GoPro Hero9 has made a leap in several areas all seem to be a good thing for most users. Featuring a higher resolution sensor, new larger battery, removable lens cover, and a front-facing color LCD display. After being a 12-megapixel sensor since Hero3 in 2012 the flagship Hero9 camera has now almost doubled to a 23.6-Megapixel beast. How the extreme heat is controlled in this high-resolution camera is going to be interesting. Another major addition is the inclusion of a front full-color LCD screen to the camera. Following what DJI did with its action camera offering the Osmo action. Even though a lot of users have been hoping GoPro would add this I have not found that this was the most useful feature for my use. Especially if it moves the camera price above the $400 mark.
A welcomed feature that has returned to GoPro Hero9 is a removable lens cover. This feature has also gotten better with a newly designed all-metal lens filter attachment system. PolarPro Filters has worked closely with the team at GoPro both Hero8 and now Hero9. Creating very high-quality ND filters for use with GoPro cameras. This new attachment should also see the development of many other third-party companies to join PolarPro in offering creative lens mods.
GoPro has released a lens Mod of their own called the MAX lens Mod. This increases the camera FOV (field of view) from a standard GoPro view to a massive 155 degrees FOV. I personally have yet to get my hands on this lens mod, but in a later post will share my opinions on it.
GoPro Hero9 Key Features
- 5K 30fps video resolution
- 20mp Photos (With RAW & HDR)
- Front-facing color screen
- Horizon leveling
- Scheduled Capture
- HyperSmooth 3.0
- TimeWarp 3.0
- Webcam mode (Livestream at full HD 1080)
- 40% larger battery capacity 1720mAh (previously 1220mAh)
- Removable lens cover
Some users may say that they did want GoPro to make the camera bigger. I believe that this small jump in size is not a hindrance. With Hero8 at 126g and GoPro Hero9 at 158g. The new benefits far out way a small size jump, GoPro Hero9 Black is still small enough. The only users that may not welcome a larger camera are FPV drone flyers. Their favorite camera format was the now discontinued Session cameras. The one area that did not get any update is the high frame rates. Although GoPro Hero9 did get an added upgrade with stabilization now available across ALL resolutions and frame rates.
HyperSooth video stabilization inside GoPro Hero8 was amazing and you would not think it could get even better. HyperSmooth 3.0 in GoPro Hero9 improved yet again. With a newly added feature called Horizon leveling. This feature is absolutely amazing and it’s basically self-explanatory keeping the horizon of what you are recording level. I for sure want to continue to test this to see where its limits are. There are times that a definite horizon is not clear how will GoPro Hero9 will deal with these scenarios is yet to be seen.
GoPro Hero9 Photography
With this increase in sensor size, photos from GoPro Hero9 have stepped up to be on par with smaller mirrorless cameras. You can now capture 20mp stills in photo mode. Hero9 continues to have SuperPhoto & HDR modes for capturing epic photos. Even frame grabs from 5k video on Hero9 are 14.7mp images making them more than adequate for today’s Instagram world.
Why More Resolution, Is 5k Needed
Many users will ask, but do I really need a 5k capable camera? The short answer is probably, No. GoPro Hero9 is using a Sony IMX677 1/2.3 sensor, which is 23.6MP. There are benefits of having more resolution than you need. In today’s digital world when a camera has the extra resolution to digital stabilize you the users win. GoPro Hero9 has made some major leaps in stabilization tech. This is best shown with the Horizon Leveling feature within the new camera. Now having stabilization across ALL video resolutions.
GoPro Hero9 Going Green
GoPro has always gone with the plastic packaging that displays the product itself. This was nice to see what you are buying, but in a world of MORE, it is good to see that GoPro is doing their part in reducing the rate at which our planet’s landfills grow. Although with GoPro Hero9 this may see retailers needing to use more of their precious floor space in stores. Good job GoPro!
Camera Form Factor & Aesthetics
After many saying GoPro had to do it they have added a front color screen. This being yet another reason that the camera itself has gotten bigger is this 1.4″ front-facing screen. Ideal for users that use their GoPro for vlogging. The audio on GoPro Hero9 has stayed about the same. Except for an improvement in one of the mics which incorporates a new design to help water drain out faster when the camera moves from underwater to out.
- 5k resolution
- Front-facing full-color screen
- New stabilization features (Horizon Leveling)
- Bigger battery
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Older Hero8 batteries will not work
- Hero8 Media Mod will not work
- The overall camera size is bigger
- 2.7k only available in high frame rates
Overall GoPro Hero9 has not disappointed in any way. Adding 5k and stabilization in every in all video resolutions. Yes, the camera got slightly bigger, but it is still a GoPro. A camera that can be mounted where others can not even dream to go.