The big upgrade to the GoPro Hero 11 is a smaller version

GoPro has announced its new Hero 11 Black camera, featuring a larger sensor than its predecessor, capable of shooting up to an 8:7 aspect ratio at 5.3K, “the largest vertical field of view ever. seen on a GoPro,” according to the company. It also allows you to shoot even wider photos in the more common 16:9 aspect ratio in a mode called “HyperView”. GoPro says HyperView will make the action even faster, which will hopefully help capture just how epic/scary a downhill run or big wave really was.

Ironically, the biggest news with the Hero 11 is that it will be available in a smaller, cheaper version starting next month. Like the GoPro Sessions of yore, the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini is a compact action camera that lacks the main model’s touchscreen and front-facing displays and is controlled primarily via GoPro’s Quik app. It does, however, have a small screen next to the record button, which lets you see what resolution and frame rate you’re shooting at and how much recording time and battery you have left. It also packs most of the Hero 11’s specs into a smaller space (you’ll even be able to use it with the max lens mod after a future software update).

Top to bottom image of the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini.  There's a record button on the right side of the camera, and on the left is a black and white screen that displays vital camera information.

The Hero 11 Black Mini is not totally without screen.
Image: GoPro

At 133 grams, the Mini is around 20g lighter than the Hero 11. And while it’s a few millimeters taller and deeper, it’s around 27 per cent narrower than the full-size Hero. According to GoPro, the Mini is about 13% smaller in terms of volume and weight. GoPro has also made the Mini a bit more flexible to mount – there’s an extra pair of fingers on the back of the device, allowing you to attach it at a wider variety of angles.

Image of the GoPro Mini next to the usual Hero 11 camera.  The Mini is 51.2 millimeters high, 38 millimeters thick and 52.4 millimeters wide, compared to the height of 50.8 millimeters, the depth of 33.6 millimeters and the width of 71.8 millimeters from the ordinary camera.

The Mini ditches the front and rear screens, as well as a few grams.
Image: GoPro

When it comes to shooting video, the Mini is almost identical to the full-size Hero – it has the same custom GP2 sensor and processor, the same 10-bit recording, and it supports pretty much all the same resolution and frame rate combos. It also comes with GoPro’s improved HyperSmooth 5.0 system, which the company says can now be automatically applied when your footage becomes choppy, and offers “dramatically improved stabilization” when shooting video 4: 3 compared to the Hero 10’s HyperSmooth 4.0 system.

Both cameras have new accelerated presets focused on night shooting, for light painting, star trails, or capturing vehicle light trails if you prefer shooting in the city rather than in the wild. The Hero 11 Black also uses what the company calls “Easy Controls” by default, which displays a simplified on-screen user interface that won’t overwhelm you with information. If you want to quickly adjust your settings, you can use the Pro Controls mode, which essentially takes you back to the Hero 10’s interface.

Three images showing GoPro night effects.  The image in light painting mode shows a person standing on rocks, having drawn a large circle made of light.  The star trail image shows a tent surrounded by a spiral of stars.  Light trails from vehicles show a highway crossed by lines of light left by cars traveling along it.

Both cameras feature GoPro’s new “night effects”.
Image: GoPro

Besides the screens, there are a few things the GoPro Mini lacks compared to its larger counterpart – its 1500mAh battery isn’t removable, it doesn’t have a picture mode (although you can always extract stills from video), and it doesn’t have GPS or stereo audio. There’s also no retrospective pre-recording, scheduled capture, looping video or webcam mode.

Whether to ditch everything worthwhile for the weight savings will likely depend on what you’re doing with the camera. I can certainly imagine it’s a noticeable difference if you’ve mounted it to a bike or a climbing helmet. For me, I think the battery would be the biggest sticking point for the Mini, given that it can’t be swapped out in the field. It also doesn’t help that the more traditional model now comes with GoPro’s “Enduro” batteries, which charge faster and last longer than the standard batteries that come with the Hero 10, especially in cold weather – well the Mini supposedly uses the same technology. Still, I love that this camera exists, especially for those who are really weight (or price) sensitive or need to shoot in extremely tight areas.

An image on the left shows mountain bike handlebars in a desert scene.  An image on the right shows a person wearing a full-face helmet, with a GoPro Mini mounted under the visor.

GoPro says the Mini is “optimized” for POV shots.
Image: GoPro

As it has done with its latest releases, GoPro is pushing its $50 annual subscription service pretty hard – it gives you perks like deep discounts on cameras, a relatively inexpensive trade-in program if you manage to break one and access to additional features. like the ability for your camera to automatically upload footage to the cloud once you plug it in to charge. While subscription services aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, The edgeThe video team loves the GoPro ones; Becca Farsace says she thinks it’s “the best of its kind”, and Vjeran Pavic, who is obsessed with backing up all his footage, loves the simplicity of plugging in his fleet of GoPros and automatically backing them up to a full resolution cloud. (He did mention, however, that he’s not a big fan of GoPro’s auto-editing features.)

The Hero 11 Black is the same price as the 10 – $399.98 if you’re a GoPro subscriber and $499.99 if you’re not. The Mini is $100 cheaper at $299.98 for subscribers and $399.99 at retail. The standard camera is available on Wednesday, while the Mini releases on October 25 for subscribers and then “rolls out to retailers worldwide” thereafter.

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