If you’re looking for a new action camera, GoPro is releasing the Hero 9 Black onto the market, with upgraded features and performance in mind.
The gist of what the camera does won’t really change, as it’s still very much an action cam. But some of the additions may change how you use it when it comes to capturing that action. It retains many of the same features and functions of last year’s Hero 8 Black, so while not an overhaul, this one looks to be a significant incremental change.
What’s new in the Hero 9 Black
Starting with the obvious ones first, the biggest is arguably the front screen. It’s full colour, and addresses the vlogging piece of the puzzle that was missing in prior models. Now, it’s easier to do selfies and frame yourself in a shot when you can see it clearly. It’s decently-sized at 1.4-inches, so it’s larger than past monochrome displays, and far easier to see.
Then there’s the replaceable lens cover. GoPro removed it in the Hero 8 Black, but it’s now back, so you can replace the cover when need be. The back sports a 2.27-inch touch display—about a quarter-inch larger than the Hero 8 has.
Inside, there’s a 23.6-megapixel camera capable of shooting in up to 5K resolution at 30fps. You can still shoot in 4K at 60fps, and GoPro also maintains the other framerates for flexible creativity. If you do livestream with it, it maxes out at 1080p, so nothing new there, but you do get some new modes to play around with, otherwise.
There are improved versions of HyperSmooth 3.0 and TimeWarp 3.0 for smoother video, along with new modes, like Linear + Horizon Leveling. You can also now shoot in all the views at 120fps at 2.7K, not just Wide view. The same goes for 240fps at 1080p, which you can do with all of them, except for SuperView.
Duration Capture lets you set a stop time for a clip in advance—something new to GoPro cameras. The battery is also larger this time—about 40% larger than its predecessor, with a capacity of 1720 mAh. It’s not totally clear how much longer the Hero 9 Black would last because of it, but testing will bear that out.
Extras and accessories
The GoPro mounting system is untouched, as you’d expect, so if you do have existing mounts, they’ll latch onto the new camera without issue. The Mods to add some additional functions to the camera, like an external mic, light or display, are compatible here as well.
It also accepts the same microSD memory cards the previous model did. And you can still use the GoPro and Quik mobile apps to control the camera and save or edit footage onto a phone or tablet.
Expect to be able to use the camera as a webcam, if the mood strikes you. Take 20-megapixel photos with it at full resolution, and that includes water because it maintains the same waterproof body. Saltwater is fine, too, in case you happen to be going for a trip to the beach sometime.
This camera looks to be an interesting take on what GoPro has traditionally done with action cams. The overall design and premise are the same, only the tweaks simplify and expand the creative process all at once.
If you’re interested, the GoPro Hero 9 Black is available now at Best Buy.