Hold on to your butts: The Second Generation 360 Camera may be rebranded.
If a series of leaked images are any indication, we're about to get a new GoPro Hero8, plus a redesigned 360 camera with a new name. But will these new action cameras be a serious redesign with innovations, or just another dot upgrade? It's a more competitive field now with DJI in the mix, so GoPro's next generation camera has to be a serious answer.
The leaks come from the website Photo Rumors, and show a slate black GoPro Hero8, with a new feature on their new Frame design ... a cold shoe. That's very interesting because the action camera is known for its compact design that didn't take an accessory package in mind. It was all about grabbing the image on the go, with lighting and sound quality largely secondary. GoPro has done their best to make improvements, thanks to their GP1 image sensor providing HDR quality images, and better sound from multiple on board microphones.
But if these renderings are indeed legit, it could signal that GoPro has reached the point where some help from connectible accessories are required. And that will certainly aid in the bottom line. One leaked image shows the Hero8 with a trio of add on devices including what looks like an LCD screen for "selfies" and a 10 bulb LED Video light, all connected to the Hero8 via the cold shoe. There also looks like what may be an omni directional external microphone that could be built into the same next generation Frame mount.
I buy that GoPro may be trying to boost their bottom line by adding on board accessories to their action camera line. As the camera category has evolved, more people are using the GoPro Hero as a vlogging camera, rather than to capture that tube shot on the perfect wave. So the more GoPro users there are, the better it is for the bottom line. And adding a cold shoe mount to a redesigned frame mount would certainly accomplish that goal, without re-engineering the entire Hero camera design.
But then comes the speculation of features, and that's where the Hero8 is probably getting more of a standard next generation update. In a "Tick-Tock" development cycle, it could be hoped that GoPro's more innovative update will come this time around. With the GoPro Hero7, which got their new digital image stabilization feature known as "HyperSmooth," rewritten firmware could have added the feature without really redesigning any hardware, just giving the Hero GP1 image sensor a bit more power to handle it.
But with the GoPro Hero8, it is believed that the next step will be boosting 4K frame rates up to 120fps, and that's going to be mean a next generation 12mp GP2 image sensor. That could also boost fullHD frame rates to 480fps, and that's Super Duper Slow motion. There's also talk of a sharper, lens for better image quality., and I'm sure GoPro will continue to refine their color science, video stabilization, and digital offerings.
Could all that be considered innovative? Well, not really. It's more of a "Tock" part 2 of the Tick-Tock development cycle. And it's likely to be a worthy one for those who chose to skip upgrading to the Hero7.
GoPro is due for the next generation Hero8 and it will likely launch as part of their traditional September announcement.
Also coming next month, may be this little diddy ...
The same leak also showed what looks to be the follow up to GoPro's Fusion 360 degree camera. The Photo Rumors leaked image shows what looks to be a more compact 360 design, with an LCD screen built in on the bottom of the backside. Not much is really known, but the leak says that based on a registration application to the Japanese Ministry of Communication and the US FCC, GoPro may be rebranding Fusion, calling it a GoPro Max. That makes sense considering most are listing the Fusion on Closeout sales.
Honestly, I don't know why they don't just call it the Hero360 and be done with it.