Gopro Hero 7 vs 8 Action Cam Comparison

7vs8

Having trouble deciding between these two action cameras? This GoPro Hero 7 vs 8 comparison is here to help!

Despite neither GoPro Hero being the latest model, the Hero 7 Black and Hero 8 Black are still excellent cameras.

GoPro Hero 8
GoPro Hero 8

A combination UI improvements, HyperSmooth 2, TimeWarp 2, and the Media Mod kit make the Hero8 the clear winner.

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There are plenty of GoPro cameras still available here in 2021, and it isn’t always necessary to upgrade to the latest model.

Buying the Hero 7 can save you some money, but investing in the Hero 8 means you’ll have newer features… but do you really need them?

We’ll take a closer look at both cameras in this GoPro Hero 7 vs 8 guide so you can make your own mind up.

Let’s dive right in.

GoPro Hero 7 vs 8: Design and Build

GoPro Hero 8 Build

Where the GoPro Hero 7 needs a frame to attach, the Hero 8 Black has folding fingers that make the frame unnecessary. You can also change out the battery and SD card without unmounting.

At first look, there’s not a lot of difference between the two cameras on the exterior.

The GoPro Hero 8 Black is slightly larger, has more rounded edges and weighs a slight bit more than the 7.

Both are rectangular (as opposed to the cube-like Sessions) and waterproof to 33ft (10m) without needing a separate underwater housing.

In addition, both have a 2-inch touchscreen on the back and a status screen on the front.  (You’ll have to get the Hero9 or Hero10 if you’re looking for a built-in front view screen.)

Mounting 

One key difference – on the outside at least – is on how they’re mounted. The Hero 7 Black needs an external frame to mount onto a mounting point (i.e. a selfie stick, etc.).

The Hero 8 Black, on the other hand, is the first GoPro camera to have the mounting point built-in. These ‘folding fingers’ let you mount the camera directly to any accessory or mounting point, no frame needed.

Because these little folding prongs are on the bottom and the battery and memory card compartment is on the side, you can now change out your battery or microSD card without unmounting the Hero 8. That little difference can be a real game-changer for some!

That being said, the new mounting fingers are considerably flimsier than the mounting frame used with the Hero 7 and you might find the amount of “give” in them a bit much.

Ports and Compartments

The GoPro Hero 7 also have different ports and compartments. The Hero 7 Black has two compartments – one on the side and one on the bottom. It also has an HDMI port.

To make room for the folding fingers on the bottom of the camera body, the GoPro Hero 8 Black has only a single compartment on the side. This is where the battery and micro SD memory card is housed (containing all those MP4, JPEG, LRV and THM files), as well as the USB-C port.

The door on this Hero 8 compartment is nicely solid – made out of metal, not plastic. A welcome improvement. It also pops fully off.

Because everything got scrunched into a single compartment, there’s no built-in HDMI port on the GoPro Hero 8 Black. You’ll need to buy the Media Mod accessory if you need an HDMI out port.

Another consequence to the change of compartment layout is that the Hero 8 Black uses different mods than the Hero7.

Lens Cover

For those of you serious action camera enthusiasts who get into extreme situations, you might be disappointed with the change Gopro made to the lens cover.

The lens cover on the Hero 7 Black is similar to the GoPro Black models before it – the cover comes completely off, so if you scratch or crack it or damage it in any way, you can simply replace it.

Not so on the Hero8 Black. Its lens cover is more like that of the Hero 7 Silver – it doesn’t come off. If you scratch or crack it you’re out of luck and will have to buy a new camera.

Of course, there are a couple of accessories you can buy to add protection to your lens, but that could potentially affect your image quality (you’re placing yet another layer between your lens and that which you’re filming.

GoPro Hero 7 vs 8: Controls, Screen, and Interface

GoPro Hero 8 Black Screen

It would have been nice if they’d made the screen on the Hero 8 just a tad larger.

There’s not much difference between the Hero 7 Black and the Hero 8 Black in terms of user interface. A few of the menu controls have been tweaked here and there, but overall, you’re basically looking at the same camera.

Screen

Both the Hero 7 and the Hero 8 use a rear two-inch LCD touchscreen in 16:9 format as the primary way to access the menu system. They’re pretty much the same in terms of brightness and crispness.

There’s no selfie screen (i.e. front-facing screen) on either the 7 or the 8 – you’ll have to bump up to the Hero 9 if that’s important to you or buy the Display Mod for the GoPro Hero 8.

It would have been nice if they’d made the screen a bit larger on the GoPro8 – as it is, two inches makes for a pretty small LCD screen.

Presets/Menu Changes

Perhaps one of the biggest improvements between the GoPro Hero 7 Black and the Hero 8 in terms of interface lies in the addition of presets.

