GoPro released Hero 12 with minor improvements. Six of them are new features or benefits, while 4 of them are benefits that might not be real improvements. And there’s one downgrade.
I’m not an influencer who’s trying to get you to click on an affiliate link so let me start with the downgrade: no GPS. Period. That means no telemetry or anything like that.
1 – HDR Video – as I predicted, this captures more highlight detail by using multiple exposures simultaneously.
2 – Longer recording time – Hero 12 can now record twice as long in 5.3k 60fps mode. Previously: 35 mins. Now: 70 mins. It is rumored that this was the reason for removing GPS.
3 – Max Lens Mod 2.0 – This can capture a wider 177-degree field of view at 4K 60fps. The previous Max Lens Mod could only capture 155 degrees at 2.7k 60fps on the Hero 11. GoPro says the MLM2 is compatible only with Hero 12.
4 – Combined 1/4-20 mount. Hero 12 has a new type of mount that combines both folding GoPro fingers and a 1/4-20 mount like this. You can also buy this as an accessory for older GoPro Hero 8 or above. To be fair, the 1/4-20 hole in the Hero 12 goes deeper than the one in the generic accessory, so you can insert your tripod, selfie stick, monopod more securely.
5 – Bluetooth microphone. Use Airpods or a bluetooth microphone as an external microphone or to give voice commands over longer distances.
6 – Lower price: $299 for existing subscribers. The retail price of the Hero 12 is $399, while Hero 11 drops to $349. But for now, existing subscribers can get Hero 12 for $299.
Other features that might not really be improvements:
7 – Timecode – this lets you synchronize an unlimited number of GoPro Hero 12 cameras to make them easier to edit together. The Hero 12 also uses a QR code for timecode sync, but this time the QR code is in the Quik app so you won’t need the GoPro Labs QR Code Generator. In the Quik app, tap on the 3 dots beside a camera then choose Sync Timecode. Note that this option is also available on the Hero 11 or previous GoPros that are compatible with GoPro Labs (Hero 5 Session, and Heros 7 and up) as long as you install the GoPro Labs firmware, so this is not really a Hero 12 feature.
8 – GP-Log mode. This is a new color profile with an even flatter gamma to enable capture of a wider dynamic range. When combined with the 10-bit color option and the option to use Rec2020 via the QR Code Generator, it should be able to capture the second type of HDR video I mentioned in this post. The reason I say this isn’t a real improvement is because a flat color profile was already available via the GoPro Labs. I don’t know yet if the GP-Log mode is any different. To use GP-Log in Hero 12, you need to activate 10-bit mode and High bitrate (see #11 below). you’ll then see a Log option appear in the Profile settings for your chosen video mode, beside Standard and HDR. If you use GP-Log, you can try GoPro’s LUTs here.
9 – Hypersmooth 6.0. With every new GoPro Hero, there’s a new version of Hypersmooth. But what’s the difference? GoPro hasn’t demonstrated any difference between Hypersmooth 6.0 and 5.0. Not sure if this is any real improvement.
10 – Quik’s cloud-based editing. If you upload videos to Quik, you can edit them without having to download them to your phone first. This feature is available for other GoPros as well, which is why it’s not really an improvement.
11 – New menu system. One more difference is that the menu has been revised from the Hero 11 and previous GoPros. The new menu takes fewer button presses to choose settings but buries options in unfamiliar places. For example, if you want to choose a High bitrate and 10-bit, it’s no longer in the Protune settings. Instead, you need to go to the Preferences menu and the Video sub-menu there. On the one hand, you only need to do this once for all video modes. On the other hand, it applies to all your modes or none of them.
If you want to take a look at other action cams, the recently released Insta360 Ace Pro with 8K and Insta360 Ace with 6K video have excellent image quality. See how they compare to the Hero 12 in my review.