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GoPro HERO12 Black Review

GoPro rules the action camera market. DJI and Insta360 are trying to edge their way in. They’re making a good run of it but they’ve got a ways to go before they unseat the king of action cameras.

Like other tech companies, GoPro releases upgrades some years and big improvements others. Is the HERO12 just an iteration on the 11? And is it enough to keep DJI and Insta360 running to catch up?

Compared the HERO8, 9, 10, and 11, the 12 is an improvement, no doubt. If you have an 8 or 9, should you upgrade? GoPro has actually removed something from the 12 that some folks might not be happy about.

Ok, first, the Rad list and specs and then get into the testing.


  • Improved battery life
  • Bluetooth for headphones or mic
  • HyperSmooth 6.0 stabilization
  • GoPro toughness
  • Tripod mount

Needs Work

  • Menus not clear sometimes
  • No GPS


With the exception of the sensor, the basic specs of the 12 haven’t changed a lot. See it compared to the HERO8, 9, 10, and 11.

  • 71.8 W X 50.8 H X 33.6 D mm
  • 154 grams with battery (121 grams without)
  • 1720 mAh Enduro battery included
  • $349 for camera ($399 for camera bundle)
  • 10m (33ft) waterproof
  • GP2 Processor
  • 1/1.9″ CMOS sensor
  • 156° FOV in 8:7 aspect ratio

Video Modes

These are the video modes available in the HERO12. It’s basically the same setup as the 11 without 4K 4:3.

  • 5.3K (8:7) 30/25/24 fps
  • 5.3K (16:9) 60/50/30/25/24 fps
  • 4K (8:7) 60/50/30/25/24 fps
  • 4K (9:16) 60/50/30/25
  • 4K (16:9) 120/100/60/50/30/25/24 fps
  • 2.7K (4:3) 120/100/60/50 fps
  • 2.7K (16:9) 240/200 fps
  • 1080 (9:16) 60/50/30/25
  • 1080p (16:9) 240/200/120/100/60/50/30/25/24 fps

The 12 does introduce a new vertical aspect of 9:16. It can get a vertical clip without having to mount it vertical.

HERO12 vs HERO11

There isn’t a lot of difference between the 11 and the 12. If you have an 11, you probably don’t need to upgrade but for any other versions it’s a good bump.

These things are an improvement over the 11 though.

  • 9:16 aspect ratio
  • HDR video
  • Improved HyperSmooth
  • Bluetooth audio
  • Timecode sync
  • 1/4 20 mount

This table just shows the 11 and 12 but check out this other post if you want to see the HERO8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 compared.

They have the same processor and mostly the same features. If you can get an 11 on a good deal, they are both amazing cameras that can go anywhere.

For me, bluetooth audio and 1/4 20 mount are great new features. I wouldn’t upgrade from the 11 to 12 if it was my only camera but they sure sweeten the deal if you’re upgrading from an older GoPro.

Full reviewThis post!HERO11 Black Review
Release DateSept 13, 2023Sept 14, 2022
Aspect Ratios16:9, 9:16, 4:3, 8:716:9, 4:3, 8:7
Video Modes5.3K (8:7) 30/25/24 FPS
5.3K (16:9) 60/50/30/25/24 FPS
4K (8:7) 60/50/30/25/24 FPS
4K (9:16) 60/50/30/25
4K (16:9) 120/100/60/50/30/25/24 FPS
2.7K (4:3) 120/100/60/50 FPS
2.7K (16:9) 240/200 FPS
1080 (9:16) 60/50/30/25
1080P (16:9) 240/200/120/100/60/50/30/25/24 FPS
5.3K (8:7) 30/25/24 fps
5.3K (16:9) 60/50/30/25/24 fps
5.3K (4:3) 30/25/24 fps
4K (8:7) 60/50 fps
4K (16:9) 120/100/60/50/30/25/24 fps
4K (4:3) 60/50/30/25/24 fps
2.7K (16:9) 240/200/120/100/60/50 fps
2.7K (4:3) 120/100/60/50 fps
1080p (16:9) 240/200/120/100/60/50/30/25/24 fps
HDR Video5.3K (16:9) 30/25/24 fps
4K (8:7) 30/25/24 fps
4K (16:9) 60/50/30/25/24 fps
Slo-mo2x at 5.3K
4x at 4K
8x at 2.7K
8x at 1080p
2x at 5.3K
3x at 4K
8x at 2.7K
8x at 1080p
Back screen2.27″ touchscreen2.27″ touchscreen
Front screen1.4″ with live preview1.4″ with live preview
HyperSmooth6.0 with AutoBoost5.0 with AutoBoost
Horizon Levelling360° Horizon Lock360° Horizon Lock
Photo Size27MP27MP
Video Screen Grab Size24.7MP24.7MP
Auto, 2x, 5x, 10x, 15x, 30x up to 5.3k
Auto, 2x, 5x, 10x, 15x, 30x up to 5.3k
Color Depth10-bit10-bit
Scheduled Capture
Duration Capture
Removeable Lens Cover
Livestream1080p30 with HyperSmooth
+ 1080p60 recording
1080p30 with HyperSmooth 4.0 + 1080p60 recording
Wired Transfer
Timecode Sync
1/4 20 mount
ModsMedia Mod
Max Lens Mod 2.0
Media Mod
Max Lens Mod
Price (USD, Dec 2023,

