GoPro 8 Vs 9: Comparison
A New Design
The GoPro Hero 9 Black is about ten times larger than the 8 Black. It weighs in at 158g, compared to its predecessor’s 126g. You can feel it from the moment you pick it up.
The action camera is still pocketable, so it doesn’t make a big difference. The downside is that any old cases and Mods, such as the Media Mod, won’t fit onto the new GoPro. It’s still a good thing it has been enlarged in size.
The Hero 9 Black has a larger touchscreen at the back than the Hero 7 or Hero 8. It measures 2.27 inches.
Unfortunately, in our testing we found it to be slow and unresponsive. However, GoPro promised a firmware update in November. This extra size is still very useful, regardless of whether you are framing photos or switching settings in a hurry.
GoPro Hero 8 Black vs Hero 9 Black: Front Display
You’re likely to have turned your back on GoPro if you are a vlogger. The GoPro Hero 8 Black has a tiny front display. However, it isn’t for framing videos. It’s only for showing how much time you have left, the recording time, and the resolution you selected.
A Display Mod for the Hero 8 Black’s front screen is also available from GoPro. The GoPro Hero 9 Black includes a live preview screen for framing and video-style recording.
This is to catch up on the Akaso Brave 7 LE and DJI Osmo Action, which have front-mounted LCD “selfie” panels. It measures 1.4 inches and is quite different from GoPro.
However, this screen adds to Hero 9 Black’s physical dimensions. It can be used as a status screen or deactivated completely. It doesn’t matter what; it is a reason to upgrade to the GoPro Hero 9 Black.
Both these products have an array of new features and functions that makes them more than just a traditional action camera.
These new features include a monochrome status screen, Hero 8’s touch screen, and Hero 9’s improved image stabilization. If you’re in the market for a new GoPro product, be sure to check out the latest in the Hero series!
With Hero 8 and Hero 9 now in the market, there is a slew of updates to improve your experience. One of these updates includes a new traditional monochrome status display, which is a modification of the former layout of text and icons.
Though it may take a few days for old habits to die, you will soon be able to appreciate the changes that have been made. The ease of use and fine-tuning of the display will give you an edge over your competition.
GoPro Hero 8 Vs 9 Black: Rear Display
The flagship GoPro’s front-facing is now the most prominent, but the rear display has been increased in size. The 16:9 widescreen LCD touchscreen displays on both cameras are identical. However, the Hero 9’s display is 2.27 inches, while the Hero 8 has a 1.95-inch display.
This is a 16% size difference.
GoPro 9 Vs 8 Black: Lens
The GoPro Hero9 Black and Hero8 Black have vastly different lenses. The older model had a fixed lens. The new flagship, however, has a removable lens cover. This is the same as the Hero7 Black. You can install the Max Lens Mod on the product.
This accessory is available as an add-on. This new feature allows the Hero9 Black some features previously only available to the GoPro Max. It includes 360o Horizon Lock, which enables the camera to be rotated through 360o.
It will also allow an ultra-wide 155o SuperView mode at 2.7K 60 frames per second.
GoPro’s Hero flagships were powered by one 220mAh battery life for generations. Although they didn’t last very long (4K shooting took just over an hour), they were small.
GoPro has increased the Hero 9 Black’s battery capacity to 1,720mAh, which the company claims increases its endurance by 30%.
This gives the 9 Black a significantly higher performance in Full HD video capture, recording for more than two hours and ten minutes in our tests. Compared to the GoPro Hero 8 Black, which died after an hour and thirty minutes.
According to GoPro, the Hero 9 Black’s longer battery life means handling extreme cold more effectively. This should result in a stronger action camera for skiing.
However, GoPro Hero 9 Black did overheat when we shot a 5K video. It stopped working after 30 minutes and became very hot. This is because Hero 9 Black can’t shoot at full resolution.
Return Of The Swappable Lens Cover
The GoPro Hero 8 Black dropped removable lenses from its Hero line to meet mixed reviews. GoPro has created an interchangeable lens mod called the Max Lens Mod for 2020.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black’s field-of-view, is smaller than the Hero 8 Black’s, but the Max Lens Mod can increase the Hero 9’s resolution to 60fps (with a 155-degree field) and shoot at 2.7K resolution (60fps).
Max Lens Mod supports horizon locking as on the GoPro Max. This allows the GoPro cameras to maintain a horizon leveling even when rotated through 360 degrees. The Max Lens Mod is available in October 2020 for $79.99 / PS79.99 / AU$129.95
The difference isn’t significant, but it does show a commonality. You can connect both cameras via Bluetooth and WiFi. You can also connect them to your smart device using the GoPro App. These GoPro cameras support Livestream at 1080p resolution.
The Hero 8 Black and GoPro Hero 9 Black were designed with vlogging in mind. The Media Mods, which are sold separately, add a directional microphone to these GoPro cameras that are ideal for vlogging. Other useful accessories for vlogging are also available, such as Light Mod.
HyperSmooth (Electronic Image Stabilization)
With its groundbreaking image stabilization feature HyperSmooth 2.0, the GoPro Hero 8 Black produces stunning smooth videos that are shake-free and smooth. HyperSmooth 2.0 significantly improves the quality and performance of footage.
