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The Hero 9 camera has a built-in video stabilizer with electronic image stabilization. Furthermore, this camera features night lapse videos that automatically adjust exposure so that footage does not look too bright when filming at night. This is why the GoPro Hero 9 is perfect for your next outdoor adventure!
Are you not sure if it would fit you or not? Then you need to see this review.
What Is The GoPro Hero 9 Black?
There have been a lot of changes in the world of GoPros over the years. While the small rectangular shape has not changed, the insides of the GoPro have been given a significant overhaul.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black has a front-facing display, which is a significant improvement on the Hero 8. It shows you live footage from the sensor and camera settings. This makes it much easier to take selfies, especially if you are involved in dangerous activities.
TheGoPro Hero 9 Black can record up to 5K footage at 30 frames per second. Although it’s not 8K as some smartphones claim, 5K is much more practical for the time being. You can now access 20-megapixel stills. This is an increase from the 12-megapixels available in the previous version.
Swappable lens mods are the most significant hardware upgrade. The Max Lens Mod adds a super-wide, 155-degree field-of-view and a Max HyperSmooth feature.
This allows you to lock in the horizon and rotate the camera 360° while maintaining the same shot. This effect is fantastic to see in action but not practical for many shooters who don’t intend to take their camera airborne. The possibility of swappable lenses modules is still exciting.
The modular system supports a $50 light mod, which adds LED illumination. Mods are not something you should do if you don’t want to. However, it does offer you options if you need to grow your gadget collection.
- New front display
- Larger rear display
- Excellent image stabilization
- 20MP photos and 14.7MP grabs from video
- A stable connection to a telephone
- Simple to use the app
- Physical size larger
- Backward-compatible batteries are not possible
- Touchscreen laggy
- Max Lens Mod costs extra
- Hit-and-miss horizon leveling
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GoPro Hero 9 Black Review
Prices And Availability
In September 2020, the GoPro Hero9 Black was made available for purchase for $449 or $349 when you purchase a 1-year subscription to GoPro Plus ($4.99/month). This gives unlimited cloud storage and unlimited replacement for your GoPro camera if it gets damaged, as well as 50 percent off accessories.
GoPro also offers a Hero9 Black bundle at $499 or $399 when you subscribe to GoPro Plus. The bundle includes the camera, a magnetic swivel clip, extra battery, and a microSD card.
While the Hero8 Black is still on sale at a discounted price, the Hero7 Black is the entry-level model.
Design And Screen
Although there are some similarities, the Hero9 Black is different from the Hero 8 Black in many ways. It is larger than the Hero 8 Black in all aspects, measuring 71x55x33.6mmx158g. This may come as a surprise, but it is not obese.
This is due to two new displays being included on the Hero 9 Black. It’s a simple upgrade to the larger rear screen with a 2.27-inch larger display. It’s 16% larger than the Hero8 Black, slightly larger than the Akaso Brave 7 LE but smaller than the DJI Osmo Action. ( see the DJI Osmo Action vs Hero 9 article for detailed)
Although the touchscreen is bright enough for all conditions except the sun, it’s not as responsive as possible.
The biggest upgrade is on the front. It has a 1.4-inch built-in display (similar in size to the DJI Osmo Action but slightly smaller than the Akaso Brave 7 LE) that can be used to live preview a photo or piece of content.
You can also choose to display it in an ‘actual’ format. This displays the image in widescreen with black bars above and beneath. Or, you can use it to show the full screen. This is great if you want to be in the middle of a shot or video.
You can only switch the front screen to status to display the remaining battery life, resolution, and current mode. This is also possible on the Hero8 Black (albeit in color).
Another new feature is the return to removable lens cover. It will also be able to accept third-party ND filters. The GoPro Max Lens Mod accessory will be available starting in October.
The buttons on the GoPro Hero 9 Black are slightly larger than usual and protrude further, making them easier to use when gloves are worn. This GoPro is waterproof up to 33ft/10m. The folding mounting fingers remain from the Hero8 Black.
The Hero9 Black arrives in a soft travel case rather than a thick, transparent plastic box. It will take some time.
GoPro Hero 9 Black: Video
Hero9 Black’s 23.6 MP sensor can capture 5K video in 30 frames per seconds (fps), at 100Mbps. It’s not only impressive but also extremely capacity-hungry. The 4K 60fps is the best option for efficiency and smoothness.
The resolution has been increased to 720p. There are three options for faux-lens options: SuperView (16mm), wide (16-34mm), linear (19-39mm), and narrow (27mm).
Hypersmooth 3.0 is the essential feature, even though 5K has been introduced. This allows for cleverly stabilized footage at all resolutions. There’s also a ‘boost” feature.
This linear view has 360o camera-style autocorrect horizon leveling. It happens in-camera. This means that you can quickly view footage at the horizon level.
This feature is excellent for video bloggers, but it can be slow and inaccurate in practice. Future GoPro cameras will improve it. The GoPro Hero 9 Black can capture stunning video in all modes, including color, contrast, and shadow detail. There is also a Boost option that will smooth out any choppy moments.
