The first leaked images of the GoPro Hero 11 Black have apparently arrived – and suggest that action camera makers may be struggling to make big evolutionary leaps, at least from a design perspective.
Hero 11 Black images come from WinFuture (opens in new tab), which has a strong track record of reliable GoPro leaks. So while it’s tempting to dismiss the images as models based on the Hero 10 Black, it seems likely that this is indeed the design of the action camera king’s next flagship.
And that’s certainly not a bad thing. While the Hero 11 Black’s only real change from its predecessor appears to be its logo, our review of the GoPro Hero 10 Black praised the camera’s physical design. The latter has a handy 1.4-inch front LCD for vloggers, a 2.27-inch rear touchscreen with improved responsiveness over the Hero 9 Black, and the usual waterproofing to 10 meters.
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It’s fair to say that almost all of the Hero 10 Black’s improvements were also under the hood – the main one was a new GP2 processor, which unlocked some new shooting modes like 5K/60p video and 4K/120p slow motion – although there was a cap as well. tougher lens with a water-repellent coating, which was helpful for water sports fans.
Still, the leaked images suggest that dramatic changes – such as a much larger sensor or an edge-to-edge display – are highly unlikely on the Hero 11 Black. And that may disappoint action camera fans who were hoping for a big reason to look forward to the new flagship, which is due for release in September (based on GoPro lore).
The general conclusions we can draw about the Hero 11 Black based on these images are pretty limited. Firstly, there’s a slim chance they’re not the real deal, even though WinFuture’s previous history suggests this is unlikely. They also don’t give us any real idea of the Hero 11 Black’s internal or software changes.
What we can infer, however, is that the GoPro and action cameras in general have reached something of a maximum evolution when it comes to design. The last major physical change to the GoPros was a front LCD, which the Hero 9 Black introduced in response to the original DJI Osmo Action.
The Hero 9 Black was the biggest redesign of GoPro’s flagship since the Hero 5 Black in 2016, however major physical improvements – a slightly bigger battery and some built-in mounting fingers – have been increasingly rare.
This matters? After all, we don’t criticize smartphones for bringing only minor changes to the notches or the bezel of the screen. Also, rather than changing a winning formula with its Hero Black lineup, GoPro has introduced more dramatic changes to its 360-degree camera, the GoPro Max.
We’d love to see the Hero 11 Black get features like a 1/4-inch threaded mount point, edge-to-edge rear screen, and maybe even a second lens with a different focal length, like on smartphones. But perhaps a fairer criticism is that GoPro hasn’t (yet) updated its GoPro Max for nearly three years.
Action cameras have certainly tried some interesting new ideas in recent years. The DJI Action 2 featured an intriguing modular design with a smaller main camera module, which had echoes of the old GoPro Hero 5 Session.
The Insta360 was also an innovator that bothered GoPro, introducing another modular system that came with a large 1-inch sensor on the Insta360 One R 1-Inch Edition. We also like the tiny Insta360 Go 2, which comes with a smart remote charging case and versatile 360-degree models like the Insta360 One X2.
However, none of them knocked the Hero 10 Black off the top of our guide to the best action cameras you can buy. This suggests that the Hero 11 Black’s seemingly conservative design, assuming these leaked images are accurate, indicates that GoPro recognizes that it works for most people, so it’s best to keep it comfortably familiar.
It also suggests that we can expect some interesting internal changes in the next GoPro flagship. GoPro doesn’t release new models without at least a few standout features, so we’re still hoping to see them arrive in software form.
While a new sensor seems unlikely based on GoPro’s previous track record, we’d expect there to be a way for the current 1/2.3-inch 23MP chip to produce HDR video with some help from the GP2 processor, along with a 480fps 1080p slow motion. mode. Based on these leaks, it looks like we won’t have to wait long to find out.