GoPro’s latest GoPro Hero 9 Black model has brought image stabilization to a new level with HyperSmooth 3.0. It’s like a new chapter in image stabilization. We’ve yet to see better performance from any action camera.
TimeWarp 2.0, a Hyperlapse mode that creates super-smooth motion times lapses with the GoPro Hero 8 Black, is a fun Hyperlapse mode. It’s now available in the GoPro Hero 9 Black with an enhanced version that includes TimeWarp 3.0.
These cameras allow you to take fantastic hyperlapse photos without having to crop 10%. It’s also available at all frame rates and resolutions.
GoPro HERO 9 Black Vs. HERO8 Black: Controls & Interface
The interface and controls are identical, except for minor adjustments for the HERO9 Black.
You can control the camera similarly with the GoPro HERO 9 Black and HERO8 Black. While some minor tweaks to the menu system or naming conventions, it is not difficult to use the camera if you move between them.
Two cameras use the touchscreen at the back to access the menu system. Both can be controlled wirelessly using the GoPro mobile application. Both can be controlled by voice. Both have the same shutter button at the top to start and stop recording or taking a photograph.
Read full our two products review:
GoPro Hero 9 Vs 8: Control And Interface
Shooting Menu Tweaks & Presets
Two cameras employ the same shooting presets approach as the HERO8 Black.
Both have faster access to Protune settings than older GoPros. (more information in the Protune section).
Buttons & Touchscreen
The touchscreen system on both the front and back of the device acts as both a live view display and the primary way to access the settings or preferences in the menu system.
The GoPro HERO9 BLACK screen is brighter, larger, and sharper. It’s hard to notice until you place them side-by-side, but the HERO9 Black screen is larger and more colorful.
It is worth noting that the HERO9 BLACK’s front screen is not a touchscreen.
The HERO9Black is to the left. Although the menus are similar, there are some differences between the models. To access the main settings, you can tap the Preferences button on the HERO8 Black. You can swipe sideways on the HERO9Black to open the Preferences / Connections menu.
The GoPro mobile app can control both cameras wirelessly using Bluetooth and wifi. They both use different remotes.
The HERO8 Black can be used with the Smart Remote or REMO remote.
The GoPro HERO 9 Black didn’t come with a separate remote control when it was first released. It is not compatible with Smart Remote. GoPro released a new remote control for the HERO9Black.
It looks and functions very similar to the Smart Remote, as it is waterproof. It can only control 5 GoPros simultaneously instead of the 50 that the Smart Remote can. The Remote is a detailed review that I have here.
If the HERO9 Black doesn’t have the option to connect a remote to the camera’s menu, you should upgrade the firmware to at most v1.5 (released December 17, 2020). This firmware was released after the initial launch of The Remote. It added compatibility to The Remote.
Both models are capable of voice control.
You can use voice commands to control essential functions such as start/stop video recording, change modes or take photos. You can’t use voice commands to change settings.
You can also turn them on by using a voice command.
GoPro HERO 9 Black Vs GoPro HERO 8 Black: Shooting Video
The GoPro HERO 9 Black increases video shooting modes to 5K30.
There is much overlap in the video resolution/framerate options on the HERO 9 Black and those on the HERO 8 Black.
The HERO 9 Black’s larger sensor makes 5K video possible. This is the headline upgrade. These dimensions measure 5120 x 2880. The 5K framerate is 30fps. Notably, 5K is wider than 4K. However, the 4K4/3 setting is taller. This is an example of what I mean.
Below this, they share higher resolution/framerate combinations. The new model has been consolidated, with some less-used resolutions being dropped. Here is a list of all the options available:
Both have a frame rate of 240 frames per second, which is the fastest available. Twenty-four frames per second are the slowest frame rate available on both.
Both provide in-camera video stabilization and Protune options to allow for manual control. Both provide video aspect ratios of 16/9 and 4/3.
The new model has some improvements, including the HyperSmooth in-camera video stabilization. This was upgraded from version 2.0 and hypersmooth 3.0 and now takes advantage of the larger sensor’s extra pixel buffer.
Both cameras use the same image/data processor – the GP1 – and both have it. Support Raw image capture GoPro’s HDR image processing is also available.
The GoPro HERO 9 Black, as well as the HERO 8 Black, have a maximum bitrate of 100 Mbps.
This is a relatively high bitrate for an action camera (the DJI Osmo Action has a 100 Mbps bitrate). Still, it’s much lower than the 400 Mbps or higher bitrates on larger cameras such as the Fujifilm XT-4, Panasonic LUMIX GH5, and the Panasonic LUMIX GH5.
A larger bitrate means that more data is required to record the video. This means that there is less compression and potentially higher video quality. The difference in practice isn’t always noticeable.
High-detail scenes viewed at full resolution with post-processing, editing, and recompression are the most likely to show a difference. You can also use it if the video is processed and then recompressed.
However, the highest bitrates may not be available at all resolutions or framerate combinations. Below is a table that lists the bitrates used in each combination.
