Can action cameras really get that much better every single year?
Well, yes. They have so far. The GoPro Hero10 is proof.
The Hero9 came out in 2020 and is still one hell of an action camera. With up to 5k resolution and Hypersmooth 3.0 stabilization that was better than anything on the market, the Hero9 great a touch in size but packed a ridiculous amount of tech into a tiny package. Click here to see a comparison of the Hero10 with the 9 and the 8.
GoPro Hero10 takes that larger camera size and doubles all the frame rates. We got from 5k30 in the Hero9 and now 5.3k60 in the Hero10. Not bad for a camera the same size.
With a possible 11th version on the horizon, is the Hero10 a good camera? Is it worth it? What about this new GoPro subscription?
GoPro Hero10 Specs
First, the main specs:
- GP2 processor
- Up to 5.3K60, 4K120, 2.7K240 video (8x slow-mo)
- 2.27″ back screen and 1.4″ front screen
- 23 megapixel photo or 19.6 megapixel video frame grabs
- Hypersmooth 4.0
- Waterproof to 33ft
- TimeWarp 3.0
- Better lowlight
- Cloud upload (with subscription)
- Scheduled Capture
- Duration Capture
- Compatible with GoPro Quik App
- Use as a webcam
GoPro Hero10 vs the Hero9
The biggest competitor to the Hero10 is the slightly older Hero9. It had some very worthwhile upgrades this year.
(Almost) Same screens
The back and front screens have returned on the 10. The back screen is the beautiful 2.27″ touch screen with better touch controls. The front screen hasn’t changed size either, still 1.4″, but it did get an upgrade. The refresh rate is higher so that means you get a smoother video on the front. These improvements are likely from the new processor.
Faster GP2 processor
The Hero9 made it as far as it could go with with the GP1 processor, the brain of the camera. With the 2 large screens on the Hero9, it was clearly pushing the limits of what that processor could handle. The 4k30 mode was impressive, but the controls were a touch slow and the front screen was a bit choppy, not being able to refresh as fast as the back screen.
The new GP2 processor can handle all that with ease. Everything is just faster and better on the 10 because of the new processor. While the controls aren’t quite as quick as a phone touch screen, they are considerably better than on the 9.
Resolutions and Frame rates
That faster processor is powering higher frame rates too. 5k30 in the Hero9 went up to 5.3k60. 4k60 went up to 4k120. 2.7k120 went up to 2.7k240. The only one that didn’t get bumped up was 1080p240. Apparently there is some big technical limitation to going to 480 frames per second.
Slo-mo gets even better with all those frame rate bumps. 4x slow-mo at 4k is pretty sweet. 8x slo-mo at 2.7k isn’t too shabby either!
Better Hypersmooth and Timewarp
Hypersmooth 3.0 was already the best action camera stabilization out there and it gets bumped up to 4.0. Horizon levelling gets better with this all the way up to 45 degrees on most of the video modes. Timewarp (moving video timelapses) also bumps up from 3.0 to 4.0.
Better low-light performance
The small sensors in action cameras typically mean poor low-light performance. GoPro’s are not known for their low-light performance. With the new processor, they are squeezing everything they can out of the software to try and make that image look as good as possible.
Without getting too nerdy, the Hero10 automatically checks each frame before and after in a video to see what the pixels should look like, and replaces noisy pixels it finds. Older versions just mushed the noisy (static) pixels together with others, blurring the image slightly.
Another new item from GoPro this year is the GoPro Subscription. It’s not specific to the Hero10. You can get it on the 8, 9 or 10 if you buy them from GoPro.
The subscription gives you a big discount on the camera when you buy from GoPro.com so it’s basically no-brainer. They give you a $250 discount on a Hero10. Then the subscription costs $50, so you’re still saving $200 on a new Hero10.
While you’re subscribed, you get free unlimited cloud storage for all your video footage, discounts from accessories from GoPro.com, extra Quik app features and very cheap camera replacements if you bust yours (you have to send the broken one back). You can cancel after a year if you don’t want to continue.
The discounts on the Hero9 and the 8 aren’t as big but it still saves you some money. It would be silly not to.
Most of the features are still on the Hero10 from the 9. These are my favourites.
With Scheduled Capture, you can set a time for the camera to start taking video or timelapse. It will turn on at that time and start recording. You can stop it manually, let the battery run out or use Duration Capture to set the amount of time you want to record.
Capturing early sunrises works well with Scheduled Capture.
Duration Capture lets you set the total time you’d like to record for. You can start the camera manually and let it record or you can use Scheduled Capture to trigger at the time you want.
Hindsight is great to use when it’s hard to see exactly when you want to record. The camera stays on recording a rolling 30 seconds. When you press the shutter to actually start recording, it keeps the 30 seconds before and then records until you hit the shutter.
This will use your battery faster since you’re recording constantly, just not saving it.
LiveBurst takes a burst of 1.5 seconds before you press the shutter and 1.5 seconds after. It sticks it into a 3 second video at 30 frames per second. You can share the short video or just grab a photo from the video in the Quik app.
With the Mac and Windows apps you can make GoPro into a webcam. If you don’t have a webcam yet or just want to mount a webcam in cool places, GoPro can do it now when it’s plugged into the computer.
Hydrophobic coating on lens
In the past, we had to lick the lens cover if it was going to get wet or go in and out of water. Now the lens cover has a hydrophobic coating that water beads off.
Don’t lick the 10 now since that will take the coating off. You probably don’t want to eat whatever chemical they’ve used!
The GoPro Hero10 is easily the best action camera you can get right now. It does cost more than any of the knock-offs but it’s worth it. The stabilization is unreal and how clear the footage straight out of camera still surprises me.
If you want a new one, get it from GoPro.com and you get a big discount with the subscription. If you’re looking for something used, you won’t get the discount but you’ll probably find some good deals. The Hero7 and 8 are still solid cameras, though lack the front screen on the 9 and 10.
The bump in speed and higher frame-rates across the board thanks to the GP2 processor is a huge improvement. The speed on the controls could still be a bit quicker but much improved from the 9 and I can use them no problem now.
If you need an action camera, the Hero10 is clearly the one to get right now.
The only question is: What are they going to pack into the Hero11 when it arrives?