The Hero8 allows you to create up to 10 customizable presets for your video settings. This is fantastic for switching between perspectives, changing the zoom, or turning on slo-mo. They’ve also made the shortcut buttons programmable, which can definitely be a game-changer for some.

When taking stills, you can create presets for changing the timer or switching between the different photo modes. For instance, you can set one up for switching between RAW and standard (Jpeg) images or to turn Superphoto on and off.

Protune is also easier to access. On the Hero 7 Black, you need to enable Protune before you can get to any of the Protune settings. On the Hero 8 Black, you can go straight to them, making it easier to manually set the shutter speed and ISO.

Fields of View

Both GoPro models share basically the same fields of view, although they’re called digital lenses on the GoPro Hero 8 Black:

  • Superview = 16mm
  • Wide = 16-34mm  (What we’re used to in GoPro footage)
  • Linear = 19-39mm
  • Narrow = 27mm (Hero 8 only)

Remote Control

Both cameras can be controlled remotely through the Gopro app (via Wi Fi and/or Bluetooth), as well as with the Smart Remote.

They also both have voice control and share the same voice commands: start and stop recording, change modes, and shutter button. You can also set either camera to Wake on Voice.

GoPro Hero 7 vs 8: Video

GoPro Hero Photo Screen

While many hoped for it, there wasn’t any real upgrade in processor or resolution capability when the GoPro Hero 8 Black came out. Both GoPro cameras use the same sensor with a GP1 processor.

(You’ll have to bump up to the GoPro Hero10 Black to get the new GP2 processor.)

As a result, the image quality is pretty much the same between the two cameras: both shoot 4K video at 60FPS, as well as 240fps for making slow-motion videos (8x slower than normal). They also both have the same digital zoom.

There are a few differences though.

Hypersmooth

For many, the most noticeable difference between the GoPro Hero 7 Black and the Hero 8 Black will be the in-camera stabilization.

The Hero 7’s Hypersmooth 1.0 is no slouch – it was pretty ground-breaking at the time. But GoPro definitely raised the bar with the Hero 8’s Hypersmooth 2. It’s actually pretty incredible.

They also added in a new boost mode in the Hero 8 Black if you’re filming something particularly bumpy. It’ll crop your frame a little, but in return, you get amazingly smooth gimbal-like stabilization.

The Hero8 is also the better choice if you’re a fan of shooting in slo-mo, as the Hero7 Black doesn’t have stabilization for any of its 240fps modes and at 120fps it has only “standard” stabilization.

So if exceptionally smooth camera movement is your thing, the GoPro Hero 8 Black will be your best bet.

Video Bitrates

If you’re looking for the highest video quality possible, the Hero 8 Black has a maximum bitrate of 100 Mbps (which puts it on par with the DJI Osmo Action). The Hero7 only goes up to 78 Mbps.

This won’t make a difference if you just take occasional videos, but if you do a lot of post-processing you’ll likely notice the difference.

Sound

Both the GoPro Hero 7 Black and the Hero 8 Black have three microphones and RAW audio capture, but the Hero 8 has upgraded its audio quality significantly with a front-facing microphone and new audio processing algorithms.

The difference is quite noticeable, especially in windy situations.

If you want even better sound quality, the Media Mod comes with an even better built-in mic as well as a mic-in port.

Live Streaming

If you’re a fan of live streaming, the Hero 8 Black will definitely give you a bit more punch – 1080p compared to 720p. Just make sure you have a solid, high-speed internet connection when you use it.

GoPro Hero 7 vs 8: Still Photos

For most action camera users, still photos are mostly a bonus. Still, the feature can really be a game saver at times, especially under circumstances where you wouldn’t want to risk a more vulnerable camera.

In this case, both the Hero 7 and the Hero 8 Black have a lot of similar capabilities. They both take 12-megapixel stills in both RAW and Jpeg, and both can do 30fps photo bursts at 12MP.

The Hero 8 does have a few improvements that are worth noting if still photography with your GoPro is important to you.

SuperPhoto

Reputedly, GoPro’s Super Photo mode in the Hero8 Black yields much better HDR photos, particularly in low light.

RAW Capture

Both cameras offer RAW capture in the Photo, Night, Time Lapse Photo, and Night Lapse Photo modes. The Hero8 Black also offers RAW capture in Burst Mode, though not when you’re set to Continuous photos.

Burst Shooting

Both the GoPro Hero 7 Black and the Hero 8 Black can shoot bursts of up to 30 12-megapixel stills a second. The Hero8, though, has a few more burst shooting modes:

  • GoPro Hero 8 Black

Burst Rates (Frames/ Second): Auto, 60/10, 30/10, 60/6, 30/6, 30/3, 10/3, 30/1, 10/1, 5/1, 3/1

  • GoPro Hero 7 Black

Burst Rates (Frames/ Second): Auto, 30/6, 30/3, 10/3, 30/1, 10/1, 5/1, 3/1

Live Burst mode

The GoPro Hero 8 Black is the first camera in the GoPro range to get LiveBurst mode.