You can choose between a High or Standard bitrate mode for most users. To get higher bitrates on older GoPros, you needed to turn on Protune first. Standard was equivalent to turning off Protune.
The HERO 8 Black now has a dedicated High/Standard bitrate toggle that you can access directly (scroll to the bottom of the video settings for presets).
It is important to remember that you may have compressed the file with either the HEVC codecs or H.264 codecs (more below). Bitrates can be slightly higher or lower than the target bitrates in practice.
Digital Lenses / Fields of View
Both models have the same FOVs and built-in lenses. The GoPro HERO 9 BLACK has a new MAX lens mod that gives you a wider view (it’s an option).
The FOV terminology used by the GoPro 9 Black is lenses instead of FOVs. They are the same thing, and they work in the same way. This new terminology is meant to be more similar to traditional camera lenses.
These focal lengths are more intuitive if you’re familiar with working in them (although they approximate actual optical size).
There is five FOV digital lens available, although the largest is the one that can be used with the Max Lens accessory.
This accessory has not yet been released at the time of writing. Linear + Horizon leveling is also available. This option doesn’t have a distinct FOV (field of view), but it’s a combination of FOV and features.
This chart lists the available fields of view, or digital lenses, at resolutions and framerates.
Digital zoom allows you to adjust the ranges of the Wide Linear options.
The standard Wide is the 16mm-34mm basic Wide, which we are used to when using GoPro footage. SuperView squeezes more scenes into each frame, but it is also more distorted. It’s not available at every resolution or fps.
Linear digitally corrects lens distortion. Linear + Horizon Leveling allows for digital horizon leveling in-camera (the Lens Mod will allow you to use a different method, which will likely make it compatible with other FOVs). Narrow is a combination of Linear + zoomed in.
Filetypes And Codecs: H.264 (Avc) / Hevc (H.265)
The cameras employ a mixture of H.264 and HEVC video encoding.
The file extension for all video files created on the HERO 9 black and HERO 8 Black is.mp4. They all use the mp4 container, but not all are the same inside. Two codecs are used: HEVC, H.265, and H.264 (AVC).
GoPro has introduced the HEVC codec (H.265) with the HERO6 Black. This codec is more efficient than the older H.264 and provides better compression, which results in a better mix of quality and file size.
The problem is that files encoded using HEVC may not be compatible with older H.264/AVC codecs.
Both cameras have the option to choose HEVC or H.264+HEVC in their preferences. These options are available in the Video Compression option under High Efficiency and Most Compatible if you use the GoPro mobile application.
The implementation is not clear. It will use HEVC to record the video recording. This is the apparent option. The second option is not as obvious. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will simultaneously record both the RAW and JPG formats.
It won’t record both versions if you select H.264 + HEVC. It will only use H.264 for most video options. However, you can only record some high-end video options with the HEVC codec.
For example, 4K60 will not record with the HEVC codec, regardless of whether it has the H.264+ HEVC option. H.264 + HEVC does not mean H.264 or HEVC. It means H.264 when it is available and HEVC if unavailable.
Be aware that the HEVC option can not be viewed in the GoPro mobile app. The file must be downloaded to your tablet or phone and then played back locally.
What HERO 8 Accessories Are Compatible With The GoPro HERO 9?
This question has a detailed answer that I can provide separately. However, if you are upgrading from the HERO 8 Black or GoPro HERO 9 Black and want to know which accessories will work, here is a quick overview.
Mounts & Grips
You can use the same mounts and grips with your selfie sticks. Both cameras use the same three-pronged GoPro mounting system, including the fold-down attachment.
Housings & Cages Most housings, cages, or mounts that wrap around the camera body will not work. The cameras have slightly different dimensions (the HERO9 is slightly larger). Protective Dive Housing will need to be ordered in a dedicated version.
You can’t use the HERO 8 black in the GoPro 9 black and vice versa.
An external battery that is separate from the camera can work. Both cameras use a USB-C connection. A few external batteries combine a housing and battery life that wraps around the camera’s body.
These won’t work because the camera bodies have different dimensions and the USB-C ports are in slightly different places.
Both action cameras can accept the same SD card. Each action camera has a maximum video bitrate limit of 100 Mbps.
The Remote is a new, dedicated remote for the GoPro HERO 9 Black. After you have updated your camera’s firmware, the Remote will also work with the HERO 8 Black.
The HERO 8 black works well with an older Smart Remote. The GoPro 9 BLACK is not compatible with Smart Remote.
Both action cameras have a Media Mod. However, they share the same features but are specific models for each camera because of the differences in the camera bodies.
The HERO 8 Black’s lens port design is unique in its dimensions and the fact that it is not removable. Most lens filters must be made for that model of the action camera.
The GoPro Hero 8 vs Hero 9 Black are the most popular GoPro action cameras. The latest Hero 9 Black features are undoubtedly the best, but it also comes at a more expensive price tag. The Hero 8 Black is an excellent option for those with limited budgets. It offers many of the same functions as the GoPro Hero 9 Black.
For more on the topic of GoPro, be sure to check out our guide: Best GoPro For Motorcycle. If you have any questions, please comment in the section below. Thank you for your reading!