GoPro has announced the Hero 12 Black, and this year, the ubiquitous action camera maker has its sights set on sound. The 12 Black’s headline upgrades include external microphone support and dual-channel audio capture, so you can record both camera and external mic tracks and then mix them in an edit. The latest GoPro also sports a handy ¼-inch thread between its flip-out feet, giving you even more ways to mount it, and the addition of HDR video, plus 8:7 capture in all modes, boosts the imaging credentials too.
It's no secret that many were hoping this would finally be the year GoPro improved its low-light performance and upped camera sensor size nearer to that coveted 1-inch mark, like DJI with its 1/1.3-inch Osmo Action 4. But it looks like GoPro’s bringing back its 1/1.9-inch sensor introduced on the GoPro Hero11 Black for round two.
Despite this Hero 11 Black sensor encore, there are still plenty of meaningful updates introduced for the 12 Black. Here are our highlights:
GoPro Hero 12 Black: Audio
DJI laid down the gauntlet with its wireless audio support for its Action devices, and compatibility with its excellent DJI Mic, and GoPro's finally stepped up its wireless audio game with support for Bluetooth microphones – either in the form of earbuds or dedicated solutions.
Voice commands and external audio are all heard by the Hero 12 Black's Bluetooth input, so hands-free control over the camera at a distance should be easier than ever, and with dual-channel capture, both camera and microphone audio are recorded. Whether using it with a helmet or mixing down in-car and out-of-car audio, this should unlock freedom never before available in the GoPro ecosystem.
This dual-channel capture isn't just useful for wireless microphones. If you have the GoPro Hero 12 Black paired with a GoPro MediaMod, it can simultaneously record front and rear microphone audio, and you can mix both in the edit – ideal for interactions or vlogging in a bustling location.
The Hero 12 Black also introduces Timecode sync, making it much easier for editors to switch between multiple cameras and manage clips.
GoPro Hero 12 Black: Video
The headline video feature this year is HDR, pulling back blown-out skies and drawing extra detail from shadows in high-contrast scenes.
Like its predecessor, the Hero 12 Black captures video at up to 5.3K resolution at 60 frames per second (fps), or 4K resolution, 120fps in standard video mode. If you're happy to switch to slo-mo, this caps out at 2.7k at 240fps.
Video editors and fans of log capture and LUTs – explained in our color grading introduction – will appreciate GoPro’s new GP-Log mode and custom LUTs. This should make it easier to tune footage from your Hero 12 Black and splice it into a multi-camera workflow.
The Hero 11 Black introduced GoPro's 27MP, 8:7 sensor, and it's back for round two, this time introducing HyperSmooth 6.0, which adds a new feature called AutoBoost. This analyses the field of view and automatically adjusts stabilization accordingly while bringing back 360º horizon lock.
Photos can be pulled from full-res videos at up to 24.7MP or captured natively at 27MP. The Hero 12 Black has also been upgraded with a new light painting photo feature, which creates an time-bending image in addition to the stylized light painting video mode introduced on the Hero 11 Black.
We loved the versatility GoPro's 8:7 sensor brought to the Hero 11 Black, and the Hero 12 Black extends its capabilities, introducing a vertical video mode for dedicated portrait capture and adding an 8:7 aspect ratio recording option to all shooting modes.
GoPro Hero 12 Black: Additional upgrades
On first impression, the Hero 12 Black looks almost identical to the 11 Black, though sports a speccled rubberized banding around the front and frame. Look a little closer at its design, though, and between the flip-out feet – which extend to form a traditional action camera mounting system – is a 1/4" thread for even more mounting options.
Otherwise, the camera has the same shape as past GoPros, a front and rear screen, a removable lens guard and battery door, and a microSD card slot and battery cavity.
While the battery spec of GoPro’s latest cam hasn’t changed – the Hero 12 Balck still ships with an Enduro battery – you can expect longer capture times from a single charge, with GoPro stating 70 minutes at 5.3K 60fps, and 58 minutes at 4K 120fps. If you're happy to drop the resolution right down, you can even get 155 minutes at 1080p, 30fps.
The 12 Black also enjoys updated Easy Controls, adding more features and simplifying the language to make it even more accessible.
GoPro Hero 12 Black: Accessories
GoPro also announced two accessories: a new Max Lens Mod 2.0, which works with the Hero 12 Black to eke out an even wider field of view, and an Extension Pole + Waterproof Shutter Remote.
While the original Max Lens mod isn't strictly speaking compatible with the Hero 11 Black and 12 Black, the update is designed to be paired with their 8:7, 27MP sensors and, according to GoPro delivers a wider field of view in 4K 60fps than any other action camera on the market. The Max Lens Mod 2.0 is also twice as scratch-resistant as the original.
As for the Extension Pole + Waterproof Shutter Remote, this system goes from 10 inches to 48 inches and has a detachable, wearable shutter remote that's waterproof up to 16ft (5m). It's also made from recycled materials and will be available from October 2023.
GoPro Hero 12 Black: Price and availability
The GoPro Hero 12 Black will cost $399.99 / £399.99 / AU$649.95. This is the lowest RRP we've seen from a Hero Black in years. While GoPro customers could access this price for the Hero 11 Black, to do so required a GoPro subscription. Now, there's just one simple price for the camera itself – though accessories retain GoPro's subscription discount model – the Max Lens Mod 2.0 costs £99.99 / AU$169.95 (or £79.99 / AU$135.96 for GoPro subscribers).
Both the camera and Lens Mod are available to preorder on GoPro.com until September 13, when both will go on sale globally. And if you want to pick up the MediaMod, Light Mod, and GoPro Volta with the 12 Black, the GoPro Hero 12 Black Creator Edition (called Accessories Bundle in Australia) bundles them together and costs $599.99 / £599.99 / AU$729.95.