This is a quick follow-up from my initial First Look review back in September of the GoPro HERO11 Black & Mini since I just got my hands on a review unit just before the Thanksgiving holiday. I was able to strap it on to a few RC models to test it’s capabilities and portability, as you’ll see in my examples.
Since this is just a quick hands-on follow up to my more in-depth technical overview published in September, I’ll spare all the specs, etc. since you can read about them here.
I used the Pro mode for menu controls in my tests because I wanted to see what features were present and how it compared to the full sized HERO11 Black. There are some standard video settings that are similar to the HERO11 Black, since they share a lot of similar components, such as the sensor and processor cores.
As you can see by the size of this 1:24 scale RC Truck, the HERO11 Black Mini and the mount take up most of the bed and the added weight did prove to be a bit top heavy (check out all the rollovers in the video below).
However, having the lens be more closely aligned with the center of the camera vs the full sized HERO11 Black, it did balance better in these tests and I think the results are fun. I just need to get a better detailed interior truck for my next tests since so much of the interior is visible in this ultra-wide view lens!
You’ll also notice how much distortion in is the plastic windshield and windows, but even with all the layers the HERO11 Black Mini is shooting through, it still detects the horizon leveling and adjusts beautifully! And I have to say the anticipation it gives the rollovers and then settles is all in-camera. I’ve not seen that in any previous GoPro HERO model to date. They have perfected this graceful motion so you don’t have to do anything in post at all!
When connected to your iPhone, you can get a preview of what the camera sees so you can adjust and align the camera to the shot you’re trying to capture. This is essential, since the Mini doesn’t have a rear screen built in.
I’ve used this to determine which Lens view to use as sometimes the Hyperview is too wide or the Linear view is too narrow for specialty shots you’re attempting to frame.
Note, however, that the GoPro HERO11 Black Mini can easily lose it’s connection/communication with your iPhone even during a shoot. I found that I had to power off the camera and restart my GoPro Quik app on my phone to get it to reconnect several times – especially when you use the app to start/stop recording.
The problem with relying so heavily on your iPhone as the control center for your GoPro is any time there’s a break in the Bluetooth connection, it doesn’t automatically reconnect and you have to force it to communicate again – many minutes of back and forth and approvals to connect to WiFi and BT over and over again. The battery runs low and you have to stop and recharge the device.
I haven’t really noticed this to such an extreme on the full sized HERO11 Black as I often set my cameras up and then run them remotely and they normally re-connect again when in range or when I stop recording. This may just be an issue with the Mini and I hope they get the bugs worked out soon.
Other setups I tried was with my TRAXXAS 4×4 I’ve used in my original review, only I’ve found the full-sized GoPro HEROs are a bit too heavy to mount on thin flexi surfaces like the body of the truck. Since the weight difference with the Mini was significant enough, I gave it a try and I was amazed that there was such adequate image stabilization that it doesn’t show at all (even in a couple clips where I slowed-down the 60fps to 25% in the example video below).
For this run, I placed the full sized HERO11 Black on the roof mount and the Mini stuck to the side, using the rear tabs to connect it to the mount. Having the dual mounts really improves the versatility of how and where you can use this action cam in various scenarios to capture just exactly the shot you’re looking for.
The HERO11 Black Mini is such a small and balanced form factor that delivers the same quality as it’s full sized brother, that the image quality matches when used in the same shoot perfectly.
As you’ll see in the video examples below, I did jump cuts between the two cams and didn’t adjust any color or stabilization – only a couple spots that I reduced the FPS to give a slow motion effect from the Mini to showcase the clarity in which it captures a clean 4K 60p stabilized image – even in the harshest conditions.
My final test was to see how well it worked on water with a new RC “surfer dude” on our neighbor’s pond.
If you recall my GoPro HERO10 Black review, I used a faster RC speedboat for my examples (which I thought came out amazing), although this little guy can rip through the water at a slower speed, the chances for more compression artifacts could be present. But other than a few water droplets on the lens, the resulting images are crystal clear.
The results are in the video below. Note that these are all 4k (or 5K with Hyperview) these shots are all entirely native straight out of the GoPro HERO11 Black Mini and have not been color corrected or stabilized in post. The only editing was providing the jump cuts and re-timing the speed to 25% in a couple shots for slo-mo effects.
For more details, specs and info about the GoPro HERO11 Black and the HERO11 Black Mini, please refer to my full detailed article on ProVideo, First Look: GoPro HERO11 Black and HERO11 Black Mini
I will be following up with further tests for other features and shooting modes, as well as using the cloud-based services with the GoPro Quik app in the near future.