writing. So RAW shooting is limited to basically capturing the "perfect moment" in one shot. To get bursts you are limited to JPEG output (which can go up to 30 frames per sec, depending on light). This isn't a deal-breaker for me, but something to keep in mind.

The other potential "gotcha" is that while it is waterproof and it has a remote (separate purchase) which is also waterproof, remote capture isn't possible with the camera underwater. Minor bummer.

For what it is, I'm quite happy with it.

My son (again 4 1/2 years old) took a pic of me today (see below). I've taken several pics of him which I'm pleased with but won't share ;).

I've been pleasantly surprised by its output. And it's significantly better in actual use than the Olympus I bought last year. Like an order of magnitude better/easier.

Thought people might be interested. It's summer with the potential for swimming, other water sports, or other "action" activities. The GoPro Hero7 Black has worked out quite well for my uses.

 
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mollyc

macrumors 68020
Aug 18, 2016
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I have an older GoPro. Mine is the 3+ Black, but it only shoots jpeg. It also does not have an LCD back, so I never know exactly what I'm shooting.

I love it for the beach. It does a surprisingly good job of full sun shooting, straight into the sun, and still rendering blue sky around the sunburst. And with the super wide angle, I almost always get my subject in the frame, although sometimes it's wildly tilted. Or very small. I have also gotten some fairly decent underwater shots while snorkeling in the Carribean. I also love that it's in a housing so I don't have to worry about sand, and changing lenses, and it's great for boat trips, also.

Some of my favorite vacation memories have been recorded on a GoPro, and while they aren't portfolio quality, I still love the images. Some of these go back 5 years.

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msp3

macrumors regular
May 9, 2015
242
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If I'm a casual user that only uses a GoPro for water shots/video, is an old (Hero 4) Session still sufficient? Would much prefer something with a screen but action camera prices have come so far down I'm thinking if just some knock-off on Amazon is worth it
 

kallisti

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
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I have an older GoPro. Mine is the 3+ Black, but it only shoots jpeg. It also does not have an LCD back, so I never know exactly what I'm shooting.

I love it for the beach. It does a surprisingly good job of full sun shooting, straight into the sun, and still rendering blue sky around the sunburst. And with the super wide angle, I almost always get my subject in the frame, although sometimes it's wildly tilted. Or very small. I have also gotten some fairly decent underwater shots while snorkeling in the Carribean. I also love that it's in a housing so I don't have to worry about sand, and changing lenses, and it's great for boat trips, also.

Some of my favorite vacation memories have been recorded on a GoPro, and while they aren't portfolio quality, I still love the images. Some of these go back 5 years.
Your thoughts (and images) capture what I am really loving about this camera.

I can't compare it to any of the other GoPro models either past or present since I don't own them.

For some pics it is nice having a dedicated display for composition. For some pics I don't find myself looking at it and instead just shooting blind as you have been doing.

One other gotcha with the Hero7 Black is that the rear LCD is touch sensitive. While it has a dedicated button on the side to change from video to photo mode, you can also swipe the rear LCD to change modes. In the water this is a problem as it can change modes based on water hitting the LCD and not your fingers (extremely annoying). However there is a setting to lock the LCD screen so it requires a swipe down and then a touch confirmation to enable touch-sensitive controls. Not enabled by default, it makes it usable for shooting around water. Before I enabled this option I found myself confusedly in video mode when trying to take underwater pics after having the camera in photo mode before I went underwater. After enabling the auto-lock function, it stays in the same shooting mode when going in and out of water.
 

kenoh

macrumors demi-god
Jul 18, 2008
5,399
8,241
Glasgow, UK
If I'm a casual user that only uses a GoPro for water shots/video, is an old (Hero 4) Session still sufficient? Would much prefer something with a screen but action camera prices have come so far down I'm thinking if just some knock-off on Amazon is worth it
Yes it will be fine but I have a Hero 1st gen no screen and a Hero7 White (half the price of black edition but no 4k) and having a screen is much better.

As @kallisti said already, the touchscreen is a bit flaky in the water though not overly so and hero 7 tends to hang now and again if you are overload it with lots of clicks and swipes at once - which will be fixed in firmware I assume.
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I have an older GoPro. Mine is the 3+ Black, but it only shoots jpeg. It also does not have an LCD back, so I never know exactly what I'm shooting.

I love it for the beach. It does a surprisingly good job of full sun shooting, straight into the sun, and still rendering blue sky around the sunburst. And with the super wide angle, I almost always get my subject in the frame, although sometimes it's wildly tilted. Or very small. I have also gotten some fairly decent underwater shots while snorkeling in the Carribean. I also love that it's in a housing so I don't have to worry about sand, and changing lenses, and it's great for boat trips, also.

Some of my favorite vacation memories have been recorded on a GoPro, and while they aren't portfolio quality, I still love the images. Some of these go back 5 years.

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Fantastic images!

Here are some from the Hero7 White

Pool at Casa Franks, 501 Verdemar by Ken OHagan, on Flickr

Pool at Casa Franks, 501 Verdemar by Ken OHagan, on Flickr

Pool at Casa Franks, 501 Verdemar by Ken OHagan, on Flickr

Pool at Casa Franks, 501 Verdemar by Ken OHagan, on Flickr

I didn't have my camera with me at the pool but wanted a few images. Not ideal for straight lines at close range - not what it is designed for - but adequate for my needs. Also the slo-mo recording video is fun.
 
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