When GoPro designed the $ 449 Hero 9 Black, it decided to just make it big. Instead of trying to give the Compact more powerThe Hero 9 is bigger, wider and heavier and it̵
The Hero 9 has a larger battery than previous models in terms of size and performance. It has a 1,720 mAh battery compared to the Hero 8’s 1,220 mAh battery. Small cameras only offer space for a small battery. However, as you get bigger with your body, this backpack will last 30% longer than the Hero 8. GoPro says it works better in the cold too. I don’t have any hard numbers yet, but it’s clearly better than before.
The selfie screen I’ve been waiting for
One of the few advantagesWhen started, it had its front display so you could frame recordings in front of the lens. Akasos Brave 7 LE has a similar display and This option allows you to rotate the single screen forward. Now GoPro is on board with a 1.4-inch front display and a larger touchscreen on the back.
The front display can be set up to show your camera status just like previous models. It can also give you a full picture of what you are capturing or fill the screen with what is in the center of your frame. If you want, you can turn both displays on or off at the same time to save battery life.
More resolution but for good reasons
GoPro used a 23.6 megapixel sensor in the Hero 9 Black. The Hero 8 has a 12 megapixel sensor. That’s a big leap, and adding more megapixels to a small 1 / 2.3-inch image sensor isn’t a good idea for image quality. In this case, the extra resolution is used in conjunction with the GP1 processor developed by GoPro to improve the performance of features like HyperSmooth image stabilization and add new features, including horizon alignment in the camera.
This means that 20 megapixel images including HDR and Raw are recorded and videos with a resolution of 5K (5120 x 2.880 pixels) at 30 frames per second as well as 4K60, 2.7K120, 1.440p120, 1.080p240 are recorded.
5K is nice even if you don’t need 5K
I don’t regularly use 4K resolution for video. When GoPro said that 5K would be rolled out on the Hero 9 Black, I shrugged. My lack of enthusiasm aside, GoPro says a lot of people are now asking for 5K. That’s what you get with the Hero 9 at 24 or 30 frames per second. If you wanted 5K video, now you have it.
There is an incentive for people like me to use it when they want to capture both video and still images. The 5K video images are 14.7 megapixels in size, so you can get great videos and take photos too. I’ve been actively paddling a kayak in the picture above and you can see a frame between my movements.
I’m addicted to the Max Lens Mod
One of the reasons the Hero 9 Black is bigger is because GoPro is again using a removable lens cover. (It’s a feature that was removed from Hero 8.) Removing it makes it easy to twist off and replace if you scratch it. It also means you can add other lenses in addition to the Hero 9, like the new Max Lens Mod for $ 100.
The Max lens replicates the capabilities of the GoPro’s Max camera lenses, giving you an expansive image with low distortion and amazing video stabilization at a resolution of up to 2.7KB at 60 frames per second. (You can see the full version of the above image which is one frame from the 2.7K video.) Additionally, with the horizon lock on, the camera can rotate 360 degrees and you would never tell from the image – it stays with the right side up.
New ways not to miss a moment
Along with all of the capture modes in Hero 9 Black, GoPro has added three new tools: Scheduled Capture, Duration Capture, and HindSight. HindSight is similar to the LiveBurst feature in Hero 8 and now Hero 9, which takes 1.5 seconds of video before and after taking a photo. For HindSight, a 15 or 30 second buffer is stored for video. When you press Record it will start with the video stored in the buffer.
With Duration Capture you can set a time-controlled recording from 15 seconds to 3 hours. Scheduled Capture lets you pick a time to turn the camera on and automatically start recording – great for sunrises and sunsets or anything else you don’t want to miss since you’re not there to press record.
It’s almost too much stuff
When does a range of functions become too deep? The Hero 9 Black seems on the verge of offering too many options. There are a dizzying number of combinations you can create with the capture modes, resolutions, frame rates, digital lenses, and so much more. That’s why I appreciate the presets that GoPro sets up for you right away. And then, if you use those a little, you’ll find out what works best for what you’re trying to do. Even so, there are a lot of choices and it can be intimidating.
Get more and pay less with GoPro?
The pricing is a bit confusing as GoPro offers a few bundle options at launch. The Hero 9 Black is priced at $ 449. You can also go to GoPro.com and get it for $ 349 if you sign up for a one-year subscription to the GoPro service, the price of which is included in the cost of $ 349. Subscription typically costs $ 50 per year. In the UK the Hero 9 Black costs £ 329 with a subscription and AU $ 559 in Australia.
If you’re wondering what the catch is, I get it. I did that too. Basically there is no immediate catch. For $ 349, you get the camera and the year of service that includes free camera replacement if destroyed, cloud storage for your full-resolution photos and videos, access to GoPro’s advanced live streaming platform, and up to 50 % Discount equipment and accessories.
For $ 499, you get a new package that includes a second battery, the handler’s floating handle, a magnetic rotating clip, and a microSD card. Again, you can save $ 100 by signing up for the service, which brings the package down to $ 399 (AU $ 659). And whether you only work with the camera or the bundle, you get a nice storage case as GoPro gets rid of the plastic packaging and instead sells the cameras in the case.
The Max, Hero8 and Hero7 all remain in the lineup with the 8 and 7 at reduced prices.
I didn’t mention it before, but in case it wasn’t clear, the larger body means you can’t use your old batteries in the Hero 9 Black, and neither does the Hero 8 Black Media Mod. However, GoPro makes one for the Hero 9.
There are a handful of other updated features that I didn’t even mention to make this a real package. It even works as a webcam for Mac or Windows computers right out of the box. What do you think the updates are worth upgrading? Let me know in the comments and try again for a full review.