Do you want a GoPro digicam when you’ve got a smartphone? We requested GoPro

Key Takeaways

  • GoPro views its cameras as complementary to smartphones, not in direct competitors. Every machine serves completely different functions and has distinctive capabilities.
  • The ruggedness and comfort of GoPro cameras make them interesting for capturing actions that smartphones aren’t designed for, equivalent to excessive sports activities and outside adventures.
  • GoPro is constantly engaged on enhancing the consumer expertise, with a give attention to simplifying controls and introducing new options like zoom, depth, and lengthy pictures. Moreover, the corporate is growing superior modifying capabilities to make it simpler for customers to navigate and share their footage.

Because the saying goes, the perfect digicam is the one which’s with you, and for many of us, that is the digicam constructed into our smartphone.

Why do I would like a GoPro when I’ve my iPhone/Pixel/Samsung telephone? That is the very first thing I hear after I discuss to associates, household, and coworkers about GoPro cameras. So, I posed the identical query to Pablo Lema, head of product at GoPro, in the course of the 2023 GoPro Creator Summit in Fiji that happened over the past week of October.

Does anybody really want a GoPro?

“We really do not see cell telephones as an overt competitors,” Lema informed me. As an alternative, GoPro views a smartphone digicam and GoPro as “complementary” to one another. (To be clear, Lema views the smartphone as a secondary digicam, not GoPro.)

Lema continued, “There are various issues for which we do not consider our options would ever be useful for. So, for instance, you are sitting at dinner, and also you wish to take an image of your meals and ship it to some associates… it is not our place.”

He is proper. I’ve tried utilizing a GoPro in that actual state of affairs, and the images within the low-light setting of a restaurant weren’t nice. It is a lot simpler to snap a photograph in your telephone and instantly share it with out having to sync the GoPro along with your telephone, save the image, and then, lastly, share it.

However, GoPro would not view its digicam lineup as a tool solely meant to seize folks leaping out of a airplane, mountain biking, browsing or scuba diving. As an alternative, it is designed to assist folks doc or seize all types of actions, equivalent to mountain climbing and journey.

Once more, the query needs to be requested: Why not simply use your telephone?

“The need to make use of one in all our gadgets is met due to ruggedness and comfort. It is okay to lose your GoPro, it is okay to interrupt a GoPro. For those who lose or break your telephone, your complete life is finished,” Lema defined to me, as he equated shedding your telephone to being excommunicated from society till you get a brand new one.

He is proper. Once more. The concept of breaking or shedding my telephone scares me for a lot of causes, the least of which is shedding all technique of communication till it has been changed.

When you technically may use a telephone to seize your self doing excessive sports activities and actions, telephones aren’t designed for use that approach. They’re too fragile. Too necessary. However there’s extra to it than that. Persons are interested in extra than simply the ruggedness of a GoPro. The corporate’s cameras are recognized for having an iconic extensive area of view and spectacular stabilization, for instance.

GoPro sells between three and 4 million cameras a yr, in keeping with Lema. That is excess of I anticipated, nevertheless it pales compared to the 1.21 billion smartphones bought in 2022, in keeping with the IDC.

Simplifying the GoPro expertise for individuals who need it

Over the past two years, there’s been a transparent shift inside GoPro in making an attempt to make their cameras extra interesting and simpler to make use of for a wider viewers, or Lively Captures, as GoPro calls them.

With the GoPro Hero11 Black and Hero12 Black, GoPro debuted two completely different modes for controlling the digicam: Straightforward and Professional. Straightforward is akin to what you’d see within the digicam app in your telephone – only a few buttons and settings. You choose a mode – time-lapse, video, picture – then level and shoot. Straightforward Controls is the brand new default mode on new GoPro cameras. It is a very smartphone-like expertise.

Professional Controls makes the entire settings out there to you, together with decision, side ratio, publicity, white steadiness, body fee and so forth. It may be intimidating and downright complicated for brand new and skilled customers alike.

GoPro goes to proceed engaged on, iterating, and enhancing the way you management its cameras, in keeping with Lema. “We launch, we take a look at, get suggestions from the customers, see the analytics of how they’re utilizing Straightforward Controls, after which we refine it.”



I would like to see GoPro take away the Extensive and Linear lens choices in Straightforward mode. Change their names to their equal of 0.5x, 1x, and 2x, similar to we’re all aware of… on smartphones. Moreover, extra preset taking pictures choices within the numerous modes, equivalent to including interval taking pictures, which launched on the Hero12 Black, to picture mode.