Max Lens Mod 2.0

So GoPro already has a crazy wide lens at 156° (when you’re in in 8:7 aspect ratio).

If you need it to be even wider, even more immersive, the Max Lens Mod bumps that field of view up to 177°.

How do you put on the Max Lens Mod?

With the removable lens cover on the HERO cameras now it’s easy to take the lens cover off and put the Max Lens Mod on. A quarter twist and pull and the cover is off. It’s easy to replace the standard covers as well if it gets scratched.

Once the standard cover is off, put the Max Lens Mod on at the same angle and twist on.

What’s the difference between the Max Lens Mod 1.0 and 2.0?

There is a version 1.0 of the Max Lens Mod. Version 2, released in 2023, is smaller, lighter and more scratch resistant.

Version 1.0 can be used on HERO9, 10, 11 and 12.

Version 2.0 of the Max Lens is not backwards compatible and can only be used on the 12 at this point.

Other Accessories

GoPro has a ridiculous number of mounts and other accessories. These ones have been updated recently.

Head strap

The front of the head strap comes off into a hat clip as well.


The new Chesty has a padded mount and new clip on the front.

Tripods and GorillaPods

GoPros work with any tripod and GorillaPod now with the new 1/4 20 mount on the bottom. It’s still possible to mount the GoPro fingers but it’s easier without it.

Conclusion – Do you need a GoPro HERO12?

The HERO12 is another iteration on the camera that defined actions cameras.

If you have an 11 then you probably don’t need a 12.

If you have a 10? Then you’ll get higher resolution, better horizon lock, and better Hypersmooth.

If you have a 9 or 8, you get an upgrade to the GP2 processor, faster menus, higher resolutions, and better Hypersmooth.

Do you have an action camera? If not, I’d be getting a GoPro.

GoPro Questions

What does the 8:7 sensor do?

HERO11 and 12 have a larger 1/1.9″ sensor with an 8:7 aspect ratio or close to a square. HERO10, 9 and 8 had a smaller 1/2.3″ sensor with a 4:3 aspect ratio more like a TV or computer monitor.

Because the larger sensor captures more information, the camera can use higher levels of stabilization and pull vertical crops for social videos even when the camera is mounted horizontally.

Not all of the video modes are available in both 16:9 and 8:7 aspects.

What’s in the GoPro subscription in 2024?

The GoPro subscription changed a bit in 2023. Where there used to be one subscription that got you:

  • Discount on your camera
  • unlimited cloud backup and auto-uploads
  • 50% off accessories from
  • Up to 2 discounted camera replacements

Now there is a Premium and Premium+ tiers to the subscription:

Premium ($59.99 USD/year, half price for first year)

  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • 25gb storage for non-GoPro footage
  • Synced mobile and desktop editing
  • camera replacement
  • 50% off accessories at
  • $100 off 1 GoPro per year
  • Auto upload
  • Automatic Highlight videos
  • Live Streaming

Premium+ ($129.99 USD/year)

  • All Premium features
  • 500gb cloud storage for non-GoPro footage
  • HyperSmooth Pro stabilization

What is GoPro Quik?

Quik is GoPro’s video editor for mac, tablets and phones. The Mac version was just released late 2023.

You can use it for free but to use all the features, you’ll need an active subscription.

What is GP-Log and LUT support?

GoPro 12 now supports Log Encoding with GP-Log, a Rec. 709 color profile, with the related LUTs.

Log Encoding is a color profile that keeps more dynamic range information in video image. Better for editing later if you are going to color-correct with something like Davinci Resolve or Final Cut Pro. Log footage will look washed out until it’s edited.

LUTs are the files that do the mapping from the colors in the log footage to something that looks more normal.

What is HyperSmooth?

HyperSmooth is GoPro’s in-camera stabilization. With no stabilization, the video footage comes out shaky and moving all over the place.

Did GoPro remove the GPS?

GoPro has removed the GPS in the 12. Apparently few people were using it and it was using a lot of battery. I never used it and very much welcome the increased battery life. If you need it, HERO11’s shouldn’t be hard to find.

Other Photos

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