The GoPro HERO7 White is the entry-level offering in GoPro's new HERO7 lineup. So it has the most basic set of features.
That's very true when it comes to its video offerings. While the Black and Silver editions offer quite a range of resolution and frame rate combinations, along with several features like superfast framerates for slow motion or the new HyperSmooth in-camera stabilization the live streaming (those last two are Black only), the features of the White are significantly pared down. That's quite deliberate, not only to justify the lower price but also to make it much simpler to use for those who don't want to be overwhelmed with options and just want to get out and start shooting. After all, if you don't need all of those bells and whistles they can just get in the way.
If you're trying to decide whether the HERO7 White's video capabilities fit your needs, here's a rundown on its various options and features available when shooting video.
Resolutions and Framerates
There are only four combinations of resolution and framerate available. In NTSC, they're 1440p30 and 1440p60. In PAL, they're 1440p50 and 1440p25.
Put more simply, the only resolution available is 1440. That's a rectangle 1920 pixels across and 1440 pixels high that looks like this:
That resolution is considered HD video and is suitable for general web use. Typical HD videos on the web display at either 1080p or even the smaller 720p. But if you need 4K video, you'll need to step up to one of the higher models like the Black.
It's an aspect ratio of 4:3. So it's the same width as the standard 1080HD, but it's a taller aspect ratio. That comes in handy when shooting video, because it gives you more leeway vertically. That's useful when the camera or the subject (or both) are moving.
Here's a visualization of how those aspect ratios compare, with the box in the middle the traditional 16:9 HD aspect ratio and the background the taller 4:3 aspect ratio of 1440p video.
There are four available frame rates--two each in NTSC and PAL video modes. In NTSC, you can choose either 60 frames per second or 30 frames per second. In PAL video mode, you can choose either 50 frames per second or 25 frames per second.1
The HERO7 White's video records at 40 Mb/s in all the available combinations of resolution and framerate. That makes it much less demanding of the speed of the SD card than the Black (up to 78 Mb/s) or Silver (up to 60 Mb/s), so you can get away with a slower SD card. (Here are some recommendations).
File Format & Video Codec
The HERO7 White produces mp4 files that are encoded with the H.264 codec. So they're very widely compatible with most current devices and online video services and have good compression and video quality.
The White doesn't use the newer and less-compatible H.265 HEVC codec (optionally) used on the Black.
The White doesn't have any Protune options for either video or photo modes.
The White does have built-in electronic stabilization. It's the older generation, not the most recent HyperSmooth used in the Black edition. It works reasonably well, although it's not a replacement for an external gimbal stabilizer.
One thing to note is that you can't turn the stabilization off--it's always on.
The White has a digital zoom feature that you can use while shooting video. It's worth knowing that this is an electronic zoom, not an optical one. Essentially, it's digital cropping. But you can apply it while filming by using touch controls on the back screen using a slider. It eases in and out, but it's not the smoothest zoom you've ever seen.
Note that the zoom function is not available when filming the Slo-Mo mode.
The White uses automatic exposure, but you can specify which part of the frame is used to calculate the automatic exposure. You do that by using the touchscreen--just select the part of the frame you want to use. An example might be if the sky is getting blown out (too bright) but you want to highlight some dramatic clouds, in which case you can touch the sky area on the back screen and the automatic exposure will be calculated using that part of the frame. Another example might be if a person's face is in shadow, so you can select their face in the frame and it should lighten the overall exposure by trying to correctly expose the face.
The White doesn't have exposure compensation. That's a Protune option, and the White doesn't have Protune.
The highlight tagging feature that the last several generations of GoPros have had is also available on the White. It lets you mark specific moments as they happen so that you can quickly reference them later when editing in the GoPro app or GoPro Studio. Highlight tags can be added on-the-fly in-camera, using the GoPro mobile app, or with the Smart Remote.
This is a new feature that GoPro introduced with the HERO7 models. It lets you shoot 15 or 30-second clips that are designed for quick sharing online. All of the HERO7 models have it, including the White.
The White can record slow motion, but it's a much more limited feature than on Black (the Silver has the same slow motion capabilities as the White). In this case, it records at 60 frames per second and plays back at 30 frames per second. So it's half speed, or 2x slow motion. So the feature is there, but if you need more powerful slow motion options you'll be wanting to look at the Black.
The White can do time-lapse video, creating the video in the camera. But the options are limited. The resulting video is 1440p, and it's a preset interval of 0.5 seconds (ie. you can't change the interval). The field of view is also preset to Wide and not configurable.
Starting and Stopping Video
There are several different ways you can control the video record button. The most obvious is to use the shutter button on the camera. You can also use voice control, the GoPro mobile app, or the Smart Remote or REMO remote.
- NTSC and PAL refer to standards that are used in different parts of the world for recording, broadcasting, and displaying video primarily on televisions. NTSC is used in much of the Americas, while PAL is used in countries like the UK and Australia. It's also relevant to DVD and Blu-Ray, but it's far less relevant if you're only displaying video on the web. So if you're shooting video to share on the web or social media, it really doesn't matter which you choose, but to simplify your editing workflow its easier to choose one and stick to it. ↩
Where to Buy
Common GoPro Questions
Here are some common questions I get from GoPro users.
How to Maximize a GoPro's battery life
There are several factors that influence how long the GoPro's battery life lasts. Among them include what mode you're recording in (4K uses more power than 1080p30, for instance), the health of the battery, and even the environmental temperature (lithium batteries don't perform well in very cold temperatures). But there are some things you can do to maximize battery life. Not every GoPro has all of these features, but start with these:
- Minimize use of the back screen
- Turn off wireless
- Turn off voice commands
- Turn off GPS
- Turn off Protune
- Use QuickCapture mode
Is it normal for GoPro cameras to get hot?
Yes. Depending on the model and the shooting mode you're using, it's normal for GoPros to get quite warm while shooting. They can get hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch. It's especially noticeable when shooting high-resolution and high-framerate video. Some newer models have an overheating protection mechanism that will shut the camera down if it gets too hot. I have more details on GoPros getting hot, here.
How can I control a GoPro remotely?
GoPro makes a range of wireless remote controls. They don't all work with all GoPros--for example, the HERO (2018) isn't compatible with this type of remote control. Many of the newer models also work with the GoPro mobile app. Not every model can be controlled remotely, but most of the newer models have wireless compatibility that can be used for at least some methods of remote control.
Can you take pictures with a GoPro?
If you've been using a GoPro for a while, this might seem pretty obvious, but if you've never used one, it's not quite so self-evident. GoPros are best known for dramatic action videos, but they can most certainly take still photos too. In fact, they can be a very interesting alternative to a traditional camera so long as you work within its limitations. I have more more details here.
Do GoPro wireless controls work underwater?
No. You can't use the mobile app or a wireless remote control if the camera is fully submerged in water. They will normally work just fine in rain and spray--just not submerged. I have a more detailed explanation here.
Do GoPro touchscreens work underwater?
No. If they're just wet above water, they can work to some extent, although often less reliably. But the touchscreens won't work underwater.