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GoPro Hero 12 launching September 6 with ONE NEW FEATURE (Update: Confirmed!)

GoPro Hero 12 - one new feature

GoPro announced that they’re launching Hero 12 on September 6.  I saw only one new feature.  9/6 UPDATE: GoPro confirmed Hero 12 has the third type of HDR mentioned below.

GoPro HERO 12 new feature

GoPro releases a new Hero around this time every year.  Some years, there are significant changes such as Hero 11’s use of a new 1/1.9 inch sensor with an 8 x 7 aspect ratio.  Other times, it’s a minor update that is little more than using the next number on the Hero series.

This year, there had been rumors that Hero 12 would use a 1-inch sensor and 8K video.  Alas, it doesn’t appear to be the case.  A Hero 12 has been posted for sale on eBay.

GoPro Hero 12 was posted on eBay
GoPro Hero 12 was posted on eBay

The listing has since been pulled but other people on Reddit have spotted the Hero 12 and they all look consistent:

Hero 12 spotted elsewhere
Hero 12 spotted elsewhere

Since we have multiple sources independently corroborating each other, it appears the eBay listing was genuine.  In that regard, the box showed the specs and they seem to be almost exactly the same as Hero 11.  The only difference I saw was HDR video.

Hero 12 appears to have HDR Video
Hero 12 appears to have HDR Video

Update: GoPro confirmed that Hero 12 will have HDR Video in posts on Facebook and Twitter.

What is HDR Video? Depends who you ask…

When manufacturers say their cameras can do “HDR video,” they can mean it in three ways.   The first way is when the video just exposes for the highlights and then they bring up the shadows in post processing to make it appear to have more highlight detail.  This is not a technical innovation and this is probably not what GoPro means.

The second way they mean HDR video is a video that has a wider gamut, which can be used to show wider dynamic range in an HDR-capable monitor or display.  This is the kind of HDR video in some smartphones, for example, that can use Dolby Vision or HDR10+.  Hero 11 can already be configured to capture this type of HDR video (10-bit color, Rec2020, flat gamma), so if this is what GoPro means by HDR video in Hero 12, then it wouldn’t really be new.

A third type of HDR video uses multiple exposures.  This is the kind of HDR video used in cameras such as Insta360 X3 (reviewed here) and in some DJI drones such as the Mini 3 Pro.  It captures a wider dynamic range by taking two or more shots at different exposures and combining them.  The darker exposure provides the highlight details, helping to retain them. The brighter exposure provides the shadow details with less noise.  Here is a video by Omnivision explaining this technology used in some of their sensors:


If you shoot the exposures at two different times, then any movement will appear as ghosting.  However, sensors such as the one in the Insta360 X3 have a quad Bayer array and some of the sub-pixels can shoot at a darker exposure to provide more highlight range without ghosting.  This is something Hero 11 cannot do, so if this is the kind of HDR video that Hero 12 has, then it would be a more noteworthy difference over the Hero 11.

HDR video has better highlight details (top) compared to regular video (bottom)
HDR video has better highlight details (top) compared to regular video (bottom)

UPDATE: GoPro confirmed that Hero 12 has the third type of HDR video that uses multiple exposures in the same frame:

YouTube video player

Whether it is the second type or third type, is this enough for people to buy it if they already have a Hero 11 or even a Hero 10 or Hero 9?  I think HDR video won’t make that much of a difference for average consumers.  In fact, DJI Osmo Action series has had HDR video for a while (yes, even the original one, as well as Action 3 and Action 4).  But no one talked about it.  In my opinion, what would make a bigger difference is a third person view.  If that sounds interesting to you, check out the Insta360 X3 (see comparison vs GoPro Hero 11) and the Hover X1, a self flying camera.

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Mic Ty


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  • I do not think you know what HDR video is or what has been going on at GoPro. There are standards for HDR video that specify the gamma and color space. There are two, and one or the other is found in ALL video cameras that shoot HDR video: HLG, which has an HLG gamma, 10bit color, and a REC2020 color gamut. And HDR PQ with definitions conforming to ITU-R BT. 2100 and SMPTE ST. 2084 (also REC2020 color gamut, 10bit color, and a more log-like gamma than the HLG gamma). These standards permit a higher dynamic range (not the way you describe) and richer color (more colors and more gradations of colors) compared to REC709.

