Now that I’ve owned several generations of the best GoPro cameras, I’ve become a big fan.
The ease of use and durability of these little action cameras stand out.
With 2022’s release of the GoPro Hero 11 Black, I knew I would upgrade because of some of the cool new features designed to make creating content even easier.
The majority of my work is focused on professional photo and video work but having a tool that also works great for creating quick social content is awesome.
This is one of the areas that the GoPro Hero 11 Black excels.
Read on to see why I think you should check out the GoPro Hero 11 Black, despite the release of a newer model.
Table of Contents
GoPro Hero 11 Black Review
- New wider 8×7 aspect ratio
- 10 bit color
- Hyperview wide perspective
- Improved Stabilization
- Improved Battery Life
- Lowlight performance
Go Pro Hero 11 Black Specs
- 27 MP CMOS sensor with RAW output
- 2.3″ rear screen (also has frontscreen)
- 15-24mm equivalent focal length (digital zoom only)
- 5.3k video recording at 60fps
- 8x slo-mo vido
- Hypersmooth 5.0 stabilization
- ISO range 100-6400
- 1/8-30 second shutter speed
- Waterproof to 33′ without housing
- 1720 mAh battery
- USB-C charging in camera
- Wireless communication with Bluetooth & Wifi
- Single microSD card slot
- 2.8″ (W) x 1.3″ (H) x 2″ (L) / 72 (W) x 33 (H) x 51 mm (D)
- 4.5 oz / 127 g
Build & Appearance
Build quality is where GoPro cameras really shine. The GoPro Hero 11 Black is no exception.
I don’t hesitate to mount this action camera anywhere because it is so rugged that I know it will get the shot and survive to share it.
What other camera can go from land to 33ft underwater and back without needing any accessories?
The rugged exterior now offers an improved design with a bigger sensor. This means that you can now mount it either horizontally or vertically to capture both styles of video.
That brings up an important point about the utilization of this camera. If you want an interesting shot, you have to put your camera in an interesting location.
That requires choosing mounts that will give you the coolest and most unique perspectives.
I really like mounting my GoPro Hero 11 Black on a chest or helmet mount for POV footage but putting this camera in unique places like on the side of a vehicle is where you will get the most interesting footage.
Choose an angle that people don’t often get to see.
Although the exterior of this camera may appear almost identical to past versions, it is much different on the inside. We’ll cover some of the improvements in the internals and interface below.
The appearance of GoPro cameras is helpful in communicating how simple they are to use. With only two buttons and a touch screen, it is easy to see why they have become so popular.
Ergonomics & Handling
There have been some big improvements with the GoPro Hero 11 Black. My favorite is the increased sensor size and aspect ratio change. Now that it is 8×7 instead of 16×9, you can more easily get vertical and horizontal content out of the same frame.
Having this increased sensor size reduces the need for horizontal mounts in addition to vertical mounts which makes this camera much more flexible.
As I mentioned above the simplicity of this camera is also a selling point. It only has a single record button on top and an on/off button on the side. The remainder of the extensive customization can be done through the touch screen.
Once you’ve got your settings dialed in, the Hero 11 Black is dead simple to use. Simple point and shoot! The key to getting interesting photos/footage is getting your GoPro into a cool place with good light.
The GoPro Hero 11 Black has nice tactile buttons with haptic feedback and helpful indicator sounds. The rear touchscreen is also better with the Hero 11 than in past versions. It is responsive and easy to use.
Overall, I don’t see much room for improvement with the ergonomics of this camera. It is simple to use and has retained its overall design for several generations because of its simplicity.
GoPro Hero11 Black Video Performance
While many people really enjoy the GoPro Hero 11 Black for its high-resolution still images, I love how this camera functions for capturing video.
Whether it is a slow-motion clip of mountain biking or a timelapse of clouds across the sky, I love how easy it is to capture videos with this camera.
The GoPro Hero 11 Black now offers several improved video features including the most notable 10-bit color.
The upgrade from 8-bit to 10-bit provides substantially more colors and the ability to color-match the footage to other cameras more easily.
Having the ability to color grade your footage is very helpful and the 10-bit profile is much more flexible.
Secondly, I really like the improvements in frame rate and resolution. Having the ability to capture 5.3k at 60 frames per second is excellent.
5.3k vs 4k may not sound like a big improvement but it equates to almost twice as much resolution. This is a big advantage when it comes to cropping and stabilizing your footage.
Stabilization is another cool improvement with the GoPro Hero 11 Black. It now offers Hypersmooth 5.0 which is significantly smoother than previous versions as well as a new feature called horizon lock – there’s really no need for a gimbal for this GoPro.
Horizon lock is great for rotating stunts. The camera will keep the horizon steady and let the subject rotate without missing a beat. Hard to describe but a very cool feature.
Additionally, there are some cool features that are more playful for photographers who want a simple way to do light painting, startrails, or film moving city car lights.
I’m not particularly into any of these features but they could be fun for someone wanting to experiment.
Low Light Performance
Something action cameras have never performed well at is low light. The GoPro Hero 11 Black is no exception. Don’t expect to film past sunset without significant challenges.
In my experience, action cameras like the Hero 11 are best suited for daytime conditions. That is usually when all the action takes place right?
GoPro is always trying to announce new features like Startrails and night modes but the reality is that small sensored cameras are not meant to capture super high-quality footage at night.
If you’re seeking high ISO performance, I would encourage you to look at a full-frame camera that is designed to operate in low-light conditions.
Paired with a fast lens, you’ll have much better results with something like a Sony A7SIII.
Image quality is something that the GoPro Hero 11 Black has improved over past versions. The biggest difference is in the addition of 10 bit color.
This video color feature ups the color profile from 16.7 million colors to over 1 billion colors. The biggest difference I notice is when matching the GoPro color profile to other cameras I’m using on a production.
