Video and photo
The new GoPro Hero 9 has a 23.6-megapixel sensor, compared to the Hero 8 that has a 12-megapixel sensor. It is a big increase which enables Hero 9 to shoot 5k video and snap 20 megapixel still images. However adding more pixels to a small 1/2.3 inch sensor isn’t a good for image quality. GoPro solution for this is to use their own GP1 processor that improves performance while also bringing image stabilization to the next level. Not only do we have HyperSmooth stabilization, there is also in camera horizon leveling that is a great thing to have while filming handheld.
This larger sensor enables GoPro Hero 9 to make 20 megapixel pictures, including HDR and raw image. It captures video at 5k (5,120×2,880 pixels) at 30 frames per second along with 4K60, 2.7K120, 1,440p120, 1,080p240.
The addition of 5k isn’t just for shooting purposes but for stabilization. The bigger 5k resolution enables Hero 9 to have a much larger area that can be used to to stabilize footage by cropping the video. The extra pixels in 5k also allow you to crop your video and export 4K footage. The ability to zoom in on your video is a really neat thing to have and combined with the huge field of view that GoPro Hero 9 has, this is a very welcome addition.
Shooting in 5k does have it’s disadvantages. The most obvious is that mobile devices aren’t capable of playing it, so you can preview it or edit it in the mobile app. This also mean shooting in 5k will require you to have a decent editing computer (or use proxies to ease editing). As for the Hero 9, shooting in 5k means you can only do 30 frames per second, while 4k can shoot 60 fps (meaning you can do slow motion). If you are planning on using Hero 9 for action scenes, it’s better to use modes that enable slow motion, such as 4k at 60 fps, or 2.7 at 120 fps (super slow motion).
What about photos, you say? Well the 20 megapixel pictures are better than in Hero 8 with better dynamic range, so it doesn’t overblown bright areas or completely ignore dark areas. Hero 9 makes very color balanced, eye pleasing images. Raw images are sharper, but need to be edited in programs such as Lightroom to properly edit and enhance them. A good thing about Hero 9 is that you can also get 14.7 MP stills from videos which is great for captures moments from videos.
What many are happy to see in the new Hero 9 is the full color front screen, which works the same time as the back screen. The front screen does have a slight delay but it is still good enough to see how you look if you’re shooting in selfie mode. The front screen can be turned off in the settings, if you have no need for it.
One of the reasons the Hero 9 Black is larger is because the removable lens cover returned, after being omitted from Hero 8. Many people really weren’t have the non removable lens cover move from GoPro, since it offer a lot of positives such as replacing the cover if it is scratched, or using filters.
But the bigger GoPro Hero 9 now enables the use of Max lens mod which costs $100. Max lens mod reproduces GoPro Max camera lens view, giving you an expansive picture with some distortion and amazing video stabilization up to 2.7K resolution at 60 frames per second. What you get with Max Lens Mod is the ability to use Max HyperSmooth stabilization with ultra-wide 155˚ FOV digital lens. According to GoPro’s official website, Max Mod offers:
- Max HyperSmooth video stabilization up to 2.7K60
- Ultra-wide angle 155˚ FOV for improved depth of field
- Horizon lock keeps your videos on the horizontal or vertical axis, even if your camera is mounted off-center or rotates a full 360°
- Max Timewarp for smooth TimeWarp video.