LiveBurst begins shooting 1.5 seconds before and after the shutter is fully depressed. At the end, you come out with a rapid sequence of 90 still images from which you can choose your favorites. You can also use the sequence as a 3-second 4K video clip.

GoPro Hero 7 vs 8: Other Features

There are a few cool new features that the software and new battery in the Hero 8 Black brings. Here’s a brief run-down.

Horizon Leveling

A level horizon is particularly important for high-quality video, especially if you’re looking for more of a cinematic look. You’ll need to use the GoPro mobile app to access this feature, but it can make a huge difference in your footage.

Nightlapse for Video

Both cameras can shoot time-lapse photos and video, Nightlapse photos, and Hyperlapse, but the Hero 8 Black also offers Night lapse when shooting video.

With GoPro’s time-lapse video feature incorporated into the night lapse mode, all you have to do is “set-and-forget.” Your night-lapse video will be created automatically.

Timewarp

TimeWarp is a fun Hyperlapse mode that lets you create a super-stabilized time-lapse video when the camera is in motion. You can then speed it up by 2x, 5x, 10x, 15x or 30x.

The Hero 8 Black comes with a new and improved TimeWarp 2.0 that will automatically set the time-lapse speed based on the amount of camera movement. It also lets you tap the screen at any point to either slow down to real-time or speed back up.

Pair this with the improved Hypersmooth 2.0 and you get some amazing hyper-lapses!

GoPro Hero 7 vs Hero 8: Battery

Gopro removable battery

Hero 8 batteries have blue accents on the bottom and can be used in the Hero 7.

Both cameras feature removable, rechargeable 1220mAh Lithium batteries that are the same physical size and capacity.

The Hero 8’s new battery definitely beats out the 7’s battery life, with up to 50 minutes of continuous use. That’s enough for a full day of shooting for most folks.

Either way, the two batteries are virtually interchangeable…virtually.

The Hero 8 Black’s rechargeable battery will work in the Hero 7 Black, but not quite vice versa (at least theoretically). If you put a battery from an older model in the Hero 8, you’ll get a warning screen saying that some features (i.e. Hypersmooth 2, Timewarp 2, etc.) may not work right. In practice, though, most folks report everything working as expected.

GoPro Hero 7 vs Hero 8: Mods

GoPro Hero 8 Black Display Mod

The Media Mod kit makes the Hero 8 Black a strong choice for vloggers.

There are a few super cool mods being offered for the Hero 8 Black that aren’t backwards compatible with the Hero 7 because of the 8’s new frame-free design,

Display Mod adds a selfie screen, a built-in rechargeable battery, and micro-HDMI connector. You’ll need the Media Mod to use it, though.

Media Mod adds a built-in shotgun mic, a 3.5mm mic-in port, two cold shoe mounts, a micro-HDMI out port, and a USB-C port.

Light Mod is a small, waterproof LED light that can attach to either the Media Mod or another GoPro mount. This is great for lighting up your face while vlogging.

Of course, there are plenty of other accessories available for both GoPro models, but these are the most exciting for the Hero 8.

Final Recommendations

In terms of basic photo and video quality, there’s not really much difference between these two action cameras. Both capture fantastic photos and videos.

Where the Hero 8 Black really edges the 7 out is in its design, Hypersmooth 2 and TimeWarp, and the Media Mod kit made for it. The UI improvements also deserve a mention.

Not needing a mounting frame and being able to access the battery while leaving the camera mounted is actually a pretty big deal. If you do live streaming, the doubling in resolution and wind-optimized microphone will also be big draws.

Add to that the fact that the Hero 8 Black is now retailing for less than $300 on Amazon, and there aren’t a lot of reasons not to go for it.

You’ll save a little bit of money going for the Hero 7 Black – it’s on Amazon for less than $240 (including an extra battery) – but for many, the $60 difference won’t really seem like a good reason not to go for the Hero 8.

Still, the Hero 7 definitely continues to be a fantastic action camera. It was the flagship of its day and still delivers solid performance. If you’re not interested in vlogging or the advanced features of the Hero 8, the 7 Black is still a decent choice (especially if you already own it).

What do you think? Are there any good reasons to go for the Hero 7 these days?

GoPro Hero 8
GoPro Hero 8

A combination UI improvements, HyperSmooth 2, TimeWarp 2, and the Media Mod kit make the Hero8 the clear winner.

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Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Usnea Lebendig

Usnea Lebendig is a travel and landscape photographer who loves trekking in the wilderness, exploring other cultures, and using photography for social activism.

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