Cameras

The GoPro Hero 8 – EVERYTHING You Need to Know!

GoPro Hero 8 Black Review

My GoPro Hero 8 Review

This is my full review of the GoPro Hero 8 and it will encompass everything you need to know before buying one. Full disclaimer: I purchased my GoPro Hero 8 Black and all the accessories mentioned in this article.

I purchased my GoPro Hero 8 two weeks ago as of writing this article and there are a few things about it that are far from perfect.

Overall, my experience has been extremely positive but don’t let all of the reviews online fool you.  There are a few things you need to know about the GoPro Hero 8 and I will cover this in my article.

Video Picture Quality

My GoPro Hero 8 review has to cover image quality.  The 4k video quality on the GoPro Hero 8 is amazing.  I have avoided action cameras for years because I can’t stand the fish-eye effect.  I am a filmmaker and content creator who prefers a regular lens over a fish-eye.

The GoPro hero 8 has a ‘Linear’ mode that allows you to frame the shot much like you would with a regular camera.

GoPro Hero 8 has two different bit rates that you can use for video.  These include “high” and “low”.  High is actually the lowest industry standard of 100mbit. I would highly suggest using this mode over “low” unless you are getting low on SD card space.

GoPro Hero 8 or DJI Osmo Action or Osmo Pocket?

Below is a video I made regarding my logic for choosing the GoPro Hero 8 over the DJI Osmo Action and DJI Osmo Pocket.  I felt like the GoPro had overall a better package minus its own flaws.

Infinity Focus Rocks

Another thing I love about the GoPro is the infinity focus actually looks sharp and ‘in focus’. The whole idea of these sorts of cameras is to have a point and shoot device that works.  One of the main selling points over the comparison between the GoPro and the DJI Osmo action was that the GoPro dealt with Vlogging way better.  The Osmo Pocket always looked like the background was sharp and the person in the video was blurred ever so slightly.

If you are a Vlogging and wondering which one to buy, I would buy the GoPro.  The entire image is sharp and in focus and it does this much better in my experience than the Osmo Pocket.

Colour and Beauty Filters

One thing that the GoPro does is it fixes my skin! Well, it changes it.  Compared with my GH5 for example, my face looks very different.  It’s almost like those snap chat filters that take away your expression lines.  When I first noticed this, I laughed because it will make most people over a certain age look a little younger.  Being that I am 40, I will take it! haha.

The in-camera standard color profile looks great.  The GoPro also has a flatter color image that can be used for grading.  Don’t expect to push this 8-bit low MB rate file around too much in editing. While the footage can be graded, for those who have worked with 10-bit footage before, it’s not even close.

GoPro Hero 8 Review
Buy it on Sweetwater or B&H Photo

Stabilization

Hypersmooth 2.0 is simply amazing. This works in all modes and framerates on the camera.  Hypersmooth can be also smoothed out even more with ‘boost’ mode.  Boost mode adds more stabilization to the video footage without cropping in much more.

The Stabilization is a lot better than most gimbal footage I’ve seen.  I own a DJI Ronin S and I can honestly tell you I won’t be traveling with that overseas ever again. The GoPro is super-smooth when walking and panning left to right.

One catch to Hypersmooth 2.0 with boost mode is it will not work in 4k 50p/60p.  Without the boost mode on, the footage is simply amazing so I don’t see a huge downside to this.

Hyperlapse

One of the best features that I really enjoy using is the Hyperlapse.  This gives the user the ability to record 20 minutes or so of driving and the camera will process it down to 1-2 minutes of fast motion video.

This video is super-smooth and looks amazing.  You can use Hyperlapse in may resolutions as well. Hyperlapse is one of the main reasons I wanted to buy this over the other action camera alternatives.  GoPro really does this effect right.

Low Light Video

These cameras are best used in daylight outdoors. It’s of no surprise to anyone reading this that any action camera is not great in low light.  There are a few reasons why the GoPro 8 sucks in low light but the main reason is its small sensor size.

Stabilization can also suffer in low light.  It has more trouble detecting the horizon which means the footage will look far less epic.  The GoPro will work fine all the way up till dusk and then it will really start to suffer.

Low light video performance will become very noisy so stick to the daytime only.

Battery Life

Interestingly enough, the battery life on this is ‘okay’ at best. If you let the camera shoot without hitting pause and record a lot, it’s not too bad.  If you are like me and shoot in small short bursts the battery life degrades a lot faster.

With continuous shooting I estimate the battery to last between 65-80 minutes.  For video vlogs or doing a lot of stop/starting expect about 40 minutes of battery life.

One of the main reasons I went for the GoPro Hero 8 over the DJI Osmo Pocket was the fact I could swap the batteries out on the fly as required.  Devices that have internal batteries that can’t be swapped should be a thing of the past!

Accessories

The official GoPro accessories are very robust and reliable.  The downside to buying official is that they are very expensive considering the third party options available.

