I’ve been saying for a long time that the next version of the Fusion is real. Now actual photos of the new version of the GoPro Fusion, called GoPro Max, have leaked! Here are 7 predicted features based on the photos!
GoPro officially announced that the next GoPro Fusion (aka Fusion 2) is coming. GoPro made the announcement during its Q1 2019 earnings call during which CEO Nick Woodman disclosed that GoPro will launch a series of products in Q4 2019 at various price levels. Mr. Woodman specifically stated that this would include their next 360 camera, which enthusiasts have dubbed Fusion 2 or Next GoPro Fusion.
Now photos of the next GoPro Fusion have been leaked by PhotoRumors.com. The photos seem to hint at certain features (see below):
When was Fusion 2 first announced?
Fusion 2 was first announced at the GoPro Q1 2019 earnings call. Here’s a video about Fusion 2:
There is a lot of excitement about Fusion 2 because the GoPro Fusion (reviewed here) is one of the best 360 cameras. It raised the bar for other 360 cameras in terms of image quality and stabilization. Even two years after its release, it still has one of the best image quality among 360 cameras.
GoPro Max: 7 Predicted Features
The GoPro Max looks very similar to the Fusion, with an offset lens design. The biggest difference is the addition of a large screen. The question is, why not keep the current screen? I believe the screen will be a touchscreen, which will make it easier to adjust the settings without being connected to the phone.
Second, I believe the larger screen will be used not just to change settings as in the current Fusion, but will also be able to review photos and videos. Until now, almost all 360 cameras have not had a preview screen. But I’ve used a couple of 360 cameras with the preview screen (Acer Holo 360 and Pilot Era) and I think it is very convenient.
Third, this implies another feature: realtime stitching or at the very least realtime preview. This is a feature I’ve been predicting ever since the first Fusion 2 rumors appeared. Mr. Woodman has previously discussed some of the features of the next GoPro Fusion. In an interview with PC Magazine, Mr. Woodman said he wants it to be as easy to use as a regular GoPro.
As I’ve said previously, I believe that the next Fusion may have realtime stitching with stabilization, a feature that has never been seen before in a consumer 360 camera. There are some 360 cameras with realtime stitching capability for video, but they do not have stabilization unless first processed in an app. There are a few 360 cameras with realtime stitching with stabilization (Insta360 Pro, Insta360 Pro 2, Pilot Era) but they cost at least $2500. If Fusion 2 can have realtime stitching with stabilization, it would become the first consumer 360 camera to have that capability.
I believe that the large screen increases the probability that GoPro Max will have realtime stitching capabilities. Short of that, it might have realtime preview (as in the One X, which does not stitch in realtime, but can show a stitched and stabilized preview of the photo or video in realtime).
Fourth, Mr. Woodman has hinted that the next Fusion will focus on overcapture rather than 360, and will be designed for ease of use. I believe that the Max will be able to automatically create overcapture video from a 360 video.
Fifth, another unusual characteristic is that the photos show a somewhat protruding lens. I believe this means it is a replaceable lens. This is a feature that many people have been asking for in a 360 camera. While a few cameras have had it, the ones that had it (Virb 360, Orbit 360, Keymission 360, and to some extent the original Samsung Gear 360, etc.) were plagued by excessive glare. I think GoPro wouldn’t add a replaceable lens unless they have solved the glare problem. So I’m optimistic that glare will be well controlled.
Sixth, there are holes on the front, back, and side of the camera. I’m not sure what these are. Since there are three of them, they might be microphones for spatial audio. They might also be for cooling the camera, but I’m wondering if that wouldn’t compromise the waterproof capability.
Seventh, there is only a single Micro SD card. This limits the bitrate at which it can record. I believe this means that the video resolution will not be higher than the Fusion. As for video quality, the single Micro SD card could become a bottleneck but if the Max uses UHS-II or uses H.265, it may be able to record a higher equivalent bitrate compared to the Fusion.
Those are my predictions for now. What’s my track record for predictions? See below.
GoPro Max / Fusion 2 Release Date and Price
On August 1, 2019, during the Q2 earnings call, Mr. Woodman reiterated their excitement for their upcoming product launch and revealed that the launch will be in Fall 2019. GoPro was so confident about their product launch that they predicted that it would lead to a higher average sales price (ASP) during Q4 2019. During the Q&A portion of the call, an analyst asked whether GoPro’s optimism about their Q4 financials was due to the “refresh of the GoPro Fusion.” Mr. Woodman was tight-lipped and merely said that “multiple products” would contribute to that increase in ASP.
As for the price, I think it depends on the screen. If the screen is really a touchscreen with live preview, then I expect it to be $499 or higher. If the screen is just a large backlit screen, then I would expect it to be $399 or less.
What do you think of the GoPro Max / Fusion 2? Let me know in the comments!
360 Rumors Track Record for Predictions
Here’s my track record for predictions so far, if you want to see:
– New GoPro Fusion being launched: correct
– Insta360 One X predictions: 4 out of 6
– Fusion predictions: 5 out of 7
– First Kodak Orbit photos: correct
– Garmin Virb 360 predictions: 7 out of 8
– Insta360 One predictions: 9 out of 10
– Gear 360 predictions: 4 out of 7