Does the new GoPro Hero 7 make gimbals obsolete? Maybe not quite, but it’s a pretty big improvement.
Here’s a quick mountain bike test of the GoPro Hero 7 Black Hypersmooth with a standard chest mount on a bumpy windy track full of 6-8 inch boulders and a few 1-2 foot drops. It’s a 3 minute solid take, followed by a splitscreen of the same run comparing the new Hero 7 Black with a Hero 5 Black.
Hero 7 is mounted to a Stuntman chest harness – the Hero 5 is mounted on the helmet. Settings for both were 4k, 24fps, Superview. Besides the stabilization, you’ll instantly see how much better the image looks on the 7 as well.
Initial impressions are pretty solid – this is still not as stable as an actual gimbal, but it’s miles better than any of the previous generations of the GoPro. You also get more of a feel for how the rider is actually moving, sometimes a gimbal can mute the movements of the bikes over rocks or leaning through corners.
This is a no-brainer upgrade for scenarios where a gimbal is out of the question – like packrafting or in inclement weather.
Some folks might ask why I used Superview instead of Wide. It’s a little easier to keep the horizon in the field of view in Superview, because it uses all of the vertical area of the sensor (and stretches the periphery to fill the 16×9 aspect). Hypersmooth also tosses away some of the data because the stabilization is happening electronically – so the wide view with the stabilization is slightly narrower than unstabilized. The other trick is that without a gimbal, it’s hard to compensate for the rider leaning forward or back – the motors on the gimbal will keep the horizon more or less in the same part of the frame. With hyperzoom, it’s harder to get the perfect compromise. When climbing the camera tends to point to far into the sky, when descending it tends to point into the ground. So getting more field of view vertically helps compensate for that.
Obviously not an in depth test, and the real test would be comparing the Hero 7 on a gimbal with an electronically stabilized Hero 7. Maybe I’ll do that comparison next.