Excessive Heating

This is one of my main gripes with the GoPro Hero 8 – Heat! This little camera gets extremely hot.  I shot for over 20 minutes straight and I was shocked how hot the camera was to touch.

The funny thing is, this is considered “normal” by GoPro! For GoPro users shooting out in the snow, this is probably a nice touch to keep your hands warm but be warned, this thing heats up to the point of being hot.

I am by the firm belief that any electronics that get this hot will have a shorter life span over alternative electronics that can dissipate the heat better.

Audio

The Audio is a total mixed bag and it has its own pros and cons.  The built-in microphone on the GoPro Hero 8 Black is a great sounding microphone considering what it is.  For shooters wanting to film some snowboarding or surfing, it will do the job.

If you want great voice audio it really only works will indoors or outside and out of the wind.  In the wind, it becomes very noisy even with the microphone wind settings enabled.

For best results, I choose to record using a Rode Lav microphone and a Zoom H1 and then I sync my audio in Final Cut Pro X.

The Huge Audio Bug – (Non-Seamless Audio)

The other day, I was using my GoPro for over 20 minutes in the car.  The GoPro Hero 8 splits the files every 4.3 GB of size (roughly 5 minutes). When I joined these clips together in Final Cut I noticed that the audio track was not the same length as the video track and when you join them, you hear a pop/click sound.

This is a huge problem for anyone wanting to record longer videos. Not only will you have to join the files in editing, but the audio is not seamless.

A good workaround is to shoot in 1080p and you’ll get a longer video file before you reach the 4.3 GB size.  For me, I only shoot in 4k because of the resolution and the ability to adjust the frame in post-production.

Does Raw Audio Fix This Bug?

The GoPro Hero 8 Black has a RAW audio mode which allows you to get a separate audio file on the SD card from each video recording along with the audio that is saved with the video.

My tests have 100% concluded that even with the RAW audio option this glitch is still apparent as the GoPro even splits the audio files! I can’t believe GoPro has chosen to split the audio files.  The whole idea of the RAW file is to get a flawless audio track.

The best way around this is to use a secondary audio source and then sync it with the video in post.  Thankfully, the video and audio will sync up fine in editing by doing it this way.  I had to include this in this GoPro Hero 8 review because the audio quality is as important as video quality.

How to combat wind Noise on the GoPro Hero 8?

Wind noise is a bit of a problem with the GoPro Hero 8 for windy locations when vlogging.  I found a solution to help combat wind noise on the GoPro Hero 8.  This inexpensive solution is a wind filter/microphone filter for the camera.  It will block all three microphones from wind noise allowing you to vlog without any audio issues.

This windproof foam cover (eBay non-affiliate link) is a no-name brand that works a treat keeping the wind noise from ruining the audio even in extreme wind conditions. I purchased mine from eBay and I am sure you can find it on other online stores as well.

A downside of the windproof foam cover is that it will occasionally make the lens fog up because it decreases heat dispersion.  My pro-tip is to keep the battery cover off the GoPro Hero 8.  This will allow more heat to escape.  If you are in the rain or wet conditions, leave the cover on.  If your unit fogs up, it will clear moments after as you take the GoPro out of the windsock and open the battery cover.

GoPro Online Support Sucks

When I first contacted GoPro support online regarding this audio bug I found on my second day of using the unit it was like I was talking to a brick wall.

I explained the problem with the audio not being the same length as the split video file in editing and their answer was literally “just watch it on the camera”… My heart sank. I can’t believe this is the sort of support they have.  It was at this point I said to the guy on the support who barely spoke English “I should have got the DJI Osmo Pocket!”.

File Management and Editing in Final Cut Pro X

Being that the GoPro will cut the files (which is normal) you will want to join them in editing.  Final Cut Pro X is what I use and it works perfectly with any of the footage I have thrown into the time-line.

Downgrades over Hero 7

The major downgrade of the Hero 7 is the GoPro Hero 8 has a non-removable lens cover. This means if you have damaged the lens you will need to get a new GoPro or pay to have it fixed. This is a huge downer for people who want it for action purposes.

If you are someone who will be using it for action purposes get the GoPro Hero 7.  If you are more of a filmmaker or content creator like me, then you will have no issues with the GoPro Hero 8. I take care of my camera gear and the worst thing I will be subjecting the GoPro 8 to is a rainy day.

Is the GoPro Hero 8 Black Worth it?

The reason I started my website and YouTube channel were to provide information overlooked or selectively ‘left out’ of reviews. I watched a lot of reviews before I made my decision to pay the full price for GoPro Hero 8.  It would appear a lot of the popular review channels missed a lot of key information for content creators and filmmakers.

While they may have not done this intentionally, I find it very interesting that a lot of the flaws I have mentioned were nowhere to be found in their reviews.  If you found this GoPro Hero 8 review helpful, please consider sharing the article online.

For those who are also interested in mirrorless cameras and lenses please check out my camera archive.