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GoPro Hero 10 Black Review

Hey, Vital MTBers, I’m Logan Brown, Vital contributor and videographer, and today we are taking a dive into the all-new GoPro Hero 10 Black camera for mountain bike use.

Background

We have been using the Hero 10 for a few months now and feel we have a solid understanding of its strong suits, where it falls short, and how it compares to previous models from the long line of GoPros. Vital has used many generations of GoPro cameras going all the way back to the GoPro 3. As the action cams progress, they open doors to new possibilities in POV filming, and the capabilities of the in-camera stabilization, low light performance and new frame rates have changed the way we view the sport in the third party.

But are all these new features actually usable for a mountain biker blasting the downhills?

 

Highlights

  • Includes free SD card and rechargeable battery
  • All-new GP2 processor makes this the most powerful GoPro ever
  • 5.3K60, 4K120 video resolution and 23 megapixel photos
  • Advanced HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization
  • Waterproof to 33ft
  • Automatically upload footage to the cloud when charging
  • TimeWarp 3.0, 8X Slo-Mo
  • Compatible with Quik app
  • Compatible with over 30 mounts and accessories
  • $349 USD

New Features

Big features of the new Hero 10 is the ability to shoot in 5.4k at 60 frames per second, 4k at 120 frames per second, and 2.7k at 240 frames per second - All a big jump up from its predecessor, the Hero 9 black. Considering the power of the camera, the $350 price tag is a relatively low price to pay for such versatility. The Hero 10 uses an all-new GP2 processor which is supposed to make the device run more smoothly when stacking up these new features. Hypersmooth gets bumped up to 4.0 from the previous 3.0 and is just another step in the gimbal-less world of action cameras, making even the roughest rides look buttery smooth. With some other upgrades like 23 megapixel still photos, improved low light performance, local tone mapping, and 3d noise reduction, the new GoPro is baller on paper, but on trail performance is what really matters.

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On-Trail Performance

We subjected the GoPro 10 to all kinds of terrain, weather, and riding styles to find out where it shines and falls short. First off, the 10’s camera operation is much smoother with fewer software glitches. Anyone who used a Hero 9 in the past found that its menu screens would lag, and many times the camera would just freeze up completely during operation. The new processor in the 10 eliminated these issues during our time using it. Menus slide nicely and the entire operation is much snappier overall.

Battery

Battery has never been terribly robust with GoPro cameras. Just as a great angle is found, it could die before a good lap is captured. The GoPro 10 is definitely an improvement over past models, but still uses the same battery as the 9. We found while using our preferred 4k @30fps, the camera would go for about an hour and a half before needing a battery swap. This number quickly dropped when pushing higher frame rates or making the jump to 5.4k. The running time was cut down to 45 minutes at the highest settings. We rode the Hero 10 in 45-degree weather for no longer than 30 minutes, and had the camera shutting down around 60% battery life. We have had issues in the past of GoPros not liking the cold, but this seemed quite extreme, making the camera unusable after one lap. In a warmer condition, the camera worked quite well, never blowing through the battery surprisingly quickly.

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Our Preferred Settings

For mountain bike POV, we found our sweet spot on the hero 10 on 4k @30fps in the superview lens with only some minor adjustments to the ProTune menu. We loved the option to run boost mode in the stabilization but ran the standard stabilization mode most of the time. This eliminates the extra crop when the camera is on max stabilization, leaving us with a wider view of the cockpit. Things like the high bit rate setting and RAW audio recording gave us a crispy-looking clips right out of camera.

The option for a new color choice, GoPro's “Natural” color profile, is an addition from the previous flat or GoPro color. We found this as a perfect in-between setting, leaving minimal need for color correction.

Other than some minor tweaks, the camera is perfect for some POV ripping, right out of the box.

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For POV riding we have found that the Superview mode is essential to really immersing the viewer into the experience. GoPro did not supply us with their Max Lens Mod which would have provided extra viewing angle to try 4k120 and 5.4k 60 modes for POV use. We did use these modes for some hand-held, third-person shots and found that they worked without flaw. In bright outdoor lighting conditions, the 4k120 is buttery smooth and can be paused at any time to read labels off of a tire. Ya like that one. Same with the 2.7k @240 (Pause) game changing. The 5.4k is quite nuts also, packing so many pixels into such a tiny and inexpensive camera. All those pixels zap the juice, though, and the setting is not very kind on batteries. We also noticed the camera would get very warm when shooting in this mode. These big pixel counts and frame rates sound fun, but users need to understand that along with the cost of a shortened battery life, memory card storage will be chewed up quickly and editing the files on a less-than-powerful computer may not be easy.

GoPro 9 vs. 10

Comparing some footage from Hero 9 and hero 10, it can be very hard to tell the difference between the two. We had the two cameras set up with exactly the same settings while hitting the same section of trail for a few laps.

With the two cameras head to head, the only thing that stood out to us was the extra stabilization on the 10. Both cameras were mounted on a chest strap through these chunky sections of trail and we could feel them bouncing around throughout the descent. The 10 has the upper hand when it comes to absorbing the bumps while on boost mode. In our preferred standard setting, the difference was insignificant.

Low Light

Even with the camera’s reported improvements in low light shooting, we found it to struggle in certain riding environments with certain settings selected.

While multiple testers used the camera throughout our test period, we took it out for a test in the most low light riding situation we could think of. The good, old night ride. With only a couple of lights mounted on bike and helmet, how does this camera hold up?

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Pretty crazy right?

With only a slight bump in the ISO limit, we left the camera in the exact same settings as we had been using, and it crushed the night ride. Hypersmooth seemed to keep up quite nicely and we have no real complaints. That being said, the only reason we critique the lowlight performance is from these clips on one of our initial tests of the camera. This is with boost mode enabled, and we believe that is the reason the camera was struggling in the shady environment. The footage looks grainy, shaky and just not sharp at all. When our videographer and editor received this footage, he had to question if it was actually filmed on the hero 10 because of how bad it looked. We have since had no major issues in low light performance.

What's the bottom line of the GoPro Hero 10?

While the differences between the Hero 9 and 10 aren’t massive on paper, the 10 is a huge jump up from any GoPro before the 9. The Hero 10 is a considerable upgrade from the Hero 8 or lower, and we think the price and features are worth the jump up if stabilization, low light performance and high frame rate options are something you could use. While there are definitely some more things we think the GoPro could improve on, this Hero 10 is a remarkable 5k camera for such an affordable price. Thanks to all our camera nerds who stuck along for this video, and until next time, go ride your bike.

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