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The original GoPro Digital HERO was the camera that launched a thousand YouTube videos. It arrived like a bolt from the blue, unshackling the camera and getting it out in the world — the whole of the world, including rain, snow, sea, and high speeds. Up to that point, we'd treated cameras like fragile babies. Suddenly, the masses could flip, flop, dive, jump and more, videoing all of it without the old fears of smashed lenses and moisture in the housing to hold them back — and at a price point that was attractive for the average consumer.
It's no exaggeration to say it was a revolution.
As the company founder and CEO, Nick Woodman, says: "It's been 15 years since the first GoPro camera, and from the start, we've been about enabling people to share their passions whether they're fueled by adrenaline or artistry."
Today, GoPro continues to redefine what's possible with a camera. That's why we're big fans of the latest crop of products and attachments. Not only do they make for great holiday gifts (yep, you should really get on that), but they continue to open up new possibilities for filmmaking. After all, the camera wants to be free — and there's a whole wide world out there to be explored through its viewfinder.
Pro tip: The H8 Holiday Bundle ($449.99; gopro.com) is a scorching deal for the latest in GoPro, combining the HERO8 Black, 32GB SD card, rechargeable battery, Shorty (a mini extension pole and tripod), and head strap — all the basics, really — into one gift-friendly package. It's available from October 23 to November 27.
Here's what else we have our eye on:
It really does just keep getting better and better. This time around, GoPro's Hero8 Black ($399.99; gopro.com) sends it big with HyperSmooth 2.0 video stabilization across all resolutions and frame rates. The new Boost mode has us particularly keen, thanks to its in-app horizon leveling. That means no matter how hard your adrenaline pumps, you can be confident your footage will look more silky-smooth than herky-jerky. And the features keep coming.
TimeWarp 2.0 features automatic rate adjustment and tap-control speed ramping to get that classic speed-up-slow-down look. The camera makes night lapse videos easy, too. We love the ability to tap through four digital lenses for maximum control over our field of view: Narrow, distortion-free linear, wide and SuperView. Other improvements include improved audio and wind suppression, customizable presets, and a lighter design with folding mounting fingers.
The Media Mod ($79.99; gopro.com), Display Mod ($79.99; gopro.com) and Light Mod ($49.99; gopro.com) are modular accessories that deck HERO8 Black out with professional-grade audio, a front-facing display and enhanced lighting, respectively. The Media Mod expands your production possibilities, featuring an excellent built-in directional mic, a 3.5mm mic port for any external mics you might choose, and two cold-shoe mounts to attach lights, more mics or LCD screens.
The Display Mod is a compact flip-up screen that connects via the Media Mod — it's perfect for framing, especially when vlogging. And the Light Mod gives you versatile lighting options with four levels of brightness, up to 200 lumens. Like the HERO8 itself, the Light Mod is built tough: It's waterproof up to 33 feet (10 meters) and comes with a built-in rechargeable battery with up to six hours of use.
The GoPro MAX ($499.99; gopro.com) is all about maximum versatility, combining a single-lens HERO camera with a dual-lens 360 camera plus a built-in front-facing display vlogging camera — aka three cameras in one. It's crammed with six microphones to capture immersive 360 audio, directional audio, and the best stereo sound ever from a GoPro.
With Max HyperSmooth, you get best-in-class video stabilization no matter how rocky the road (or surf) gets — and things can get pretty darn rocky, especially with the included snap-on protective lenses. For mind-bending time lapses, Max TimeWarp makes it easy to drop in and out of real time while recording in HERO mode. And the new ultra-wide Max SuperView is GoPro's widest field of view ever. We love that there's in-camera 360 video and photo stitching plus keyframe-based editing of 360 content in the GoPro app, too. It all adds up to a premium package that puts a whole suite of easy-to-use creative tools into your hands. What you do with them is up to you.
If you're shooting in or around water, the Floaty ($29.99; gopro.com) is essential. Its purpose is simple: Keep your camera afloat. The extra protective padding and bright visible color are just the icing on the cake. The wraparound design allows access to your camera buttons, touch screen and folding fingers for easy mounting.
Batteries and electronics go together like peanut butter and jelly, and the Dual Battery Charger + Battery ($49.99; gopro.com) is no exception. And everybody has a good time, as long as we keep in mind the ancient maxim: Always bring a spare.
If it's action you're after, the Sports Kit ($69.99; gopro.com) has you covered. The included Chesty mount makes hands-free footage easy, while the Handlebar/Seatpost/Pole Mount attaches to pretty much any gear you may find yourself riding, flying or rolling.
Finally, we'd be remiss not to mention the GoPro Million Dollar Challenge, which is back for 2019 exclusively for owners of HERO8 Black and MAX cameras. Here's how it works: Submit footage of your most epic moment at the site above. If your content is featured in the GoPro Million Dollar Challenge video in late January, you'll get your share of $1,000,000. (Last year's winners took home over $17,000 each!)
Entry began October 1 and ends January 12. So get out there and get filming!