Just a day after DJI revealed its new Osmo Action 4 action cam, the first GoPro Hero 12 Black leaks have conveniently emerged – and they hint at a pretty big image quality upgrade.
Two images shared on X – formerly Twitter – by @tech_insights4U (via The New Camera), which you can see below, appear to show a new GoPro with a 1-inch sensor (which is written on the side) and a larger screen with smaller bezels.
These images should definitely be treated with caution, as they come from an account with no previous track record of GoPro leaks. The ‘1-inch sensor’ marking on the side is also where GoPro traditionally puts the name of its action cam.
But there are also reasons to believe the images are genuine. If they are fake, they’re convincing ones, without any obvious signs of being doctored or mocked up. And many have been waiting for GoPro to make the leap to a 1-inch sensor, given that the Insta360 One R arrived with an optional 1-inch sensor module back in 2020.
@Quadro_News Gopro 12 leaked 👀 pic.twitter.com/LaEJG6coz4August 1, 2023
What other features do the leaks hint at for the GoPro Hero 12 Black, which is expected to land in mid-September? The screen suggests a new 4K/240p ‘ultra slo-mo’ mode could be a new upgrade.
The leaks also suggest a jump from the Hero 11 Black’s 27MP sensor to one that’s at least 30MP. And related to that is the less convincing rumor that the Hero 12 Black might be able to shoot 8K/60p video.
We’re not convinced that the latter will be a feature on GoPro’s new flagship. While 8K action cams and sensors do exist, it would be a huge challenge for GoPro to prevent overheating and battery-life issues – and that resolution would be more trouble than it’s worth for most GoPro users. Sony also doesn’t currently make a sensor that fits that bill.
Still, we’d certainly welcome a 1-inch sensor, and a screen that’s closer to an edge-to-edge display. Last year’s Hero 11 Black landed on September 14, so if its successor arrives on a similar schedule we won’t have to wait long to find out if the leaks and rumors are on the money.
Analysis: sensor size beats resolution
We’re a little doubtful that the Hero 12 Black will be able to shoot 8K/60p video, as the rumors claim. Firstly, GoPros have traditionally used Sony sensors, and the latter doesn’t currently make a 1-inch sensor with a resolution that’s higher than 20MP, according to its list of camera image sensors.
But the feature would also be difficult to justify on a practical level for GoPro users. Even professional videographers avoid shooting in 8K due to the downsides –overheating and workflow management – plus the fact that there still aren’t many ways to view 8K footage.
The leaked images showing a 1-inch sensor and larger screen do seem more feasible, though. The Hero 11 Black uses a 1/1.9-inch Sony IMX677L sensor that’s starting to look pretty small compared to the DJI Osmo Action 4’s larger 1/1.3-inch chip and the 1-inch module that’s available for both the Insta360 One R and its successor, the Insta360 One RS.
A bigger sensor would deliver a real boost in low-light performance, which has traditionally been one of the main downsides of GoPro action cams. And earlier leaks (shared on Twitter/X in May) have also previously hinted at an edge-to-edge screen, even if the one in the leaked photo doesn’t quite fit that description.
GoPro has traditionally managed to keep quite a tight lid on rumors, but with at least a month to go until its usual mid-September launch window, we could see more in the coming weeks. If you’re thinking about buying one of the best action cameras, it might be worth holding off for a few weeks if you can.