As with past versions, the GoPro Hero 11 Black captures JPEG and RAW photos, now with an increase to 27 megapixels. The images are very crisp and sharp, especially when captured in bright conditions.
In terms of distortion, it can be tricky to get normal-looking images with the GoPro because of it’s massively wide lens. My main tip is to try to keep the subject away from the extreme edges of the frame to avoid distortion.
The wide angle of view on the GoPro Hero 11 Black is now improved with Hyperview. This takes advantage of the full 8×7 aspect ratio of the sensor allowing you to get more of the scene in your frame.
Wide-angle action cameras keep getting wider perspectives and the GoPro Hero 11 Black is no exception. This super wide field of view is great for POV footage when you want to show the whole scene and give an immersive perspective.
One of the best Go Pro accessories that is great for expanding the FOV is the Max Lens Mod.
This adapter attaches to the lens mount to give an increased view without diminishing image quality. It does limit some of your video settings so be sure you are ok with the drop in resolution.
The good thing about GoPro cameras is their simplicity and now that they have improved the image quality, you aren’t making big sacrifices by using a small sensor in a rugged camera body.
GoPro Hero11 Sample Images
Here are some sample images I took with the GoPro Hero 11 Black for this review:
Overall, the performance of the GoPro Hero 11 Black is excellent. I especially appreciate that the cold weather enduro battery now comes standard.
Past generations of GoPro were famous for short battery life and diminished battery performance in cold weather. Now that is much less of a concern with the Hero 11.
Additionally, I’ve found this camera to have a more responsive touchscreen menu system.
Other Useful Features
Although I’ve mentioned a lot of video-specific features in my GoPro Hero 11 Black review, I wanted to highlight the ability to get high-resolution stills from video.
This cool feature allows you to capture a short video, and then export a 24-megapixel still image from the video. This is a great way to get the precise moment in a still image by capturing it in video form first.
One thing to keep in mind with this feature is that if you use ND filters to keep your shutter speed low, you may end up with blur in your still images.
Having blurr in your video is considered cinematic but having blurry photos is just poor form. This is a tradeoff you’ll have to make to decide what works best for your scenario.
Another feature to highlight in conjunction with the GoPro Hero 11 Black is the Quik app. This phone app pairs well with your camera to quickly upload footage to the GoPro cloud storage service or review footage after you’ve captured it.
The GoPro Hero 11 Black easily connects to your phone and downloads footage over built-in wifi.
While there are a ton of features on the GoPro Hero 11 Black, you’ll have to dive into the menus to find the ones most useful to your style.
How I Tested the (Product)
Over the past year, I’ve tested the GoPro Hero 11 Black in a variety of settings.
From the cold winter days on snowmobiles to tropical waves, this camera has been through its paces.
I’ll be honest that I have a hard time keeping up with the 12-month product lifecycle GoPro sticks to. By the time I’ve gotten my GoPro settings dialed and gotten acquainted with the camera, a new model comes out.
Regardless, I can say that I’ve thoroughly tested the GoPro Hero 11 Black and it is an excellent action camera. I’m sure I’ve said that about the last version but I can say this camera does have some helpful new features!
I’ve used the GoPro Hero 11 Black for fun and for work on commercial photo/video projects. The footage holds up well and I’m very satisfied with the durability of this camera.
Alternatives to GoPro Hero 11
When it comes to the best alternatives to a GoPro, there are many. You can get knockoff versions on Amazon for a fraction of the price but they are not real competitors.
The main alternatives to a GoPro are from DJI and Insta360. DJI offers the Osmo Action series which directly competes with features in the GoPro.
From my experience, they innovate but are not quite as user-friendly as the offerings from GoPro. I guess I’m a loyal GoPro fan who likes the interface and familiarity.
Insta360 offers several cameras that function as action cameras with 360 video capabilities.
The main thing to consider is if you want to have higher resolution in one direction or capture the entire scene with a 360 cam. I almost always prefer the former.
GoPro has created a loyal fan base (including me) with its intuitive design and consistency. I know what to expect and the familiarity keeps me coming back instead of pursuing some of the alternatives.
Value for Money
At around $350, the GoPro Hero 11 Black is a solid value. You won’t find a better combination of features for the price with any alternatives.
It is always difficult to judge how a particular piece of camera gear will be valued for each individual but I can say that my Hero 11 has been a great help on many projects. I love capturing a quick timelapse or setting it up in a unique location to get an unexpected video of the action.
If you find yourself wanting an action camera to mix in with your other video footage on commercial projects I think the GoPro Hero 11 Black is an excellent buy.
Is a GoPro Hero 11 Black worth it?
Yes. I’ve gotten some unique videos and added a lot of value to my professional projects by utilizing this little camera.
Is the GoPro Hero 11 Black waterproof?
Yes, it can go down to 33 feet without a water housing!
How long with the GoPro Hero 11 Black battery last?
It offers up to 61 minutes of recording at 5.3k 60fps
Can I use the GoPro Hero 11 Black without a subscription?
Yes! The subscription is only necessary if you want to store your footage in the cloud and access the Quik app’s special features.
GoPro Hero 11 Black Review | Conclusion
As with any incremental camera upgrade, it can be tricky to define when to upgrade. If you haven’t checked out the action camera space yet or if you are running an older action camera, the GoPro Hero 11 Black is an excellent choice.
I love the unique angles and fun clips I can record with this camera. From skiing with my kids to commercial video projects, this camera has come in very handy.
I love the simplicity and durability of this camera. I never hesitated to throw it in my pocket to get a clip that I might otherwise not get because I was afraid of putting my camera in harm’s way.
Whether you’re new to action cameras or just ready for an upgrade, go check out the GoPro Hero 11 Black!