We didn't know what it meant when the company said it was going to build more specialized cameras. The Hero10 Black Bones is a cut-down version of the flagship camera that is meant for drones. The idea is that pilots will strap one of these to their drone to film brilliant footage while using a separate low-latency analog camera and a pair of goggles to see where their drone is going.
There is no screen, no speaker, no door, and no battery inside the $500 camera, which is the first ever made that requires soldering skills.
Why? The company realized it could do better because its customers were already cutting their GoPros in half to keep their acrobatic flying filmmaking tools in the air longer.
Same video modes including 5K60 and 4K120
Lema says that some pilots were cutting their cameras open to reduce their weight, but that doing so could lead to overheating, particularly at takeoff and landing. The Hero10 Black's sensor, lens, processor, and long-impressive HyperSmooth built-in stabilization software are included in the new Bones camera.
The Hero10 Black is just over a third the weight of the original Hero10 Black, and it's lighter than the Session that didn't shake up the action cam world back in. It's expected when you lose a lot of the things that make a GoPro a GoPro, including the battery.
To make a camera that a dad can film their kid in the pool with no problems, we have had to make it a little bit bigger, a little bit heavier. The company is experimenting with giving niche but growing populations of customers the specialized GoPros they might want.
Lema says that it's become a pretty important perspective for cinematographers. He says the customers for this product will not shy away from soldering a station and attaching motor and control circuitry to build their drones.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Battery)
The Bones has a built-in regulator circuit so you don't need to worry about how much voltage your LiPo is supplying. You can solder this into it so you can fly regardless of whether your drone has a 2S or 6S battery.
You can use your controller to control it. If you don't want to use the two physical buttons or the optional remote, there is a third wire that you can connect to a flight controller and operate with. The ability to read direct raw images off the camera isn't yet available, so it may not be ready for computer vision applications.
It's a little crazy to see a company that failed to launch in the last year reentering the market. Lema laughed and said there was no plans to make another drone. He suggests that there are more purpose-built GoPros on the way for other use cases that might seem niche today. I'm curious if the video is still on the table.
The company has recently shown it sees opportunity. After ignoring that sector of drones for a long time, it released its own racing goggles and flight camera in 2019. For non-FPV applications, dronemakers like DJI had an advantage. While the original Phantom drones were specifically designed to carry GoPros, they quickly replaced them with purpose-built cameras that were easier to manipulate with a motorized Gimbal.
The Hero10 Black Bones will only be available at gopro.com, with no retail availability, for $350 for existing GoPro subscribers, $400 including a one-year subscription, or $500 without. If you don't want a free subscription that includes camera replacement and cloud backup, the camera costs more.