The low-light performance video in “night mode” is less impressive and noisier. However, a new HDR night lapse of the night sky for one hour looks reasonably good. You can also use the new “scheduled capture” mode to film video, or more likely time-lapses at a pre-determined time.
You could, for example, go to sleep in Iceland and allow your Hero9 Black camera to capture the Northern Lights. It can be set to film for up to an hour before it turns itself off.
Time-lapses are the best way to use action cameras in practice. That is why we love the TimeWarp 3.0 mode. TimeWarp 3.0 is best used for endurance sports like hiking but can also be used for skiing or cycling. It’s now called speed ramp and comes with audio. There’s also a new slow motion option.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black also features a 30-second looping buffer video buffer to prevent unexpected moments from being missed. This buffer helps film any other situations where spontaneity is everything.
It will save you the hassle of taking endless videos and then having to delete them all.
The Hero9 Black is a widescreen 1080p webcam that you can use in conjunction with the WFH craze. Mac users will need the GoPro Webcam app, while Windows users require a beta version. However, we could not launch the app on a Mac during our testing.
You can also use the Hero9 Black to stream live 1080p video to YouTube and Twitch. It can even be used with HyperSmooth 3.0 turned on.
GoPro Hero 9 Black: Photos
Some GoPro users still ignore action cameras as photographic tools. But that will change with the Hero9 Black’s arrival. The Hero9 Black, just like the Akaso Brave 7 LE, can also take 20MP still photographs.
There are two lens options: a wide (16-34mm), linear (19-39mm), and fixed (27mm) mode. All of these modes allow for 2x digital zoom options.
You can also choose LiveBurst (motion photos), burst (25 photographs per second), and night photo modes. The latter is more impressive than the Hero9 Black’s dark video exploits.
The Hero9 Black has RAW support and HDR, SuperPhoto, and SuperPhoto. However, SuperPhoto and HDR images require a little bit of processing time. The manual mode allows you to adjust shutter speed up to 30 seconds and ISO up to 6400.
Perhaps more important than all that is Hero9 Black’s new “save frame” feature. Playback any video, and you can press a button to save a 14.7MP still photo to your phone. This allows you to focus on video and then think about photos.
Automated Editing Using The GoPro App
The ability to shoot beautiful videos can be learned very quickly from photography. Editing is a different story. GoPro can automatically stitch together your footage and create customized arrangements from your shots to make videos.
This app does an excellent job, even though I avoid any auto-editing for creative work. Even if you don’t have any editing skills, the app can create watchable from a random selection of photos.
Over time, the app has improved. It was a lot more challenging to use than it is today. Give it another chance if you haven’t tried it in a while.
Hypersmooth 3.0 Is Truly Amazing
You might be surprised at the improvements in image stabilization if you haven’t used a GoPro for a while. To get a camera-eye view while in shooting modes, I used the GoPro to mount it to an old film camera’s hot shoe. HyperSmooth takes out the wobble from walking shots and keeps my frame still when I’m not.
Popular Science awarded the original HyperSmooth version a Best of What’s New award. Now, the company has released version 3.0. HyperSmooth, even compared to the solid image stabilization that you get with your smartphone, is an entirely different beast.
It can sometimes feel a bit too smooth. Although you won’t get any shaky footage (which used to be a thing), it can make the footage look unnatural. After spending some time with my action cam, I can almost instantly recognize footage shot using HyperSmooth.
GoPro Hero9 Black: Features
When I started testing action cameras, the jumpy video was a constant issue if I rode, swam, or skied on bumpy terrain. GoPro’s video stabilization, now in its third iteration, is one of the most effective at evening things out.
The feature, Hypersmooth 3.0 as it is known, is more advanced than the older GoPros. Although it can reduce battery life, Hypersmooth will still be worth your time if you plan to use the GoPro for motion-related activities.
Timewarp 3.0, the latest version, combines GoPro’s motion stabilizer with time-lapse video. Timelapse videos look smoother than ever. Timewarp 3.0 now includes Enhanced Speed Ramp.
This allows you to slow down the video to average speed if you are interested in something. You can use timewarp 3.0 to change the capture speed.
The Hero9 now has a new feature that allows you to capture events you might otherwise have missed. The Hero9 GoPro’s latest action camera feature, Hindsight, will save up to 30 seconds before you press the shutter button.
Scheduled Capture is an excellent feature for people who don’t want the hassle of getting up at dawn to capture a sunrise. This feature allows you to program your GoPro to automatically turn on and begin recording up to 24 hours before sunrise.
It can be used in conjunction with Duration Capture to set the length of the video.
GoPro Hero9 Black Livestreaming And Webcam
Camera makers have released software that allows you to use your devices as ad-hoc webcams after many people have failed to purchase webcams. GoPro has released firmware updates that allow you to use the Hero8 Black webcam.
The Hero9 Black can also function in the same way. You can stream in either 1080p or 720p. This is how you can use your GoPro to stream in 720p or 1080p.
You can also Livestream from Hero9 to other services like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook at resolutions up to 1080p if Hypersmooth is enabled.