    Already there is GoPro Labs firmware that enables one to use a REC2020 color gamut and to alter the gamma, which is already log when shooting “Flat,” on the Hero 11, which already has 10bit color.

    I do not have any more information on the Hero 12 than you do, But I do understand HDR video standards and have knowledge of and experience with GoPro’s.

    I do learn a great deal from your posts on 360 cameras; but you do seem to have issues when it comes to GoPro’s.

    • Hi Mark. Not only do I know what is 10-bit HDR video, I actually use it often. My iPhone 13 Pro Max shoots in Dolby Vision format. The other kind of “HDR Video” that I’m talking about uses two different exposures simultaneously. That’s the case with Insta360 X3’s Active HDR for example. Although it is only 8-bit, it has a much wider dynamic range than conventional video. You can see my comparison with GoPro Max at around 4:20 of this video:
      Then there’s also a fake “HDR video” for example where it just exposes for highlights then brings up the shadows.
      Re Hero 12, if it has HDR Video, it might be the first type like you said, or it might be the second type. (I doubt it’s the third type because that would be incredibly underwhelming.) I think it’s the second type because the Hero 11 already has 10-bit video as you said.
      P.S. I’ve updated the article to discuss the different possible meanings of “HDR video” used by manufacturers.

      • I am glad you shoot in Dolby Vision on your iPhone. Yet you did not speculate that this form of real HDR would be forthcoming on the Hero 12. Instead you speculated that it would be this bizarre 8bit “HDR” used by one, and only one, 360 video camera, and conforms to no HDR viewing standards. There are HDR standards as you claim you know. Yet, the one and only one method of extending dynamic range you discuss as if it were HDR is used by no other camera shooting video on this earth. HDR is a color standard, not just a means of extending dynamic range.

        You have great experience with and knowledge of 360 cameras. Leave the GoPro Heros alone, or give them the same attention you provide to 360 cameras.

        I predict the HDR video on the Hero 12 will be at least one of the true HDR standards, with true 10bit color, the REC2020 color gamut, and an HDR video standard gamma curve. Unlikely to be Dolby Vision.

        You did succeed in getting more views by repeating someone else’s Hero 12 post and by mentioning the Hero 12, for which there is great interest by videographers who have no interest in 360. You got my attention, unfortunately.

        I still come to this site for 360 info, and have not been disappointed.

        • Hi Mark. Actually, multi-exposure HDR is not as bizarre or unique as you think. It is a technology that has been used in other sensors. For example, even back in 2006, the Fuji S5 had a special sensor that has some smaller subpixels designed to capture highlights. More recently, the One X and One X2 also had this multi-exposure HDR video mode in their sensor, although it was different from the one used in the X3. And as I said, even the original DJI Osmo Action had HDR video, and so do the DJI Action 3 and Action 4. So is it really so far-fetched to suppose that Hero 12 could have the same kind of HDR video? After all, as you said, Hero 11 could already do 10-bit color with Rec2020 and a flat gamma. Anyway we’ll see in a few days.
          As for repeating someone’s Hero 12 post, I’m not sure which one you’re talking about. I didn’t see anyone else mention that Hero 12 will likely have HDR video when I wrote this article.

      • Hi Mark. It’s been confirmed that Hero 12 has the third type of HDR video (multi-exposure). Thanks for your constructive criticism, which caused me to update the article to discuss the other types of HDR video.

  • It has been shared elsewhere that the 12 will incorporate a true LOG profile and a new color science. If the new camera solves that “brown” look that has forever plagued GoPro, color matching with other cameras will be a lot easier. If LOG is true, that means that we should indeed see more dynamic range. If that constitutes “HDR” or not is a different story.

    • That’s nice but if that’s all that Hero 12 has, I wonder why that can’t be done via firmware update to the 11.

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