As someone who is very terrified of post-production video editing, I’m even more excited about some of the other new software-based features in Hero 11 Black, especially the Star Trail feature. If you’ve tried meteor trails before, you know how laborious it can be to stack hundreds of images, so this may surprise you: The Hero 11 shoots perfect star trail videos at the touch of a button. Again, the ability to pull out 24 megapixels still comes in handy.
Other new software modes include a light painting mode, if you want to have some fun with a flashlight, and a vehicle light trail mode, which easily turns nighttime car lights into rivers of white and red .
In order to meet the user’s concept of reducing workload, GoPro now offers two modes: Easy and Pro. The camera ships in easy mode, offering a streamlined interface for those who don’t want to dig into the GoPro’s color settings and other fine-tuning details. If you’re a pro, or just used to the old UI, well, it’s easy to switch to the Pro version, which is the familiar GoPro interface.
Another nice feature that isn’t directly related to Hero 11 (in fact, it works on all GoPros dating back to Hero 5) is more control over Auto Highlights video. You do need to be a GoPro subscriber and you must have automatic uploads turned on.
Once complete, the Quik app will automatically generate edits and put them into your Quik app. It’s been a while, but GoPro now introduces the ability to edit auto-highlighted videos without having to download the source files to your mobile device. You’ll end up editing a low-res proxy, but when you export or share to another app, it sends a high-res version. In theory, this would resolve my main complaint about Quik, which is that it’s too much for my phone, but unfortunately, as I write this review, this feature is unavailable for testing.
In addition to the new Hero 11, GoPro is introducing a new camera, the Hero 11 Black Mini ($450), a smaller, screenless Hero 11 Black. This means that in many cases you can’t view your footage or even compose the shot. (You can pair it with the Quik app and framework.) That might sound odd, but for many of the GoPro’s core use cases, those that actually strap your GoPro to your body and go surfing, climbing, or motocrossing People — The weight savings and streamlined size trump the screen. You can’t see the screen when it’s over your head anyway.
However, I like another aspect of the Mini. Not long ago, Leica released a digital rangefinder without a screen. That is, your image cannot be viewed. The Leica is unrealistically expensive, but I prefer the message behind it: shoot whatever you want. Stop checking if you “succeeded”. The Hero 11 Mini reminds me of that spirit. As GoPro’s head of product pointed out to me, it’s not the kind of camera that forces you to sit at a distance and film your kid’s party, not at all in the moment. Instead, you put it in the corner, push the record, and go back to life.
Having said that, I didn’t actually test the Hero 11 Mini. I still think the Hero 11 Black is the best action camera for most people. If you have a Hero 10, is it worth the upgrade? It depends on whether you need the extra vertical space in the shot. If you frequently edit video into different formats, the Hero 11 is definitely worth the investment.