GoPro Accessories And Connectivity
Mods are add-on accessories that GoPro calls Mods. They continue to be available for the Hero8, but you will need to purchase new ones due to the new form factor.
For $79.99, you can add a Media Mod frame to improve audio quality and some accessory mounting shoes. You can also get a more extensive 2-inch front-facing screen LCD add-on and an on-camera flashlight.
The Hero9 supports the Max Lens Mod ($99.99), which is an add-on lens. This lens allows for a wider angle of view and captures up to 155 degrees. It also supports horizon lock in all stabilization modes.
It can be used to keep your horizon fixed even when the action camera is mounted on a plane that is doing a barrel roll. GoPro has shown this in some footage. The lens quality has yet to be tested.
The Hero9 Black Bundle is $50 more expensive than the standard GoPro. The bundle includes a second battery, 32GB of memory card, and a handhold handle, as well as a few other small accessories.
It’s a great value if you are already considering buying more batteries. It comes with a carry case, but it’s also included with your camera. GoPro is now using reusable, plastic-free packaging for this release.
The action cameras have Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi connectivity. There is also a MicroSD card slot, a USB-C port that you can use to charge and transfer video to a computer. A Wi-Fi connection is required to send clips to a tablet/phone for editing.
GoPro claims that the bigger battery will last the Hero9 longer. However, it all depends on how you set your video settings. The Hero9 Black records at 5K 30fps and takes about 80 minutes before it shuts down. This is 10 minutes more than the Hero8’s record time at 4K 60fps.
If you use the action cameras for long-form clips, it can get a bit hot. It recorded approximately 65 minutes of 4K60 footage before it stopped working, which is quite typical for an action camera.
Although the battery can generate heat quickly, you will record more footage if the external USB source is available.
Hero9’s 1720mAh battery can last 30% longer than other GoPro previous models (roughly 1h 41 minutes versus 1h 15 minutes). In practice, it was able to last for just over an hour while shooting video in both time-lapse and regular modes.
The bigger battery is larger than the one in the previous models, so you can’t replace your old GoPro batteries.
MediaMods for GoPro Hero9 Black
GoPro now offers a range of modular accessories, including the Media Mod Light Mod and Display Mod. It supports the two other accessories, will now be available in a specific version for the Hero9 Black.
The Display Mod is less appealing due to the inclusion of a front-facing color display on the Hero9 Black, but its built-in battery and micro-HDMI connector might still be a worthwhile upgrade for serious filmmakers.
The Max Lens Mod accessory is the essential accessory for the Hero9 Black. It retails at $99.99. The Max Lens Mod accessory, which retails for $99.99, brings together a few features previously only available on the GoPro Max.
These include 360o Horizon Lock (so that the action camera can rotate through 360o) and an ultrawide 155o MaxSuperView mode that will work up to 2.5K 60 fps. The Max Lens Mode will add Max HyperSmooth or Max SuperView.
If You Already Have A Smartphone, Why Do You Need A GoPro?
Smartphones can do almost everything the GoPro can if you only look at the specs. HD video is available with image stabilisation, and apps allow time-lapse capabilities. However, the GoPro Hero 9 Black wins in certain areas.
It’s the best-rugged camera on the market. The waterproof GoPro Hero 9 Black camera can be used comfortably in water depths as low as 33 feet.
Although your smartphone can be used in water conditions, the touchscreen will not respond to your commands if it is wet. GoPro is the best choice if you want to take underwater photos.
This is true even in dangerous situations. All of the GoPro housings are bash-proof. You can roll it down a mountain, and it will still work when you get it back up.
The GoPro also has image stabilization, which is a significant advantage. The HyperSmooth 3.0 technology is excellent for fast-action sports POVs and walk-and-talk videos. You might even be inspired to start a YouTube channel. Even if you have wrong opinions or personalities, your footage will still be consistent.
There are many accessories for GoPro on the market. You can find mounts to fit your GoPro almost anywhere, whether you purchase official accessories from the manufacturer or inexpensive stuff from Amazon. It will likely cost less than $8.
Who Should Buy The GoPro Hero 9 Black?
This is a great tool that can be used with any action camera bag. However, there are some drawbacks. This is a substantial investment, as you can expect to spend between $350 and $399 for it on sale.
There is also a learning curve. The video resolution and frame rate you choose can sometimes limit how much zoom you can use to an image. You can’t always zoom in super wide if you want maximum resolution and speed. As you get used to the menu system, it can be unclear.
It’s possible to create some fantastic creative possibilities once you get past that. It’s possible to shoot underwater, time-lapse your shoot setups, and make Time Warp videos.
Older models can be purchased for less, but the Hero 9’s front-facing screen and better battery life make it worth it. You’ll only be able to use one of the extra batteries for a few hours.
While there are many imitations, none have come close to GoPro’s position as the best action camera. This is evident with the GoPro Hero9.
The GoPro Hero9 is well-built, very light, and easily mounts to anything. It also has some of the best audio capture capabilities out there with ActiveWrap, which lets you capture video.
For more on the topic of Hero9 Black, be sure to check out our guide: GoPro 8 Vs 9: Which Is Better For You In 2022?. Thank you for your reading!