It’s no secret: small action cameras are bad in low-light. And the Hero 12 is no different. But there are ways around that: Just by using good settings you can turn your Hero 12 into a low-light beast!

And that’s done by setting a specific shutter speed that allows stabilization to work, and limit ISO to prevent any grain or noise.

But there are a lot more other settings on a GoPro, so here is the complete list of settings I use at night.

Recommended GoPro Hero 12 settings for low-light video:

  • HDR Mode: Off
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Framerate: 30 FPS
  • Resolution: 4K or 5.3K (depending on FOV)
  • Lens (Field of View): Superview (chest mount) or HyperView (helmet mount)
  • Hypersmooth Stabilization: On
  • Pro Controls: On
  • Bit Rate: High
  • Bit Depth: 10-Bit (color)
  • EV Comp: +0.0
  • White Balance: 4000K
  • Shutter speed: 1/120 on Helmet (1/240 on Chesty)
  • ISO: range from 100 – 3200
  • Sharpness: Low
  • Color: Natural (or GP-LOG for editing)
  • Sharpness: Low
  • RAW Audio: Off
  • Wind (noise reduction): Off + wind muffler
    (Info: WNR On works well, but turns your audio to Mono)
  • Video Mode: Highest Quality
  • Everything else: Off
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Using these semi-manual settings, the camera will only adjust ISO automatically. The shutter limit guarantees that stabilization still works. By setting boundaries, these settings will reliably result in good video quality all the time!

Night ride using these settings by my buddy Hugo

Feel free to change some things around to match your situation. Here are some pointers:

  • Shutter: This is the most important setting for low-light. By setting a certain shutter speed, we prevent blurry, unstabilized results. Go up to 1/240 if you need more stabilization at the expense of brightness. Or down to 1/60 for no stabilization (turn off HS as well).
  • ISO: More is not better here, anything over 3200 will result in grainy footage. You may find that ISO 1600 also works in well-lit areas.
  • Hypersmooth: The electronic image stabilization may result in some shaky image with a slow shutter. Turn off stabilization completely, if you don’t even need it – that may improve the quality even more.
  • White Balance: Automatic works fine in most situations. If you notice a red or blue hue, try a fixed value like 4000 Kelvin or even 3500K for a cool, cyberpunk look.
  • Colors: Both Natural and GP-Log provide 10-bit color depth. Only use GP-Log if you plan on color grading as it does look bland otherwise.

These recommended settings are very similar to the ones when using ND filters on the GoPro Hero 12. Those filters are basically creating artificially darker exposure, just not as dark as full-on nighttime.

Don’t forget to save your favorite setting as a preset for easy “Quick Select” access through the power button!

For anyone not interested in playing around with manual exposure settings, editing, or color grading, there are some easy tweaks you can make and take advantage of some new low-light-specific settings.

These will work in most night-time conditions, provided there is at least one good light source available. Light street lights or a strong helmet lamp.

The ISO range allows the exposure to adjust without creating excessive noise from high ISO. For daylight filming projects, use my other recommended GoPro Hero 12 settings for mountain biking.

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To even get access to all of the settings necessary, you need to activate Pro Controls. On the new GoPros that’s deactivated by default. So here’s how you unlock the full power of your Hero 12:

How to unlock GoPro Hero 12’s PRO Controls

If up to this point, you were wondering why you can’t find any of the settings I was talking about, here’s how you unlock every setting in your Hero 12:

  1. On the main screen swipe down to reveal the menu.
  2. Swipe left to get to the second menu page.
  3. Tap on the button “Controls” in the lower left corner.
  4. Switch it from Easy Mode to “Pro Controls”.
  5. Done. Now all the ProTune settings are unlocked for you.
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The first screen of the drop-down menu.
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Find the Pro Controls on the second page’s bottom left.

In order to gain access to the full list of settings, you need to activate the PRO setting on the second page of the main menu. The unlocked video settings are accessed through the bottom menu of the main screen (viewfinder).

By setting the shutter to 1/120 or 1/240 you can make sure that the camera can still stabilize the footage, even in the dark. It will max out the ISO when the shutter can’t get slower.

By the way, if you’re struggling with battery life, check out my GoPro 12 battery saving tips.

The Most Important GoPro settings for night-time

White Balance (WB)

Recommended: 3500K – 4500K

Also referred to as color temperature, this is the red or blue tint. During daytime, a WB of 5500 Kelvin is best. That’s the color temp of the sun. Makes sense. When the sun is gone, however, a much lower WB is necessary as the temperature of artificial light or moonlight is much “cooler”.

The “correct” one depends on the temp of the artificial light you’re using. But it’s also an artistic choice, so feel free to play around. If you want to go for a cyberpunk-esque cool look, go as low as 3300K. Or 4000K for a more balanced look.

Shutter speed

Recommended: 1/120

On a normal hand-held camera, you’d pick a shutter speed of twice the frames per second for a cinematic look – 1/60 for 30fps and 1/48 for 24fps. Not so for action cams, which need to stabilize the footage.

Stabilization requires fast shutter speeds and no motion blur. I found that the Hero 12 needs a minimum shutter of 4x the framerate to stabilize when riding a smooth mountain bike trail. That’s how I arrived at the 1/120 number. For any rougher activities requiring more stabilization, 1/240 is probably the sweet spot between brightness and blur.

A clip of my testing a shutter of 1/60 with 30fps. Result: maximum motion blur & maximum shakiness.

In daylight, you would use ND filters to slow down shutter speeds without overexposing the image. At night that effect happens by itself and the challenge becomes keeping the ISO as low as possible.


Recommended: 3200 max

ISO is the maximum light sensitivity of the camera, and the Hero 12 lets you define a pretty large range it can work within. However, you don’t want to give it more than it really needs as more ISO means a more grainy image.

ISO is the main reason for grainy or noisy footage. If that’s something you’re struggling with, check out this resource on how to get rid of noise in your videos.

This is why to set the ISO as low as possible. 6400 should be the upper limit when using fast shutter speeds of 1/240. Try if you can get away with 1/120 shutter to lower ISO to 3200. You’ll notice the difference!

There’s a definite trade-off between stable or grainy (noisy) video.

Color Profile

Recommended: Natural

In low-light conditions, the “Natural” color profile may be your best friend for making an otherwise dull scenery pop. For color grading, the GP-Log M profile is more usable. Whatever you pick is completely subjective.

Both feature 10-bit color depth, so you’re not limited either way.

That’s all you really need to know to go out and get a good-looking video at night! Have fun filming.

Forest Fade LUT by Suspension Traveler

Color Grading for Action Cam Videos

Make your POV footage pop with custom color grades!
Download my FREE LUT specifically for MTB videos:

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