What’s subsequent for GoPro?

So, what’s subsequent for GoPro? The place does the corporate that pioneered the motion digicam trade go from right here? It continues to embrace creators with new {hardware} and software program that is extra versatile.

Along with simplifying controls, GoPro has additionally embraced the shift to vertical video over the past couple of years, due to a much bigger sensor that shoots video in an 8:7 side ratio, permitting creators to crop horizontally or vertically after the very fact. It is a change that is undoubtedly aimed toward attracting creators and vloggers.

On the {hardware} entrance, GoPro has already introduced {that a} new 360-degree digicam – the GoPro Max 2 – is within the works and anticipated to launch in 2024. In early 2022, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman announced the corporate would quickly be increasing its {hardware} lineup with new fashions that enchantment to extra customers. The timing, nonetheless, wasn’t revealed, and we’re but to see any new cameras from the corporate that do not fall below the Hero lineup.

GoPro Hero 12 Black (36)-1

“I am making an attempt to bop round it with out telling you the long run,” Lema informed me as he tried to element what’s subsequent for GoPro. He continued, “However we’ll consider use instances like zoom, depth, and lengthy pictures.”

This week, throughout GoPro’s 2023 earnings name, Woodman introduced the corporate would introduce “a number of new kinds of cameras” over the following two years, beginning within the second quarter of 2024, when the corporate will introduce a brand new low-cost, entry-level product. The brand new cameras, in keeping with Woodman, would deal with “distinct use instances.”

However {hardware} is barely half of, and arguably the best a part of the equation. The opposite half revolves round the most typical criticism I hear from individuals who’ve purchased a GoPro and given up on utilizing it: They do not wish to undergo and edit all of their footage. I really feel the identical approach, particularly after coming back from Fiji with over 100GB of content material to sift by way of.

GoPro’s Quik desktop app was speculated to launch on Nov. 1, however that launch has been barely delayed till later this month for the Mac, and someday within the second quarter of 2024 for Home windows customers.

The desktop app will characteristic the identical computerized edit capabilities because the cell app, in addition to sync your media and any edits you are engaged on between cell and desktop. Along with the brand new desktop app, Woodman additionally introduced a brand new Premium+ subscription that may price $99 a yr and can embrace a complicated HyperSmooth video stabilization characteristic plus elevated storage for non-GoPro captured content material.

The Quik app mechanically creates a recap video for you after you’ve got uploaded your footage to GoPro’s servers, and whereas the edits it offers are good, they are not nice. I take advantage of them as a place to begin, saving me time, for any movies I share with family and friends. In that regard, the Quik app does its job. But it surely could possibly be higher.

GoPro’s engaged on it, and a giant piece of that puzzle is what the corporate calls Quik AI, which has been in use for a very long time however will get higher and smarter.

Ultimately, Quik will analyze your video, perceive what’s in mentioned video, be it particular folks or exercise, eliminate the stuff it is aware of you do not care about, preserve what you want, and offer you an edited video that is, hopefully, prepared so that you can share with minimal work.

Attending to that time will take time and suggestions from customers to coach Quik on what the consumer does and would not like, however that is the broader imaginative and prescient for the modifying expertise within the Quik app.

GoPro speedboat creator summit 2023A GoPro and a smartphone do certainly complement each other

Whereas on the Creator Summit, I skilled firsthand what it was prefer to dwell with and use a GoPro as a main digicam, with my smartphone as a secondary machine. I mounted and used the GoPro in many various situations in Fiji, equivalent to when leaping off a pier, hooked up to a jet ski, or leaving it out in a single day to seize the celebrities, which I would by no means dreamt of utilizing my smartphone telephone for. The identical goes in reverse; I used my smartphone to take footage of virtually each meal, a few sunsets, and different random moments, and the benefit of use and sharing was unmatched.

“We consider ourselves, as we go ahead, we might be a specialised imaging firm for wherever the place a telephone is not, by design, an excellent seize machine,” Lema informed me in regards to the firm’s future. And you recognize what? I am right here for it.

After spending every week in Fiji with content material creators and athletes from everywhere in the world and seeing the outcomes they had been capable of get from the Hero12 Black, I can not assist however really feel intrigued and even excited by the truth that it certain appears like GoPro is actively engaged on and plans to launch a devoted vlogging digicam that is extra versatile and higher suited to filming on a regular basis life and different use instances extra folks can relate to.

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